@Sean Pitman: Every reference you give is filtered through a …

Comment on Adventist Education–at the crossroads? by pauluc.

@Sean Pitman:

Every reference you give is filtered through a creationist source. Frankly in my personal dealings with CMI they still practice as Ian Plimer has suggested in his book. Judged by the conclusion of the Kitzmiller case, the behaviour of the Dicovery institute vis a vis the Wedge document I have to conclude I must have great scepticism of the objectivity of statements from such sources.

And what was the payout he received after the OSC investigation?
You say;

“If he had also presented the paper to “the Counsel”, it would have been rejected for publication out of hand. If you do not see this, you simply do not understand the extreme bias that exists within the scientific community against anyone who thinks to challenge fundamental aspects of modern evolutionary theory.”

Not at all like what happens at this site, within the adventst church under Ted Wilson or what you envisage for LSU.

You must understand that we all start from certain assumptions. On origins you start from a certain reading of an inerrant canon and the writings of EG White. If you at all understand science it is based on the assumption that nature can be explained by natural law. To then inject miracles into that understanding is to subvert the core process. That as you know is the basis of the wedge document and stated aim of the Philip Johnson doctrine. Introduce miracles back in science. That is Meyers objective. Not surprisingly when a person tries to do this there is then an assumption that the interloper either does not have the intelligence to understand the rules of the game or is being subversive. Meyers from the discovery institute clearly falls in the second category. Neither ignorance nor malice is considered a virtue within the scientific community.

The irony is as I have pointed out repeatedly you as a practioner of evidence based medicine (Admittedly I am making an assumption here as you have been LLU trained) do adopt a naturalistic approach to medicine. In this there is a clear disparity with your writings on origins.


pauluc Also Commented

Adventist Education–at the crossroads?
@Sean Pitman:

I have to confess that I think you seem to frequently skate close to the edge of deception with your use of citations. You cite Davies’ (a Diest) in his review of Polikinghorne (a theistic evolutionsist) to support your notion of ID and seem oblivious to the thrust of both their works which discard ID as a recycled “God of the Gaps”. ID has been judged as making no sense historically or philosphically by scientists and theologians alike but as you have previously articulated you view with disdain any appeal to consensus or authority unless they are accompanied by a claim to the mantle of a prophet.

I am tempted to offer rejoinders to your comments on a revisionist history of the events of 1980 (Creation was not at all at issue in 1980) but do not think that would be profitable to you or me. Suffice it to say I think you are almost certainly fated to play a significant part in the next Adventist purge for which I am sure you can expect support from Norman McNulty.

Perhaps my spelling mistake confused you but I would have thought that Norman would not be unfamiliar to you as he was considered by the review one of the 20 outstanding young adventists and like you he has been educated from cradle to board certification within Adventism. He now works in an Adventist hospital in Trinidad.

MDs seem to feature at pivotal points in adventist history. You might dismiss Kellogg as pantheist. I would have thought that one step up on a Diest. I will be fascinated to see in 20 years time what your relationship to the church or Christianity will be and would not judge Kellogg prematurely.

I remain as perplexed as ever how you can hold views on the the nature of intelligent design as a natural phenomena and the requirement for faith to be subservient to reason and evidence but deny anyone in church employ any leeway to explore or articulate anything beyond what you consider truth.

I appreciate your responses to my questions and the glimpses I have gained into the mind of a person who seems to discern truth and sees the justice in imposing it on others.

God bless and give you as much insight into his Grace.


Adventist Education–at the crossroads?
@Sean Pitman:
To summarize this post
1] Intelligence and functional complexity.
I must say your ideas on intelligence and origins of complexity seem increasingly mystical to me. I think you would find that J Harvey Kellogg is a kindred spirit with your extended view of intelligence as both a natural and divine and creative identity. In particular I would commend Chapter “The mystery of Life” of his book “the living temple”

You say
“The origin of intelligence, or high levels of functional information, cannot be explained by science using mindless mechanisms.”
Kellogg writes;
“Life is not a blind force. Let us note that the operations of life are not blind, aimless confused uncertain or indefinite but uniform logical intelligent, sensible. When one looks at the process of nature he is at once impressed with the infinite common sense displayed: he recognizes an intelligence, a sense of fitness of proportion of adaptation which is like his own.”

