WASC Reviews LSU’s Accreditation

On July 19, 2011 La Sierra University issued a press release regarding an “action letter” from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in which WASC noted several points of concern over LSU’s handling of the recent resignation of four members of LSU’s board ( Link ).  WASC was especially concerned over the “divisions on the board concerning the controversy over the teaching of science” and the actions of the board chair (Elder Ricardo Graham) that were largely independent of the board.  WASC suggested that Graham “acted in his capacity as a church leader” rather than as part of an independent board – undermining “institutional autonomy.”  Therefore, WASC issued a “Formal Notice of Concern” to LSU with a scheduled visit to LSU in the Spring of 2012 to evaluate the steps taken by LSU to address the concerns raised by WASC.

The following is an excerpt from the WASC letter:

Based on the bylaws and the statements of the board chair himself, it appears that he did not have independent authority as La Sierra’s board chair to take these actions and was not acting at the instruction of the board. The board chair reported that he consulted only with a few of the Church-designated trustees, members of national Church leadership, and university counsel before asking for the resignations of the four individuals involved. The Commission could infer from these facts that the board chair acted in his capacity as a Church leader, which would be a clear violation of WASC standards on institutional autonomy.

Here is La Sierra’s response to the WASC letter:

Though the University’s eight-year regional accreditation is not affected, WASC has identified concerns regarding the role and composition of the La Sierra University Board of Trustees and issues related to institutional autonomy. Those findings have led WASC to issue a Notice of Concern.

The WASC Commission has requested a meeting between WASC leadership and the university president, provost, and full governing board within the coming 90 days to offer further information as to the reasons for their actions and to discuss the University’s response plan.  WASC has also indicated that they will return for a follow-up visit to La Sierra in Spring 2012 to determine whether appropriate progress is being made in addressing their concerns.

The La Sierra Board of Trustees, which met on July 18 to review the letter, stated that it “takes WASC’s findings seriously,” has reconvened the Articles and Bylaws Committee “in response to concerns noted by WASC”, and plans to meet again in August.

Please follow and like us:
1
253
37

576 thoughts on “WASC Reviews LSU’s Accreditation

  1. @Sean Pitman:

    Evolution is a fact. It is not a theory. Evolution, like gravity, is a natural force that we can try to describe and test and form a theory about.

    The “theory of evolution,” however, is a theory. The theory of evolution is an attempt to describe the origins of life (or at least the origins of life as we know it), using the natural process of evolution as sort of “framework” upon which we try to extrapolate a history we cannot directly observe.

    I’m glad you understand that WASC’s requirements simply require the professors to “inform their students of the mainstream concensus (sic) on the theories of evolution.” This is my point exactly. It is not trying to “meddle” or require “independence” from the church. It is simply requiring that the fact of evolution (i.e., that evolution can and does occur) be taught as just that – fact. Any attempts to extrapolate the facts to derive a cosmology, however – be it the theory of evolution or the theory of creation – is not WASC’s concern. In fact, Professor Bradley was doing precisely this – teaching creation and evolution concurrently—and meeting the requirements for WASC certification. It is a shame that he has lost his job simply for doing it properly.




    0
    View Comment
  2. One more thing to point out – WASC neither requested nor implied that LSU must operate “independent” of the church. In fact, WASC is stating that the decisions to fire professors must be handled according to the institutional processes (i.e., by the board, which includes representatives of the church), as opposed to simply being dictated by the church alone. Graham has admitted that he violated this separation (likely in fear for his own job), and WASC is rightfully concerned.

    WASC’s guidelines are very clear: you may teach whatever unscientific mumbo jumbo you want, as long as you ensure students understand that current scientific understanding supports evolution. You don’t have to tell the students that evolution is TRUE, but rather, that evolution is FACT – and in that subtle difference lies our ability, as a religious institution, to teach science while also teaching our own creation myth. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to teach our students that all science – evolution included – is subject to revision given evidence to the contrary – which is precisely what our professors were doing when someone threw a childish, selfish temper tantrum that may very well destroy the economic and spiritual lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of good, loyal SDAs.




    0
    View Comment
  3. @LSU Alumnus 1996:

    Evolution is a fact. It is not a theory. Evolution, like gravity, is a natural force that we can try to describe and test and form a theory about.

    I suppose it depends upon what you mean when you use the term “evolution”. If you’re referring to the observation of “change over time”, then yes, there are such factual observations that are not theoretical. However, when you start talking about degrees of change that have not actually been directly observed, you move into the realm of theoretical predictions that are not “factual”.

    Observed changes over time are predictably limited and do not support the theoretical aspects of evolutionary theory, especially when it comes to the proposed evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS. To the contrary, observational “changes over time” tend toward degeneracy, not any kind of increase in functional complexity or even novel functional diversity beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.

    Slowly reproducing creatures, like mammals for instance, are rapidly declining in genomic quality – i.e., we are rapidly heading for extinction.

    But, of course, they wouldn’t have taught you about that during your time at LSU now would they? Rather, you’re are a prime case in point of the fact that mainstream evolutionary theories are being promoted at LSU and that the Biblical perspective on origins is being actively undermined by LSU.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  4. Let us pray, friends and fellow SDAs, that LSU can cure itself of this cancer it before it is too late – and that it can set an example for the rest of our denomination to follow.

    The cancer I speak of, of course, is Sean Pitman, Shane Hilde, and all others who insist on using flawed scientific and theological reasoning to “support” one of our outdated beliefs, without concern for the cost to our church as a whole and those at LSU specifically.

    This asinine crusade is poised to destroy a respectable institution. Since its inception, the Adventist church has considered education one of its fundamental missions. EducateTruth is, in short order, threatening to destroy entirely this aspect of EGW’s legacy, and dooming our church to irrelevance in the process. There are some who are short-sighted enough to welcome this change – many of them post to this board regularly – but for the rest of us who still consider things rationally before jerking our knee, we see this as an exceptionally ominous development.

    If WASC fails to certify LSU, it will cease to exist. It will not turn into a bible college – it will instead disappear. There is insufficient volume to support a Bible college in Southern California, and the gutted hulk of LSU would be left to drift aimlessly until the board had to finally close the doors for good. Hundreds of faculty and staff—not to mention thousands of students—will be deprived of what has been an appropriately progressive SDA environment. Without an equivalent nearby SDA institution, most will be forced into schools that really ARE secular (or at least of a different denomination), where no hint of the “SDA message” will fall upon their ears. Is this the scenario those at ET desire?

    Thanks to ET, LSU has a terrible decision to face: loose ~10% of their funding, break from the church and tighten their belts, likely resulting in ultimate failure due to insufficient funding and enrollment – or choose the path to certain destruction by forgoing WASC certification. Of course, the church at large has demonstrated that it is not concerned with the education of our youth, but rather with irrational adherence to outdated dogma – and the occasional vendetta by those with a personal axe to grind. If the church can continue to exert its undue influence on the board, this conclusion is forgone. If, however, the board can grow a backbone and throw off the oppression of those at the church bent of returning us to 1844, it might have a chance at rescuing the school from oblivion.

    If the “church” is willing to destroy LSU (and the rest of my community) over this barely relevant bit of trivia, I cannot in good conscience encourage others to join it.

    Without secular accreditation, our schools are useless. To ignore this point is to ignore the entire point of our church to begin with. We were not founded to be separate from the world, but rather to be a beacon within it – doing good in it, witnessing to it, and—yes—evolving with it. Should we withdraw from the elementary and secondary school realms as well? It will absolutely come to that. If we cannot teach proper science to our 11th graders, then we have no business teaching them at all – and we cannot expect the rest of the world to take us seriously if we do.

    I cannot fathom that there are those who consider this an issue of religious discrimination. Nobody is telling us we can’t pay teachers to teach whatever we decide they want to teach (within legal limits, of course). WASC isn’t a government entity. WASC is simply charged with developing a standard (like the SAT) and then certifying who meets it and who doesn’t – and then others use that certification to judge whether the degrees the school issues are valuable or not. There is clearly no discrimination going on here – but, yes, all of our schools are at risk of loosing this essential certification (and rightfully so) if this internal witch hunt continues, and other schools are forced to reckon with our medival-minded church leadership.

    Frankly, it frightens me that individuals here feel that they can speak to how our church should educate through our institutions, but they are so obviously, completely, violently ignorant. Evolution is not “junk science” – evolution is reproducible, testable, logically-consistent, scientifically-sound fact – in the same manner that the earth’s rotation around the sun is fact, or that gravity is fact. Ignoring it and calling it “junk science” doesn’t make it go away – it just makes you look, well, ignorant. Nobody is claiming that they fully understand evolution, of course – but considering that the Biblical account of creation (and the 6000-year-old earth) is so unfathomably illogical (and so easily disproven), we have to choose a different path to find our answers.

    Opening your eyes and accepting evolution is not easy for an SDA – I know, I struggled with it myself. (I’m still not ready to let go of my belief that the Pope is the antichrist, though.) If it isn’t something you can accept, don’t teach science…but, likewise, don’t try to tell our SDA teachers how they should teach it, because you are not qualified to do so.

    Consider for a moment how foolish we would look if we, as a church, required our teachers to teach that the sun revolved around the earth. Would we expect anybody to take us seriously? The evidence we have to support the heliocentric model of our galaxy (or, for that matter, that the galaxy even exists) is no more and no less viable than the evidence we have to support evolution – but since the Bible contradicts one scientifically-observable phenomenon, we have to disregard it, while at the same time we accept the other? The Complete Works of God include more than the Bible – and to ignore our admittely flawed, human interpretation of nature simply because it doesn’t jibe with our flawed, human understanding of the Bible or the prophecies of a normal, flawed human being – well, that’s just ridiculous.

    If you want to TRULY do something valuable for our church – and for EGW’s legacy—get to work on the wording of Fundamental Belief #6 and bring our church into the 21st century. While you’re at it, fix #23 too, and remove that stupid “man and a woman” poppycock.




    0
    View Comment
  5. pauluc: @Greg: You say
    Fair enough. I can agree with you on this. I definately think “thus saith the Lord” comes ahead of science. If Pauluc rejects creationism, then that is unfortunate.
    I certainly do not reject a doctrine of creation which I endorse entirely. My concern is that we must not read the bible with a mindset that imagines that it was written to satisfy our curiosity on mechanism in the physical world (which is the core role of science) rather that tell us about faith and the nature of God.
    Do we in reading Deut 23:13 condemn all modern sewerage treatment strategies

    Your claim that evolutionism is somehow creation is totally without support in fact.

    Your claim that the Bible is not describing anything physical in the real world in Gen 1-2 when it gives us evening and morning for each DAY and also the THINGS that were created in each day – is so transparently flawed that it is doubtful your argument carries even one objective unbiased reader.

    Why present such a weak case for your argument?

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  6. Faith – mark my words; not even Bob Ryan, Rich Constantinescu, David Read, or Wesley Kyme will defend your inappropriate statement about the Banff Meeting. An apology is due.




