113 thoughts on “LSU Board news release and actions

  1. After reading all three documents, I feel that the issue at hand has not been appropriately addressed. There should be an outright rescission of the teaching of evolution as a competing theory. There should be no competition to the teaching of the literal six-day creation of God.

    It seems to be a lot of political double-talk, that on the surface seems to address the issue, but actually makes no commitment to address it in the manner in which it should be, and is ambiguous (at best) in affirming a position in support of the Creator.

    Furthermore, what is the benefit of calling in worldly organizations to invalidate the teaching of evolution in our institutions, as they will simply advocate the false teachings of men. Why should we form a committee consisting of secular scientists to affirm Creation? Seems oxymoronic to me…

    The spirit of open inquiry they call for simply allows for the acceptance of the false winds of doctrine and men. The academic integrity they also reference should not seek approval from the worldly accreditation system, but should seek approval from God on High. And, the only way that that can be done is on their knees seeking out His guidance and wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

    1 Timothy 6:3-5 says, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4) He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5) Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”

    Withdraw from seeking counsel and advice from non-believers and stand firm on the side of God.

    In His name… Michael




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  2. @Alexander Carpenter:

    You wrote:

    That is a win for academic freedom and an Adventist future that values unity in diversity.

    There is no unity in fundamental diversity within an organization. This is a recipe for fragmented chaos, not unity within a viable organization of any kind which goes uniquely beyond the unified support of, for example, basic civil rights.

    Does the SDA Church have anything else to stand for besides the basic truths of civil liberty which we already have in this great country of ours? Does the SDA understanding of the Gospel message really stall out at such a basis level of truth? – or is there more to offer in the Gospel message of hope concerning the nature of God, His Creative powers, His Universe, and His plans for a New Creation for this world and for us? – – which hopefully won’t take billions of years of “survival of the fittest” and its associated cruelty, suffering and death to achieve?

    Sean Pitman, M.D.
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  3. I have been a SDA for some 50 years now and in all that time have never questioned the Spirit of Prophecy when she said that it was “six literal days that creation took place”! Isn’t this enough for any practicing SDA? Why is there a need for forums and discussion? Have we fallen so far from the pillars of our faith? It seems to me that these men are “ever learning but never coming to an understanding”. May God have mercy on their unbelief!




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  4. Last night after reading so much of this I sat down to write. This poem/song is so simple that many may not see it. School’s seem to need to be difficult to understand or it is not true education. But God’s education is not difficult. This is what came to me in the early hours of the Sabbath.

    Praising You

    Your love dear God is working here
    Producing a new start,
    We need to see tremendously
    The Standards of Your heart.

    Refrain
    Bless us now this day with Thee
    Lord please renew our way,
    Help us to live and follow
    Our Saviour everyday.

    We see Thy precious law for us
    No burden to our soul,
    In love it came from our Maker
    To bring peace not control.

    Refrain
    Bless us now this day with Thee
    Lord please renew our way,
    Help us to live and follow
    Our Saviour everyday.

    When You come that glorious day
    To take us home with You,
    We pray that we Your Word have kept
    Your Power we pursue.

    Refrain
    Bless us now this day with Thee
    Lord please renew our way,
    Help us to live and follow
    Our Saviour everyday.

    You died upon the cross that all
    Will then spend forever,
    Praising You our dear Lord
    In this we endeavour.

    Refrain
    Bless us now this day with Thee
    Lord please renew our way,
    Help us to live and follow
    Our Saviour everyday.

    m.d.glass




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  5. Shannon: Notice the wording of the statement may even imply that the University is trying to uphold open-minded education and avoid pitfalls of the opposite. I find this all very interesting. Nothing has changed but more work for the students.  

    I completely agree. Simply adding another class to the student workload doesn’t fix the classes that caused all the ruckus to begin with. No additional classes would be needed if the original problem were actually tackled and solved – i.e., the promotion of the modern synthesis version of the theory of evolution as the actual truth by many if not all of LSU’s science professors.

    Evidently, these same professors are going to be retained by LSU and they are going to keep teaching the gospel truth of Darwinism and the lunacy of a literal 6-day creation week – just as they always have. How is the addition of more classes going to solve this problem?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  6. @Sean Pitman, M.D.:

    While it seems that LSU has begrudgingly taken steps to appease the 6-day creationists which still form the bedrock of the SDA Church, it has not decided to actively limit the promotion of the modern evolutionary synthesis view of origins as the true story of origins within most of its science classrooms…

    These teachers simply aren’t going to change their views. So, what does it matter if LSU has classes that do in fact promote the SDA perspective on a literal creation week if LSU also maintains teachers like Bradley, Greer, and many others with similar views who are telling their students exactly the opposite is true, in no uncertain terms, in the very next room?…

    You can add my name to that.

    Arthur Chadwick, Ph.D.
    Southwestern Adventist University




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  7. The LSU board proposes that “scientists and administrators in Adventist higher education work together with Church leadership” to form a study group for the purpose of proposing “ a college curriculum fulfilling the General Conference Executive Committee’s call for a scientifically rigorous affirmation of a literal recent six day creation”.

    This is an appeal for “another body” – a cross functional denominational body, to address the curriculum problem rather than appointing LSU staff to solve the problem.

    In American football parlance – they “punted the ball”. Possibly because they knew that LSU is not in leadership in that area of study today and that no such solution was likely in the near future to be coming from LSU. Also the union and university adminstrators appear to be saying that only a hard and fast “we are telling you what science curriculum to teach” model coming from denominational leadership is the only real solution to their lack of action problem.

    So although this does not specifically propose any immediate change in curriculum at La Sierra, nor does it admit to any problems at LSU – nor does it require that La Sierra staff specifically even be involved in the proposed study group nor does it require that LSU implement the proposed curriculum in any specified time frame, nor does it propose that LSU see if the more creationist-friendly SDA universities have this in place today such that they could use it – it hopefully is possibly implying that LSU would one day adopt said curriculum.

    It also appears to admit that LSU does not have that curriculum in place today.

    In the “La Sierra Biology faculty have faith..” section what is notably missing is the same language used for the study group “faith in a literal, recent six day creation”. Thus in a kind of “coded language” style the document is admitting to a problem.

    How “instructive” that it comes out in this fashion.

    In today’s Sabbath School lesson Korah’s story is told where it is pointed out that Korah has made it appear that Moses has mistreated the entire congregation by strictly reporting what the Lord has said – instead of what the people were inclined to believe in their own favor. How interesting that we sometimes get the response that 3SG 90-91 is another case of the “prophet being wrong” and opposing what the people at some of our teaching institutions are “are inclined to believe in their own favor” regarding the doctrine of origins. How fascinating that this latest version struggles to avoid the clear “SIX days you shall labor… for in SIX DAYS the Lord made…” teaching so central to this denomination.

    In Christ,

    Bob




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  8. I am glad the board affirmed the 6 day creation clearly, though the biology department has clearly not changed their position. I am confused why political correctness would play a role in educating the youth in the faculty “with varying opinions” on the matter. Adventist education is not a place for varying opinions on basic doctrinal points such as Sabbath and Creation. It is a place for hiring professors that have a firm grasp of scripture as well as their discipline, not just a hiring pool for public education; therefore you hire the most educated or qualified, you hire the most educated and spiritually qualified- though I know that went out the door decades ago.

    I am sad to see that even evangelicals support creation better than we do. Here, on the anniversary of Darwin’s book, Kirk Cameron and his ministry have released origin of species with a creation and gospel forward, may God help our arrogance: http://www.livingwaters.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=383




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  9. The Adventist Theological Society’s quarterly publication “Perspective Digest” has been keeping a pro-creation creation-vs-evolution section going for several years now. This current quarter also has a feature article on “Ellen White and Evolution” by Dr Frank Hasel that is very well written.

    Also the Adventist Review has an article out on “Intelligent Design”.
    http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2009-1509&page=18

    So “We” the Seventh-day Adventist church – do have some good things going in favor of the Bible doctrine on origins — even if some of our teaching institutions flounder in that area.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  10. While I agree with many of the other posters who look at the statements of the LSU Board as positive and at least a partial victory for the goals set forth by the Educate Truth forum. However, I too am concerned with the seemingly open-ended review called for before any changes are made in the current LSU curriculum. What happens in the meanwhile? Are the biology professors in question allowed to continue teaching their non-Biblical views of Theistic Evolution? Would it not have been more appropriate for the Board to have stipulated that during the time it takes for this new committee to be formed, complete its study of the evidence, and make a recommendation as to how Creation vs. Evolution should be taught at LSU as well as other Adventist colleges and universities, that the LSU professors would be required to “cease and desist” from their current teaching and return to the belief system so recently adopted by the SDA GC?
    Obviously, this is only the opening salvo and the conservative base of Seventh-day Adventists must not let up on the pressure being applied but must, in fact, increase that pressure until the necessary changes are made so that God’s fiat creation is recognized and upheld by all science professors, not only at LSU, but throughout the Adventist college/university network.
    In my opinion, work should begin RIGHT NOW on making certain that this issue is placed very high on the agenda on next year’s GC session(s) in Atlanta.
    I agree whole-heartedly that this is truly “A Hiil to Die On.”
    May God continue to bless and ordain as this most important issue is resolved to give Him glory.
    In His love,
    Byron Comp




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  11. I said “nor does it require that La Sierra staff specifically even be involved in the proposed study group ” — after reading the first document. However I see that the board actions do require that “two” LSU science faculty members be involved, so at least they would have some actual investment in the effort — should all others agree to form it on behalf of LSU.

    And I would have to say that in all the discussions so far — no one as hinted that there are not even “two” science faculy at LSU that support the Bible doctrine on origins. So I am still confident that LSU could find two to participate in the study group.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  12. I totally agree with the observations thus made of these documents published by the LSU Board of Trustees!

    There have been recent articles published bemoaning the fact that although there is an increasing SDA church membership there is a decreasing support for SDA education. There are studies/committees appointed to study why and how this “problem” can be rectified.

    My husband and I would support Adventist education whole heartedly if we could be assured that the experience our children received could be one that prepared them to be trusted citizens in the government of heaven!

    Of interest, we note that a K-8 public school is planning to use the Apologia Science series, by Dr. Jay Wile, for its science curriculum next school year! The institutions of this world will sooner leave the institutions of the church behind in matters of promoting truth filled science!
    Yet we will keep praying and seeking to lift up the standard of righteousness in our local congregations that we be not partakers of this Omega of Apostacy; these evolutionary theories of science so-called being taught in our schools goes right along with the “new” worship styles/music being advocated in many of our congregations. May our eyes, hearts, understanding be enlightened by God’s truth! We have no excuse!
    God bless His people on His Sabbath Day!




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  13. I want to thank you all for your time in sharing your thoughts and ideas in regards to these on going issues that we are facing especially our children who will be taking up the truth that we have been upholding since the creation of adventism.
    It is saddening to have these issues in our higher education level. Also, the devil must be happy to see Adventist involve in this issue at this time where we should be focusing more on teaching truth around the world.
    My main concern at this time is that we should not only focus on the LSU School Board but, ask the General Conference to take action so that the issue can be solved as soon as possible.
    We have more and better work to take care for Jesus is coming soon. The devil is bringing this small issue just to detour us from our commission to the world.
    Moreover, I strongly believe that the issue we are sharing today is just a tip of the ice burg, it is only revealing how much the SDA theology have detoured from the truth. As we can read from the letter that they are using Mrs. White’s writing only to meet their theory or point of views and to show us that they still believe in her writings yet they do no live it.
    The teachings in the SDA today are leaning towards Sunday keeping Christian theology for most of our Pastor attended their schools and university and came out with their teachings. I have approached two of my church pastors whom I have not heard teaching or using Mrs. Whites book but books from Rick Warren, Billy Graham, and other non SDA speakers asking them why, their answers that they were told that they should not be promoting her writing in the public. What a shame to all SDA’s who have the same ideas as these pastors.
    It is sad to say that the issue at LSU need to be taken care of as soon as possible so the whole SDA theology need to be overhauled and be cleansed from any false theory that have been nurturing, for we are all accountable to the world with the 3 angels message.

    May God bless you all

    http://www.7thday3angels.fathweb.com

    Sailasa Nailava




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  14. I want to add my voice in expressing appreciation to Shane and all who have worked on this Website to bring the issue to the forefront. Thank you!

    I am initially encouraged by the Board’s statements. I want to believe a sincere effort will be made to develop a curriculum that will indeed uphold the great foundations of our faith. I have read some hopeful comments, and I have read some that fear or predict no positive change will be made. Regarding the latter prospect, that may be the case. But let us not lose faith in the power of God to change hearts. The issue has been clearly put forth and the message seems to have been clearly received by the LSU Board.

    Remember God’s instruction to Ezekiel concerning the house of Israel: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel . . . to them who should listen to you; yet”–God very tellingly informs Ezekiel–“the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me.”

    So God sends messages even when He knows the outcome! In this present situation there will be a shaking; some will be shaken out, and there may be many who will listen and be set on a right course. As was suggested by another responder, I plan, and urge every interested person, to indeed make this a matter of earnest prayer for the best possible outcome. Whatever the outcome, the positive efforts represented by this website have not been in vain. Let us trust in the God of truth, who overrules all for good in working out the counsels of His own will.

    Sandi




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  15. @Steve Severance: Please Steve, — I can appreciate where you are coming from, but let’s take LSU off the table for a minute – and ask this question: When Satan places his [agents] in our churches or institutions – and he surely does, along with his angels, do you think for a minute they will be intellectually honest enough to leave on their own?? Of course not – the reason they are there is to win their battle. No, no, WE have to make the decisions as to whether they stay or go. And unless and until we decide to do this, as we always should, without waver, then they have won the battle. Period, case closed.

