Wesley, do you condemn me for accepting much of Genesis …

Comment on Adventist Education–at the crossroads? by Professor Kent.

Wesley, do you condemn me for accepting much of Genesis on faith rather than evidence? H-e-l-l-o?

Professor Kent Also Commented

Adventist Education–at the crossroads?

Wesley Kime: By faith, then, is it to be accepted that Adam was fed the first myth, the 6-day myth, created by God Himself, even before the first formal lie?

Where’s any physical evidence that Adam even existed? Or a Garden of Eden? Or a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Or a serpent that could speak–or even possess wings (a non-scriptural belief). Or a myth? Or God himself?

You got something to go on more compelling than faith? I’m the first to agree that some evidence can be found to suggest a young earth and the extraordinary difficulty of life coming about via natural processes, but there is much more to Genesis and our beliefs than physical evidence can ever support. There are abundant “creation” stories around the globe that are NOT based on Genesis 1, and which might be equally supported by the avialable evidence pertaining to Genesis.

If you are going to condemn scientists who want to follow evidence rather than faith–those who give up on young earth creationism–then why would you also denigrate those like myself who accept it on faith?

Adventist Education–at the crossroads?
Eddie, I’m not sure which is Sean’s postion:

– It’s okay to remain employed if you believe differently but do not publicly or privately undermine the stated beliefs of the organization.

– One cannot remain in the employ of an organization if you do disagree with the stated beliefs of the organization.

I assume his position is the former, because he obviously rejects Catholic faith and tenets (though he may eschew birth control for all I know). However, I don’t think he would tolerate anyone in the former position being an SDA employee.

Actually, Sean subscribes to a more extreme position: subscribing to SDA beliefs, even if for the right reason (Sola Scriptura and the historical-grammatical hermeneutic), is not enough. One must actually accept SEAN’S beliefs (the overwhelming weight of evidence supports young earth creationsim) rather than those of the Church (which has never taken this position), and for the same reason HE believes them (science and human reason) which differs from that of the Church (by faith), or they will be subject to public persecution, a la Ben Clausen of the Geoscience Research Institution, whom he has called for outright dismissal because Dr. Clausen accepts the Genesis account on faith rather than evidence.

Adventist Education–at the crossroads?
Thank you, Sean, for pointing out the many innapropriate uses of apologetics and the pitfalls of basing one’s faith on so-called facts.

I have known in my lifetime dozens of people who were taught and believed all this wonderful “evidence,” but gave up their faith when confronted with reality. And what was their faith based on? Science. Evidence. Human reasoning.

Yes, there IS some evidence for a recent earth, but we simply MUST be willing to live without certainty regarding earth’s history. That’s what true faith is all about–believing in that which cannot be seen.

I believe that many of my friends who walked away from the Church and their Christian beliefs would have remained in the fold had they committed to spend a portion of each day between the covers of the Bible, and another portion on their knees. Science and human reasoning are no substitute for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I am sure Ms. Ekdahl has found this to be the case in her personal experience.

Don’t listen to those who tell us we need apologetics, apologetics, apologetics. We need Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

Until the whole world hears,
Professor Kent
A professor of Christ

Recent Comments by Professor Kent

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: Science isn’t about “cold hard facts.” Science is about interpreting the “facts” as best as one can given limited background experiences and information. Such interpretations can be wrong and when shown to be wrong, the honest will in fact change to follow where the “weight of evidence” seems to be leading.

Much of science is based on highly technical data that few other than those who generate it can understand. For most questions, science yields data insufficient to support a single interpretation. And much of science leads to contradictory interpretations. Honest individuals will admit that they have a limited understanding of the science, and base their opinions on an extremely limited subset of information which they happen to find compelling whether or not the overall body of science backs it up.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: The process of detecting artefacts as true artefacts is a real science based on prior experience, experimentation, and testing with the potential of future falsification. Oh, and I do happen to own a bona fide polished granite cube.

Not from Mars. Finding the cube on Mars is the basis of your cubical caricature of science, not some artefact under your roof.

Sean Pitman:
Professor Kent: If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.

The question is not if one will catch a fish, but if one will recognize a fish as a fish if one ever did catch a fish. That’s the scientific question here. And, yet again, the clear answer to this question is – Yes.