    0
    View Comment
  7. @Sean Pitman:

    You say
    “What is not published in literature is any viable mechanism whereby the overwhelming load of detrimental mutations might be removed from the gene pools of slowly reproducing creatures (like all mammals for example) nearly as fast as they are entering it.”

    Sean it is called natural selection and is by no means a new concept. As you indicate most mutations are detrimental. This is expected if most regions of the genome have been selected or designed for specific function.

    The work of Mukai and Estes and many others on c elegans using a worm with a defective DNA repair gene msh2 has clearly shown that there is accumulation of mutations at 100-1000 times that in the control worms but that as you increase population size beyond 25 the fitness returns to near equivalence.
    Estes 2004 paper shows that there is a large number of mutations however that remain largely cryptic in the Msh2 knockout.

    What the recent paper from 2010 shows is that when you look at the DNA level at these worms that have recovered to normal fitness in a large population (n=1000) over 60 generations they found that there were mutations that fixed in coding and non-coding regions. Most deleterius mutations however did not become fixed in the large population size. Genetically the population stabilized at 10-20 generations.

    These studies and the extensive studies on bacteria and virus as well as yeast clearly make Sanford conjectures on genetic doom suspect.

    We all have our demons but if you persist in your statement that there is no viable mechanism I will have to conclude that mortons demon is especially strong with you. You can say you disagree but I do not think you can honestly say there is no viable mechanism in the face of this experimental evidence.

    Once again I would ask you to subject your ideas to experiment for that is the only way science works. I absolutely acknowledge that I do not know much about the populations genetics beyond what I learned and published during my higher degree in genetics but think that consulting the vast literature that is there and accessible via pubmed is preferable to self citation and referral to a site that is scarcely current.

    1. Estes S, Phillips PC, Denver DR, Thomas WK, Lynch M. Mutation Accumulation in Populations of Varying Size: The Distribution of Mutational Effects for Fitness Correlates in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 2004 Mar;166(3):1269 -1279.
    2. Estes S, Phillips PC, Denver DR. Fitness recovery and compensatory evolution in natural mutant lines of C. Elegans. Evolution 2011 Aug;65(8):2335-2344.
    3. Denver DR, Howe DK, Wilhelm LJ, Palmer CA, Anderson JL, Stein KC, Phillips PC, Estes S. Selective sweeps and parallel mutation in the adaptive recovery from deleterious mutation in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genome Res 2010 Dec;20(12):1663-1671.




    0
    View Comment
  8. Three thoughts related to this exchange:

    To Sean Pitman – it just might be a good idea to be more tentative when describing constraints and limitations on evolution. We have much to learn.

    To Pauluc – it just might be a good idea to remain open-minded, as I am, about the possibility that there are, indeed, limitations to evolution that favor a more literal interpretation of Genesis. Maybe what God wrote with his finger in stone is true after all. I certainly can’t fit all the pieces together, but I’m willing to accept God’s word at face value.

    To those who have declared me a liar about my stated beliefs (on another thread) – it just might be a good idea to be more tentative when you declare you know with certainty someone’s mind and soul…though the certitude of your convictions is nonetheless quite entertaining. Carry on.




    0
    View Comment
  9. Sean: “These facts of science have important implications that should be presented to our own students in our own schools…”

    That is exactly the kind of thing that should be being presented in all our universities and colleges. The problem is, of course, that our professors in some instances aren’t our professors,(though they claim to be) but proponents of evolution. These types of employees should not be teaching in our institutions. And it may be a good idea for the GC to put a clause in the contracts people sign that clearly states that if they promote evolution in any form as fact, their employment is immediately terminated.

    Personally, I have seen ample evidence of what kind of students they are turning out when evolution is taught. I have been extremely unimpressed by the former students that come on here and tell us what ignorant idiots we all are to believe in Creation.

    Evolution is not only junk science, as has been pointed out numerous times, but pure heresy to our church’s beliefs–it causes students to sneer at our belief in Creation–it undercuts the Sabbath and faith in God, and most, if not all, of the principles of the SDA church.

    This is so clear anyone can see it. Yet we are constantly challenged here on this site by individuals, claiming to be SDAs and believe in Creation, who try to separate their “science” from their religion (not possible, by the way), and who then go about trying to proclaim the ‘gospel’ of evolution like it is fact–which we all know it isn’t.

    In my personal opinion, the church needs to thoroughly vet the professors in all the SDA colleges and universities and make sure of their firm belief in the church, Creation, and their commitment to teach Bible principles as relates to their field of instruction.

    In this I am not just suggesting the science professors undergo this scrutiny, but all professors. As I have said previously, God should permeate all classes on the campuses of all our institutions.

    Home Economics should be teaching correct diet, Physical Education should promote correct exercise, English Literature should be promoting the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, etc. (By the way, I find it incredible that so many people are shunning the KJV of the Bible because the language is ‘outdated’ and then they go and study Shakespeare, who uses the exact same language, and whose content is anything but promoting good Christian principles. Just one of my beefs.) Even the business departments should be learning the principles of Christian Stewardship. That is what is supposed to set our universities and colleges apart from the world’s. It is this that the parents are so willing to sacrifice for. The worldliness taught on the campuses of our institutions is defrauding the parent who sends their child to them for a good, solid, SDA education. Reform needs to be undertaken and immediately, if not sooner.

    And it shouldn’t stop there. Our churches, our families, our individuals need reform. Just look around you at the churches…nightclub style churches? Give me a break. That is such obvious heresy it shouldn’t even be a matter up for discussion. Teaching our young children by Veggie Tales videos? What are they thinking????? I know it is much easier to turn on a video than to prepare an actual class for the little ones…and,ok, so we are all busy, but that is no excuse to shortchange the religious education of the little children. What a fearsome account will be called for in the judgment day if we mislead them. I have another beef with the ‘new cirriculum’ they are using for the children’s departments anyway. I actually quit as leader of the Primary dept when they brought it in because I refuse to teach what and the way they want us to.

    Alright, I know this is a long post. I get righteously indignant at all the worldliness in our church. I hope we will all wake up and fix these things before it is too late. We need to get busy and spread the gospel, but how can we lead new converts into a polluted church? Time for a good spring cleaning, don’t you think?




    0
    View Comment
  10. So, all the little scientists met and decided God doesn’t know what He is talking about in His Word? (The only eye-witness account in existance, BTW.) Is that what you are saying, PK? Just another step down on the Heresy Ladder to Hell?

    If the SDA scientists can’t meet and confirm a strong faith in God’s Word and Creation, regardless what the world throws at them, then they have failed miserably. If they have to have confidentiality and closed meetings, then something isn’t quite kosher, is it?

    How sad this must make God feel.




    0
    View Comment
  11. Here’s another sinker ball. Wolves, by the way, are mammals, too.

    Hagenblad Jenny; Olsson Maria; Parker Heidi G.; et al. 2009. Population genomics of the inbred Scandinavian wolf. MOLECULAR ECOLOGY 18(7):1341-1351. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04120

    The Scandinavian wolf population represents one of the genetically most well-characterized examples of a severely bottlenecked natural population (with only two founders), and of how the addition of new genetic material (one immigrant) can at least temporarily provide a ‘genetic rescue’. However, inbreeding depression has been observed in this population and in the absence of additional immigrants, its long-term viability is questioned. To study the effects of inbreeding and selection on genomic diversity, we performed a genomic scan with approximately 250 microsatellite markers distributed across all autosomes and the X chromosome. We found linkage disequilibrium (LD) that extended up to distances of 50 Mb, exceeding that of most outbreeding species studied thus far. LD was particularly pronounced on the X chromosome. Overall levels of observed genomic heterozygosity did not deviate significantly from simulations based on known population history, giving no support for a general selection for heterozygotes. However, we found evidence supporting balancing selection at a number of loci and also evidence suggesting directional selection at other loci. For markers on chromosome 23, the signal of selection was particularly strong, indicating that purifying selection against deleterious alleles may have occurred even in this very small population. These data suggest that population genomics allows the exploration of the effects of neutral and non-neutral evolution on a finer scale than what has previously been possible.




    0
    View Comment
  12. And while we’re at it, let’s nip one oft-abused notion in the derriere: that there is no such thing as a “beneficial” mutation. There are plenty of studies demonstrating that beneficial mutations exist, even among multicellular animals. Here are two examples:

    Azad Priti; Zhang Mingchai; Woodruff R. C. 2010. Rapid increase in viability due to new beneficial mutations in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetica 138(2):251-263. doi: 10.1007/s10709-009-9418-3.

    It is usually assumed that new beneficial mutations are extremely rare. Yet, few experiments have been performed in multicellular organisms that measure the effect of new beneficial mutations on viability and other measures of fitness. In most experiments, it is difficult to clearly distinguish whether adaptations have occurred due to selection on new beneficial mutations or on preexisting genetic variation. Using a modification of a Dobzhansky and Spassky (Evolution 1:191-216, 1947) assay to study change in viability over generations, we have observed an increase in viability in lines homozygous for the second and third chromosomes of Drosophila melanogaster in 6-26 generations due to the occurrence of new beneficial mutations in population sizes of 20, 100 and 1,000. The lines with the lowest initial viability responded the fastest to new beneficial mutations. These results show that new beneficial mutations, along with selection, can quickly increase viability and fitness even in small populations. Hence, new advantageous mutations may play an important role in adaptive evolution in higher organisms.

    Catherine R. Linnen, Evan P. Kingsley, Jeffrey D. Jensen, and Hopi E. Hoekstra. 2009. On The Origin and Spread Of an Adaptive Allele In Deer Mice. Science 325(5944):1095–1098. doi:10.1126/science.1175826.

    Adaptation is a central focus of biology, although it can be difficult to identify both the strength and agent of selection and the underlying molecular mechanisms causing change. We studied cryptically colored deer mice living on the Nebraska Sand Hills and show that their light coloration stems from a novel banding pattern on individual hairs produced by an increase in Agouti expression caused by cis-acting mutation(s), which either is, or is closely linked to, a single amino acid deletion in Agouti that appears to be under selection. Furthermore, our data suggest that this derived Agouti allele arose de novo after the formation of the Sand Hills. These findings reveal one means by which genetic, developmental, and evolutionary mechanisms can drive rapid adaptation under ecological pressure.




    0
    View Comment
  13. @Sean Pitman:
    They do not teach the Sanford theory of declining genetic quality because it has no experimental basis and as such does not rate a mention in molecular biology or population genetics. It has never been published in the scientific literature and has been critiqued in the popular literature by competent people who have more time than me. See for example this critique
    I am beginning to suspect that you let what you wish to be colour your judgement and objectivity when looking at the critiques of origin of species by natural process.
    This response to LSU Alumni 1996 is an example of the toxicity I have referenced in my comments at spectrum about the fear and secrecy at the GRI meetings. I do acknowledge that his/her comments were no less inflammatory.