    Larry




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  16. “While it seems that LSU has begrudgingly taken steps to appease the 6-day creationists which still form the bedrock of the SDA Church, it has not decided to actively limit the promotion of the modern evolutionary synthesis view of origins as the true story of origins within most of its science classrooms…

    These teachers simply aren’t going to change their views. So, what does it matter if LSU has classes that do in fact promote the SDA perspective on a literal creation week if LSU also maintains teachers like Bradley, Greer, and many others with similar views who are telling their students exactly the opposite is true, in no uncertain terms, in the very next room?…”

    What he said.

    What a joke, more talk, talk, talk. As in maybe if we talk about it long enough they will tire and go away. Works in Washington, why not here?? It is now up to us…will we let them wear us down?




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  17. What it will take for SDA leaders to realize that the unspecific statement of the Fundamental Belief #6 has created much of this controversy? It is unfortunate that the same type of statement is coming from key persons involved in the LSU controversy. One of these statements reads: “Each faculty member understands the important responsibility to facilitate broad education in biology in ways that embrace the Adventist perspective of God as the Creator of all things.”

    It is not only crucial that “each faculty member understand” its importance, but that every, and each one of them assume a COMMITMENT to provide “broad biology education” that is in conformity with the 2004 statement (Point #4) voted by the General Conference Executive Committee, which is much more specific and in harmony with the biblical view of creation.

    We are living in the difficult times on which the Word of God is being challenged more than ever. Today we need genuine thinkers more than ever, but we need thinkers that can reflect the character of Christ, and defend His Word as it is. We must remember that to prepare any other kind of thinkers we don’t need a SDA institution, for any other secular institution is capable enough of doing it.

    Blessings to all.




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  18. While this is certainly a large step in the right direction, I would prefer more specifics from the professors who have been teaching evolution.
    Otherwise we risk having professors that say they believe in the SDA doctrines but do not in reality.
    I personally know of 2 history professors at an SDA institution who say that they believe in our doctrines but at the same time will say that Ellen White was not inspired and plagiarized. We also have had pastors who baptized people who never heard of Ellen White, pastors who perform marriages for twice and thrice divorced individuals, and had a pastor who baptized people wearing jewelry. None of these individuals felt that they were in contradiction of SDA beliefs or the Bible.
    In order to keep out that destructive influences, we need to be very specific with prospective teachers, pastors, etc. It is not enough to just ask if they believe in the SDA beliefs. Those in a position to hire these persons must be so clear and concise that candidates cannot rationalize away the truth.

    To Our Brother Shane: Thank you for keeping us all informed, so that we could join with you in this crusade.




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  19. We live in a time where we cannot afford to sit on the fence about our beliefs. I personally have grown weary of “Adventist” that want to take over our churches and turn them into some worldly show place on Sabbath, where it is hard to find anything holly about the service. These same people are often educators in our institutions that use the class room for their own political forum and are seemingly ashamed of our beliefs.
    My daughter went one year to an Adventist college and suffered through this very thing of which I speak, only to not return for another year. It seems when a professor gets a hold of an opposing idea, there is no room for another opinion. Nor would anyone want to open that can of worms in a classroom. It has swept across the nation at many of our schools and there is an agenda being met, because too many have no courage to speak against them.
    I thank you Shane for your efforts and pray that you keep after it. This is a long way from being settled. They use Ellen White to cover the truth of their intention which is to keep evolution as well. Shame on them. Sister White is correct in saying we should teach our children to think for themselves; OK they get the evolution story from everywhere else in the media and the world!! Where will they get God’s doctrine? except in our schools? Have mercy!!!
    How can they possibly think that is a good argument and believe me that was an attempt to argue.
    I feel the tone is they are not serious in their Faith and hope with some flowery words eventually you will go away.
    Well, that was all pretty blunt, but necessary.




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  20. I am very disturbed by the boards comments. It seems like alot of simple avoiding clear Scriptures. Why do we need more ad hoc meetings to waste alot of money and time?? Those men are NOT SDA’s, clearly by their teachings and they go against out beliefs as SDA’s. Its very simple to this simple minded person, that if they do not teach as we believe, they they should NOT be paid from God’s tithe! They should be fired and be put either under censure or taken off of the books of the SDA Church. I will not support our learning institutions that go against what the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy teaches. (that includes most of our schools now). She clearly says that competitive sports is wrong, yet we have them in most of our schools. God forbid!!! And we wonder why our schools are going downhill? Get back to God and He will keep our schools going the right direction.




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  21. Dear Kirk Weedman:

    I cannot find your personal e-mail address for the purpose of writing to you, as you requested. Please write to mine and we can get in touch.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin




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  22. So once again, the problem comes down to our view of Biblical inspiration/authority…Does culture and context have a place in evaluating and applying scripture? What about the NT admonitions regarding women speaking in public worship and how to treat slaves? We don’t take these verses without evaluating their context? Were the verses in Genesis meant to be a scientific treatise? No, we must look at context once again. The Sabbath doesn’t rise or fall only on a literal 7 day creation and young earth chronology.




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  23. BobRyan: So “We” the Seventh-day Adventist church – do have some good things going in favor of the Bible doctrine on origins — even if some of our teaching institutions flounder in that area.

    One of those “good things” is in lower level education. The grades 1 – 8 science books produced by the church and used in our schools are seriously outdated. A new secular series had already been adopted for grades 1- 4 that were pretty creation-evolution neutral. A series for the upper grades was chosen, but at the final NAD committee meeting it was decided that, in spite of the financial cost, our own science series with a strong creation foundation was an absolute necessity. That is the Holy Spirit at work.

    In two years we will have that series. It will be top of the line in quality and grounded in truth.




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  24. What an outrage!!! Nothing has changed, those three documents say nothing about the true issue. The Biology Department at LSU has been left in place causing more confusion then before.

    A “Study Group”, why? What is there to study? Or is this a ploy to make Creationism questionable in the SDA education system? What other reason is there? The other SDA schools are not having this type of problems so why spread this evil debate farther.

    I plea with you not to accept this ploy. The time for debate is over. Now is the time to hold LSU’s feet closer to the fire and demand a straight answer to a simple question, are you or aren’t you going to address the actions of the Biology Department at LSU?

    The Board’s action clearly shows the Board thinks there is an issue to debate, what other reason can there be to have a ‘Study Group’.

    I pray that the other schools will boycott this ‘Study Group’ for the simple reason there is nothing to talk about.




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  25. Genesis 1 – Genesis 2:2 tells the story of how God created this world in 6 days and rested on the 7th day. This is the fundamental belief of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and most Christian denominations, but the SDA Church is largest group that keeps the seventh day as the Sabbath day of rest. The rest of Genesis 2 tells the creation in story simple telling fashion and in no way should we say that it contradict the Genesis 1-2:2,

    La Sierra University is private university owned, run and funded by the Seventh Day Adventist organization and its members, therefore the professors/teachers running the classes there should abide by the most fundamental, basic biblical belief of the SDA church. The same lessons that we teach our children at our homes and churches should be applied in all our schools too.

    Personally I do not want to be the person responsible for misleading others about our God, His Mighty Powers to create and His Love for us undeserving mankind. The God who sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins and is coming back to take us to Heaven soon.

    May God Bless and Keep us all in His Fold.




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  26. @Byron Comp:

    Byron Comp says:
    November 14, 2009 While I agree with many of the other posters who look at the statements of the LSU Board as positive and at least a partial victory for the goals set forth by the Educate Truth forum. However, I too am concerned with the seemingly open-ended review called for before any changes are made in the current LSU curriculum. What happens in the meanwhile? Are the biology professors in question allowed to continue teaching their non-Biblical views of Theistic Evolution?

    Indeed — those were the primary questions to be addressed by the board and they are the precise questions completely ignored by that Board Action statement.

    One thing to keep in mind is that this is a Seventh-day Adventist institution that markets primarily to Seventh-day Adventist parents and students. They never had the option of saying “we are not really Adventist in our doctrine so we teach evolution as we please”.

    Given that that was not really an option — it appears they came up with the next best (or guess I should say “next worst”) thing.

    Fundamentally – it appears that “some administrators” cannot be trusted to successfully manage the quality of their own hiring practices. They are too prone to hiring people that are “educators first — and Seventh-day Adventist second”. We can all fully appreciate the fact that public universities would choose that model — but we had prayed that our own univeristy administrators would know better. (The good news is that many of them do know better than to do that – and they are able to hire quality staff fully informed as to “WHY” we have “Adventist eductation” instead of simply sending all of our students to public schools for an “education first” experience that has either no value for God one way or the other — or is in fact hostile to the idea of Christianity.)

    I heard someone in church today talk about the fact that theiir family priority was God first, then Family, then business (where “business” for students is education). My local church is now engaged in an evangelistic series reaching out to non-SDAs and fellow church members with a reminder of what “God first” actually means when it comes to all 28 Fundamental Beliefs. As you can guess – we start out with the subject of “Who is the Creator” and “What did He create” and “What details did He provide about how He did it”.

    Basic concepts easily mastered by any honest sincere Bible student.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  27. “I am deeply troubled by the ambiguous tone of this statement. No definitive assurance is offered to the church and constituents of this institution that faculty and administrators at La Sierra University stand unreservedly in support of a literal, six-day creation as taught in Scripture and the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, and that no administrator or faculty member who denies the historicity of the Biblical creation account will be permitted to continue as a University employee. Anything short of this assurance is profoundly unacceptable.”

    Pastor Paulson’s statement makes a lot of sense and gets to the heart of the problem. After all the time and effort spent by Shane and those of us who written letters, etc., we cannot allow this to be swept under the rug with statements that when analyzed really say so little. And I agree with Ariel Roth, whom I once knew in grad school and have his current book, about the fact that we do *not* need another study. That’s a way the University can stall and not take the required action right now maybe hoping we will all forget it.

    This matter of diversity, as Carpenter depicts it, is not supportable as diversity of beliefs on matters of settled faith in the SDA church cannot be left to those would adulterate and destroy them. Hart of Loma Linda has an article in the Review promoting SDA Christian education. If schools are teaching doctrinal error and promoting such error thru certain teachers and professors why should parents sacrifice to send them to institutions where their faith will be compromised.

    Reminder: Real names are required in order to comment.




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  28. In the following, I will address their statements one piece at a time.

    The La Sierra University Board of Trustees has reaffirmed the school’s foundational commitments as a Seventh-day Adventist institution of higher education with particular focus on the Church’s official doctrine of creation.

    It is good to know they recognize where the focus of the issue currently resides. However, this statement does not specify what the institution’s “foundational commitments” are, nor whether or not these agree with “Church’s official doctrine of creation.”

    The board’s first action supported the university’s responsibilities to the Church through:

    In the following list, do notice the order in which the points are presented.

    * Committing to a spirit of open inquiry and discussion in the university’s classrooms and laboratories.
    * Inspiring, challenging, and supporting the university’s faculty in their sacred academic work.
    * Affirming that both academic responsibility and commitment to Adventist beliefs are important parts of a vibrant university, as articulated in Ellen White’s statement “It is the work of true education to…train the youth to be thinkers and not mere reflectors of other men’s thought.” (Education, p. 17).

    Am I the only one to notice that the University has here put “supporting the university’s faculty” and “a spirit of open inquiry and discussion” ahead of an affirmation of Adventist beliefs? And in that statement block regarding those beliefs, they quote Mrs. White to say that we should be “thinkers” (i.e. “open minded”) rather than to quote one of her many statements regarding Creation. Are they trying to tell us that they are more “open minded” about science, and that the rest of us need to come up to speed?

    In a second action, the board called for scientists and administrators in Adventist higher education to work together with Church leadership in a study group. This group would propose a college curriculum fulfilling the General Conference Executive Committee’s call for a scientifically rigorous affirmation of a literal, recent six-day creation. The study group would obtain assistance from the Geoscience Research Institute in forming model course outlines in life and earth sciences. These could inform curricular revision throughout Adventist higher education.

    So their scientists are looking for a chance to persuade church administrators to their side? It looks as though they are making full advantage of this window of opportunity.

    Additionally, the board requested that a research project be launched to study the spiritual development of Adventist students in higher education throughout the North American Division, with special attention to students in the sciences. It recommended that La Sierra University’s John Hancock Center for Youth and Family Ministry, home of the ValueGenesis research project, coordinate the program in cooperation with the North American Division Office of Education.

    I suppose they hope to show their strength of numbers through another ValueGenesis-type survey. If this is not their intent, I still fail of seeing how another ValueGenesis-style approach (which by the way should involve a few years of delay in completing) will solve the current issues.

    The actions voted at the board meetings of November 11-12, grew out of several days of board discussions on the issue.

    “These board actions are an important, positive moment for La Sierra University,” said Randal Wisbey, university president. “Our board members and faculty take seriously their obligation to teach our students in a manner that develops a mature, enduring faith while thoroughly preparing them for careers in the sciences.

    Does this imply that those who believe in six literal days of creation have not a “mature, enduring faith,” one which would be “thoroughly preparing them for careers in the sciences?” The omissions here speak voluminously. There is no mention of creation, nor of creation science.

    “At the same time, our board members recognize this important conversation requires thoughtful input from the entire spectrum of Adventist higher education,” President Wisbey said.

    The board identified the university’s new general biology seminar, launched during fall quarter 2009, as an important initial addition to the La Sierra biology curriculum. Required of all students as they begin the university’s General Biology sequence, the seminar brings students together with scholars from biology, religious studies, and the Geoscience Research Institute. It provides time to explore the role and function of science, the importance of faith, and the relevant doctrinal positions of Seventh-day Adventists.

    The reference to “relevant doctrinal positions” is an excellent example of doublespeak. It could mean two opposite things here. I wish to know which of them is intended. Is this: 1) a reference to belief in Genesis 1, or 2) an implication that not all doctrinal positions are relevant?

    “The La Sierra Biology faculty have faith that God is their Creator and Sustainer,” said James Wilson, Ph.D., department chair. “Each faculty member understands the important responsibility to facilitate broad education in biology in ways that embrace the Adventist perspective of God as the Creator of all things.”

