In the following, I will address their statements one piece …

Comment on LSU Board news release and actions by Erik.

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 Also Commented

LSU Board news release and actions

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?


LSU Board news release and actions

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.”


LSU Board news release and actions

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.  


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.


Recent Comments by Erik

CCC Requests “Decisive and Conclusive Resolution” from LSU
Dear Adventist in High School,

The devil frequently mixes just a small amount of error in with a larger amount of truth. This is sufficient to accomplish his purposes. He does not need to undermine every truth, only some select truths. The Bible tells us how to know whether or not we can accept something as pure and true: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). If what they say, even a part of it, does not agree with scripture, even the rest of what they have said is of no value according to this.

We have a saying in English that goes something like this:

A barrel full of sewage with one tablespoon of wine is sewage.
A barrel full of wine with one tablespoon of sewage is sewage.

It does not matter how much “wine” there may be with that sewage, the sewage has perverted the entirety.

Consider how entirely the “sewage” has perverted truth at LSU, given that one of the professors’ statements relegated Mrs. White to “the lunatic fringe” for “the absolute necessity of believing that the only way a creator God could do things is by speaking them into existence a few thousand years ago.” Mrs. White clearly informed us that Creation week was six literal days about six thousand years ago, and further, she has told us that God was not dependent upon pre-existing matter and could but speak them into existence. Yet all of that flies in the face of those who wish to believe their own opinions to be superior to inspiration, doesn’t it? It makes perfect sense that if they believe we evolved from apes, they could not believe what Ellen White taught was true.

Nay, the evolutionist “sewage” has defiled the pure and true at LSU, and its effect permeates the remaining departments of the university. One cannot contain such a far-reaching apostasy as this within a single corner or department of the university. Indeed, we have been given clear evidences that the theologians at the university have also been affected. Whither goes the biology department, and then the theology department, thither goes the whole school.


Mrs. White: “Don’t send your children to…”

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15)

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-2)

We are the sons of God if we receive Christ and follow Him. The line of Seth did this, and were, therefore, called the sons of God. Cain’s descendants did not follow God, and were not called His sons.


Mrs. White: “Don’t send your children to…”

The descendants of Seth were called the sons of God–the descendants of Cain, the sons of men. As the sons of God mingled with the sons of men, they became corrupt, and by intermarriage with them, lost, through the influence of their wives, their peculiar, holy character, and united with the sons of Cain in their idolatry. Many cast aside the fear of God, and trampled upon his commandments. But there were a few who did righteousness, who feared and honored their Creator. Noah and his family were among the righteous few. {3SG 60.2}

After the translation of Enoch to heaven, the sons of men that were set against the worship of God were drawing away the sons of God. There were two parties in the world then, and there always will be. The worshipers of God called themselves the sons of God. The descendants of Seth went up into the mountains and there made themselves homes separate from the sons of Cain. Here in their mountainous homes they thought to preserve themselves from the prevailing wickedness and idolatry of the descendants of Cain. But after the exhortations and the influence of Enoch were removed from them, they commenced to unite with the descendants of Cain. {CTr 39.2}

That should help clarify the identity of the “sons of God.”


Mrs. White: “Don’t send your children to…”

It does our position no service to claim too much or to base too much on such large leaps into very thin air… claiming that this or that animal within the fossil record was the clear result of human genetic manipulation before the flood and for that reason was not saved on the Ark….


It seems like Ellen White said “Every species of animals which God had created was preserved in the ark” (1 SP 78.2). Therefore, any species which became extinct at the time of the flood must necessarily have come about via amalgamation. That seems fairly clear. So we know where T-Rex came from, right?


Mrs. White: “Don’t send your children to…”

Your logic is sound regarding what amalgamation cannot be properly applied to. Such applications as forbid certain inter-human marriages are racist, as you have said, and as I have attempted to express. I almost fully agree with your reasoning on this. However, I will differ slightly on one point, and that is that since we do not know how the amalgamations occurred, we cannot rule out the possibility of men tinkering with plant, animal, and human genetics by means of cross-breeding (as opposed to a more “laboratory” approach). They were very intelligent. Perhaps they knew ways of intermixing species which we would never guess could be mixed with any survivable result, including humans with animals.

So, on the lighter side, if evolutionists like to think they have descended from apes…maybe we should give them a fair hearing (and a DNA test)!