You say
“Just because the intelligence was not of human origin or seemed to come from outside of this world doesn’t mean that intelligence was somehow magical or supernatural. It may be at such a high level that it may appear to us feeble minded humans as being God-like.”
Kellogg writes
“Even in the inanimate world the evidence of an intelligent power is ever present before us…..”
“.. every object and operation in nature speaks of an active controlling Intelligence possessed of infinite power and capacity.”
“There is a clear complete satisfactory explanation of the most subtle the most marvelous phenomena of nature — namely an infinite intelligence working out its purposes. God is the explanation of nature, — not a God outside nature but in nature, manifesting himself through and in all the objects movements and varied phenomena of the universe. ”

2] Church endorsement of your views.
You suggest;
“I think it is very much in line with what Ted Wilson had in mind (and I know this through a very reliable source).”

Do share more. I would be surprised if he endorses the view you have expressed in this post of a “natural” intelligence which because of our limited understand and comprehention it therefore appears Godlike. To me that appears way too new age or pantheistic to fit with Teds canonical view of Ellen White and her condemnation of JHK. But I am apt to be wrong on this as I am on many things.

I do agree with you that nature is not enough and is an insufficient explanation of the universe. There is an intelligibility to the Universe and that things like Love, suffering and beauty call out for higher level explanations. But in this I agree with theologians such as Haught, McGrath and Polkinghorne who see the intelligibility of the universe and the anthropic principle as well as those higher functions as supporting a notion of the divine but do not simplistically restrict the divine to pugs for the holes in our knowledge or immediate explanations for origins.

3] The politics of the church.
You say
“That’s great. I much more admire a person who cannot honestly represent a Church, or any other organization for that matter, who goes and works for an organization that he/she can in fact honestly represent.”

Did you leave the armed forces when the government became Democrat rather than Republican? (I am of course assuming you are republican in political persuasion but given the statistics I have a high probability of being right). Do you agree in every point with your current employer? Will you resign when they express for example a view on abortion with which you disagree? Like the pharisees of old you are placing on church employees a burden much more than I suspect you would be prepared to bear.

4] Brinsmead.
I do not at all think you understand Brinsmead as you think you do. Filtered as your knowledge undoubtedly is through the lens of your fathers church employ and the associated retricted flow of information through official church channels. Do you actually know the three phases of the teachings of Brindsmead and when they agreed or disagreed with Des Ford or with people like Herbert Douglass? If you did understand the perfectionism of early Brindsmead you would know that the messages on 1844 that were delivered by Norman McNulty at the last GYC are precisely early Brindsmead perfectionism against which Dr Des Ford spoke often. I know from his recorded presentation on Adventist history that McNulty know little of Des Fords teachings and seems to have gained much of his understanding from his father in law P Gerard Damsteegt who was one of the three who formulated the official response written in the ministry in 1980 after Glacier View and the defrocking Ford.

Anyway history is unimportant unless as Ellen White say we forget it and condemn our selves to a fearful future. This unfortunately is happening as you now seek to foment a purging of the church.


Adventist Education–at the crossroads?
@Sean Pitman:

You say

“I am board certified in anatomic, clinical and hematopathology. I’ve also worked for several years as an ER doc back when I was in the Army and have been involved in a number of forensic investigations. You are ignorant to think that a “naturalistic approach” to medicine means that only mindless natural causes can be invoked to explain all situations that doctors encounter. If this were true, the crimes scenes I helped to investigate would never have been detectable as crime scenes. No one would have ever been charged with a deliberate crime of any kind if your notions and concepts of the “miraculous” and of “naturalism” were correct.

I hate to break this to you, but intelligence is “natural”.”

I seem to have caused offence in my post in talking of your medical practice and exptertise. I do apologize. It seems I must also apologize for in my “ignorance”, in my “naive” state and because I have my “head in the sand” I have assumed all along that when you were talking of intellegent design you were lifting the code from DI in its commonly accepted sense and were talking of divine intervention. That you were using the code in the DI sense of direct divine intervention as an acceptable explanation for origins that must be introduced into science. I now find that you are implying in your model of origins there is no divine intervention and no miracles. Intelligent design is natural. I am sorry I misunderstood. I am now in a dilemma as I really am confused on what you mean by your apparently expansive concept of intelligent design that you also use in your work in forensic pathology.