    The faculty in the science department have spoken similarly all along. There is nothing new here. They claim to be theists. They may, however, yet believe that God created all matter, which then formed the basis of the “big bang.” This statement is purposefully vague, and the vagueness is unforgivable under these circumstances. Here and now is a time for clarity, which they are not offering.

    “Moving forward, the board, administration, and faculty are committed to serving our students as they study the important issues of faith and science,” said Ricardo Graham, chair of the La Sierra University Board of Trustees. “As board members, we are appreciative of the wide range of comments on the issue shared by thoughtful church members, and for the many prayers offered during our discussions.”

    Once again, this is more vagueness. This statement does not tell us one whit about the university’s true priorities, nor what “the important issues of faith and science” are considered to be in their estimation.

    I would like to hope that these ambiguous statements do not imply what they could imply about the university continuing to do what it has been in the past–teach evolution as “the single unifying explanation of the living world, and nothing makes much, if any, sense outside of this unifying theory.”

    Here’s still waiting for something sensible to come from LSU’s board.

    Erik




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  29. As with any document, these documents are subject to interpretation. It would not be expected for anyone or any institution to become perfect in a moment. However, the general flavor of these documents seems to be one of affirming Adventist beliefs and teaching these in the university. Because any document can allow for wiggle room and because not all policies are perfectly-followed in any institution, at this point it will be possible for LSU to either become highly & fully supportive of Adventist beliefs or to become more subtle in teaching deception. We must all continue to pray for our leaders, including those at LSU, because intercessory prayer works. We all needs God’s help, especially those who are under greater attack because of their positions of responsibility.




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  30. Can we “cut to the chase”? The authority of the Bible as the ultimate source of truth is what’s under attack here. Which goes hand in hand with what will separate the saved from the lost prior to the return of Jesus. Jesus is coming soon, and “what can be shaken, will be shaken”. Only an absolute commitment to and adherence to the Word of God will enable God’s true followers to make it through to the end. Folks this is the issue that will draw the line in the sand. Does God’s Word have authority over our lives or not?

    If the Bible is to be believed – God Himself is it’s Author. And He makes the following claims in His Word:

    “To whom then will you liken Me. Or to whom shall I be equal?”, says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things. Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might, and the strength of His power; not one is missing.” Isa 40:25-27

    “Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out. Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it … I am the Lord, that is my name; and My glory I will not give to another … Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them” From Isa 42:5, 8,9

    “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, And He who formed you in the womb; I am the Lord, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone. Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself” Isa 44:24

    “I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God beside Me … I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and cause calamity; I, the Lord do all these things.” Isa 45:6,7

    “I have made the earth, and created man on it. I — My hands — stretched out the heavens; and all their host I have commanded.” Isa 45:12

    How can anyone who professes to be a Seventh-day Adventist read those texts and try to rob God of His glory? Re-read them. Is God a liar?

    To those who are at war with the teachings of the Bible, I pass on the following message from the Lord:

    “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee will bow, Every tongue will confess”. Isa 45:22,23

    To those who honor God with me, let us join in with the angels who bow before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created”. Rev 4:15




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  31. The comments so far are most fascinating. No one has suggested how you would go about teaching a “scientifically rigorous” basis for a recent, six-day creation. It’s as if you think that there is something obvious that the professors are not willing to teach. There is not one Seventh-day Adventist who can state clearly how it can be done. That’s why the Board has formed a study group.

    What would you teach students about ice cores, the ocean sediments, the massive lava flows, the formation of limestone, the ice ages, the bristle cone pines, the meteor impact craters, and continental drift? Please, go read about these topics and then try to suggest what you would teach.

    Do you think that there were Board members in that meeting who jumped up a presented a curriculum that would set everything straight and then, somehow, just couldn’t get enough votes for their proposal? Give me a break. Almost all scientific evidence shows that the earth and the life on it are very old. There is some scientific evidence that does not fit the predominant scientific models, but there is no convincing evidence for a recent creation. (If you doubt me, find some evidence and then present it.)

    That’s the problem. We can poke a few holes in the prevailing scientific theories, but I have not heard from anyone who can propose a scientific model for a short history of the earth and its life. You should give a try before you complain about what the Board has done.




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  32. Nothing substantial regarding if they still support and teach truths from the bible is shared . Any entity like ours may always share in writing what we believe but the issue is “are we still practising it?”

    Furthermore, when I read what they quoted from Education page 17, it makes you believe that we should encourage independent thinking from our youth (which there’s no doubt they are full of this type of thinking already): yes, it may be healthy, to a certain degree but not to the point of challenging God’s word! In fact, this statement of Sister White has nothing to do with God’s word nor any of His counsel. If you continue on reading from page 17, it shares this, “It is the work of true education…to train the youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of OTHER MEN’S THOUGHT. The issue is not about any man’s thought but what is at stake here is God’s word on creation. It still continues, “Instead of confining their study to that which men have said or written, let students be directed to the SOURCES OF TRUTH,… And what is truth? The bible says that “…I am the TRUTH, the Way and the Life…(John 14:6)” The best source to find truth and which we can only trust, is of course, the BIBLE! In fact, 2 Timothy 3:16 describes the authenticity of the bible, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Again, the bible clearly shows that it is not composed and written by men’s thoughts: 2Peter 1:20,21 share, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture IS OF ANY PRIVATE INTERPRETATION. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake AS THEY WERE MOVED BY THE HOLY GHOST.” Let us continue to pray and hope that the school board will be more transparent and simple in the way they deal with their science teachers.




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  33. I am very disappointed with the end results of this board meeting. It seems like the political path was followed to try and minimize and calm both sides. Another study is not needed, in my opinion. And an outlined method of teaching creation and evolution is not needed. Since both sides are un-falsifiable, both sides require faith in areas that are not clear. When I was in college, I took all the courses I could in evolution and creation science, and I believe I was brought up to date in evolutionary thinking, as well as where creation science was in proving their theories. There are always going to be unexplained areas that we just have to “put on the shelf” until further light comes to us, or until we reach the kingdom. This in no way means that I didn’t recieve a solid scientific education in biology. On the contrary, when problems with both sides were brought up, I was taught I needed to fall back on the biblical premise and wait for further information to be revealed.
    So whats so hard to teach in this way?




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  34. The bottom line is that I see no evidence of action against the teachers that are promoting evolution over creation. Do you think they have changed their minds? I don’t. As long as these teachers are allowed to teach in our schools the problem still exists and will get worse as the teachers become more deceptive in the methods they use to sway the minds of our students.




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  35. A Christian response would be to accept what our Christian brethren have stated in their decision. We pray that they do in fact intend to teach what we believe as a people which is simple Bible truth. The trustees are responsible for what happens next. If we find that things remain the same in the Biology department at La Sierra, I will be the first to call for the resignation of the whole board, unless any on the board join in the call for these resignations. They may stay as they join the battle against evil. And further, if any on the board are ordained ministers in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we need to call for their credentials to be removed if they continue to support the teaching of evolution at La Sierra.

    There is no need to debate what I mean. The Seventh-day Adventist Church remains in a Laodicean condition. This is applicable to many ordained ministers and especially to those who teach and administrate at our institutions of “higher” education. It appears that the board is going to make a change, but if they do not immediately take control of the situation and bring the institution they are responsible for in harmony with Scripture in regards to the teaching of creation then those in the church who understand the situation need to continue calling for reform at La Sierra. This reform would then begin with a new board and a new president. There is a line drawn in the sand. Those who are on the Lord’s side need to stand on the Lord’s side. All who refuse to move on His side of the line need to removed from any positions of sacred trust they may now hold. This is not a complicated issue. Only rebels and cowards will refuse to side with Christ on this issue.

    There will be revival and reformation in the church. This is God’s church and no man or men will stand in the way of this change. It will take place when enough church members are truly converted. How long will we continue to allow sin and suffering in this world? It all rests upon our heads. Jesus ought to have come in 1888, but He did not for a reason. That reason still exists. Let us each search our own hearts that we might better understand our relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ. He is seeking to reveal Himself in each of us. When He is sanctified in us before the eyes of the world, then the world will know there is a God. By beholding the loveliness of Jesus, we shall become changed into His image from glory to glory.

    In our desire to maintain the truth, let us manifest His character as we deal with the erring. Who knows, He may be working in the hearts of some who sit on the La Sierra board. Let us pray this is the case.




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  36. Shane Hilde’s summary and commentary is encouraging. Especially this statement, “I have it on good authority that the Board is very aware of the situation and will not let what has been going on continue much longer.” One has to ask the question though,’Why did the board allow this to go on for so long to begin with?’ And, ‘What will they do to fix the problem if it does continue longer?’

    It is very difficult not to have a cynical view after reading the Biology department’s gross generality, “The La Sierra Biology faculty have faith that God is their Creator and Sustainer,” said James Wilson, Ph.D., department chair. “Each faculty member understands the important responsibility to facilitate broad education in biology in ways that embrace the Adventist perspective of God as the Creator of all things.” This only serves as confirmatory evidence of this groups culpability.

    I have to echo Sean Pittman’s statement that, ‘These teachers simply aren’t going to change their views.’ and Mark Mirek’s statement that, ‘Without clear accountability from professors this problem will continue to fester.’

    I also echo Shane Hilde’s statement that, ‘I would rather not have anyone fired or asked to resign; however, if this situation is to be fully resolved then I don’t see any other way out.’
    Are there really that few qualified Adventist Biology Professors out there?




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  37. It is without question that this ends nothing and this community will continue to hold the LSU’s collective “feet to the fire.” We shall see where this goes.

    Carl – please see Dr. Veith for a rationale on how to teach origins by creation.




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  38. My posts don’t appear to be getting to the server today — will see if this one makes it.

    @Victor Marshall:

    Victor Marshall says:
    November 15, 2009 Shane Hilde’s summary and commentary is encouraging. Especially this statement, “I have it on good authority that the Board is very aware of the situation and will not let what has been going on continue much longer.” One has to ask the question though,’Why did the board allow this to go on for so long to begin with?’

    My interest would be in hearing any news at all along the lines of the statement above “I have it on good authority that the Board is aware of the situation and will not let what has been going on continue…”.

    That is a very good and hopeful statement – do we have any publically available information that would help us understand any of the details behind that? Will board member post here or somewhere and admit that they see a problem to be corrected – and that corrective steps can be taken by LSU itself without waiting for the proposed study group of the future to come into being and complete it’s work?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  39. Above all the fray, at least one truth remains, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” No one disapproves more of what has happened at La Sierra (and at many of our schools) than I do. My faith was personally affected as a young college student. But God was bigger than my confusion and faithful to guide me through it.

    Those of us who seek to affect change had better not forget the underlying principles and characteristics that make God who He is: loving, long suffering, slow to anger, appealing to reason and not anxious to crush those who persecute Him or disagree with Him.

    Judgment will come—from God, not from us—but it has not come yet. In the meantime, we would do well to work patiently with each other through this and every issue. That is our greatest testimony to truth.




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  40. @Carl says::

    November 15, 2009 The comments so far are most fascinating. No one has suggested how you would go about teaching a “scientifically rigorous” basis for a recent, six-day creation. It’s as if you think that there is something obvious that the professors are not willing to teach. There is not one Seventh-day Adventist who can state clearly how it can be done. That’s why the Board has formed a study group.

    What would you teach students about ice cores, the ocean sediments, the massive lava flows, the formation of limestone, the ice ages, the bristle cone pines, the meteor impact craters, and continental drift? Please, go read about these topics and then try to suggest what you would teach.

    Do you think that there were Board members in that meeting who jumped up a presented a curriculum that would set everything straight and then, somehow, just couldn’t get enough votes for their proposal? Give me a break. Almost all scientific evidence shows that the earth and the life on it are very old.

    I believe this is a perfect illustration of the thinking that went into that Board Action – we should not ignore it.

    This thinking is precisely why a pro-evolution LSU administration would so readily propose that “somebody else” come up with an Adventist science curriculum that supports a recent 6 day creation week – because in the minds of these evolutionists (as in the mind of Richard Dawkins) there is in fact “no such thing” as a scientifically rigorous curriculum that supports the Bible doctrine on origins.

    hint: One LSU option here is that the two science professors LSU intends to provide in that effort suggested for “somebody else” may well be sent there with the intent of making sure everyone else on that committee knows that there is “no such thing”.

    In this board action LSU has found “air cover” for continuing down their present course — awaiting for a “proposed committee” to gain time resources funding and authority “by somebody else” – before they would ever to cease and desist their “sacrifice all for evolutionism” policy in place today. And their back-up hope on this is that since there is “no such thing” as a “scientifically rigorous science curriculum supporting a recent, literal 6 day creation week” whatever effort might be put into the non-existent committee – would be all for naught and might even result in a conclusion allowing all SDA science programs to embrace evolutionism since the Bible facts on the origin of life are not “scientifically rigorous”.

    Notice that when it comes to evolutionism — a “by faith alone” position will do (as Collin Patterson pointed out). But when it comes to Bible creation — then it must be “on video and reproducible in the lab”.

    All very instructive for the unbiased objective reader.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  41. I think what is really being put forward is that the “professors” are beign allowed to carry on business as usual and in the mean to also buying them time to look for new jobs as well. You see the issue is they dont want to FIRE these people! So they are looking for the greater council to lay down the curriculium (sp?) so that they will force these people to either at that point resign because “their” views are being forced out and they HAVE to teach the way we say or they just go through the motions and follow through.

    The real problem is 2 fold… These people are hateful towards the truth Jude 4 lays these people out specifically as creeping in unwares to us. Now is the time to take the council of Paul to the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20 and get these wolves out. If the ball is on the court of our round table council they are delegating this to then we need to now step up and put petition to them to start NOW and not let this thing drag out for a couple years “putting” together research and whatever! Christian High school has if other colleges we have teach creation vs. evolution correctly then they need to get the good stuff thats being taught and say “hey teach this or quit” Period!




