Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’

By Sean Pitman

Ervin Taylor, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California, Riverside.  He is also a long-time supporter, executive publisher, and contributor to the “progressive” journal Adventist Today.

In response to my own position that the SDA faith, and Christianity in general, has the support of strong empirical evidence, Dr. Taylor presented a very interesting, and a very old, argument (Original Post):

I don’t think many of those of us who read Sean’s statements on this and other web sites appreciate how truly heroic is the task he has set out for himself.

His interpretation of the Bible requires that all life must be very young—less than 10,000 years. However, he is not content in just leaving it there as his personal belief about the history of the physical world based on his own interpretation of an ancient text.

He believes that there must be solid modern scientific evidence to support the conclusions he has reached because of his religious beliefs. He is thus forced to call into question and reject the foundational conclusions of the essentially all of the scientific disciplines which deal with earth history, the fossil record, and human prehistory.

I don’t think the causal reader is aware of what kind of heroic odyssey upon which Sean has embarked. He must reject all of the mainline conclusions of 99.9% of all those scientists who are involved in all isotopic dating methods, and all other types of dating methods including dendrochronology, varve dating, ice core dating, stable isotope studies of ocean cores, and on and on. The very long list of scientific conclusions he is required to reject is truly impressive. He must believe that all of the scientists involved in the study of these topics are wrong and he is right. I’m thinking of a word that describes the attitude that Sean must have to be able to do this.

Anyone reading his web site must be impressed by how many topics he has studied. This is certainly appropriate and to be lauded. But then a miracle occurs! He always finds some major, fundamental mistake or misunderstanding that all of the specialists in each field who have spend their professional lives studying either don’t know about, or ignore, or misinterpret or something.

Now one might very impressed if he might accomplish this in even one or two instances. But he must come up with reasons and arguments that refute conclusions reached throughout the entire range of scientific fields which yield evidence that the world and life are very, very old.

This is why I believe it is appropriate to call Sean’s crusade truly heroic. I continue to wonder how he has the time to practice his medical specialty which I understand is pathology.

One has to love appeals to authority like this. Such arguments are often used as an attempt to avoid directly answering the questions or challenges against mainstream thinking. One can always say, “Well, I can’t answer your arguments or questions myself, but I know you’re wrong because 99.9% of the experts disagree with you.”

Was not this very same argument used against Noah? Didn’t Jesus Himself come against similar arguments? What about anyone who steps out from the general opinion of the majority of the day? While I do agree that the majority opinion, especially the majority opinion of the best available experts in a field of study, should be carefully considered, there are many many examples throughout ancient and even modern history where the majority of experts have not only been wrong, but painfully wrong. Science itself would proceed much more slowly, if at all, if no one questioned the established wisdom of the day.

Look, I’m only challenging people to consider the generally available evidence for themselves. I’ve decided that this issue is of such importance for me personally that I’m not simply going to take someone else’s word for it. I’m going to read up and investigate the claims of mainstream scientists for myself to see if I can actually understand them as valid.

When I first started my investigation in earnest some 15 years ago, I did so with no small amount of fear and trepidation. A great deal was on the line for me. I had decided that if the claims of mainstream science were indeed valid, then I would have to leave the SDA Church behind as hopelessly out of touch with reality. I began my search with what I was most familiar – genetics. If Darwinian-style evolution happens or doesn’t happen, it happens or doesn’t happen genetically. What I found was rather shocking to me at the time. I found that the Darwinian mechanism of random mutations combined with natural selection was statistically untenable – dramatically so. Given billions or even trillions of years of time, it was hopelessly inadequate to explain the origin of novel functional biological information beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. I also found that the detrimental mutation rates were far far too high for animals with relatively slow reproduction rates, like all mammals for example, to avoid eventual genetic meltdown and extinction over a relatively short period of time – no more than one or two million years max.

While I was shocked by the obvious nature of the statistical problems for the Darwinian mechanism that I discovered, I was even more shocked by the arguments used to prop it up… arguments that were based almost exclusively on imagination or unreasonable extrapolations of low-level examples of evolution in action. I was especially shocked at the use, by modern scientists, of Mendelian variation as a basis for Darwinian-style evolution over time. Mendelian variation isn’t evolution at all. It is simply a difference in expression of the same underlying gene pool of options where the gene pool itself doesn’t change.

Now that I knew, for sure, that 99.9% of mainstream scientists were wrong when it came to the creative potential of the Darwinian mechanism to explain both the origin and diversity of living things that we see today, it was much much easier for me to believe that 99.9% of mainstream scientists could also be wrong in their interpretation of the fossil record. While interpretations of fossils and the geologic column is not as definitively precise and conclusive as dealing with genetics and the Darwinian mechanism, I’ve still found a great deal of evidence, which to me, appears to significantly counter the mainstream perspective on origins while being, at the same time, quite consistent with the Biblical perspective.