You seem to have missed my point. The point that I was trying to make albeit badly was that I doubt that in your medical practice you use the word “miracles”, that you rarely say that “divine being unkown” were responsible for some observed action and instead would use the term “persons unkown”. I doubt that you use angels, demons, satan or God frequently as diagnostic terms or would treat psychosis with cloves of garlic around the neck or that you would use prayer and fasting as the primary or only treatment for epilepsy or that you have written in your medical notes demon possession as a diagnosis with any explanatory value. But I may be mistaken.

In contrast on questions of origins you say the likelihood that the current diversity of life on this planet is statistically so improbable and shows feature of design in the genetic code, the complexity of the biochemistry of life and the phenomena of human intelligence and self awareness that it could not arise by mechanisms that exist on this planet without intellegent design by which I have always assumed you meant forces from outside this world. What most people would consider divine or miraculous. What I have assumed is that you were using the intelligent design argument in the way it is usually used. Arguing that the conventional “naturalistic” argument is insufficent or improbably that the only adequate explanation is divine intervention. A typical God of the Gaps were God is introduced as the explanation for the unkown.

It seems you have a much more creative and expansive view of intelligent design that would make it natural and therefore clearly scientific

That is a fascinating take but I am not sure it is what Ted Wilson had in mind when he asked for the church to move forward.

On the other issues

1] No he didnt get any money because the conclusion was that he had a hostile work environment (much like the outsider at this site raising his head and being subjected to whack a mole by Sean Pitman, Bob Ryan or David Read) but had no material loss. He still worked for the NIH NCBI had an office and all access to the Smithsonian and he had left (I assume he was pushed) his editorial position before the publication of the Myers paper. He never as disclosed his reviewers identity which to me is also surprising.

2] No I dont and have never and will never actually teach in an SDA school. I have the utmost respect for those who sacrifice themselves and would do so. They subject themselves to the whims of theological fashion, the vagaries of lobby groups and concerned brethren. I have lived on research grants for most of my working life but the uncertainty of research grant funding is nothing compared to the political landscape of church employment where you risk not only unemployment but the shunning and stripping of self worth, and of social structure associated with accusations of heresy.

It is OK your children are safe. I know that this is always a parental concern that their children understand the truth as their parents do and avoid the pitfalls parents see. I certainly do not try to make anyone least of all my children a clone of me. I do have a daughter who has been educated in an adventist institution, teaches at an Adventist school and whose current ambition is to attend the next GYC. As a parent I can only hope and pray that she continues to see the Grace of God as the central theme of the Gospel and negotiates the path of faith through the destructive forces of recycled Brinsmead perfectionsism that is last generation theology. We lived through the 1980s and have seen a purge up close.



Recent Comments by pauluc

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Bob Helm: With that said, I find your views to be spiritually dangerous and often scientifically weak. I detect a lot of smoke in your posts, but very little light. I hope you will continue to ponder these issues and try to have an open mind.

You are most welcome to your opinion and I know you would like nothing better than that anyone who takes Christianity and the Bible seriously but not literally to just go away. It is much better not to know of any possible problems with one current views. It very hard to get to the science when we cannot even agree on what is science. What passes as science on this site is so completely dismissive of its methodological basis and history and is entrained in a specific supernatural world view that allows arbitrary acceptance of any observation as miraculous. I think Roger’s paper may well be relevant to Adventist that believe that Christianity has and must respond to a careful study of physical reality by reconsidering its interpretations of the word of the Lord, but as Sean has indicated you are exception to that characterization. I still do not really understand why you should be interested at all in any science. It seems a bit messy to worry about facts. It really seems an unnecessary bother to argue whether the precambrian/cambrian boundary or the upper cenzoic (is that really what you meant?) as the evidence of a divine intervention.

Dont worry I do have an open mind which is why I still peruse this site to see how more knowledgable fundamentalist Adventists think. I wont worry you further.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: So, you do see the need for a police force and a military to maintain civil society, but somehow Christians should not provide what is an otherwise necessary part of that civil society? I’m with Abraham Lincoln on this one when he noted the inconsistency of such a position – like Orthodox Jews paying others to turn their lights on for them on Sabbath

On that logic you should not have any issue with working on Sabbath in any profession serving 24/7. Be that computer support, utilities firefighters. Those giving up those jobs because of inability to have sabbath observance were all deluded. They as Christians should be prepared to “provide what is otherwise a necessary part of civil society”

You cant have it both ways. You cant because of a moral postion claim that Adventists should have exception from working on Sabbath and at the same time deny me the right to consider immoral some occupations that may be very utilitarian in a world full of selfishness and the human acts of evil that comes from that.