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  42. @Carl:

    What would you teach students about ice cores, the ocean sediments, the massive lava flows, the formation of limestone, the ice ages, the bristle cone pines, the meteor impact craters, and continental drift? Please, go read about these topics and then try to suggest what you would teach.

    Perhaps you’d better do a little bit more reading yourself?

    Regarding:

    Ice Core Dating/Ice Ages:
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/ancientice.html

    Ocean Sediments:
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/milankovitch.html

    Bristlecone Pines:
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/carbon14.html#Tree

    Lave Flows:
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/geologiccolumn.html#Paraconformities

    Limestone Formation:
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/geologiccolumn.html#Lithification%20Rates

    Continenetal Drift:
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/geologiccolumn.html#Continental%20Drift

    Meteor Impact Craters:
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/geologiccolumn.html#Meteorites

    Perhaps you’d better do a little bit more reading yourself?

    But, beyond this, it really doesn’t matter if you agree with the arguments for or against the SDA Church’s position on origin. What matters is that the SDA Church has every right to take on whatever position it wants. The problem here is with those who would think to demand a paycheck from the SDA Church while thinking to go about publicly undermining the stated fundamental position of their employer…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  43. You forgot two of my favorite texts about God as Creator…
    Psalm 33: 6 & 9 “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, and all the hosts of them by the breath of His mouth.(v.6) For He spake, and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast.” (v.9)
    Sounds a lot like Genesis 1 doesn’t it?
    Also, the three angel’s messages of Revelation 14; with the first angel saying, “…and worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water”(v.6)…points/calls us right back to the creation story of Genesis. (it is part of the angel’s loud voice…)
    And you know, truthfully, I don’t believe He even HAD to speak…He did that for us, and the watching angels…it proved right there, Who had the power (and it wasn’t Lucifer)…in fact, I believe God could have THOUGHT creation into existence in a millisecond. He did it this way (taking 6 24hour days, for us…so we could be positive WHO was the Creator God. That being Jesus on top of it…wonder what LSU thinks of Jesus as Creator?




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  44. First of all, let me say that I am thankful that the La Sierra University Board of Trustees was willing to listen to the concerns of many Seventh-day Adventists and to respond to them by affirming our church’s traditional view on creation. Having said that, I feel, as others have expressed, that their respond was not as clear and forthright as it could and should have been. Will the biology professors who have taught that the earth was created over millions of years through the process of natural selection (which even Darwin eventually renounced)as the only viable means of life being created on planet earth be required to stop teaching this as fact? The board can’t force them to change their beliefs, but they should see to it that what the professors teach does not contradict the Bible and Ellen White. They should be asked to sign a statement that they will do just that: that would quickly settle the matter. They need to be held accountable for what they teach since they are being paid by the church and its constituents. If they are not willing to uphold a literal, 24-hour, six day creation week by fiat “ex nihilo”, they should resign, and, if they are unwilling to do so, they should be terminated. God will hold board members accountable if they willingly allow falsehood to be taught in our schools. Let’s continue to pray that the administration and board will take a clear and unequivocal stand on the side of creation as most of our other colleges and universities have done.




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  45. As I have been keeping up and praying throughout this whole matter, I keep lifted up Pastor Asserick and others who uphold the truth as it is in the Bible. I do not read that LSU has stated that they do believe and teach the initial reason of this situation….that God created everything in six literal days.

    I hope that LSU staff have read the chapter “The Literal Week” lately in Patriarchs and Prophets. Disregarding the truth of the literal creation disregards the fourth commandment and therefore disregards The Lord altogether.




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  46. We been talking about that very subject with references to 3SG 90-91.

    The only answer we have seen here from those inclined toward the Theistic Evolutionist POV is “then Ellen White was wrong”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  47. @Gary Jensen:

    Will the biology professors who have taught that the earth was created over millions of years through the process of natural selection (which even Darwin eventually renounced)as the only viable means of life being created on planet earth be required to stop teaching this as fact? The board can’t force them to change their beliefs, but they should see to it that what the professors teach does not contradict the Bible and Ellen White.

    Ok – so let’s suppose that LSU says “well yes we have hired evolutionists to teach our biology courses but they promise not to inform the students that in fact long-ages evolutionism is the best explanation for the diversity of life that we see around us today – no matter what the bible says to the contrary. And yes those teachers do BELIEVE that biological science can’t really be done without a firm belief in evolutionism — but they promise not to mention it in class”.

    So now – we have an SDA parent of a science student debating whether to send their son or daughter to LSU or to one of our other highly qualified schools that offer biology courses.

    hmmm – where to spend that $20,000 on distinctively Adventist private education for a degree in science.

    That would be the question.

    Then they would also have to ask themselves about the percentage of the religion department staff that is also prone to believe that the Bible doctrines on the “true origin of life” should be subordinated to evolutionist guesswork on origins.

    (Seems I recall that point being a particularly difficult one at Walla Walla a few years ago).

    In any case – a moment of pause for reflection.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  48. @C. L. Bond: The thing is, L. Bond, God has time on His hands and knows when people will die. We don’t. We have to assume that any person can die at any time and that it is necessary for them to know and practice the truth.

    The Bible is very clear that no lie is of the truth; that we are sanctified by the truth (God’s word); that knowing the truth will set us free. The Bible is clear that Jesus is the Creator, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

    Therefore, teaching evolution is really moving people away from Jesus to something else.

    I believe we should be impatient for change and insistent about it – in a godly way.




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  49. Exceprt from the Press Enterprise article regarding the promotion of evolution at LSU:
    http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_S_lasierra18.2f5fedb.html

    Wisbey said the role of the board is to provide general oversight of La Sierra, not to determine how each professor teaches each class. “The board is going to be very reluctant to go to that level of oversight,” Wisbey said.

    Ricardo Graham, chairman of the board and president of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which includes California, agreed. He said the board did not want to act rashly. “We want to be very careful, deliberative and cautious in how we go about this,” said Graham, who expressed full support for how Wisbey has handled the controversy.”

    _____________

    My response:

    What is the point of “general oversight” if this oversite doesn’t really affect how each professort teaches his/her classes? Again, it seems like the original problem that started this whole ordeal is still in place at LSU – i.e., many of the science professors continue to promote the truth of the mainstream evolutionary view of origins of life on this planet. That was and still is the problem…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  50. (I haven’t commented a lot (or at all) since the Board meeting, but to me the outcome is balanced and reasonable)

    It’s impossible for a university to operate in an atmosphere where management wants to micromanage the content of each professor’s courses. An institution that operates like that is not even a university any more. The whole premise of a university is that the person who knows most about a topic, who has devoted his/her life to study, reading, research and teaching on a topic, is the person who teaches about it… and teaching includes deciding what and how to teach, not just delivering pre-specified content. University administrators, no matter how godly, cannot possibly have that level of content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in relation to every program taught in the school.

    Those calling for that kind of micro-management of course content are not calling for the reform of a university, they are calling for a university to be transformed into a different kind of thing altogether.




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  51. I don’t see any “micro-management” in the administrators upholding our Creator God according to His authority and the instruction He has been pleased to give us through Scriptures and through Mrs. White. This is simply “management.” Does any garden continue to grow beautifully without pulling some weeds? And what are weeds? Are they not merely plants out of place?

    At LSU, there are some weeds to pull. The administration is negligent of its duty to ignore the weeds. If, on the other hand, the administration were to lay down rules for the teachers mandating their lesson books, and providing them with the syllabi from which to teach, etc., this would be “micro-management.” No one here is advocating this.

    Without proper management and the performance of their God-given duties, they are as if they managed nothing. When management cannot make even a change away from false doctrines, that management has lost the reins. Carrying out one’s duty may not always be pleasant–but it is no less a duty. Mrs. White speaks of just this sort of duty (reproving others) in the following:

    The one at fault must be shown that his course is not in harmony with the word of God. But never should the wrongs of God’s people be passed by indifferently. Those who faithfully discharge their unpleasant duties under a sense of their accountability to God, will receive his blessing. {ST, September 16, 1880 par. 16}

    The question remains, will the LSU administrators carry out their duty?

    Erik




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  52. @Bravus: Bravus,

    I have taught at the university level for 16 years and I do not fully agree with you.

    1) A university must have a mission and objectives
    2) A university must have a target population (even if anybody and everybody)
    3) A university must have a governance structure
    4) A university is not a free-for-all

    Academic freedom only operates when it falls within the parameters of those points above. The moment any person in the university goes astray, it is the responsibility of the head (Principal, President, Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, etc) to see that that straying is corrected.

    In this modern technological age, it is easy to monitor.

    For example, where I am all courses have an electronic base and the dean has access to all the course content. Thus it is his right to review if he feels that what is being taught is an anomaly.

    Now a head will not scrutinise every course outline and lecture material, but once a complaint is aired about a course it is incumbent on those in authority to investigate and see that the issues are resolved.

    Thus if any SDA complains that evolution is taught, IT MUST BE RESOLVED!

    It is not necessary either for the head to be a content expert. There is a process of peer review. In this case he can call on professors of related courses in different SDA universities to review the material.




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  53. @Sean Pitman: In other words, Sean, they resort to “general oversight” like a farmer looking at a field of corn from an aircraft.

    They don’t care to go down in the field and examine each stalk.

    I would not want such a farm manager since disease in my field may not be seen at the macro level and will only be detected at the micro level.




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  54. Some comments suggest that the problem will be solved by eliminating 1) teachers who accept a long history of life and 2) administrators who permit them to teach. I don’t believe this is the case. The heliocentric theory of the universe did not disappear because the Pope exercised his power to put people in jail. It survived because it was the best theory.

    It seems to me that many of the comments miss the real nature of the problem. The people who accept the long history of life have not set out to undermine SDA beliefs. In fact, there are some SDA scientists who very deliberately set out to show that the prevailing theories were wrong but were forced to change their minds because they could not do so. (I don’t know specifically about the LSU group.) One example is Peter Edgar Hare, a devoted Adventist who died in 2006. He developed amino acid dating in a effort to show the other dating methods were wrong.

    “Ed Hare is widely regarded as the father of amino acid geochronology.”

    “Before joining that laboratory [Carnegie Institution Geophysical Laboratory] , Ed had been an early member of the then newly organized General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist’s Geoscience Research Institute (GRI). When it was decided by church authorities that the primary purpose of GRI would be apologetic and not scientific, Ed realized that his intellectual honesty prevented him from remaining a GRI staff member.” (See p. 17, http://www.atoday.com/files/Vol%2014%20No%204.pdf .)

    So, you take an honest and dedicated Adventist man and send him away to a laboratory where he becomes world famous. And, here we are 50 years later with the same problem. There is now more evidence for a long history of life than before.

    Sean Pitman has given links above to his excellent collection of information about many of the prevailing dating methods. He has presented many reasons why we might doubt existing chronologies, but I can find no way to make the evidence fit with a literal interpretation of Genesis. You’ve got to do more than poke a few holes in existing theories.

    Historically, Adventists have interpreted Genesis as literal history. However, our founders were people who sought the truth no matter where it led them. So, which do you want, teachers who uphold our traditional beliefs by authority without reason or teachers whose honesty cannot be shaken?




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  55. Some have mentioned that “Ellen White was wrong” in 3SG 90-91 to speak ill of evolutionism and to claim God showed her the literal 7 day week of creation week. That same POV tends to argue that Moses was either “wrong” in Gen 1-2 or that Moses’ work can be “bent” to fit evolutionism just as many Theistic Evolutionists of the past “had hoped”. They also tend to claim that “God was wrong” in Ex 20:8-11 (though in truth ALL of scripture – is GOD saying something 2Tim 3:16-17) – for saying “SIX days shall you labor… for in SIX DAYS the Lord MADE…”… etc etc

    And of course many Bible believing Christians here complain about that line of reasoning on their part because it looks so much like a slash-and-burn-all-for-evolutionism approach to the Bible subject of origins.

    But if you stop and think about that pro-evolution argument, once believed the result is that any effort to correct biology professors at LSU on this point is not merely a “nit-pick” it is scientifically and biblically dead wrong. Trying to stop those evolutionist professors in that case would be seen by the pro-evolutionists as “meddling” at the micro level.

    No doubt any adminstrator who actually agrees with the all-for-evolutionism POV would try to hide his actions behind a “don’t want to meddle” kind of defense.

    But as often as not — that same group of pro-evolutionists might admit that honest professors and administration should be joining hands in telling the world how proud they are to be teaching evolution as fact and as the best science there can possibly be on the subject of origins — rather than claiming one thing — while doing another.

    The tactics being used to “promote evolution anyway” at LSU are certainly not praiseworthy at this point. And 3SG 90-91 would make that point in triplicate which is why our evolutionist friends are so opposed to it.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  56. @Carl:

    The people who accept the long history of life have not set out to undermine SDA beliefs. In fact, there are some SDA scientists who very deliberately set out to show that the prevailing theories were wrong but were forced to change their minds because they could not do so. (I don’t know specifically about the LSU group.) One example is Peter Edgar Hare, a devoted Adventist who died in 2006. He developed amino acid dating in a effort to show the other dating methods were wrong.

    “Ed Hare is widely regarded as the father of amino acid geochronology.”…

    So, you take an honest and dedicated Adventist man and send him away to a laboratory where he becomes world famous. And, here we are 50 years later with the same problem. There is now more evidence for a long history of life than before.

    It doesn’t matter if a person does or does not “set out” to undermine the stated SDA position on any of its “fundamental” doctrines. Many of those who disagree with the fundamental positions of the organized SDA Church are very honest and sincere men and women. However, honesty alone does not qualify a person to be an official paid representative of any organization. A person must also agree to abide by and publicly support the stated fundamental ideals or goals of his/her employer. That notion seems to me to be self evident for a person who honestly accepts a paycheck to do a particular job.

