By Shane Hilde
Whatever hope there may be is slim to none, and LSU biology professors don’t appear to have changed their tune. The joint statement proposes they teach “Creation as a faith conviction, rather than as science.” This is what they’ve believed all along.
The joint statement goes on to say “Creation is not a scientific construct. It is a faith construct. The conviction of Divine Creation lies beyond the purview of the methods of empirical science, and cannot be subjected to them.” This is nothing new. This is one of many mental gymnastic acts performed by Seventh-day Adventists attempting to embrace contradictory world-views–evolution and creation. The evidence for creation is completely ignored, which only highlights the obvious evolutionary bias in which this statement was created. What exactly about Divine Creation do they believe is beyond the purview of the methods of empirical science? They merely offer the status quo as something new and viable.
Despite faith and science having little to do with each other, they suggest the two “can and should constructively interact.” Their approach is based on two core principles. The first principle immediately pits a Biblical concept of creation with the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of creation. The “Biblical concept of creation” and “the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of Genesis 1 and 2” will be incorporated in the classroom? What does that mean? Are they not Seventh-day Adventists themselves, and don’t Seventh-day Adventists believe their understanding of Genesis is Biblical?
There is nothing mentioned in the joint statement about what affirmation of the Adventist position means in the classroom. Will it be presented as the position or a position among others and of no particular consequence except that it is what Adventists believe? The answer is simple. The LSU biology department doesn’t believe in the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of Genesis 1-2. All they can offer is an affirmation, whatever that means, and a mention of what Adventists believe when origin discussions arise. This approach is something you could get at a secular university.
The second principle says they want to continue to teach and research in the “various disciplines of the modern sciences according to the most up-to-date and rigorous standards of the published science.” What does modern, mainstream science teach? Overwhelmingly evolutionary theory. Now the core contention is not that the theory of evolution is taught, but how it is taught in relationship to creationism. The principle concludes with their desire to include “the data which highlight the strengths and weaknesses of various models.” While this statement sounds hopeful, there are number of problems with it. First, they already said creation is not a scientific construct, thus there wouldn’t be any scientific evidence for creation, which means none would be offered. Second, they believe the data supports evolutionary theory.
There is nothing in this joint statement that suggests any changes to the status quo of the biology department. Clearly the dialogue from LSU isn’t any different than before. They have not changed and it appears they have no intention of changing.