    0
    View Comment
  14. Sean&#032Pitman: @ Pauluc: “…the very high death rate required by NS to compensate for the detrimental mutation rate can be met by C. elegans for the rate of detrimental vs. compensatory mutations under experimental and wild-type conditions. This is not the case for much more slowly reproducing human/mammalian populations (like monkeys, horses, lions, bears, etc.). Increasing the population size for humans and other slowly reproducing creatures does not solve the problem of the required death rate that is needed for natural selection to effectively eliminate or compensate for the detrimental mutations at the rate at which they are entering such gene pools.

    Ahem…consider the following abstract on sheep (which just happen to be mammals):

    Renaud Kaeuffer, David W. Coltman, Jean-Louis Chapuis, Dominique Pontier and Denis Re´ale. 2006. Unexpected heterozygosity in an island mouflon population founded by a single pair of individuals. Proc. R. Soc. B. doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.3743

    In population and conservation genetics, there is an overwhelming body of evidence that genetic diversity is lost over time in small populations. This idea has been supported by comparative studies showing that small populations have lower diversity than large populations. However, longitudinal studies reporting a decline in genetic diversity throughout the whole history of a given wild population are much less common. Here, we analysed changes in heterozygosity over time in an insular mouflon (Ovis aries) population founded by two individuals in 1957 and located on one of the most isolated locations in the world: the Kerguelen Sub-Antarctic archipelago. Heterozygosity measured using 25 microsatellite markers has actually increased over 46 years since the introduction, and exceeds the range predicted by neutral genetic models and stochastic simulations. Given the complete isolation of the population and the short period of time since the introduction, changes in genetic variation cannot be attributed to mutation or migration. Several lines of evidence suggest that the increase in heterozygosity with time may be attributable to selection. This study shows the importance of longitudinal genetic surveys for understanding the mechanisms that regulate genetic diversity in wild populations.

    Sean&#032Pitman: @ Pauluc: So, unless I’ve really overlooked something major here, it seem to me like Sandford and others like Nuchman and Crowell have a better grasp of the problem at hand.

    Right.




    0
    View Comment
  15. @Sean Pitman:

    I am beginning to doubt you have read any of the the Este papers referenced. In defining population size effect they kept the population size to 1, 5, or 25 in their initial papers. Ie they took that number of 25 worms after each generation and moved them into the next culture for 1 generation. And yes you can have sexual reproduction with a population size of 1 as they are hermaphrodite. The 1000 progeny that you cite is a nonsequitor for the experiments on population size and natural selection.




    0
    View Comment
  16. @Sean Pitman:

    So God has to intervene for big animals that reproduce slowly but not for little animals that turn over rapidly and can use a process of natural selection to maintain fitness and eliminate negative mutations? Is that your view?

    I have referred you to the literature that clearly shows there is a natural process for elimination of “bad” mutations. I do not know if this is the only mechanism operative in slow growing animals with long generation times. I suspect there are other similar natural mechanisms but that ignorance is no excuse for denying that there is a viable mechanisms which was all I was initially arguing.

    Nuchman and Crowell Genetics 2000? Come on genetics has moved on a long way since then. No-one is denying mutation and no-one is denying that they are mostly detrimental. That is obvious as I stated before.

    We now have genomic sequence data from families (trio) to define directly the new mutation rate per generation.

    Roach JC, Glusman G, Smit AFA, Huff CD, Hubley R, Shannon PT, Rowen L, Pant KP, Goodman N, Bamshad M, Shendure J, Drmanac R, Jorde LB, Hood L, Galas DJ. Analysis of genetic inheritance in a family quartet by whole-genome sequencing. Science 2010 Apr;328(5978):636-639.

    ~1.1 × 10−8 per position per haploid genome
    or 66 per genome

    You cannot understand variation and mutation without looking at the initial hapmap data sets and the recent results from the 1000 genome project.

    A map of human genome variation from population-scale sequencing. Nature 2010 Oct;467(7319):1061-1073.

    Look at the 70 page of supplementary data that deals with questions of new mutations, SNPs (polymorphism), recombination rates, gene conversion and sequence evidence for selection.

    They found the similar rate of new mutations
    as previously 1×10-8 per base pair per generation.

    Each individual had 50-100 variants implicated in inherited disorders and 250-300 loss of function variants.

    According to the Sanford model the prediction would be that the tyrolean man or some ancient modern man would have much less than that. I would predict that the numbers would be the same and that there is absolutely no evidence of the genetic change that predict a genetic meltdown.

    If you look at the literature you will find scientist actually generating and looking at data to define the mechanism for the process that you and Sandford claim is impossible; ie remove deleterious mutations.




    0
    View Comment
  17. Holly, I’m sure that LLU university church has people who hate SDA beliefs. Probably every SDA church in the country has someone who hates our beliefs to a greater or lesser degree. That is what the shaking is for, to correct that problem.

    What LLU, LSU, and all of the college and university churches have that is disturbing is that they are teaching our young people. These PhD’s who have questioned themselves out of believing our Bible doctrines are dragging impressionable young people with them.

    People like Erv and his Adventist Today(sic) crowd would have us all believe that it takes a PhD to understand the Bible, and that the Bible is very fuzzy and open to many interpretations. That allows them to use their intellect to decide what it really means. They can then reshape and discard our beliefs one at a time.

    What they don’t seem to remember is that the Bible is written for ALL people and Jesus more than once pointed out that the simple really “got it” while the educated were the ones that were wrong. The Holy Spirit is the expositor of Biblical truth for all of us, not PhD’s.

    In order not to be misunderstood, I do need to make a disclaimer. Not all of our professors are bad. We have some stellar minds and great teachers who are loyal to our church and its beliefs. Unfortunately they get are affected by the bad apples in their (our) midst too. Some of the finest Christians I’ve ever known have been faculty members that trained me. Perhaps they should be the one’s that lead us through these hard times.




    0
    View Comment
  18. I don’t know much about slavery for criminals, but there have been many reports of sexual slavery and such all aroung the world, including the U.S.




    0
    View Comment
  19. @Bob Pickle:

    I understand what you mean now.

    SAU has a good relationship with SACS as far as I know. And I do not believe that SAU professors are teaching evolution as fact / truth of origins. Maybe SACS are not as advanced as WASC.

    I am quite sure that SAU does not offer tenure to anyone either.

    But this is the Bible belt and SDAs are not the only religion that believe in a literal 7-day first week creation event that happened about 6,000 years ago.




    0
    View Comment
  20. Folks, these discussions are clearly not in the spirit of Christ. The sarcasm is dripping, accusations flying. This is truly sad. It is possible to take a stand with firm but kind language. I am embarrassed and saddened by this.




    0
    View Comment
  21. Notice Matt. 7:1-5

    7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
    7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
    7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
    7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye?
    7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. ”

    The warning is against being a hypocrite. And tells us after carefully considering our own spirituality, we may have discerment to deal with a brother.

    The text does not condemn judgment, but duplicity.

    It is the same as in Romans two where Paul deals with the same sin. So Paul would ask, “How is you condemn sin when you are sinning yourself, doing the exact same sin?”

    Those who claim you can not judge, often use it as a “cop out” for their Christian duty to “cry aloud, spare not….’ and take the same attitude as Cain who said, “Am I my brothers keeper?”

    Now it is true, no one can “judge” another person’s final salvation. This is what the Catholic church does when it consigns people to hell or heaven. Even Jesus said, “I judge no man, for judgment comes at the end of the world.”

    Did this keep Jesus from condemning the religious leaders of His day for their duplicity? In no way. He said, “Ye are of your father the devil……”

    But Jesus knew that some could and would repent as they were convicted and saw the truth concerning themselves.

    Not only do we have a right to judge, but we are commanded to judge all things according to God’s word. The way the phrase “judge not” is used today in much of Adventism is in harmony with the false gospel being advocated by many.

    When you understand that Satan’s final goal is universalism, you can see why he has corrupted this scripture to be in harmony with his ultimate goal.

    Bill Sorensen




    0
    View Comment
  22. The 6,000 years may not be Biblical but the 3,000 years from creation to the dedication of Solomon’s temple certainly are and of course that was about 3,000 years ago. Put Ussher and Ellen White aside and just take the Bible as it is written. So easy. I get sick of intellectuals saying it’s not Biblical or it’s only from Ussher or Ellen White or the genealogies are inaccurate etc. Try doing a little bit of basic addition and Bible study




    0
    View Comment
  23. Sometimes I get a little weary of the “sniping” between many of the folks who post here. While I wholeheartedly agree with those who believe in Creation just as to Bible says, I can’t see that they are making any real impress what so ever on those who believe in evolution. After all, “a person convinced against his (her) will is of the same opinion still!”
    We can’t scientifically “prove” creation? (I’m not perfectly sure about that.) But to be 100% positive that they can “prove” evolution isn’t true either no matter how many “scientists” say they can. (Too many “scientists” have had to backtrack on some things they have stated as “hard FACTS” because further research has proven them to be wrong.)
    If you think I am all wrong then you haven’t really done your research–you’ve just fallen for what someones (with a lot of degrees behind their name) says and it seems to be the “intelligent” thing to do.
    I recommend that you broaden your reading and studying and honestly and carefully research both sides of the question. You just might be surprised to learn of the many respected scientists today who totally reject evolution–and give many solid, scientific reasons for it.
    If you want to be intellectually honest you owe it to yourself and those with whom you come in contact to carefully and with an open mind look at both side of the picture. Perhaps there is at least a chance that you aren’t reading the right textbooks or listening to the right tapes. You need to be absolutely certain you know where truth lies–and you can’t do this if you only look at one side of the picture. You’ve never really “grown up” until you’ve learned to think for yourself–and have honestly learned to look at all sides of an issue before deciding what to believe and what to reject.
    Get on the internet and go to Creation Miniseries and read some of their books, watch some of their videos–they have a LOT of both
    For a starter there are two authors I highly recommend. One is Jonathon Sarfati who has written two books that I have. One is “by Design”, the other (and most recent) is “The Greatest Hoax on Earth”–which is his answer to “The Greatest Show on Earth” by Richard Dawkins. Both are excellent
    The other author is a biochemist, Michael J. Behe, who wrote the book, Darwin’s Black Box. He is most famous for introducing “Irreducible Complexity.” This means a single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to it’s basic function, and where the system will not work if a single part is removed. This is demonstrated by a simple mouse trap which was invented by a human mind. Remove only one part of a mouse trap and it will stop working.
    Yet we are supposed to believe that our eyes (for example) which are composed of many, many “parts” and function beautifully just came together by blind chance”? Where is our common sense?
    I could mention many other authors and their books or articles but if you aren’t convinced by these two I’m afraid
    your mind is already made up and you do not wish to be confused with facts. That, of course, is your privilege but I have a feeling that somewhere down the line you will live to regret it.
    Another very important argument in favor of taking the Bible literally and believing in it’s accuracy 100% is Prophecy. I don’t know how many prophecies are in the Bible but someone said they make up almost one quarter of it. I can’t verify that but the ones I do know about that have been fulfilled have been fulfilled down to the smallest detail and I have full confidence that the rest will do the same thing.
    Anyone who can do that over and over and over again has to be a lot smarter and a lot more powerful and intelligent than all of the human scientists put together who claim evolution as “fact”–especially ones who have had to retract statements of “fact” more than once. My God has never had to retract anything He has ever said!
    Choose you this day who you will believe and serve. If human scientist are your gods, follow them but if God be God follow Him. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

    Lydian




    0
    View Comment
  24. @pauluc:

    That was not the point. You said there was no viable mechanisms to remove mutations and I responded with a clear model albeit artificial which showed that natural selection removed mutations. I never at any point tried to pretend it would remove all. You now concede this point but narrow the goal post to large slowly reproducing animals.