    Beyond this, Edgar Hare, while certainly honest in his ideas, was mistaken. His theory of amino acid racemization dating (AARD) being a reliable independent dating method has been fairly recently falsified. AARD is now considered, even by mainstream scientists, a relative dating method at best. In other words, it must first be calibrated against another dating method before it can be used in any particular location.

    From the Minnisota State University, notice the following comments in an article published in 2000 regarding AARD:

    “Amino acid dating cannot obtain the age of the material purely from the data itself. The rate of racemization cannot be standardized by itself because it is too changeable. Thus, because of the rate problem, this dating technique must rely on other dating techniques to standardize its findings. As a matter of fact, the ages obtained from racemization dating must rely on other techniques such as Carbon 14, and if the dating of Carbon 14 is not accurate, racemization dating can never be certain.” [ emphasis added ]
    http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/archaeology/dating/dat_racemization.html

    Some, however, argue that that shells can be much more accurately and independently dated via AARD in comparison to bone. But,I’m afraid this isn’t true either. AARD of shells (both sea shells and egg shells) is also dependent upon calibration techniques with other dating methods – like radiocarbon dating.

    “This study explores time-averaging (temporal mixing) at very high sampling resolution: that of adjacent shells collected from the same stratum. Nine samples of the bivalve Chione fluctifraga were collected from four Holocene cheniers (beach ridges) on the Colorado Delta (Gulf of California) and 165 shells were dated using radiocarbon-calibrated amino-acid racemization (D-alloisoleucine/L-isoleucine).”

    http://www.geo.arizona.edu/ceam/kowabstta.html

    For more information, see additional quotations regarding the fact that AARD is a relative dating method at best.

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/aminoaciddating.html#Addendum

    And, for information on the potential and pitfalls of AARD in general, see:

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/aminoaciddating

    So, you see, the real argument isn’t based on the demonstrable independence of AARD dating, but on views regarding the reliability of radiocarbon dating and other radiometric dating methods as a clearly adequate basis for calibration of AARD – even though many of these other methods are also calibrated against each other and are not always consistent with all methods of age estimation – or even amongst themselves (see discussion of the problem of dating tektites Link or Cosmogenic Isotope Dating Link below).

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/radiometricdating.html#Tektites
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/radiometricdating.html#Cosmogenic

    One more thing is most interesting. As Dr. Paul Giem pointed out in a recent letter to Shane, AARD is actually much more consistent with the young-life perspective than with the suggestion that it supports old-age notions. The work of R. H. Brown in this regard is most interesting.

    R. H. Brown, Amino Acid Dating, Origins 12(1):8-25 (1985).

    http://grisda.org/origins/12008.htm

    If anyone has any substantive counters to this information, I’d be most grateful for it. However, when I’ve presented this data before, the very best anyone could come up with was the usual distinctly unhelpful pejorative comment that, “Sean has exhibited yet again the principle that a little knowledge is dangerous.” If so, I ask those in the know on this topic to please educate me with something substantive that is actually backed up by real data…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  57. @Bravus:

    It’s impossible for a university to operate in an atmosphere where management wants to micromanage the content of each professor’s courses.

    Would you define an employer who requires employees to support, at the very least, the stated fundamental ideals or goals of the organization a “micro-manager”? – please…

    What you seem to be arguing for here is a completely hands-off approach to management – i.e., non-management. Well, Bravus, that’s the very definition of anarchy which leads to chaos and eventual collapse of any viable organization.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  58. @Carl:

    Carl says:
    November 19, 2009 Some comments suggest that the problem will be solved by eliminating
    1) teachers who accept a long history of life and
    2) administrators who permit them to teach.

    I don’t believe this is the case. The heliocentric theory of the universe did not disappear because the Pope exercised his power to put people in jail. It survived because it was the best theory.

    The reason that the “heliocentric theory” argument is often classified as a “straw canard meant to pacify those who are not serious students of the issue at hand” is that it has no application to the present situation.

    1. The heliocentric canard attempts to validate evolutionism as if it had the same level of science as the physics of gravity and astronomy. (thus the atheist evolutionists that are on record lamenting the distinctively religious nature of the arguments for evolutionism provide food for thought for the serious student of this subject).

    2. The heliocentric canard attempt to equivocate between the Law of God saying “SIX days you shall labor…for in SIX days the Lord made” (written in stone and described in Gen 1-2), and the much less “Biblically substantive” arguments of Catholic priests in the dark ages arguing for geocentricism because “they thought it was best”.

    3. The heliocentric canard ignores the fact that neither the earth NOR the Sun turns out to be “the center of the universe” and that “changing doctrine” everytime science “discovers a new fact” was never valid exegesis in the first place. To simplify – suppose the Catholic church went from the bungled “earth is the center of the universe” and that is the unchangable word of God from his Church leaders, to “Ok now we say the Sun is the center of the Universe” and that is bible doctrine the unchangable word of God in scripture, to “oops! No! What we meant was that our galaxy has a center and that is the center of the universe according to the Word of God” — only to be followed by .. “oops! Nope scratch that… now the Bible says…”

    Which is the not-well-thought-through model our TE friends seem to be suggesting.

    “As it turns out” the Bible can not simply be “bent according to every wind of atheist evolutionist doctrine” and adapted to a TE framework.

    “As it turns out” Ex 20:8-10 is true – so also Gen 1-2 and so also 3SG 90-91.

    “As it turns out” Patterson was right about the “religious nature” of the arguments put forward for evolutionism — EVEN if you ignore the outright publically confirmed frauds and hoaxes used to prop up the failed doctrines of evolutionism.

    Why in the world would we want to chain the Bible to that kind of “Toads Wild Ride” story telling.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  59. @BobRyan:

    I would also like to add to what you said the comment that the SDA Church, as an organization, is unlike the common comparison to the Catholic Church during the “Dark Ages” (usually in reference to the horrible treatment of Galileo) in one key respect – i.e., the SDA Church does not take up or claim to have civil authority over anyone. All are free to join or leave the SDA Church as members or employees – entirely free of any civil burdens or penalties.

    However, this civil freedom does not mean that once one decides to be an official paid representative of the SDA Church, or any other organization for that matter, that one can expect a paycheck for doing just anything. Paid employees of the SDA Church, as with any organization, are paid to support and promote the stated fundamental SDA ideals. If a person cannot do this in good conscience, how honest is it for that person to still take on a paid position as an SDA representative? – as either a teacher or pastor? How honest is it to steal from one’s employer? – because, if you’re really honest with yourself, stealing is what it really is. And, of course, theft is wrong in anyone’s book.

    So, while the SDA Church does not take on civil powers (this always turns out horribly wrong for any religious organization that tries it), it must have powers of internal government or control over its own paid representatives who, of their own free will, claim to be able to actively support and promote the clearly stated ideals of their employer… and should be held to this standard. Anything short of this will result in anarchy and chaos and eventual collapse of any organization – to include the SDA Church.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  60. @Sean Pitman M.D.:

    Sean,

    You have a great deal of information that raises questions about the accuracy of dating methods. But, how big are the uncertainties? If all of the dating methods are as wrong as you suggest, how long is the history of life? You still have very old trees on top of very old mountains. You still have ice ages, the Bretz floods, very old fossils, very old lava flows and very old islands in the Pacific Ocean.

    My conclusion is that no matter how you challenge dating methods, you can’t fit the evidence into any time spane reasonably close to Ussher’s chronology. I can’t find any way to get past that point, so I conclude that the Genesis text was written not to teach literal history, but rather to teach a spiritual truth. To me, that makes Genesis more credible, not less.




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  61. @Sean Pitman M.D.:

    Sean,

    I do not understand you insistance that SDA employment implies adherence to authoritarian control. Why can’t a professor be paid to be honest? I believe that the most fundamental concept of Adventism is to honestly seek the truth. That must come before the support of traditional beliefs.




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  62. @Carl:

    You wrote:

    Sean,

    You have a great deal of information that raises questions about the accuracy of dating methods. But, how big are the uncertainties? If all of the dating methods are as wrong as you suggest, how long is the history of life? You still have very old trees on top of very old mountains. You still have ice ages, the Bretz floods, very old fossils, very old lava flows and very old islands in the Pacific Ocean.

    The uncertainties are much greater for radiometric dating methods that you might imagine – especially compared to the overwhelming evidence in favor of a catastrophic model for the formation of much of the geologic column and fossil record in rapid succession – with little time for erosion, bioturbation, or the establishment of the diversity of life that would be expected if these gaps between the layers really did represent many millions of years of time.

    The Bretz floods are a classic example of this mindset. J Harlen Bretz argued for most his life, in the face of extreme criticism from his peers in the geological community, that the Scablands of Washington State were the result of massive shortly-space catastrophic flooding; that they did not develop over many millions of years as was the prevailing theory for most of his life. Only when the origin of the massive amounts of water need to support Bretz hypothesis was discovered to have been a local lake, rather than a Noachian flood, was his hypothesis generally accepted by mainstream science. For further information on this very interesting story see:

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

    As far as your argument for “very old trees on top of very old mountains”, that’s simply not true on both counts. The oldest living tree is no more than 5,000 years old and the science of placing dead wood in an ancient sequence (i.e., the science of dendrochronology) is fraught with numerous serious statistical problems (see link).

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/carbon14.html#Tree

    The age of the mountains themselves is problematic given that erosion rates are so high on mountain ranges that one wonders how on Earth they can still be covered by sedimentary layers? – when these layers should have been washed off many times over by now? (see link)

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/geologiccolumn.html#Erosion

    As far as your argument for “old lava flows”, many lava flows that were once thought to be ancient are now thought to be much younger (see links).

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/geologiccolumn.html#Younger
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/geologiccolumn.html#Paraconformities

    And, Arthur Chadwick’s discovery of world-wide paleocurrents, flowing in the same direction over vast areas, strikes at the rook of long-age notions for life on Earth.

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/geologiccolumn.html#Paleocurrents

    The same thing is true of the discovery of radiocarbon in coal, oil, and fossils – and for the discovery of preserved soft tissues within many different fossils (to include sequencable proteins and even fragments of DNA). All of this argues for a very recent origin of life on this planet (see links).

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/carbon14.html#Coal
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/fossilizeddna.html

    My conclusion is that no matter how you challenge dating methods, you can’t fit the evidence into any time spane reasonably close to Ussher’s chronology. I can’t find any way to get past that point, so I conclude that the Genesis text was written not to teach literal history, but rather to teach a spiritual truth. To me, that makes Genesis more credible, not less.

    You are quite mistaken regarding the idea that Genesis was intended to be taken as allegorical or only as describing “spiritual truth”. Most if not all serious Hebrew scholars understand that the author(s) of the Genesis account intended for it to be taken as a description of real literal history.

    Consider the following comments from James Barr, Professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford:

    “Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.”

    Letter from Professor James Barr to David C.C. Watson of the UK, dated 23 April 1984.

    And, this is from someone who didn’t believe in the accuracy of Genesis. Prof. Barr just believed that the author(s) of this account intended to write a literal historical narrative, but that these author(s) got it wrong.

    You do see that this is an entirely different argument from the one you’re trying to make?

    Given that it is quite obvious that the authors intended to be taken literally, upon what can you base your argument that the Genesis account says anything whatsoever that is “more credible”? How can one place any credibility in the metaphysical claims of anyone who clearly cannot be trusted in those claims that are actually physically testable and falsifiable?

    For example, this is one reason why I don’t find the Book of Mormon to be credible – because its testable historical claims have been clearly falsified beyond any shadow of a doubt – in my opinion. If I felt the same way about the biblical record, I could not be a Christian. I might believe in a God of some kind, but certainly not Jesus or the Christian-style God. It is because of the historically consistent and verifiable nature of the biblical record that I am a Christian, and a Seventh-day Adventist, today.

    I pray that one day you will also come to this realization and appreciation of the basis of biblical faith…

    Sincerely,

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  63. @Carl:

    Sean,

    I do not understand your insistence that SDA employment implies adherence to authoritarian control. Why can’t a professor be paid to be honest? I believe that the most fundamental concept of Adventism is to honestly seek the truth. That must come before the support of traditional beliefs.

    There are those who honestly believe that the Virgin Mary is alive and well in Heaven – and that we should pray to her to intercede for us. There are those who honestly and sincerely believe that God doesn’t even exist and that humanism is the height of morality. There are those who honestly believe that Sunday (or Wednesday or Friday) is the correct day of worship. There are those who honestly believe that people are currently burning in Hell and that they will be consciously tortured for ever and ever in the fires of torment. There are those who are honest and very sincere in many many different beliefs to which the SDA Church, as an organization, does not subscribe…

    Yet, according to your argument here, the SDA Church should hire them simply for their honesty?… right? All honest and sincere people, regardless of their actual beliefs, should apply to the SDA Church for a paycheck? If that were the case, why don’t I get a paycheck from the SDA Church as an official representative? Certainly this would make the SDA Church the most popular Church in the world!!! – at least until it ran out of money…

    Seriously now, while honesty is a very good thing, a very good indeed, it isn’t enough for paid SDA representation. While honesty and sincerity of motive are in fact the basis of salvation, which is the goal of us all, honesty is not the basis of the Gospel message of hope. Hope in the realities of a bright future requires a basis of more than sincerity or honesty of the speaker. Hope requires evidence if it is to be a solid hope.

    So yes, while doctrines will not save anyone, the doctrines behind the Gospel’s “good news” do have the power to give people a solid hope in a very bright future. This hope is valuable to give to people in that it can make people’s lives much better here and now as well as in the future.

    This is what the SDA Church is in the business of doing – providing the hope of the Gospel message. The SDA Church does support the idea that honesty and sincerity of heart are good things, but if this is all the SDA Church was good for, it wouldn’t be nearly as valuable as an organization as it is. It is because it goes beyond the support of good motives to the presentation of very good evidence for the Gospel hope that it is such a precious organization in the sight of God.

