Comment on Adventist Education–at the crossroads? by Jan Long.
Sean ===> Iâ€™m not sure how what I actually wrote in response to your article suggested to you that Iâ€™m trying to diminish the scientific enterprise?
I read widely enough, to have some understanding of the approach generally taken by those who hold to a literal reading of Genesis. It usually consists of engaging in pseudo-science and then passing it off as science (by the way, I have not read your work, so I am not alleging that you specifically engage in pseudo-science).
The way this usually occurs is to take a straightforward explanation of the data that creates a problem for the literalist, and rather than deal with it honestly, the general practice is to come up with a wild scenario that will account for the data that would otherwise says something quite different if the data were just accepted on its own terms at face value. What I have discovered is that with almost all the important scientific data it is necessary for the literalists to play games so as to get it to say what we want it to say. While I donâ€™t know if this describe you I cannot help but notice that you seem to think that a literal 6-day creation week is apparently â€œscientific.â€ As you no doubt know, there are virtually no qualified scientists who would concur, outside of a few who superimpose a Genesis literalism onto their operating presuppositions. To me that speaks volumes.
I start with the premise that God doesnâ€™t lie, and that therefore he doesnâ€™t arrange the data to lead us astray. If the data is consistently telling us the same story, we should probably be very careful about arrogantly ignoring the story it is telling. Perhaps part of the equation worth examining is the assumptions that we bring to our understanding of revelation.
You mention evolution, which is outside the scope of my article (though I recognize that it will likely get entangled in an FB #6 rewrite). The only point I will make here is that it is possible to posit the reality of evolution on some level without concluding that it is a divine process. See the following link:
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Jan Long Also Commented
Adventist Education–at the crossroads?
Sean Pitman: Question:
If Greenlandâ€™s ice is currently melting at a fairly rapid rate, one would think that Greenlandâ€™s ice was melting at an even faster rate during the Hypsithermal period where the temperatures around Greenland were significantly warmer, year-round, than they are today â€“ for thousands of years. Given this well accepted fact of mainstream science, how is it that mainstream scientists also propose, at the same time, that the ice sheets on Greenland actually survived thousands of years of such warm temperatures? After all, modern scientists are so worried about modern â€œglobal warmingâ€ that many are suggesting that Greenlandâ€™s ice will be gone within just 1,000 years and some are suggesting that it may be gone within a few hundred years.
Greenland is a large land mass that is 4 times larger than France. Three quarters of the country lies within the Arctic Circle. Only 16% of the area is devoid of permanent snow and ice.
Portions of the ice sheet are at elevations of 10,000 feet. The melting that is occurring is in the coastal regions where the temperatures in the summer can get up into the 40(f) degree range. The upper elevations are in a permafrost zone. Even where there was rapid warming in the past, it would only impact the warmer coastal areas–not the higher elevation ice sheet.
Adventist Education–at the crossroads?
If you re-read my post that has raised your ire, you will discover that you have misinterpreted my comments on paradigm shift.
The point was, some are suspicious of science and sometimes it is because the paradigms do shift–what is understood today is revised or worse tomorrow.
My point was, all human efforts to come to a complete understanding of the reality (truth)is futile.
Some seek a refuge in revelation, yet Jesus presented us with a paradigm shift of his own, upending much of the world view that had preceded it.
In the case of revelation there are 2 human components at work. The writers were human, bringing their limited world view into the text, and this, irrespective of any divine insights. If this is not a true statement, then SDAs should add an FB #29 stating that we believe in inerrancy.
The fact that SDAs don’t believe in inerrancy should make us more conscious of the other human component related to revelation, that being the reader, and the certitudes that we sometimes superimpose upon interpretations.
Adventist Education–at the crossroads?
Hi Sean; It appears that there is a wide chasm between us. You cite as authoritative a link on ice core science from 1991!!! That is 20 years ago and hopefully you aren’t suggesting that it would have much relevance today?
I appreciate your evangelistic zeal, and I wish you the best. I will continue to study and if I find evidence that ice core science is bogus, I will reconsider my position. Until then I have no choice but to stick with science on this. Jan
Recent Comments by Jan Long
Bringing the Real World to Genesis: Why Evolution is an Idea that Won’t Die—IV [A Review]
I am a little late to the conversation, but thought I should clear up a misconception articulated by the author of this article. This is intended to be my only statement.
In this article the above author states the following with respect to a series I wrote for:Spectrum “…He also dabbles in the creation/evolution debate, having been converted to neo-Darwinism from traditional Adventism. Recently, Mr. Long published a series of articles on the topic for Spectrum Magazine in defense of the Darwinian perspective of origins in contrast to the church’s position.”
The author will be hard pressed to find anything I have written that would allow a fair-minded person to conclude that I have “converted to neo-Darwinism from traditional Adventism,” or that defends Darwinism per se. For those who may not have been reading the Spectrum series let me offer up three categories of individuals that will provide some perspective on this series. It is as follows:
1. There is a sizeable category of Adventists for whom data matters not one whit. We can see, hear, taste, feel, or smell something, but if it does not agree 100% with preconceived conclusions, then the senses are not to be trusted. For this group there is no amount of data that will ever modify the thinking, and on those occasions where data is problematic a good rationalization will take care of it—always.
2. The second category of individuals fall under the classification of “scientism,” where it is assumed that science alone can render the truth about reality. I doubt there are many Adventists that fall into this group, though I am sure there may be some.
3. The final category of individuals does not hitch its wagon to any dogma, but is primarily concerned with the search for truth—wherever that leads. As such, it is interested in both God’s book of revelation and his book of nature. Both are respected because it is assumes that there is but one reality and that therefore neither book is in conflict with the other.
It is this third category that I personally identify with and is part of the operating presupposition of this series. I am not a neo-Darwinist as the author alleges, but I certainly don’t summarily dismiss the data that points to a reality that is quite different from the one that the Church’s pioneers understood. Does science have a lot more to learn? Most definitely! Do Adventists have a lot to learn? Yes, unless we have join the flat-earth society! I would encourage readers to actually read from a wide range of scientific disciplines—learn from the real in-the-trenches-experts rather than from me, or charlatan “arm-chair experts.” Develop some perspective on the issues; develop some maturity of understanding about the data; the methods employed and how and why science has reached the conclusions it has.