    Your memory seems to be failing you. I ask you, what did I originally say in my post of August 6 at 8:49 am? Here, let me help you:

    Sean Pitman – “What is not published in literature is any viable mechanism whereby the overwhelming load of detrimental mutations might be removed from the gene pools of slowly reproducing creatures (like all mammals for example) nearly as fast as they are entering it.” [emphasis added]

    Note that I never “narrowed the goal posts” beyond their original position. I specifically included the caveat of “slowly reproducing creatures” at the very beginning of this discussion. You even quoted this particular “goal post” statement of mine in your own comments. How then could you claim that I’ve moved the goalposts during the course of this discussion when they remain where I first put them?

    The problem here is that you don’t like the original goal posts. You and your friends in this forum (like Prof. Kent and our young LSU graduate) still do not seem to grasp the significance of such a fundamental problem for the ToE – a problem which you yourself evidently have no idea how to substantively address much less explain (even less so for Prof. Kent and LSU-Alum-96 who don’t seem to understand the very basics of the problem). I can only surmise that it is for this reason that you are now trying to backpedal and claim that I’m the one moving goalposts. I mean really, what else can you say?

    It remains, therefore, as I originally claimed – that there is no known viable mechanism for removing detrimental mutations from such slowly reproducing creatures nearly as fast as they are entering these gene pools.

    I would as Galileo in the face of certainty based on religious approach to science and just such predictions respond with “and yet they move”

    Not for long. The known detrimental mutation rate (which is much greater than U=3 as previously noted) is far greater than what slowly reproducing humans can cope with without an eventual meltdown of our genome. Just because we have yet to reach the tipping point does not therefore mean we aren’t headed downhill at a rather rapid rate (relatively speaking). The currently known genetic evidence points strongly in this direction.

    Again, it seems to me as though you really have no real solution to this problem besides your bold and bald claim that, “We know evolution has happened and that slowly reproducing creatures are hundreds of millions of years old.” It’s nice to know when a theory is wrong without really knowing why. I’m sorry, but such a reply is simply not a substantive response to the question posed to you.

    Let me give you an assignment and see if you really can read and interpret the papers properly as I am beginning to doubt.

    I will let you Look up the literature on animals moving into the high radiation exclusion zones around Chernobyl. The prediction from your model of impossibility of removal of the high mutation rate associated with radiation would be that there would be a genetic meltdown.

    A greater mutation rate would indeed result in a more rapid genetic decline. However, how rapid this decline may be before the tipping point is reached depends upon how high the mutation rate actually is. As I’m sure you must know, the real problem for detrimental mutations are not those mutations that result in the most detrimental effects right away. Natural selection is most effective in eliminating such functionally significant mutations rather quickly from the gene pool without having to resort to a huge death rate. The real problem is for those mutations that are “near neutral”, having only a very slight detrimental effect.

    Such near-neutral mutations are the most common among those that have a functional impact. And, of course, such near-neutral mutations fly far under the radar of natural selection and therefore build up over time in the gene pools without being effectively eliminated. The death rate required to eliminate such near-neutral mutations would be far beyond what humans and other slowly reproducing creatures could tolerate.

    The decline in the functionality of the gene pool is therefore gradual, but is headed downward toward eventual and inevitable meltdown just the same.

    Now, for your assignment, if you wish to actually address the real problem in play here:

    Please explain how slowly reproducing creatures (like humans, apes, elephants, etc.) can effectively compensate for the constant influx of detrimental mutations (most of them only slightly detrimental) without them building up faster than they can be neutralized over time?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  25. Pauluc: [@ Sean Pitman] I am sceptical of mathematical predictions and models which is really the basis of your and Sandfords predictions.

    I heartily agree, Pauluc. Sean has a penchant for finding simplified models to support his notions and then goes over the top in applying them to real life. Mathematical models of the real world have three ideal properties: they can be simple, general, and realistic. As you surely recognize, any given model can, at best, satisfy only two of these three properties.

    As you also recognize, the effects of mutations often depend on the presence or absence of other mutations; the environment; the size and structure of the population, which can severely limit the ability of selection to discriminate among the “good,” “bad,” and “indifferent” mutations; and the fate of other mutations that have more pronounced effects and are in close proximity on the same chromosome. To help us get a better grasp on this complexity, theoreticians generally divide the parameter space of their models into smaller regions, and rely on simplifying assumptions that narrow applicability. Sean’s selective use of models from the literature does not and cannot encompass all of this complexity. The biggest unknowns, of course, are going to be the epistatic interactions across the entire genome and the specific dynamics of the environment (the exact nature of selective forces). The models Sean has latched on to do not and cannot at this point accommodate such complexity.

    Of course, none of this really matters because, for Sean, the conclusion drives his interpretation of science. Nothing productive is going to come out of this conversation we are having with the guy, but I do appreciate your suggestions past and recent about actually doing some prospective research using ancient DNA. If creationists (a camp I put myself within, but freely acknowledge our limited understanding) are serious about gaining respect, they need to stop investing inordinate–and I mean inordinate–hours rehashing and arguing and debating old data and actually go out and generate new data.

    I admire the very few creationists who do real science, particularly those at Loma Linda University who actually generate and publish real data (kudos to them). However, I suspect that those who fail to engage all aspects of the scientific method (i.e. conduct original research) on a regular basis, which should always invoke careful introspection as to how one’s views affect one’s analyses and interpretations, are going to be those most prone to Morton’s Demon.

    God Bless,
    Professor Kent
    Professing Christ until the whole world hears




    0
    View Comment
  26. @Ron:
    “I think WASC should be commended for defending religious freedom within our schools. I am still mystified how the church can claim to believe in religious freedom and persecute their teachers”

    Ron, the issue is not one of religious freedom. Each of these teachers is free to think and believe what they want to. I have absolutely no problem with that, and would most rigorously defend that right. However, they don’t have a right to sabotage their employer, which is LSU, and by extension, the Adventist Church at large.
    Having a secret agenda (and pushing that agenda) which counters the beliefs of the church cannot be anything more or less than sabotage.
    Everyone must be aware of his/her influence, and especially people in positions of authority. Officials at a school always represent the school, and if they don’t want that responsibility (or can’t handle that responsibility) then they should not accept that responsibility. It is very appropriate to ask them to resign if they cannot properly represent the school.




    0
    View Comment
  27. Hmm. An “angry progressive old man” who is a
    “modern day prophet.” I think I will try that out on my grandchildren and see what they think.




    0
    View Comment
  28. Ron: Yes, do you believe in Present Truth, that truth is ever progressive? Don’t forget that Mrs. White implied that we would have to change some of our fundamental beliefs as truth progresses.

    Ron, Which of the fundamental beliefs do you think we need to change? How are we to know which ones are to be changed?




    0
    View Comment
  29. Holly&#032Pham: Can someone explain something to me? Did President Graham act independently, on his own, or with the Board’s permission, when he fired the individuals?

    I asked this question last week. Doesn’t anyone know? I’m confused by the reports on this matter. It seems important to the matter regarding the WASC debate.




    0
    View Comment
  30. I wish the leadership of our church would disavow all WASC and the like accreditations, and do self-accreditations instead. THAT would give the school TRUE autonomy.




    0
    View Comment
  31. Sean&#032Pitman:

    Professor Kent wrote:
    We agree with the official SDA position, voted by the General Conference in session, that Scripture must not be subject to criticism and external validation. When empiricial evidence, human reason, and science conflict with God’s word, faithful SDAs must accept God’s word at face value.

    Sean Pitman wrote: “Nowhere has the General Conference voted that Adventists must believe the Bible “at face value” without any empirical evidential support for its claim to be the Word of God. That’s a complete fabrication and makes no rational sense to boot.”

    This is EXACTLY what the GC voted in 1986 at its Annual Council approved the “Rio” statement on Bible Study: “Human reason is subject to the Bible, NOT EQUAL TO OR ABOVE IT. Presuppositions regarding the Scriptures must be in harmony with the claims of the Scriptures and subject to correction by them (1 Cor. 2:1-6). God intends that human reason be used to its fullest extent, but within the context and under the authority of His Word rather than independent of it (emphasis added)…Even a modified use of this method that retains the principle of criticism which subordinates the Bible to human reason is unacceptable to Adventists.” (AR, Jan. 22, 1987)

    What I wrote is that if science and scripture conflict, SDAs take scripture at face value. SDAs DO NOT AGREE WITH SCIENCE WHEN SCIENCE AND SCRIPTURE DEPART. You need to stop peddling you intellectual garbage and publicly chastizing those who think GOD’s word is more reliable than YOUR reason and science.




    0
    View Comment
  32. Bill Sorensen said, “Does Professor Kent think that God simply points to Himself and says, “I am God, now believe it?” Only a fool would believe it.”

    Kent said…….”God said, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10). Only a fool would refuse to believe.”

    May I suggest you have used this scripture totally out of context. This statement is in harmony with all the other statements made in the bible.

    The bible identifies God, His authority, and personhood in a thousand ways and mocks those who ignore and/or attack the biblical affirmation and says in a polite way, “Shut up and listen”. But only after massive doses of self affirmation in His word.

    How would you know who God is if He does not first identify Himself and His position and authority in the universe?

    While the bible does not give us absolute falsifiable proof, it does give us adequate evidence based on prophecy and history and yes, even science to some degree as to who He is and all His claims for worship.

    We must remember that “adequate” is not “absolute”.

    Just as faith gives us adequate assurance, but not absolute assurance that we are and can be saved. And this is of course because of the human factor in salvation.
    If there were no human factor, then, and then only, could we have absolute assurance.

    Just so, we have adequate evidence to base our faith on and there is no need for unbelief. Especially in light of the cross.

    Bill Sorensen




    0
    View Comment
  33. @LSU Alumnus 1996:

    As countless studies (not to mention the anecdotal research in which you specialize) demonstrate, we slowly-reproducing mammals demonstrate observable mutations of functional value without any evidence of genetic decline.

    You seem to be unaware of certain relevant facts. The majority of functional mutations do not have large detrimental effects, but are “nearly-neutral”. Those mutations with a large functional effect are relatively rare. These are fairly well-established observations.