    And, in order for the Gospel message to be useful or beneficial, it must be consistent. The Gospel message is not based on opposing opinions, but upon unified opinions regarding its supporting evidence. And, the SDA Church has a unique message to give in this regard. Because of this, paid representation must be based on more than the determination of the honesty or sincerity of a person who wishes to be paid. The person hoping to be an official representative has to have the proper training, knowledge, and set of fundamental beliefs in order to be an effective representative for any viable organization – to include the SDA Church.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  64. P.S. – Yes, it is possible to be saved without ever having a conscious hope of salvation while on Earth. It is because of this that I believe that there will be quite a number of very surprised atheists in Heaven someday…

    But, how much better their lives could have been while here on Earth?… if they had only known?…

    This is the difference between good motives (which are the basis of salvation – i.e., a love of truth) vs. the Gospel hope (which is based on knowledge). While the Gospel does not have the power to save a person, it does have the power to give solid hope to a person and to aide in a closer walk with God – which might have secondary implications which tend to lead a person toward good motives and therefore toward salvation…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  65. @Sean Pitman M.D.: My comments were in response to specific comments in this thread which said, pretty much verbatim, “management would mean managing all of the content of individual courses”. I realise that that is not the argument you are making, but the discussion is not all about you and your perspective. I responded to someone else’s comment. I have not as yet said anything about the broader issue of whether it is appropriate to require adherence to a particular perspective in university courses (I don’t believe it is, and I agree with Carl above that everyone’s first responsibility is to the truth – to not bearing false witness). I simply said that a university in which management dictates the content of courses is not a university.




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  66. @Bravus:

    I have not as yet said anything about the broader issue of whether it is appropriate to require adherence to a particular perspective in university courses (I don’t believe it is, and I agree with Carl above that everyone’s first responsibility is to the truth – to not bearing false witness).

    I’m glad I misunderstood you (you should have specifically referenced the comment you were talking about if you wished to avoid confusion), but am still confused about your statement that you don’t think any teacher should be held to any particular standard in the university setting – even if Church owned and operated.

    Even public universities have standards as a basis for consideration for employment. For example, do you think any young-life creationist would get hired by a public university to present his/her sincere and honest understanding that the modern evolutionary synthesis view of origins is clearly mistaken? – that life on this planet is indeed of recent origin? – and the fossil record/geologic column is actually a record of magnificent shortly-spaced catastrophes?

    You can bet your life that this would never happen at a public university today. Public universities would never hire someone, as a science professor, who isn’t very close to the scientific mainstream in his/her beliefs – even if he/she were otherwise very honest and sincere. But why not? Isn’t honesty and sincerity of belief enough for university employment? Of course not. Not even for public universities. Honesty is necessary for employment, but honesty, by itself, isn’t enough. Viable organizations also require the assent of paid representatives to honestly and sincerely promote certain basic ideals of the organization. If one’s honesty will not allow such assent, then how is it honest to take a paycheck from that organization? – while going about doing the opposite of what you know you were hired to do? How is this not stealing? – a robbery of the employers time and money?

    In short, there simply would be no point in having a SDA Church school or educational system of any kind if that school was not fundamentally reflective of SDA ideals on all fundamental aspects of SDAism (and especially those dealing with the very name “SDA”). Short of this, SDAs might as well put their money into something else and send their kids to public schools and universities.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  67. I actually agree with all that.

    I wish the SDA education system the greatest success in finding professors of biology who sincerely believe that a young earth and/or young life scenario is true and can validly be taught from a scientific perspective.

    Telling the truth about modern biology means telling the truth about evolutionary theory – that it is the best explanatory framework science has for the diversity of life.

    La Sierra, as far as I can tell, honestly and accurately teaches modern biology and then, crucially, also presents creationist perspectives and enough understanding of the philosophy of science that students understand that science cannot measure miracles and creation is a miraculous event.

    They dare teach all that becomes a university: what dares teach more is none.

    I stand by my comment that you can have a university or you can dictate the content of course – you can’t do both. Secular universities do not dictate the content of courses. They do insist that people are qualified and knowledgeable in their field. And like it or not, agree or not, in biology that means evolution.

    If the SDA church decides it wants to return to having ‘missionary training colleges’ without external accreditation, and wants to stop teaching much of biology (perhaps keeping enough for medical purposes), then the idea of teaching only recent creationism is open.

    I can’t see any other way to reconcile the competing demands.




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  68. There are many thoughtful comments and I don’t want to be redundant. I do feel that the real issues are not being addressed. The documents are phrased diplomatically. However, I was hoping for a more direct approach. Since this is an Adventist university, the subject here should not even be an issue.

    Here are my thoughts:
    Creating cookie cutter courses would not lend itself to true science or faith. All of the courses that are offered in our institutions should be infused with our faith. The Creator should be integrated and woven throughout our thinking and teaching. It should be a natural process in the life of a Christian professor.

    If a professor does not agree with our stand on this very essential position, we should respectfully request that they teach elsewhere. There are hundreds of sincere creationist scientists who have been “expelled” from secular universities. Perhaps our universities might consider these individuals for teaching positions.

    It appears that much thought has gone into the development of the above documents. However, they are disappointing. The problem has NOT been addressed. The study group recommendations are distractions. They will frustrate those of us who feel strongly that something needs to be done. These documents trumpet a clear message that the board believes nothing of substance needs to be done. Christiane Marshall

    Christiane Marshall




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  69. @Bravus:

    Telling the truth about modern biology means telling the truth about evolutionary theory – that it is the best explanatory framework science has for the diversity of life…

    I stand by my comment that you can have a university or you can dictate the content of course – you can’t do both. Secular universities do not dictate the content of courses. They do insist that people are qualified and knowledgeable in their field. And like it or not, agree or not, in biology that means evolution.

    How do you know that the theory of evolution is the “best explanatory framework” to explain life? Upon what do you base this assertion? – Do you actually know what you are talking about? Do you personally understand the creative potential of random mutation and natural selection? – and how this mechanism could reasonable produce the functional complexity and diversity of life that we see around us? If so, please do explain it to me! – because I’ve not been able to grasp it now despite intensive study of it for over 15 years.

    You assume that no one knowledgeable in the biological sciences could honestly doubt the modern evolutionary synthesis view. Well, that’s simply not true. There are many who are very well educated and hold the highest level degrees in the biological sciences who honestly do not believe the modern evolutionary synthesis to be correct. Like it or not, agree or not, such biologists and geneticists would not be hired to teach their views or their doubts in a public university – despite their honesty and sincerity. In this sense, even secular universities do indeed dictate the content of their courses. No creationist, however qualified or knowledgeable, would be hired to teach at a public university as a professor within the biological sciences.

    You see, you make the classic argument that anyone who disagrees with you or with mainstream evolutionary views on origins must be, by definition, dishonest or ignorant. That is how you can know who to hire or reject for employment to a position of science professor if you were in charge of a university. Those who don’t subscribe to the evolutionary doctrine you’d simply label as “dishonest”, “ignorant”, “stupid”, or “insane” – as Richard Dawkins also puts it.

    This is different from my position in that I do not think to judge the honesty of a person (since only God can accurately judge motive anyway). I merely judge the views of a person as being in or out of line with the stated position of his/her employer. A professor can be as honest as can be and still be out of line with the opinions of an employer – and therefore dishonest to tell that employer that he/she could work as an effective representative. That, clearly, would be dishonest – by anyone’s definition…

    One more thing, accreditation is not an issue here. It is very easy to teach about the theory of evolution to the point where students can easily pass national examinations on this topic. This should be done at all SDA institutions of higher learning. The argument here is that SDA education should not end here. SDA education should go beyond the mere presentation of the arguments behind the theory of evolution to present why these arguments are either questionable or clearly mistaken given a careful examination of all of the available evidence – as well as why the creationist perspective is best supported by the preponderance or “weight of evidence” – as Mrs. White puts it. This sort of teaching would fulfill all accreditation requirements. This is what SDA educators should be doing if they truly wish to accurately and honestly represent their employer…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  70. Not at all do I want to judge the honesty of anyone. The point Carl was making, that I picked up on, is that if a professor honestly believes that, within the (limited) context of science, evolutionary theory is the best explanation for the diversity of life, and the university asks that professor to claim in his/her courses that this is not the case, that would be dishonest.

    I haven’t been impugning anyone’s honesty, and neither have I said that honesty is the only standard for judging the quality of a professor… on the contrary, I clearly said that the standards relate to professional knowledge, experience and professionalism (and also to teaching skill, concern and respect for students and a variety of other things).

    On your last paragraph: what you describe is exactly what La Sierra is already doing.




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  71. @Bravus:

    The point Carl was making, that I picked up on, is that if a professor honestly believes that, within the (limited) context of science, evolutionary theory is the best explanation for the diversity of life, and the university asks that professor to claim in his/her courses that this is not the case, that would be dishonest.

    Of course that would be dishonest. No one is suggesting that anyone teach anything that goes against what one personally believes! Where did you get such an idea?

    However, SDA institutions also shouldn’t be hiring someone just because they are “honest”, regardless of what the person actually believes. Honesty, by itself, isn’t a basis for paid representation. The actual beliefs of a person should also be evaluated to see if they are in line with the fundamental positions of the SDA Church.

    There are two ways to be dishonest here. One way is to teach something you don’t actually believe. That would be morally wrong on a personal level. The other way is to teach something you do honestly believe to be true, but which goes directly against what your employer hired you to teach. This is also being dishonest, not against your own beliefs, but against your employer.

    On your last paragraph: what you describe is exactly what La Sierra is already doing.

    That’s not true. In my last paragraph I noted that accreditation is based on teaching about the theory of evolution to a certain standard of knowledge – – but is not limited to this level of knowledge. Accreditation can also be obtained while teaching about creationism as well – above and beyond the ToE.

    You argue that LSU is in fact doing this, which is not really true – at least not when it comes to consistency of teaching. LSU is not promoting the truth of literal 6-day creationism, a fundamental position of the organized SDA Church, in all of its classes. Many, if not all, of its hired science professors are in fact telling their students that the literal 6-day creationist view of origins is utter lunacy – that the evolutionary view of origins taking place over hundreds of millions of years of time is in fact the Gospel Truth. That is in fact what they are teaching their students at LSU.

    This is not in line with the position of their employer and is therefore a robbery of their employer’s time and money – a moral wrong in anyone’s book.

    And, by the way, I notice that you claim the obvious truth of the ToE yourself, but don’t wish to defend your assertions? – your personal knowledge of the creative potential of RM/NS?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  72. @Bravus:

    …and (newest post on this site about La Sierra PR) I’m not the one who is claiming someone is “bordering out right [sic] lies”.

    When someone is presenting a particular story as the “truth” when he/she knows that what is being said is clearly mistaken or not the whole truth, that, by definition, is a deliberate lie – is it not?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  73. @Sean Pitman M.D.:

    And, by the way, I notice that you claim the obvious truth of the ToE yourself, but don’t wish to defend your assertions? – your personal knowledge of the creative potential of RM/NS?

    I’d be delighted to, but it’s very clear your mind is made up, so it’d be wasted effort.

    Please note also that I wrote very carefully, not that evolution is ‘true’, but that, within the limited domain of science, it is the best available explanation. I think that statement is true: any other explanation requires miracles, which are outside the domain of science.

    In short, my perspective is more sophisticated than you are representing it as being. You’re caricaturing it for your own rhetorical purposes – or else I just haven’t been writing as clearly as I thought and hoped.

    Anyway, hope this clarification is helpful. You’ve shot down a number of straw men who were standing all around my actual position, but the position itself remains standing…




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  74. Carl: @Sean Pitman M.D.:
    Sean,You have a great deal of information that raises questions about the accuracy of dating methods.But, how big are the uncertainties?If all of the dating methods are as wrong as you suggest, how long is the history of life?You still have very old trees on top of very old mountains.You still have ice ages, the Bretz floods, very old fossils, very old lava flows and very old islands in the Pacific Ocean.My conclusion is that no matter how you challenge dating methods, you can’t fit the evidence into any time spane reasonably close to Ussher’s chronology.I can’t find any way to get past that point, so I conclude that the Genesis text was written not to teach literal history, but rather to teach a spiritual truth.To me, that makes Genesis more credible, not less.  

    Carl,

    It is not an either/or here, it is a both/and. Genesis was both literal and figurative. Peter, in the New Testament, seems to have understood the latter, and if you study 2 Peter 3 carefully, this is discernible there.

    God created mature trees, not merely their seeds. Supposing one had the “age” of 2000 years when God created it, and that it was atop the mountains and remained anchored through the flood, it might now appear to be ~8000 years old. Therefore, the ages of the known oldest trees do not surprise the recent creationists.

    However, scientists have not been entirely objective with their dates of the trees. The fairest way would be to count the rings. However, of the trees for which they have done this, the oldest ones date back no more than 4000-5000 years. To get older trees, such as the “oldest” tree on earth in Sweden, they use one or both of two methods: 1) estimation of age on a “clonal tree” in which they date not the tree, but the estimated age of the tree’s clonal parents; and 2) radiocarbon dating, which we all know is inaccurate. In the case of Sweden’s tree, dated at 9550 years, it was both a clonal tree and was estimated using carbon dating. (No need to bring up living snails dated to be thousands of years old here, is there?)

    So there is no conflict here with the science, if the science is properly conducted. The conflict comes in with the fact that scientists have preconceptions about the amount of time involved, and thus do not question their own estimates (which may be inaccurate), and present them as “fact.”

    This is the same thing biologists at LSU are doing. To believe and to teach that man evolved from apes is to require millions of years in the process, because every person in his or her right mind knows this kind of transition has not happened in recorded history, and that it would not happen quickly.

    The Bible teaches that God created both man and ape, each after his own kind. The LSU board needs to support this Biblical truth, and perfunctorily weed out the professors who would imply God or His Word is a liar.

    Erik




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  75. @Bravus:

    I’d be delighted to [explain the evolutionary mechanism], but it’s very clear your mind is made up, so it’d be wasted effort.