Lets for a moment step back from lala land. Where are we and where did we come from on this thread?

1] You posted a rehash of all your usual arguments in response to an article about the more mainstream Adventist positions that may impact the way Adventism reacts to conventional science. All very straight forward.
2] The contention was that Adventism has accepted process for the orgin and evolution of the inanimate world. The birth and death of galaxys and stars and planets in black holes supernova and impacts of spiralling planets. This is where it gets really strange.
3] You contend that Adventism has always accepted the conclusions of that process but then expand on your view of the process which involves a little bit of order and natural law but large amounts of magic. God waited a few billions years until the interstellar material generated by the big band condensed into planets onto which God created life mature and complete. This included Heaven the place of his throne-room which he populated with physical being angels which it is implied have both mass and composition and metabolism.
4] When it was suggested that the same processes and natural law resulted in life on this planet this was claimed inconceivable and would never be done by any process involving life and death. Instead the life we see now is in reality designed to live for ever and has be chemically changed because it is deprived of a particular form of nutrient from a tree that existed on the Earth some 6000 years ago.
5] The inconguity of practicing medicine by the principles of process of natural law and the technology resulting from both the processes of the innanimate and the animate world rather than accepting the much more important process of divine intervention seems to be completely obsure.
6] When someone says that the process of life and death that gave us the physical substance of our universe is also the basis of the creation of life here he must be animal hating sadistic psychopath who cannot belieive in a God of love and grace and is lying when he says that non-violence characterizes the children of the heavenly father for one must always recognize that peace and freedom are only obtained over the bodies of 1/3 of the angels of heaven and the eternal physical and violent struggle against those who would practice violence.

I really cannot understand you Sean. Your ways are way beyond me. I am just sorry that Bob seems to be drawn into your twighlight zone.


Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Sean Pitman: sorry but your curious amalgam of magic and biology is not really comprehensible to me as a biologist or as a Christian . it. is neither logical or biologically feasible

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: However, according to the Bible and Ellen White, before the Fall God specifically directed nature so that all sentient life was protected in a manner that there was no suffering or death. By eating from the “Tree of Life” God provided constant renewal and regeneration that worked against what would otherwise be inevitable entropic changes, decay, and death. It was by deliberately stepping away from the true Source of eternal life that mankind stepped away from God and into the full workings of mindless natural law alone – which does in fact inevitably lead to suffering and death.

And this interpretation is precisely why you need a theodicy. Where is the justice in killing all for the sake of the sins of one woman+man? It makes no sense logically. If they were conditionally immortal because of eating of the tree of life then did all the animals in all the world congregate around this tree like beasts around a water hole on the serengeti. how exactly do you as you are wont to do translate the account into a literal reality. And which beast had to come and eat. Or was it symbolic? Oh now that’s a thought.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: Come on now. Even I can imagine limitations to reproduction or the turnover of sentient carbon-based life. Surely you can at least imagine something similar? I know God can since such a world is described in the Bible and in the writings of Ellen White. Think about it…

Of course I have. This is not simply about reproduction. That is trivial. This is about metabolic process. Show me a carbon based life form that does not grow or metabolize anything and I will show you an organism in stasis as a spore “living” millions of year in amber. That is; effectively dead.

Real life cannot exist without metabolic process in a carbon based world and God has sanctified all this by a process of making good out of evil from the death of one comes life for others. Just as in the biological world so in the spiritual. By his death we have life. Just as God sanctified the practice of sacrifice of appeasement practiced by most cultures for thousands of years before and showed that in the Judeo-Christian tradition these same acts of sacrifice were emblematic of a monotheistic God that would become incarnate and bring life from death. So also he took the preceding accounts of creation derived as they were of the mesopotamian valley and recast it as an account of the monotheistic God who is above all but comes and dwells among us to become one of us. Participating in our life and death but showing us the importance of the transcendent life of the spirit that supercedes carbon based life and its inherent death. It is no fairy tale of 6 impossible things before breakfast. It is not pie in the sky by and by. It is rooted in a real world and it is about the transcendence of love and grace that is acted out in a real physical world by the incarnate God and us as we follow as His disciples.

That is the message I get from the images and visions of the Canon and EG White. But of course I read it for the message that it conveys not as a scientific text. That is where we fundamentally differ.