    Of those near-neutral mutations, the vast majority are slightly detrimental with relatively rare near-neutral mutations being beneficial. This concept is supported by various lines of evidence, to include direct experimental results on near-neutral mutations which showed that the significant majority of such mutations are detrimental:

    For the most part, models that included beneficial mutations (red lines in Figure 1) were deemed biologically unrealistic. In particular, three of four of the detected beneficial mutations occurred within one or two bottlenecks of a deleterious mutation (lineages A, B, and J), suggesting that these steps resulted from noise in the data rather than actual beneficial mutations. Therefore, it seemed biologically more plausible to assume that our data set did not contain any beneficial mutations…

    In general, we expect nonsynonymous mutations to have deleterious effects and synonymous and noncoding mutations to be essentially neutral. The close match between the number of deleterious mutations predicted by the maximumlikelihood analysis (nDEL ¼ 33.4) and the number of accumulated nonsynonymous mutations (32) supports this view.

    http://www.unc.edu/~haipeng/publication/virus.pdf

    Such near-neutral detrimental mutations are realized at a rate of greater than 3 (most likely greater than 10) per person per generation (given an overall mutation rate of ~50 per person per generation). There is very little argument in literature regarding these numbers. They have a very good basis in currently known empirical observations.

    At this point your argument seems to be that because you don’t see a detrimental effect that you can readily recognize from one generation to the next that something must be wrong with these numbers.

    What you evidently don’t understand is the concept of a threshold level of detrimental mutations. There will be no significant decline in population size or reproductive rates until the surplus potential of the pre-established reproductive potential of the gene pool is exhausted to a level where the average individual cannot reproduce fast enough to replace his/her own loss from the population. At this point, there will be what is called a “mutational meltdown” – but not before.

    Before this detrimental mutation threshold is reached within the gene pool as a whole, population sizes and observed reproductive rates will not change to any significant degree.

    As deleterious mutations accumulate by fixation, there is a gradual decline in the mean viability of individuals. Once the mean viability declines below l/R, the net reproductive rate is less than one (individuals can no longer replace themselves), and the population size begins to decline. This precipitates a synergistic interaction between random genetic drift and mutation accumulation, which we refer to as a mutational meltdown.

    M. Lynch, J. Conery, and R. Burger. 1995. Mutation accumulation and the extinction of small populations. The American Naturalist: 146:489-518

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  34. @Professor Kent:

    What I wrote is that if science and scripture conflict, SDAs take scripture at face value. SDAs DO NOT AGREE WITH SCIENCE WHEN SCIENCE AND SCRIPTURE DEPART. You need to stop peddling you intellectual garbage and publicly chastizing those who think GOD’s word is more reliable than YOUR reason and science.

    So, if the Bible claimed, in no uncertain terms, that the Earth was flat, or the Sun revolved around the Earth, or that humans originally lived on Mars only to migrate to the Earth once Mars became uninhabitable, or that the American Indians are descendants of the lost tribes of Israel, you’d believe the Bible? – not the overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary? If so, what makes your belief in the superiority of the Bible any better than the belief of Latter-day Saints in the superiority of the claim of the Book of Mormon to be of Divine origin? What about the Qur’an?

    Belief in someone or something based on a face-value claim to Divine authority, without evidentiary support, isn’t a rational basis for belief since anyone and everyone can make this claim and many have made this claim. There must be a way, therefore, to distinguish between those making such claims to Divine origin and authority as to who is and is not genuine.

    What would have happened to Jesus claim to be “the Word of God” in the flesh if he had not been raised from the dead as he predicted? What would have happened to the faith of his disciples in his claim?

    Fantastic claims must be based on equally fantastic evidence if they are to be believed by intelligent, rational, candid minds. It is not enough, not even for the Bible, to make the claim to authority based on the face value of the claim itself without any appeal to empirical evidence that can be evaluated and tested to see if it is true.

    Even the Bible invites us to “taste and see”. – Psalms 34:8 NIV

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  35. Professor&#032Kent: WHAT DOES SEAN PITMAN TRULY BELIEVE?

    Science has irrefutably shown that the Bible’s claim that a human body decomposing several days cannot come back to life is false. Thus, science and scripture depart on this claim. There is no middle ground.

    Who do YOU believe: God, because you take Him at his word, or the empirical evidence that drives human reason and science?

    Having trouble answering this, Sean? Are you afraid to admit that you actually prioritize God’s word ahead of science, just like the Geoscience Research Institute and other SDA scientists? That your claim of following science when the twain shall part is nothing more than braggadacio?




    0
    View Comment
  36. Sean&#032Pitman: Beyond this, the Geoscience Research Institute (GRI) wasn’t set up by the SDA Church in order to tell people that the best we have to support the Bible is empirically-blind faith. After all, if blind faith is all we need, we don’t really need to fund geoscience research at all. Why waste our money? The whole purpose of the GRI was to find empirical evidence to support a rational faith in the Bible as the true Word of God – not just some book full of moral fables.

    The problem with your language is that you attribute “blind” to anyone’s faith other than your own. The GRI does not use the word “blind,” does not endorse the word “blind,” and does not imply “blind” when it tells us that empirical evidence is inadequate to prove a 6-day creation 6,000 years ago, and therefore we can only accept it by faith. YOU INAPPROPRIATELY PUT WORDS AND MEANING IN THEIR MOUTHS. And for nothing but propaganda purposes. As an honest Bob Ryan would put it, you’re a spin artist doing a con job on the Church.

    The truth is that you attack GRI unrelentently because you want them to cowtoe to YOUR interpretation of evidence. When they disagree with you, you cry “foul” and call for them to be terminated. Apparently, Ted Wilson doesn’t have sympathetic ears. You’re not getting through to him. Stop your whining and give it up.




    0
    View Comment
  37. @Professor Kent:

    You’re showing that Adventists and other Christians are gullible fools when they base their beliefs in extraordinary miracles and supernatural events merely because a subset of Scripture’s claims, namely historical facts, can be proven true after being “tested and evaluated empirically.”

    Not when those historical facts are fulfilments of prior historical predictions that could only have reasonably come from a God or God-like power.

    Also, the historical accuracy of the Bible, compared to any other text, contributes to its credibility. Undermine these historical claims concerning the empirical world, and you undermine the credibility of the metaphysical claims of the Bible as well.

    It is for such reasons that the metaphysical claims of texts like the Book of Mormon carry far far less weight for me compared to the metaphysical claims of the Bible – because those empirical claims of the Book of Mormon that can be evaluated and tested have been convincingly falsified in my own estimation. Therefore, the metaphysical claims of the Book of Mormon lose an equivalent amount of credibility in my own mind.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  38. @Professor Kent:

    Having trouble answering this, Sean? Are you afraid to admit that you actually prioritize God’s word ahead of science, just like the Geoscience Research Institute and other SDA scientists? That your claim of following science when the twain shall part is nothing more than braggadacio?

    I believe in the truth of the fantastic metaphysical claims of the Bible based on those elements of the Bible that can actually be subjected to investigation and testing – with the potential of falsification. The Bible has shown itself to me to be very reliable in those things that I can test and evaluate empirically. Therefore, I trust much more in those metaphysical claims that I cannot directly test.

    Empirically blind faith in the face-value claims of any person or text doesn’t cut it for me. If that works for you, great. But, don’t be surprised if many people aren’t comforted by such blind faith.

    Beyond this, the Geoscience Research Institute (GRI) wasn’t set up by the SDA Church in order to tell people that the best we have to support the Bible is empirically-blind faith. After all, if blind faith is all we need, we don’t really need to fund geoscience research at all. Why waste our money? The whole purpose of the GRI was to find empirical evidence to support a rational faith in the Bible as the true Word of God – not just some book full of moral fables.

    Therefore, those who claim that the best empirical evidence we have undermine the claims of the Bible, but we should believe the Bible anyway, are undermining the very purpose of the GRI. Those who truly believe this way should seek employment elsewhere. I really serves no purpose for the Adventist Church to continue to fund scientists who go around telling everyone that the best we have to support Adventist beliefs is empirically blind faith. The promotion of such a blind-faith message is equivalent to the Adventist Church shooting itself in the foot…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  39. Sean&#032Pitman: Fantastic claims must be based on equally fantastic evidence if they are to be believed by intelligent, rational, candid minds. It is not enough, not even for the Bible, to make the claim to authority based on the face value of the claim itself without any appeal to empirical evidence that can be evaluated and tested to see if it is true.

    Each year, millions upon millions of humans die. Not one–not a single one in nearly 2,000 years since Christ–has come back to life DAYS after dying. Science has evaluated and tested the claims of Scripture regarding the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and shown them to be FALSE. So why do you believe in something that an “intelligent, rational, candid mind” like yours recognize to be impossible?

    You claim you do not accept “fantastic claims” at face value. You claim that you will not believe something unless there is “fantastic” empirical evidence to back it up. You’re lying, Sean. You’ve deceived yourself and you’ve deceived your intelligent and rational fan club. You believe because you trust God more than you trust human reason and science. Why is it so hard for you to admit this?




    0
    View Comment
  40. Sean&#032Pitman: I believe in the truth of the fantastic metaphysical claims of the Bible based on those elements of the Bible that can actually be subjected to investigation and testing – with the potential of falsification. The Bible has shown itself to me to be very reliable in those things that I can test and evaluate empirically. Therefore, I trust much more in those metaphysical claims that I cannot directly test.

    This is silly rubbish. There are hundreds of historical novels that offer “very reliable” information that one “can test and evaluate empirically.” Does this mean that every claim within such a book is correct?

    Philip Roth in 2004 wrote The Plot Against America. This story contains very accurate and detailed information that can be tested and evaluated empirically. Therefore, we should be its claims that Franklin D. Roosevelt was defeated in 1940 in his bid for a third term as President of the United States, and that Charles Lindbergh was elected, leading to increasing fascism and anti-Semitism in the U.S. Somehow the history books missed this.

    You need to do better than this, Sean. You’re showing that Adventists and other Christians are gullible fools when they base their beliefs in extraordinary miracles and supernatural events merely because a subset of Scripture’s claims, namely historical facts, can be proven true after being “tested and evaluated empirically.”




    0
    View Comment
  41. @Sean Pitman:
    Thank your for your response. You state

    “The problem, of course, is that the per generation detrimental mutation rate still is and always was far far too high for natural selection to keep up (for creatures with few offspring per generation). Also, as already explained above, the relative strength of natural selection has absolutely nothing to do with this problem.”

    And here is the nub of the problem. You and Sandford state have accepted a faith position of biblical inerrancy and literalism which affects your reading of the scientific literature.

    You accept by faith a 6000 year earth history and the genetic models must follow. You accept that there must be genetic degradation because it must be so according to your a priori assumptions on the innerrancy of EGW and the bible. You have of course given us mutation rates that are consistent with the literature and which I do accept in good faith, but then go on to calculate a required death rate. Nowhere have you provided real evidence that this death rate is correct and is inadequate in the real world rather than in your flawed theoretical models predicated as they are on your core belief in the degradation from a perfect genome in Eden circa Oct 4004 BC.