I think I’m going to spend the afternoon with my favorite scientist–my 8-year-old nephew. We’re going to go fishing at Lake Elsinore. He wants to know if we might catch a shark there. Brilliant scientist, that lad. He already grasps the importance of potentially falsifiable empirical evidence. I’m doubtful we’ll catch a fish, but I think he’ll recognize a fish if we do catch one.

While fishing, we’ll be scanning the skies to catch a glimpse of archaeopteryx flying by. He believes they might exist, and why not? Like the SETI scientist, he’s doing science to find the elusive evidence.

He scratched himself with a fish hook the other day and asked whether he was going to bleed. A few moments later, some blood emerged from the scratched. Talk about potentilly falsifiable data derived from a brilliant experiment. I’m telling you, the kid’s a brilliant scientist.

What’s really cool about science is that he doesn’t have to publish his observations (or lack thereof) to be doing very meaningful science. He doesn’t even need formal training or a brilliant mind. Did I mention he’s the only autistic scientist I’ve ever met?

As most everyone here knows, I have a poor understanding of science. But I’m pretty sure this nephew of mine will never lecture me or Pauluc on what constitutes science. He’s the most humble, polite, and soft-spoken scientist I’ve ever met.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: I don’t think you understand the science or rational arguments behind the detection of an artefact as a true artefact. In fact, I don’t think you understand the basis of science in general.

I’m amused by this response. I don’t think you understand the limits of a philosophical argument based on a hypothetical situation, which is all that your convoluted cube story comprises, and nothing more. Whether the artefact is an artefact is immaterial to an argument that is philosophical and does not even consider an actual, bona fide artefact.

Sean Pitman: You argue that such conclusions aren’t “scientific”. If true, you’ve just removed forensic science, anthropology, history in general, and even SETI science from the realm of true fields of scientific study and investigation.

Forensic science, anthropology, and history in general all assume that humans exist and are responsible for the phenomenon examined. Authorities in these disciplines can devise hypotheses to explain the phenomenon they observe and can test them.

SETI assumes there might be non-human life elsewhere in the universe and is nothing more than an expensive fishing expedition. If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.

The search for a granite cube on Mars is nothing more than an exercise in hypotheticals. Call it science if you insist; I don’t see how it is different than a child waiting breathlessly all night beside the fireplace hoping to find Santa coming down the chimney.

I guess the number of science colleagues I acknowledge needs to grow exponentially. I apologize to those I have failed to recognize before as scientists.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: The observation alone, of the granite cube on an alien planet, informs us that the creator of the cube was intelligent on at least the human level of intelligence – that’s it. You are correct that this observation, alone, would not inform us as to the identity or anything else about the creator beyond the fact that the creator of this particular granite cube was intelligent and deliberate in the creation of the cube.

Your frank admission concedes that the creator of the cube could itself be an evolved being, and therefore you’re back to square one. Thus, your hypothetical argument offers no support for either evolutionism or creationism, and cannot distinguish between them.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
I have taken much abuse by pointing out the simple fact that SDAs have specific interpretations of origins that originate from scripture and cannot be supported by science (if science is “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence”). The beliefs include:

o fiat creation by voice command from a supernatural being
o all major life forms created in a 6-day period
o original creation of major life forms approximately 6,000 years ago

None of these can be falsified by experimental evidence, and therefore are accepted on faith.

Sean Pitman’s responses to this are predictably all over the place. They include:

[This] is a request for absolute demonstration. That’s not what science does.” [totally agreed; science can’t examine these beliefs]

The Biblical account of origins can in fact be supported by strong empirical evidence.” [not any of these three major interpretations of Genesis 1]

Does real science require leaps of faith? Absolutely!

I think it’s fair to say from Pitman’s perspective that faith derived from science is laudable, whereas faith derived from scripture–God’s word–is useless.

Don’t fret, Dr. Pitman. I won’t lure you into further pointless discussion. While I am greatly amused by all of this nonsense and deliberation (hardly angry, as you often suggest) for a small handful of largely disinterested readers, I am finished. I won’t be responding to any further remarks or questions.