    Not for those who may read your brilliant insights…

    Please note also that I wrote very carefully, not that evolution is ‘true’, but that, within the limited domain of science, it is the best available explanation. I think that statement is true: any other explanation requires miracles, which are outside the domain of science.

    The “other explanation” requires the use of intelligent design. Last I checked, intelligent design isn’t catagorized as a “miracle”. And, there are many modern mainstream sciences that are devoted to the detection of artifacts or the requirement for intelligent design – to include forensic science, anthropology, and even SETI.

    In short, my perspective is more sophisticated than you are representing it as being. You’re caricaturing it for your own rhetorical purposes – or else I just haven’t been writing as clearly as I thought and hoped.

    Anyway, hope this clarification is helpful. You’ve shot down a number of straw men who were standing all around my actual position, but the position itself remains standing…

    Your position is that the modern synthesis view on the theory of evolution is the best scientific explanation we currently have. That is in fact your stated view. There is no strawman misrepresentation here. Yet, you provide no rational basis for your own very real assertions aside from appeals to athority. In other words, you know others who do understand how evolution works while you really have no good idea yourself… at least not when it come to providing a solid scientific argument with some actual predictive value (i.e., some actual statistical odds analysis).

    But, don’t feel bad. You’re in very good company. Nobody else knows how the evolutionary mechanism works either… at least not beyond very low levels of functional complexity.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  76. @Bravus:

    Bravus says:
    November 19, 2009 I actually agree with all that.

    Telling the truth about modern biology means telling the truth about evolutionary theory – that it is the best explanatory framework science has for the diversity of life.

    The argument that attempts to reposition that POV as something other than Theistic Evolutionism is the one that that I find illusive.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  77. @Bravus:

    Bravus says:
    November 19, 2009 I actually agree with all that.


    Telling the truth about modern biology means telling the truth about evolutionary theory – that it is the best explanatory framework science has for the diversity of life.

    Telling the “inconvenient truth” about evolutionism means exposing the junk-science bad-religion that goes into making evolutionism what it is today.

    Inconvenient facts that even atheist evolutionists will from time to time ‘wake up’ to lament.

    Colin Patterson (Senior paleontologist at the British Natural History Museum and author of the Museum’s general text on evolution)admitted to the religious nature of the evolutionist’s “by faith alone” argument in his own presentation to scientists in America.

    A 1981 lecture presented at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History

    Patterson said –
    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.”

    Patterson – again quotes Gillespie accusing that those “‘…holding creationist ideas could plead ignorance of the means and affirm only the fact,'”

    Patterson countered, “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…”

    “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”

    How instructive that atheist evolutionists like Patterson can from time to time “wake up” (his words) to lament the religious nature of the arguments used to prop up evolutionism – but our own SDA theistic evolutionists can not bring themselves to that same level of objectivity on the subject.

    Bravus said –
    If the SDA church decides it wants to return to having ‘missionary training colleges’ without external accreditation, and wants to stop teaching much of biology (perhaps keeping enough for medical purposes), then the idea of teaching only recent creationism is open.

    I can’t see any other way to reconcile the competing demands.

    How facinating that evolutionists will actually admit that the real and practical application of the science of Biology to the science of medicine can be done without having to “imagine that birds came from reptiles” while you attend to the issues of “biology” case by case – patient by patient.

    How “odd then” that they want to claim that they cannot do biologicial “science” without doing homage to that gratuitous mythology about what thing came from what thing over long ages of time.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  78. As I have often been known to remark – Chemistry can be thought of as applied physics as biology can be thought of as applied chemistry. In the same way a component of medicine is in fact applied biology.

    There is always “art in science” (imagination that creates the leap to the next discovery) as there is “art in medicine” — the fact that one would argue that biology needs evolutionism but medicine does not is a “telling” observation revealing the useless religous nature of the evolutionist paradigm.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  79. @Sean Pitman:

    The “other explanation” requires the use of intelligent design. Last I checked, intelligent design isn’t catagorized as a “miracle”. And, there are many modern mainstream sciences that are devoted to the detection of artifacts or the requirement for intelligent design – to include forensic science, anthropology, and even SETI.

    ‘Intelligent design’, at least as it is practiced by Behe and most of its other major proponents, is a subset of evolution that requires long ages, and is utterly incompatible with 6 days/6000 years creationism.

    My point was that 6 days/6000 years creationism requires miraculous events. That is not a problem, at all: I believe in miracles. But miracles are, by definition (see C.S. Lewis among others) outside the domain of science. Therefore, when teaching science, specifically, it is necessary to teach scientific theories that do not call on miracles to explain phenomena.

    Now, good science teaching is always linked to social context and a wide variety of other things, including philosophy and theology. So teaching creationism at La Sierra is not any sort of problem and it happens. The GRI represents several times in each of the courses under discussion.

    (I’m not going to be baited by sarcasm, or anything else, into doing the work of teaching an Evolution 101 course here, so you may as well stop trying. Go read something.)




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  80. Bravus,

    To me it seems like you have bitten the bug of the “nose in the air” people who assume that science is something desirable in itself. This “science” is something that denies or ignores any phenomena that defies human exploration – i.e. miracles.

    Well, guess what? The Bible calls that science “ falsely so called”, and that we are to avoid it and its oppositions.

    For a person who attended Adventist schools I would have hoped you understood that if Jesus is not involved in something it is not to be desired. And it has often been proved that Jesus took Genesis literally, all of it.

    Thus if you believe in Jesus you would believe His word. I am bold enough to say that failure to accept Jesus’ word is a rejection of Him.

    So many of you people would rather believe men and so called “evidence” while blindly rejecting the evidence of the faithful who show that “mainstream science” is not all right.

    May God continue to bless people like Sean Pitman who has done the work to compile readily available scientific refutation of evolutionary distortions. Now you cannot claim ignorance. But you will not believe!

    Luke 18:8 … Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?




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  81. Erik: Carl,God created mature trees, not merely their seeds. Supposing one had the “age” of 2000 years when God created it, and that it was atop the mountains and remained anchored through the flood, it might now appear to be ~8000 years old. Therefore, the ages of the known oldest trees do not surprise the recent creationists.Erik  (Quote)

    Your argument is one that troubles me a great deal. If you are convinced that, indeed, we have correctly figured out that things look to be older than the Biblical chronology will allow, but, in fact, God made them look older than they are, and He did it in a way that is certain to deceive us, what does it say about the nature of God? Adventism includes the idea that nature is God’s second book. What happens to that idea if nature is so deceptive that we cannot correctly figure it out?

    I probably should not have used trees as an example for my point since the comments seem to miss what I was saying. There is an abundance of convincing evidence for the great age of many forms of life. It’s true that all of the dating methods require assumptions that are unproven and that all of the methods suffer from potential errors, but the trend has been mostly toward better agreement between the different methods. Sean has compiled a large collection of objections to dating methods; but, I find that to be a distraction from the main point.

    The problem for a young-earth creationist is that there is no one who can fit much of the evidence into a short-history model. In fact, I have never heard a credible scientist claim that we have a short-history model. There is a long-history model simply because a great portion of the data fits very well. There are a few things that fit a short-history model better than they fit the long-history model, but they are very few as compared to the evidence that fits only a long-history mode.

    The thing that I find so incredible about this debate is that people seem to think that the LSU Board simply lacked the courage to do what is right. That’s ridiculous. The Board has access to the science staff of the Geoscience Research Institute and the science faculties of all of our colleges and universities. If there had been one person in that group of experts who could have proposed a satisfactory curriculum for teaching a short history of life, don’t you suppose they might have jumped for it?




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  82. Sean Pitman M.D.:There are two ways to be dishonest here. One way is to teach something you don’t actually believe. That would be morally wrong on a personal level. The other way is to teach something you do honestly believe to be true, but which goes directly against what your employer hired you to teach. This is also being dishonest, not against your own beliefs, but against your employer.

    Sean,

    You’ve made the above point several times. If I were employed by a secular enterprise and found myself at odds with its declared values and purpose, I would leave. However, Adventism claims a special quality that I value highly, a value that secular organizations do not espouse. That is, traditional beliefs are not to be accepted without close examination. Searching for truth must involve reexamination of fundamental beliefs. Therefore, I believe that science must be taught with complete honesty whether or not it supports SDA traditional beliefs. This is not being dishonest against ones employer because the employer has claimed that integrity with the scientific data is vitally important.

    So, the complete scientific picture should be taught including the fact that there is no plausible explanation for life within a short history and including the fact that dating methods are possibly not very accurate.

    You could provide an important service if you got together with the science staff at Geoscience Research Institute to develop a short-history model with enough credibility to be taught in a science curriculum. This will be a challenge since I have read their statements admitting that no such thing exists. Until you can do that, I find that you have very little to offer. There is no way to explain many features of the earth in anything less than many millions of years even if all of the dating methods are wildly wrong. You are misleading many people by suggesting that difficulties with the dating methods somehow makes it reasonable to think that life was created within the last ten thousand years.

    So, come up with a short-history model and you will solve a great many problems for the LSU Board. If you can’t do that, you should stop making it appear that your objections to mainstream science somehow imply that life was created a short time ago.




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  83. @Bravus:

    ‘Intelligent design’, at least as it is practiced by Behe and most of its other major proponents, is a subset of evolution that requires long ages, and is utterly incompatible with 6 days/6000 years creationism.

    My point was that 6 days/6000 years creationism requires miraculous events. That is not a problem, at all: I believe in miracles. But miracles are, by definition (see C.S. Lewis among others) outside the domain of science. Therefore, when teaching science, specifically, it is necessary to teach scientific theories that do not call on miracles to explain phenomena.

    Which story would be more miraculous regarding the origins of a chocolate cake that your wife happened to make for you? – that it came together gradually via some mindless mechanism? – or that it was created rather quickly by deliberate design?

    The same thing is true for the origin of life and its diversity. A real miracle would be if the mechanism of RM/NS actually did the job – against the odds so vast that the human mind cannot really comprehend such tiny numbers. The very same thing is true of the origin of the universe. The odds are so remote that the universe came into existence in such perfect balance with regard to so many precisely defined constants that it is much less miraculous to believe in an intelligent original cause. This is why the majority of physicist, according to Paul Davies (who used to be an agnostic until he started studying the finely tuned features of the universe), believe in some form of God or God-like creative power as being ultimately responsible for it all.

    You see, “miracles” are only those things which we don’t completely understand. In this sense, science cannot fully describe how intelligent design works – even on the human level (as you point out). Science cannot fully explain how my wife can make a beautiful chocolate cake. Yet, science can detect the need for deliberate design to explain the origin of the cake. The same thing is true for the origin of the universe and for the origin of life and its diversity beyond very low levels of functional complexity. In this sense, science can in fact detect the need, even the requirement, for certain types of “miracles”.

    It all depends upon which miracle you think the evidence supports – because even scientists believe in miracles at some point. Even atheists believe in miracles – i.e., that ultimately something came from nothing – – how miraculous is that?!

    Really then, it boils down to if you see things as “turtles all the way up; or turtles all the way down” – as Dawkins puts it. If you see the evidence supporting the idea that a given level of informational complexity comes from a pre-existing higher level, then its turtles all the way up for you and you end up with the miracle of God. If you believe that informational complexity can come from lower levels, then its turtles all the way down for you and you end up with the miracle of something coming from nothing.

    So, you see, it all depends upon which miracle you think the evidence supports. Because, ultimately, everyone believes in miracles…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  84. @Carl:

    You’ve made the above point several times. If I were employed by a secular enterprise and found myself at odds with its declared values and purpose, I would leave. However, Adventism claims a special quality that I value highly, a value that secular organizations do not espouse. That is, traditional beliefs are not to be accepted without close examination. Searching for truth must involve reexamination of fundamental beliefs. Therefore, I believe that science must be taught with complete honesty whether or not it supports SDA traditional beliefs. This is not being dishonest against ones employer because the employer has claimed that integrity with the scientific data is vitally important.

    Everything, not just science, should be taught with complete honesty within the SDA Church organization. However, if your honesty leads you to take a fundamentally different view than that taken by the Church, the Church simply cannot maintain your services. Just because the Church holds that integrity is of prime importance does not mean that the Church can maintain all those who have fundamentally opposing views just because they do so with integrity. The Church, as an organization, would quickly fragment into chaos if this were the case.

    As I explained to you before, if your view were in force within Church government, the Church would have to pay everyone who honestly disagreed – to include those who honestly decided that the Virgin Mary really is alive and well in Heaven and is deserving of our worship, or that there really is a purgatory and we should pray for the souls of our dead loved ones, or that perhaps Sunday is really the day God has made holy because of the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday… and on and on. Why wouldn’t these opposing views count as worthy of financial support within the SDA Church according to your argument? – if held with integrity? Why only support honest divergent “scientific” opinions?

    You see, your argument simply isn’t consistent or tenable. If you want to get paid for your ideas, you need to find an organization that is fundamentally in line with your ideas and is willing to pay you to present them. Presenting ideas that go directly counter to the stated goals of your employer, and expecting to be paid by that employer at the same time, is complete nonsense – the very definition of anarchy. No organization could long remain viable given your system…

    Beyond this, the SDA Church, as an organization, does not support your argument. The organized SDA Church leadership has said that paid representatives who do not support the Church’s stated fundamental positions should resign. In light of this request, it is dishonest for anyone to continue in opposition to this request as a paid representative. At the very least, you should respect your employer’s wishes. Your employer does in fact have a right to hire only those who accurately represent the employer on issues the employer considers to be important.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  85. Carl:
    Your argument is one that troubles me a great deal.If you are convinced that, indeed, we have correctly figured out that things look to be older than the Biblical chronology will allow, but, in fact, God made them look older than they are, and He did it in a way that is certain to deceive us, what does it say about the nature of God?Adventism includes the idea that nature is God’s second book.What happens to that idea if nature is so deceptive that we cannot correctly figure it out?