    You nonetheless have the temerity to claim that this model is endorsed by modern populations geneticists.

    When I suggest that at least one population geneticist who sees the issue as being a man made genetic crisis he then becomes “Your professor Lynch”. How insulting.

    Sean as always despite your endorse of science as the source and basis of your faith you seem to manifest an underlying disdain for scientists and their integrity. In virtually any discipline we talk about you are right and they are clearly wrong. Sorry I do not trust you.

    We will just have to revisit all this in 10-20 years time and see if your perspective has moved. I would hope by then you have realized that Christianity is not about science but is all about faith in the revelation of God in Jesus and our response as disciples.

    Grace to you.




    0
    View Comment
  42. Sean Pitman’s doctrine of salvation merits a double-take:

    Salvation is about doing to others as you would have done to you.

    Salvation is based on love – love toward our fellow man. The law of love is the Royal Law mentioned in James (James 2:8 NIV). Because the Royal Law is written on the hearts of all, all can be saved by living according to this law.

    Seventh-day Adventists do not teach or believe in salvation by works. Salvation is a free gift and is NOT procured by our actions toward fellow man (which is fortunate for Sean’s sake). So why does Sean undermine SDA fundamental belief #10? I am astonished by his heterodox theology. Wait a minute…I hear his supporters clamoring to claim he is (as always) correct.




    0
    View Comment
  43. Sean&#032Pitman: Salvation is about doing to others as you would have done to you.

    You claim you reject Mormonism so why are you preaching “doing”? This isnt the Salvation the Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches. According to FB #10 salvation is based on ….. ahem ….. FAITH. No, not evidence but FAITH.

    I dont understand why faith is so hard for you to admit too or defend.

    “Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise FAITH in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This FAITH which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word [not EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE] and is the gift of God’s grace.” – FB #10




    0
    View Comment
  44. @pauluc:

    Sean as always despite your endorse of science as the source and basis of your faith you seem to manifest an underlying disdain for scientists and their integrity. In virtually any discipline we talk about you are right and they are clearly wrong. Sorry I do not trust you.

    I’m not asking you to trust me. I don’t care if you do or do not trust me or agree with me on such issues. I’m just curious to see if you can answer a few basic questions – to see if you have any cogent scientific explanations for my questions beyond the usual pejoratives? In other words, do you actually understand the problem in play? If you do, perhaps I really am missing something relevant.

    For example, what do you think the per generation detrimental mutation rate is/was for humans? Given this detrimental mutation rate, what is the minimum required death rate, per generation, for natural selection to effectively neutralize this detrimental mutation rate? Do you even understand the concept of a minimum required death rate?

    Simple questions my friend. Questions that have pretty solid answers available in literature. Yet, you’ve not directly addressed these simple questions and neither has any one of the population geneticists that you’ve cited as far as I’m aware.

    Where does Lynch talk about the minimum required death rate needed to deal with the detrimental mutation rate? He simply suggests that natural selection was a more powerful force in the past – which is true. He also suggests, correctly, that if natural selection were more powerful that detrimental mutations would be more effectively removed from the human gene pool.

    His only problem is that even though a stronger force of natural selection removes more detrimental mutations per generation, it also requires a correspondingly higher death rate to do so. This is a big problem because Lynch doesn’t do the math to find out just how high the death rate would have to be to completely eliminate the accumulation of detrimental mutations with each generation. He simply assumes, wrongly, that a stronger force of natural selection is all that would be needed to solve the problem. He’s wrong. Plain and simple. The minimum required death rate is also very important to understand – to know if the maximum rate of offspring production can actually keep up with the minimum required death rate that natural selection needs to do the job.

    No one, not you, not Lynch, or anyone else, has detailed and reasonable solution to this problem.

    Now, this has nothing to do with questioning the integrity of scientists. This has to do with questioning their theories – big difference.

    You keep making this amoral issue. It isn’t.

    We will just have to revisit all this in 10-20 years time and see if your perspective has moved. I would hope by then you have realized that Christianity is not about science but is all about faith in the revelation of God in Jesus and our response as disciples.

    Salvation is about doing to others as you would have done to you. Even those who have never read the Bible, who have never heard the name of Jesus, can be saved by living according to this moral law of love that is written in the hearts of all.

    The Christian Gospel message of hope, on the other hand, is based on solid empirical evidence. It isn’t just a moral fable or a feel-good story. It’s a true story and there’s very good evidence to back up that assertion.

    Grace to you.

    And to you…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  45. Seventh-day Adventists are people of FAITH. What do the SDA Fundamental Beliefs teach about EVIDENCE and FAITH?

    FAITH is mentioned 15 times. The primary context applies to our acceptance of the following qualities of God and his son Jesus: God’s atonement (#9), Jesus as Lord and Christ, Substitute and Example (#10), his death and resurrection (#15), the sufficiency of his body and blood (#16) and God’s existence (#17). Yes, we accept these on faith with no apologies to Pitman and others at this website who abuse the word. Faith also describes our beliefs in the context of a community of faith (#12), the faith of Jesus (#13, #24) and our beliefs in general (#14, #23). Faith is further described as a gift (#17). Yes, a gift! Not something acquired because of rational thinking and intelligence!

    EVIDENCE is mentioned twice in terms of our response to God: evidence of our repentence of sin (#15) and evidence of our love for the Lord (#19).

    No where do our fundamental beliefs teach that our beliefs are valid only if there is empirical evidence to back them up. To denounce faith and declare it “useless” under any context shows ultimate disrespect for our fundamental beliefs. For God’s sake it is time to end the condescending remarks about faith. Adventists are people of faith and everything good in our church fails without faith.




    0
    View Comment
  46. Professor:

    For maximum authenticity, and flavor, the following of yours (August 15, 2011 at 9:23 am) is e-dragged-dropped, not hand-copied: “Adventists and other Christians are gullible fools when they base their beliefs in extraordinary miracles and supernatural events merely because a subset of Scripture’s claims, namely historical facts, can be proven true after being “tested and evaluated empirically.”

    Have you not thus just said that you accept Genesis 1 not simply by faith DESPITE scientific evidence 100% against it, but BECAUSE science disproves it?




    0
    View Comment
  47. Sean&#032Pitman: Epistatic interactions (the effects of a given mutation modified by other mutations) are irrelevant to the problem at hand – as are your arguments as to the nature of the environment and the presence of other mutations.

    If you don’t think the environment or epistatic interactions are relevant, then you’ll have much difficulty deciding whether a given mutation is deleterious, neutral, or beneficial, and you won’t have a clue how strong selection is on it. I suggest you read the April 2010 issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Don’t bother if your mind is already made up.

    Sean&#032Pitman: “This problem is explained rather neatly by the Biblical model of origins.”

    Where does the Bible tell us that animals accumulate deleterious mutations faster than selection, recombination, and other mechanisms can overcome them? Where does the Bible tell us that lineages have a finite lifetime limited by their genes?

    Sean&#032Pitman: The data is clear and the implications are straightforward. The standard arguments of evolutionists fall flat in that they don’t actually solve this particular problem by a long shot – a problem that is fundamental to the entire modern theory of evolution.

    There’s no point in arguing further with established fact, so I’ll desist. Congratulations, Sean, on elucidating and solving yet one more riddle that 99.5% of the world’s scientists have completely overlooked or denied. I’m gaining a clearer understanding why you are unwilling to take God at his word and prefer to rely, instead, on your own extraordinary reason and intellect. Clearly, God needs you to save the world from disbelief.




    0
    View Comment
  48. @Professor Kent:

    Your term, “slowly-reproducing,” is ambiguous, since the relevant time frame is with respect to generation time.

    Relevant to what? The generation time is essentially irrelevant when it comes to the effect that the powers of natural selection may have on the formation of a gene pool. How is the generation time going to matter if the reproductive rate of an individual is very low? How is the generation time going to change anything for natural selection?

    You see, the powers of natural selection are based on the ability to preferentially cause the premature death of less fit individuals in a population before they are able to reproduce. Therefore, in order for natural selection to be effective at all, the reproductive rate has to be greater than the replacement rate in a given population.

    In other words, if two parents have children, they will need to produce at least two offsrping to maintain the population. However, if all parents in the population only produce two offspring, there is nothing with which natural selection can work since all of the offspring will be needed to reproduce the next generation. None are left over for natural selection to eliminate before they are able to reproduce. So, in order for natural selection to come into play at all, the parent generation must produce more than two offspring per couple on average.

    Of course, in real life, there are various ways that an individual may die before reproduction that are unrelated to the individuals genetic “fitness” – such as a random car accident. This means, of course, that if natural selection is to have any part to play in the shaping of a gene pool that the average individual reproductive rate must be substantially greater than the replacement reproductive rate… and that’s just for natural selection to have any role to play at all.

    Now, if you want natural selection to also be able to deal with the detrimental mutation rate so that the genomic quality does not go downhill over time, you have to dramatically increase the average individual reproductive rate to match the death rate that would be needed to effectively remove all of the detrimental mutations as fast as they are entering the gene pool. And, this minimum required reproductive rate can be mathematically determined.

    You see, the minimum required reproductive rate needed to avoid eventual genetic meltdown isn’t “ambiguous” at all.

    Assuming you are speaking of relatively few offspring produced in an individual’s lifetime (k-selected as opposed to r-selected species), you could examine your theory by comparing species having similar progeny-per-generation but highly disparate longevities. Surely you could compare, for example, the genetic load of mutations between a “slowly-reproducing” bat or rodent with a short lifespan versus a much larger mammal with a long lifespan.

    How would this be relevant since one doesn’t know what the starting life span was for different types of animals? Also, the actual life span is not necessarily related to the build-up of near neutral detrimental mutations until a threshold level is reached.

    So, again, I fail to see how this suggestion is of any practical value?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  49. Faith: In my opinion, WASC is intruding where it doesn’t belong. Autonomy is a ridiculous requirement.

    Fortunately, Faith doesn’t set the standards that WASC goes by.




    0
    View Comment
  50. I understand the case as resignations of 4 professors of LSU who were made to choose to resign or have the recorded conversation be brought to the board,etc. How can ALL these 4 mature, adult “intellectuals ” simply give up their positions if its nothing more than a recorded conversation. Is the situation too ugly to resist? The case was posted as not because of evolution issue. Actually,Im not worried if WASC would inspect or these professors will go to court as they say so. Although we, in the Seventh-day Adventist Church are challenged by these trials( universities infested with infiltrators is no joke), we fervently pray for our leaders and our church. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER KNOWS BEST!.. Remember Romans 8:28?




    0
    View Comment
  51. @Sean Pitman:

    It is interesting to read this dialog. I am not a “scientist” or student of genetics, BUT… I have a bit of common sense.

    When I was a child – in the 60’s, I remember reading about the work of a man named Bill Ison with the American wild grapes called “muscadines” – down in Georgia. The “wild” versions of these grapes are okay for eating but have many undesirable traits. Not only did Mr. Ison plant seedlings and select the best (or most desirable) traits from the seedlings, but he also bombarded some of the genetic material (seeds?) with radiation to cause mutations. By far, most of the mutations were worthless. But once in a great while, a “variety” with highly desirable characteristics would emerge and be “selected”.

    As a child, this example served as a rational illustration to me. I grew up “in the country” and I observed that anything growing wild tended to be less desirable because of the effect of being “wild” – caused by what I understand to be “natural selection”. When “natural selection” is replaced by intelligent selection, the result is vastly different.

    Intuitively (to me at least) “intelligent” will consistently win over “natural” or “wild” pretty much everytime. I see a consistency in decline for those things left unguided. I see a consistency in improvement for those things affected by intelligence. (“improvement” meaning – outcomes that are desired by the one making the choices)

    For me (yes, I admit to being a simpleton), the notion that our world of order came to be by some sort of accidental or “natural” process is foolishness. The existence of matter, those things made of matter,and the essence of life itself – is proof enough of Who God is. I can find no reason at all, to doubt the record that He has provided to us to help us understand clearly how we got here, why, and how it all turns out. To me, that record is the highest form of information available to us about our existence.

    “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it for me.”

    Happy Sabbath everyone. If you do not understand the significance of this “Holy Day”, you miss out on more than you can imagine. If indeed you do honor this day, you acknowledge God as “Creator” of the world in seven literal days – and therein you will have His blessing.




    0
    View Comment
  52. @Professor Kent:

    Obviously, species B has “slower” reproduction over a finite period of time (say, 100 years), but as I suggested, what you are probably referring to as “slowly reproducing” is number of progeny per individual or generation, which would make species A and B equal. Again, your usage of “slowly reproducing” is ambiguous.

    I’ve not been ambiguous at all. I’ve specifically defined the reproductive rate I’m talking about several times in this thread as the number of offspring an individual can produce per generation.

    The generation time itself is largely irrelevant to the problem of natural selection effectively removing detrimental mutations from the gene pool – as already explained above. The same is true for various forms of epistasis that you’ve also suggested as a potential solution to this problem (as noted in the illustration below):

    Now which gene pool do you think can respond more quickly to a changing environment? A or B? If you have a 10 year drought, which gene pool is likely to be hit harder and which is more likely to emerge with a changed gene pool? Do you seriously believe generation time is irrelevant to natural selection?

    You’re not understanding the problem in play here. Your scenario has nothing to do with dealing with an increasing detrimental mutation load with each generation. It doesn’t matter what the generation time is or what environmental factors are in play. The detrimental mutation rate will increase faster than the load of detrimental mutations can be eliminated by natural selection as long as the individual reproductive rate, per generation, is too slow to keep up with the death rate that is required by natural selection to effectively eliminate the detrimental mutation load for that generation.

    Research on deleterious mutations has FAR outpaced research on beneficial mutations, and we have MUCH to learn about the latter.

    Now this is interesting – and would solve the problem nicely if it were actually true that the beneficial mutations occur rapidly enough to offset the detrimental mutations that enter a gene pool. But, do you have any evidence that the beneficial mutation rate is remotely able to compensate for the detrimental mutation rate? As far as I’m aware it is quite clear that the detrimental mutation rate so far outpaces the beneficial mutation rate that there really is no comparison. If you know better, by all means present your evidence. Otherwise, you’re just blowing smoke.

    Aruging that future discoveries my falsify my hypothesis is certainly possible, but it isn’t science until you actually have such data in hand.

    Again, your simplistic mathematical models focussed on deleterious mutations do not take into consideration a realistic understanding of how natural selection works. The more you write, the more I question your overall understanding of natural selection.

    Please do explain to me how natural selection works contrary to anything I’ve said? – using actual data that is currently known. How do any of your arguments actually address the problem of the detrimental mutatation rate in creatures that only produce a handful of offspring per generation?

    So why can’t you show me some evidence that species similar to species A are closer to approaching genetic meltdown than species similar to species B?

    How does the generation time have anything at all to do with the load of near-neutral detrimental mutations in a gene pool? – or how close or how far away a gene pool is from the threshold level of detrimental mutations necessary to trigger genetic meltdown? I fail to see any significant relationship…

    The amount of time a particular species lives before reproducing has little to do with how effective natural selection may or may not be at removing detrimental mutations from that particular gene pool over a given number of generations. What really matters is the death rate that is required to keep up with the detrimental mutation rate over an extended period of time (regardless of if the environment changes or not). Surviving a sudden change in the environment is essentially irrelevant to how many near-neutral detrimental mutations also survived as well.

    Sure, in your scenario “Species A”, having a shorter generation time, will be more likely able to quickly adapt to a new environment. But what does this have to do with the elimination of the genomic load of detrimental mutations? Nothing! Nothing at all.

    You do realize also that the detrimental mutation rate is largely independent of the generation time? – that the essentially the same number of mutations hit creatures with long generation times as they do those with short generation times? In other words, creatures with shorter generation times have correspondingly higher mutation rates over a given span of time. That means that the per generation mutation rates are fairly similar between species with both long and short generation times (at least similar enough for the purposes of this particular discussion).

    http://www.tempoandmode.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/thomasgtinvertmbe10.pdf

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  53. @Sean Pitman: Sorry I havent responded earlier to your last missive.

    We agree that natural selection is a mechanism that removed deleterious mutations in small creatures. You however continue to point to the mutations accumulating in humans and then ask me to give a mechanism for removal of deleterious mutations and more importantly near neutral mutations in long lived animals like humans. You imply that there is none and that human genetics is winding down from a perfect creation some 6000 years ago to a genetic meltdown.

    You imply that the lack of published explanation is somehow the populations geneticists dirty little secret.

    As usual you seem to be reading the literature with your own peculiar slant. After having looked at some of the literature I find that Lynch PNAS 2010 107:965 is simply expressing the predominant view among population geneticists when he writes:

    “Dating back to Muller (49), considerable thought has been given to the potential for a cumulative buildup of the deleterious-mutation load in the human population (2, 3, 50, 51). The motivation for this concern is the enormous change in the selective environment that human behavior has induced during approximately the past century. Innovations spawned by agriculture, architecture, industrialization, and most notably a sophisticated health care industry have led to a dramatic relaxation in selection against mildly deleterious mutations, and modern medical intervention is increasingly successful in ensuring a productive lifespan even in individuals carrying mutations with major morphological, metabolic, and behavioral defects.”

    How you can honestly read this as saying there is no mechanism for removal of mutations is beyond me.

    They are simply saying that we are in a difficult situation as man made changes in the enviroment and heath care has removed most of the strong selection pressures that would purify a population. Ie infectious disease with historically high mortalities as both McNeil (Pagues and people) and more recent Diamond (Guns germs and steel) have cataloged.

    They are not at all saying that they cannot image a mechanism for removing near neutral mutations they are saying that we have removed most of these.




    0
    View Comment
  54. @pauluc:

    How you can honestly read this as saying there is no mechanism for removal of mutations is beyond me.

    So, the powers of natural selection have been thwarted by modern humans? And that is why we are now heading downhill?

    You don’t understand the math Pauluc. While nature selection works to some extent to remove detrimental mutations, the death rate that would be required for natural selection to actually remove detrimental mutations as fast as they are entering the gene pools of creatures with low rates of offspring production is far far greater than could have been tolerated at any time, past or present, by such creatures.

    I mean really, we’re talking about a required minimum death rate that is greater than 99.5% of all offspring before reproduction – just to keep up with the known detrimental mutation rate. No human population, at any point in time, could have ever tolerated such a high death rate…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  55. @Sean Pitman:

    I am not arguing this I am simply saying this is what Lynch in his lecture on being elected to the academy of science was arguing if you read his paper.

    Further he argues that human compared to other non-mammalian animals have greater fidelity in somatic cell replication and so have a lower rate of somatic cell mutation. What do you suppose accounts for that? Perhaps error correction mechanisms that are present in higher mammals. Do we have a complete understanding of these. I think not but does your model allow for that?

    It is not that I do not trust the math but it is as in programming that other most useful area of math; GIGO.

    I do not trust that you have the biology correct. As I more and more see how you read the literature I am no more sanguine.

    We can argue on the math as much as we want but until you actually provide evidence of increasing deleterious gene accumulation over non-modern times I do not think we have a basis for your argument.

    I would have no argument that humans are currently accumulating genetic damage but I would tend to agree with Lynch’s argument that this reflects human manipulation of the environment and removal of selection pressure that previously existed. Indeed he argues this is akin to Global warming.




    0
    View Comment
  56. WHAT DOES SEAN PITMAN TRULY BELIEVE?

    Science has irrefutably shown the Bible’s claim that a human body decomposing several days cannot come back to life. Thus, science and scripture depart on this claim. There is no middle ground.

    Who do YOU believe: God, because you take Him at his word, or the empirical evidence that drives human reason and science?




    0
    View Comment
  57. @Sean Pitman:

    Sorry Sean you say

    Nowhere has the General Conference voted that Adventists must believe the Bible “at face value” without any empirical evidential support for its claim to be the Word of God.

    What then is the basis for your crusade against academics who have not interpreted Genesis 1 at face value?




    0
    View Comment
  58. @Faith:
    Faith I admire your commitment to Sean and your confidence that he knows more in all areas of science than the thousands of scientists that have spent their lives working on honestly interpreting the data and with whom he disagrees.

    You do of course realize that Sean has committed himself to leave the Adventist church and Christianity if he is at any time in the future convinced that the creation story cannot be sustained on a scientific basis. Talk about building you faith on sand.

    In contrast I do not believe that the creation account can be at all sustained on the basis of the science without a selective distorted reading of the literature of science which I cannot do. I do however believe in the Bible as the inspired word of God and the doctrine of creation which is an essential part of the Judeo Christian tradition. In theology I am closest to the neo-orthodox and anabaptist views of Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and John Yoder and would see the core of Christianity in the incarnation event and the revelation of God in Jesus. A revelation that calls us to follow as disciples and enact the principles of the Kingdom.

    Acceptance of the Christian understanding of the Grace of God is not based on some notion of Natural theology or science but on the revelation of Jesus that comes through the proclamation of the community of Faith and by reading the Word of God.

    You may think that believing by faith in the revelation of God in the incarnate Christ is eroding belief in the Bible but I certainly do not view it that way and I suspect that Prof Kent does not but I will leave it to him to articulate his own belief.




    0
    View Comment
  59. LSU got themselves into their own trouble. Listen to the cry baby liberals who hold influence in the world to be over and above loyalty to God and His word.

    If LSU can’t be saved to promote SDA values and bible teaching, then good riddance. This was EGW’s view as well.

    By the way, I attended La Sierra College in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Of course, it was not a university then.

    I think at least some fundamental SDA Christians are sick to death of hearing unity, unity, unity and acceptance while ignoring fundamental bible truth.