    Was God “deceptive” because He created a full-grown Adam and Eve, who had the appearance of age, while not being more than a day old? Should God have created just a sperm and an egg for each of them instead, in order to avoid charges of being “deceptive?”

    Should God have created seeds only, and not full-grown plants and trees?

    Should God have created volcanic hotspots instead of full-size hills and mountains?

    Should God have listed to future generations of sinners and made sure that nothing of what He created would “deceive” them?

    I probably should not have used trees as an example for my point since the comments seem to miss what I was saying.

    Since the evidence for your argument on this point was a bit too weak, you mean.

    There is an abundance of convincing evidence for the great age of many forms of life.

    Yes, indeed there is! As you know, even live snails have been dated to be thousands of years old! The question is, what should we do with this kind of evidence?

    It’s true that all of the dating methods require assumptions that are unproven and that all of the methods suffer from potential errors, but the trend has been mostly toward better agreement between the different methods.

    Better agreement among scientists who are each convincing each other? It’s a lot like the way fossils are dated–based on the age of the rock layer in which they are found. And the way the rock layers are dated–based on the kinds of fossils they contain. The scientific community exalts the theory of evolution collectively in a manner not far different from raising oneself by the bootstraps.

    Sean has compiled a large collection of objections to dating methods; but, I find that to be a distraction from the main point.The problem for a young-earth creationist is that there is no one who can fit much of the evidence into a short-history model.

    I can fit the evidence into a short-history model, and I do just that. I presented one explanation to answer your first post about this in this thread, only to have it removed by Shane. (So for those who think only the “opposing” views have been removed here, I have news for you. Shane is trying to moderate the discussion evenly, and he removed my post, not for its spirit, but for its content, which he deemed off-topic for the thread. I can respect that, and have not reposted it.)

    In fact, I have never heard a credible scientist claim that we have a short-history model.

    Of course, because if they did, you would not call them credible, right?

    There is a long-history model simply because a great portion of the data fits very well.There are a few things that fit a short-history model better than they fit the long-history model, but they are very few as compared to the evidence that fits only a long-history mode.The thing that I find so incredible about this debate is that people seem to think that the LSU Board simply lacked the courage to do what is right.That’s ridiculous.The Board has access to the science staff of the Geoscience Research Institute and the science faculties of all of our colleges and universities.If there had been one person in that group of experts who could have proposed a satisfactory curriculum for teaching a short history of life, don’t you suppose they might have jumped for it?  

    I have no idea what the board discussed, but I tend to think their discussion had little to do with science, and much to do with PR and “damage control.”

    Erik




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  86. @Erik:

    Was God “deceptive” because He created a full-grown Adam and Eve, who had the appearance of age, while not being more than a day old? Should God have created just a sperm and an egg for each of them instead, in order to avoid charges of being “deceptive?”

    Hi Erik. I have to agree with Carl here that you can take this argument too far. It can basically be used to argue that anything that clearly appears to be one way could actually be completely different “because God made it that way”. That basically removes any logical basis for belief in God or in the Bible beyond the pretty useless concept of blind faith.

    However, Carl is also mistaken in his suggestion that no credible, well-trained scientists have any sort of viable model or basis for interpreting the data as supporting the theory of young-life on Earth and a rapid catastrophic model for the formation of the geologic and fossil records. There are many such scientists – both within and without the SDA Church. It is just that much of Carl’s thinking and understanding of the relevant data is outdated or simply mistaken…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  87. Sean Pitman M.D.: @Erik:Hi Erik.I have to agree with Carl here that you can take this argument too far.It can basically be used to argue that anything that clearly appears to be one way could actually be completely different “because God made it that way”.That basically removes any logical basis for belief in God or in the Bible beyond the pretty useless concept of blind faith.

    Then do you also agree with Dr. Lawrence McCloskey that the earth must necessarily be at least 12,000 years old? You see, the sea corals are his specialty, and they add a layer each year, dating back 12,000 years. They have done core drillings on the corals to determine this. If God did not create a mature coral colony, what did God create? or do you agree with Dr. McCloskey that life on earth must be at least 12,000 years old?

    Erik




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  88. @Erik:

    Then do you also agree with Dr. Lawrence McCloskey that the earth must necessarily be at least 12,000 years old? You see, the sea corals are his specialty, and they add a layer each year, dating back 12,000 years. They have done core drillings on the corals to determine this. If God did not create a mature coral colony, what did God create? or do you agree with Dr. McCloskey that life on earth must be at least 12,000 years old?

    I don’t agree with McCloskey’s assumption regarding the age of living coral reefs – to include his notion that corals can only add one growth layer each year. This notion simply isn’t true.

    Beyond this, living coral reefs did not survive the flood. Corals reefs are very delicate and would not have survived the world-wide flood intact. While fossil corals do also exist, the fossil “reefs” that supposedly took hundreds of thousands of years to form, really aren’t reefs at all…

    For further information on this topic see:

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/DesmondFord.html#coral

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  89. @Bravus:

    Intelligent design’, at least as it is practiced by Behe and most of its other major proponents, is a subset of evolution that requires long ages, and is utterly incompatible with 6 days/6000 years creationism.

    Not necessarily. Intelligent design merely seeks to provide a scientific model for discovery of design in nature. It can be applied by a creationist or an open minded evolutionist who is “willing to follow the data where it leads”.

    My point was that 6 days/6000 years creationism requires miraculous events. That is not a problem, at all: I believe in miracles. But miracles are, by definition (see C.S. Lewis among others) outside the domain of science.

    1. All life on earth got here by “a miracle”.
    2. ALL life sciences “study that life” scientifically.
    3. NO SCIENCE has been able to observe or produce the origin of all living things or ANY living thing.

    The ENTIRE TOPIC of the origin of life is beyond science to observe AND also beyond science to manufacture artifically.

    But it is not “beyond science” to detect “intelligent design” attributes for that life or to observe that life in action.

    Kinda like the Space shuttle is beyond the science of primitive natives to artificially create, to go back and detect how it was made… but not beyond their ability to “detect design”.

    Turns out God is even more advanced than that.

    Therefore, when teaching science, specifically, it is necessary to teach scientific theories that do not call on miracles to explain phenomena.

    Well that is what the atheist argument is for naturalism anyway. As Philip Johnson pointed out – by defining science as an atheist concept — then anything that challenges the atheist doctrine on there “being no god” is by definition “not science”.

    Which as Collin Patterson noted — leads to its own kinda funny religion among devotees to evolutionism’s doctrines on origins.

    The “hope” was that our own institutions would all be above that — apparently that is not the case at at least one of them.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  90. @Carl:

    Your argument is one that troubles me a great deal. If you are convinced that, indeed, we have correctly figured out that things look to be older than the Biblical chronology will allow, but, in fact, God made them look older than they are, and He did it in a way that is certain to deceive us, what does it say about the nature of God? Adventism includes the idea that nature is God’s second book. What happens to that idea if nature is so deceptive that we cannot correctly figure it out?

    Time to “define terms”.

    “Figure it out” — as in “perform corrective surgery”??
    “Figure it out” — as in “know the best diet for the species”??
    “Figure it out” — as in “promote a healthy environment for the species being studied”??

    What is facinating is that even our evolutionist friends here seem to readily admit that those applied sciences have no need to “imagine that birds came from reptiles” in order to work.

    Or “Figure it out” as in — “figure out to to Be God and CREATE that species from the dust of the earth”??

    I guess it depends on what you mean by “figure it out”.

    For the atheist — the challenge is to “figure out how to get one of those without needing God”.

    Nobody else actually has that “as a need”. So for the rest of us “detecting design” will have to do. Agreed?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  91. @BobRyan:

    What I mean by “figure out” is, I think, essentially the common-language meaning: to make sense of something in a logical way. The appeal to common sense and logic is a major difference between Yahweh and the pagan gods. The pagan gods were capricious; you followed a ritual to please them whether or not it made sense. Yahweh presents himself as the God that is reasonable; He expects us to follow His law, but not to do it without understanding the underlying reasons. “…these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” In this example, the “other” can be described as the issues underlying the particular rules.

    You said,

    Nobody else actually has that “as a need”. So for the rest of us “detecting design” will have to do. Agreed?

    No, I don’t agree. Because Yahweh presents Himself as the God who makes sense, I expect that it will not be impossible to do so. There is no easy way out. Of course we will never comprehend as God comprehends; but, that’s not an excuse expecting me to believe what is not reasonable. My power to “figure things out” is one of the gifts that gives meaning to being created in the image of God.




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  92. You seem to have sidestepped the question.

    In the examples given – we have good illustrations of “figure it out” to the point of practical applied sciences related to biology such that corrective surgery is “understood” and possible. The same is true with drug therapy, and determining the most healthy environment or physical, mental, social exercises etc.

    What we don’t have is “figure it out” as in “figure out how to BE God and make the animal from the dust of the earth and breath life into it”.

    If the argument is that “we whould be able to figure that out as well” (which I agree that the Atheist POV needs to argue — as even Dawkins admits that this kind of research allows for the first time – an “intellectually fulfilled atheist”) then as Christians we will have to settle for “intelligent design” research “instead”.

    That get’s back to the old “Hidden things vs revealed things” God keeps talking about.

    Interesting that when Satan tempts Christ in Matt 4 — Satan seems to think that “creating life” (turning stone to bread) would be a “sign” that Christ was in fact God.

    Or did he mean that it would be a “sign” that Christ was just a well-informed evolutionist scientist??

    In John 5 – Christ says that God alone gives life to whoever He wishes. Might he have been mistaken? Should we claim that evolutionists will eventually “understand” how to make life as well?

    I seem to recall an old argument going something like “for he knows that as soon as you do that you shall be as gods”

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  93. @BobRyan:

    Bob said
    Kinda like the Space shuttle is beyond the science of primitive natives to artificially create, to go back and detect how it was made… but not beyond their ability to “detect design”.

    Turns out God is even more advanced than that.

    Bravus said –
    Therefore, when teaching science, specifically, it is necessary to teach scientific theories that do not call on miracles to explain phenomena.

    Bob said:
    Well that is what the atheist argument is for naturalism anyway. As Philip Johnson pointed out – by defining science as an atheist concept — then anything that challenges the atheist doctrine on there “being no god” is by definition “not science”.

    Time to take the next logical step in that argument.

    Suppose we take that primitive tribe mentioned in the post above and we give them a written language. Then we take them on a tour where they go to the Goddard Space facility outside of Washington D.C and they also go to Red Stone in Huntsville where they continue taking careful notes and making observations about the elements of the space station that they see being assembled or designed.

    Yes they make drawings, count the number of people in the room — observe the weight of objects, and generally note the various activities (most of which is still wayyy beyond their own technology) — then we return them to their jungle or desert home village to get along with that project as best they can – starting with the task of relating what they observed to their neighbor.

    Are they engaged in “science” or “religion” according to your definition of science??

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  94. @BobRyan:

    We seem to be arguing about two different things. I realize that the issue at LSU has been painted almost entirely as question about teaching evolution, but I am not talking directly about evolution. What I am talking about is using a literal historical interpretation of Genesis to claim that life was created roughly as it now exists not more than about ten thousand years ago. That interpretation of Genesis leads to so many contradictions of the evidence that it leaves one no better off than believing that God does whatever He pleases whenever He pleases and then provides evidence to make everything look very old. It forces you to believe that there is no rational way to understand the earth and its life.

    For many years, Adventists have been avoiding a clear examination of the evidence. For example, where in the Adventist system would a student go to get a BS in geology? There isn’t one simply because we haven’t had the courage to face the facts that exist all around us. The result is that most Adventists can’t have an informed discussion of the earth sciences because we have been biased to believe that the Devil, in the form of “infidel scientists,” is waiting to deceive us. Our fear of being deceived has sometimes left us behaving like a superstitious cult.

    To me, the tragedy of Adventism is that we can’t have a rational discussion of the problem because it isn’t safe to do so. As soon as anyone challenges our traditional beliefs, a cry goes up to get them dismissed. That’s the purpose of this Website, and, as long as it’s effective, we will stay locked in our established traditions no matter how irrational our position becomes. By doing so we become completely irrelevant to the educated world, nothing more than another tourist attraction in the history of religions.




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  95. Carl: We seem to be arguing about two different things. I realize that the issue at LSU has been painted almost entirely as question about teaching evolution, but I am not talking directly about evolution.

    What I am talking about is using a literal historical interpretation of Genesis to claim that life was created roughly as it now exists not more than about ten thousand years ago. That interpretation of Genesis leads to so many contradictions of the evidence that it leaves one no better off than believing that God does whatever He pleases whenever He pleases and then provides evidence to make everything look very old. It forces you to believe that there is no rational way to understand the earth and its life.

    For many years, Adventists have been avoiding a clear examination of the evidence. For example, where in the Adventist system would a student go to get a BS in geology? There isn’t one simply because we haven’t had the courage to face the facts that exist all around us. The result is that most Adventists can’t have an informed discussion of the earth sciences because we have been biased to believe that the Devil, in the form of “infidel scientists,” is waiting to deceive us. Our fear of being deceived has sometimes left us behaving like a superstitious cult.

    To me, the tragedy of Adventism is that we can’t have a rational discussion of the problem because it isn’t safe to do so. As soon as anyone challenges our traditional beliefs, a cry goes up to get them dismissed. That’s the purpose of this Website, and, as long as it’s effective, we will stay locked in our established traditions no matter how irrational our position becomes. By doing so we become completely irrelevant to the educated world, nothing more than another tourist attraction in the history of religions.

    You can get a BS in geology at SAU. Arthur Chadwick is there and does a lot of good field research in geology – and is a fundamentalist SDA (in that he actually believes that life on Earth is young).

    There is in fact a lot of evidence in support of the author of Genesis and his intent to write a literal narriative about real historical events. However, if you don’t recognize this evidence, why not simply leave the SDA Church and join another organization that is more in line with what you think is so obvious? Why try to be something you’re obviously not?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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