    Bill Sorensen




    0
    View Comment
  60. It is simply where libs go according to the historic account that we have when they built the golden calf in defiance of the Word of God.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  61. Faithful&#032Disciple: Not all of our professors are bad. We have some stellar minds and great teachers who are loyal to our church and its beliefs.

    Indeed we have a great group who are faithful to God.

    But there was an unnintended consequence of the “Faith and Sciences Conferences” held by the previous Administration where they affirmed our FB#6 and yet unwittingly gave approval to being evolutionist and hiring evolutionists so long as you made some kind of claim to holding to FB#6.

    This was a huge open door to apostasy since many biology professors did not think it was their job to even talk about FB#6 officially – so if they happened to be T.E. they could always rationalize some a way to fit it in with a watered down FB#6.

    And people like LSU’s Fritz Guy were more than happy to hold that door open for them when it came to FB#6.

    in Christ,

    Bob




    0
    View Comment
  62. calvin: @Faith: Has anyone recommended prayer? People of FAITH where is the “prayer engine” for this site. Who’s praying?It sounds as if we’re trying to conquer spiritual battles with weak carnal weapons – namely logical (in some cases illogical) arguments. Like this suggestion Hi Holly Pharm?

    I was just teasing you Calvin. I make some typing mistakes too. But, I am praying every day for this problem at LSU to be resolved.




    0
    View Comment
  63. Adventist Kid: “Let’s remember that La Sierra is first, and foremost, an accredited university. The church chose to take this route. As such, the standards that are expected of accredited schools are the primary standards the school should seek to uphold.”

    Yet another fairy tale. La Sierra is supposed to be first and foremost an SDA institution. A place where SDA youth can go to be educated without being pumped full of evolution. You can argue all this stuff till the cows come home, but where it counts is in heaven. There La Sierra, its administrators, board members, and professors are going to be held to account. There they will fool no one with their slick jargon and ridiculous “scientific” arguments.




    0
    View Comment
  64. David: “Likewise we are entitled to conclude of an Adventist scientist who does mainstream origins science that either, a) he doesn’t really believe in the Adventist origins scenario, or b) he’s not doing science to discover truth; he’s just going along with the herd of his peers, going along to get along.”

    As usual, David, you are right on the money.

    Considering all the importance that Pauluc seems to place on his peers and how he discounts Creation, I would say “a” and “b” for most TEs is a safe bet.

    As I have said before on this site, all the arguing hasn’t budged one person in their beliefs–evolutionists stay evolutionists and Creationists stay Creationists. I think that is because anyone posting is trying to stick up for what they believe in. The only difference is that the Creationists are right–we have the backing of God’s own Truth. Pauluc and friends, poor things, only have other very fallible men who have sold out all their belief in truth to back them up.




    0
    View Comment
  65. Calvin:

    I agree with Holly, there are very many of us on this site who have kept this subject in our prayers for at least two years. However, that doesn’t mean we have to sit and be quiet when Satan is attacking our institutions and our young people. You may or may not know this, but this situation has been going on for decades while everyone kept quiet and waited for the powers-that-be to deal with it and, obviously, nothing was done. This site is responsible for bringing this to the attention of the membership at large and I thank God for it.

    And, Calvin, as far as typos go, if you look in the archives there a lot of them. Don’t feel bad. We have all done it…including Holly–probably why she felt she could tease you. We tend to be a brother/sisterhood here. Welcome.




    0
    View Comment
  66. This issue with WASC expressing concern, (meddling) in the hiring and firing decisions of the LSU board reminds of this statement from Prophets and Kings, p 188.

    The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The observance of the false sabbath will be urged upon us. The contest will be between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. Those who have yielded step by step to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will then yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. At that time the gold will be separated from the dross. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliance will then go out in darkness. Those who have assumed the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will then appear in the shame of their own nakedness. {PK 188.1}

    The religion of the “false sabbath” is closely connected with Evolutionism since both directly or indirectly point to the SUN as the creative force which should be honored. Evolutionists can provide no laboratory evidence to explain how carbon based molecules became amino acids, became proteins, became single-celled organisms, but they are unanimous in the belief that the sun had something to do with it. Likewise, Papists and Sunday keeping Protestants can provide no evidence from the Bible for keeping the false sabbath other than the wisdom and traditions of fallen, sinful men who never fully gave up Pagan sun worship!

    Notice this point carefully: “The contest will be between the commandments of God and the commandments of men.” What does the 4th Commandment present as its authority for requiring obedience? “For in six days THE LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…” This truth is the foundation which the entire system of truth known as the third angel’s message rests upon. The enemy knows that if he can weaken the position of God’s people on the issue of origins, then our position on the Sabbath will be greatly weakened as well.

    To rephrase the above quote and apply it to the present situation:
    “The time is not far distant when the test will come to every SDA Institution. The observance of the false sabbath will be urged upon our schools as condition for continued accreditation.”




    0
    View Comment
  67. @Faith:

    Has anyone recommended prayer? People of FAITH where is the “prayer engine” for this site. Who’s praying?

    It sounds as if we’re trying to conquer spiritual battles with weak carnal weapons – namely logical (in some cases illogical) arguments.

    Like this suggestion Hi Holly Pharm?




    0
    View Comment
  68. And round and round we go.

    Professor Kent and Pauluc et al continue to try to force us all to admit to blind faith as the reason for our belief in Creation, and Sean, bless him, conintues to offer proofs for Creation because he knows that there are evidences of the Creator in Creation and we don’t have to take it all on “blind” faith. So…what is behind all this constant strife?

    Here’s how I see it.

    The professors and other like-minded individuals want us to claim blind faith because then they think they can put Creation into a little box called “Religion” and separate it from the box called “Science” (that’s their opinion, not mine.) This is a vain quest, because it can’t be done. You cannot separate the Creator from His science. You cannot, with any integrity, separate your religion from any part of your life. The only possible reason to try to do this is so you can put forth “proofs” propounded by mere men that don’t mesh with the Bible. This is being double minded…trying to serve God and man…which, of course is, in reality, not serving God at all, because you are basically calling Him a liar.

    Don’t you realize that Satan is a masterful deceiver? Don’t you think he can manipulate the evidence to make you draw false conclusions from it? Don’t you realize that there is a perfectly good explanation for it all if it is seen in the correct light?

    You see, this is where I feel that some SDA scientists lose their credibility. They have been faced with arguments that may, on the surface, prove evolution. So they begin to question God instead of questioning the evolutionists. Just the fact that if you look at the whole picture you can see that the world is getting worse and worse instead of better and better blows the whole theory of evolution right out of the water.

    And why do our SDA scientists go to the world for their wisdom when we have the Bible and SOP to guide us? They are looking for worldly acceptance and acclaim, that’s why. They don’t want to be seen as the “lunatic fringe” who believe in God. They can’t tolerate the jeering of the worldly “scientists.” They perceive that as undermining their credibility and dignity as professional scientists. Well in actual fact, they lose their credibility as both Christians and scientists when they try to marry truth with error.

    This is why Professor Kent’s claim to believe in Creation as stated in the Bible is not taken seriously. How can it be when he tries to claim there are no evidences to support Creation? That is simply not true. Sean can, and has, presented many evidences to support Creation. And there are many others out there like Sean that understand the significance of these evidences.

    Of course the typical response from the “scientists” is that those who claim there is evidence for Creation are “uneducated”, “ignorant” people who “don’t understand scientific principles.” Yet these are the very people who claim that evolution, an unscientific and unprovable theory, is the answer to human origins. This is unfathomably faulty logic. There is no valid reason why SDA scientists should be promoting evolution in any of its forms.

    While I know that there are aspects of God and His Creation that are a mystery to us at this point, and that must be taken on faith, we are not called to base our beliefs on “blind” faith. We have every reason to believe that God speaks the truth to us in His word and that we can rely on His veracity 100% whether or not we have concrete proof that what He claims is true. We have seen, and are seeing daily, prophecies come true. It is absolutely amazing that He could give Nebuchadnezzar a dream that accurately shows the world’s kingdoms right to the end of time. And it has all come to pass as predicted. That in itself should inspire complete confidence in His Word.

    So, what it all boils down to is this: Professor Kent and Pauluc, who claim to have faith in God’s Word actually undermine it and Sean, who claims to have no blind faith, actually upholds the faith. Kind of funny, isn’t it?

    Happy Sabbath everyone.




    0
    View Comment
  69. @Professor Kent:

    Phil Brantley and Professor Kent argue that SDA beliefs are based on Sola Scriptura–God’s word alone. We agree with the official SDA position, voted by the General Conference in session, that Scripture must not be subject to criticism and external validation. When empiricial evidence, human reason, and science conflict with God’s word, faithful SDAs must accept God’s word at face value.

    Nowhere has the General Conference voted that Adventists must believe the Bible “at face value” without any empirical evidential support for its claim to be the Word of God. That’s a complete fabrication and makes no rational sense to boot.

    Can the indwelling Holy Spirit convict the soul, or is the Comforter utterly incapable of this, as some apparently suggest?

    The Holy Spirit convicts the soul of sin, of the difference between moral right and wrong since the moral law is written upon the hearts of all.

    The Holy Spirit also aids the mind in its search for empirical truth. However, the Holy Spirit does not take away one’s ability to think and reason when it comes to determining that the Bible’s claim to Divine origin and authority is superior to other persons and texts that make the very same claim – like the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon.

    We are called to used our God-given minds and powers of reason to search out the Scriptures and validate them to see if what they claim is really true. Contrary to the claims of the popular emergent church, we are not called to simply rely on what we imagine the Holy Spirit is telling us completely independent of the use of our brains and what rational thought God has given us to search out and investigate what is and is not most likely true in such matters. The Holy Spirit helps our minds to search out truth. He does not replace our minds or the effort necessary to actual search out truth for ourselves.

    As I have mentioned before, my Latter-day Saints friends tell me exactly the same thing you’re suggesting here. They tell me that they know that the Book of Mormon is superior to the Bible because, get this, the Holy Spirit tells them so.

    How then do you know that the spirit that is speaking to you is really the Holy Spirit? and not the impressions of your own mind or some other spirit besides the Holy Spirit? How do you know that you’re right and my LDS friends are wrong when both of you are making exactly the same claim to understanding truth by direct communication with the Holy Spirit? – yet being told conflicting things? Does this not give you the slightest pause?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




    0
    View Comment
  70. Pauluc: “I do not judge my beliefs by anything other than the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. I judge my science by the conventions that has been the source of the knowledge of the world that we now possess and enjoy. I do not at all confuse the two.”

    Seeing as science was created by God, just how do you presume to separate the two? Science, like every other part of our lives, should include God. You can’t profess to believe in a God that Created the earth when looking at religion and deny the Creator when looking at science. That would be “science-so-called”. True science reflects the Creator.

    You can’t have it both ways–either you believe in the Bible and God as Creator in your science or you don’t believe the Bible and God as Creator in your religion. God does not accept the divided heart.




    0
    View Comment

Comments are closed.