So, there you have it. This was my path and the basic reason why I am currently opposed to 99.9% of mainstream scientists. And Erv, if he is honest with himself, knows that anyone who thinks that there is any empirical evidence for God whatsoever, is opposed to 99.9% of mainstream scientists who claim that there is no empirical evidence for God’s existence whatsoever. Perhaps this is why Erv, when asked, before a large audience in the Loma Linda University Church, what he would tell his own granddaughter if she asked him for evidence of God’s existence said, “I don’t know”.

Now, that’s an admirably honest statement coming from an agnostic who definitely wants to believe in God, as Erv claims he does. However, it is also a rather sad statement. It would be much better and much more hopeful if we as Christians, and Seventh-day Adventists in particular, would be able to answer our own young people who ask for evidence of God’s existence and the credibility of the Bible (aka “ancient text”) with something more than, “I don’t know”.

Are those of us who are Adventists simply in the Church for social reasons? – as Dr. Taylor is?  Or, do we really believe that the crazy founders of this Church (as Dr. Taylor describes them) were on to something? – That the claims of the Biblical authors are literally true and that we really do have an important message, a commission from God, to tell the world about the Creative and Redemptive Power of the one who made us and died to save us?

This is why I believe it is appropriate to call Sean’s crusade truly heroic. I continue to wonder how he has the time to practice his medical specialty which I understand is pathology.

Lots of people wonder that. I wonder about that myself sometimes. Yet, somehow, I’ve managed to pass boards in anatomic, clinical and hematopathology and to maintain an active full-time practice in a 6-member pathology group taking care of two hospitals, several surrounding clinics and numerous individual medical practices. I also have my family to enjoy, to include my wife and new little one year old boy Wesley. All I can say is that I get up early in the morning, often at 4 or 5 am, to start my “work” – both professional as well as my work in other fields of interest.

Little does Dr. Taylor realize his own significant contribution to this particular “crusade” within the SDA Church in support of Creation. Without the antagonism of Dr. Taylor, this effort, to include this particular website, would most likely never have gotten off the ground much less have achieved the level of exposure that it currently enjoys within the SDA Church. So, for that I am deeply grateful and most thankful.

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172 thoughts on “Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’

  1. Our Dear Ken, on another thread, not as relevant to the point at hand as this new one, you commented on Erv’s not so obscurely satirical encomium to Sean by comparing Sean to Don Quixote. I can hear you chuckling. I, chuckling too, took issue suggesting Daniel instead of Don. Even as I pressed “submit comment” I feared my literary alliterative balance of Dan and Don (Quixote) wouldn’t work for you (as it should for Erv). Inconsiderate of me to assume you might be familiar with a character (and Book) from, ahem, the Bible. I’ll drop my usual too-free association mode and explain in detail, leaving Sean to explain, heroically, Genesis 1. Daniel is (not was) famous not for tilting with windmills, certainly not for tilting and spinning messages, but for not being among the 99.9%, against whom he stood up utterly, and successfully. The analogy of Dan to our Sean is too fine not to be sent out straight. Meanwhile Quixote flails on.

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  2. Sean,

    I understand better how you have reached your conclusions. You have a powerful bias that the Bible must be literal history, and that predisposition has driven much of your scientific thinking. What still mystifies me is that you attempt to take the open issues of science and use them as an argument that a short history is equally as believable (I think you claim more believable) as a long history. That is one huge leap.

    I’ve read parts of your personal Web site, and it seems to me that you have failed to establish your points. In what you have written, I have found no compelling evidence to believe a short history. You do well in raising doubts about the standard model, but doubts on one side are not a convincing argument on the other side.

    You do not have any detectable theory of how the earth could possibly come to be as it is within about 10,000 years. Your discussion above again misses the major issue. The evidence that is at odds with a short history is much greater than the evidence that is at odds with a long history. You have come nowhere close to showing otherwise. Ten thousand years is a very short period of time.

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  3. I had decided that if the claims of mainstream science were indeed valid, then I would have to leave the SDA Church behind as hopelessly out of touch with reality. I began my search with what I was most familiar – genetics

    This is exactly where atheist scientist – Zoologist Walter Veith found his evidence that evolutionism was fatally flawed. When he presented this evidence before a forum of his peers at the university where he lectured – he was amazed at the distinctively “religious” nature of their rejection of science in their sacrifice-all-for-evolutionism crusade.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  4. Carl and Sean,
    Great summary Sean!
    Carl, I do not think that Sean’s point is that he was trying to prove 6000-10,000 years. He was trying to decided which was more tenable–the traditional Biblical understanding of Genesis or the more Evolutionary from a Scientific perspective. Given the evidence, he feels that the weight is further from the ultra long–both take as certain amount of faith in the end. You just start with having to decide between the 2 ideas–Short or really long–I don’t think that there is a third choice religiously or scientifically out there at this moment.

    My feeling is that it is always going to be nice to see some evidence but in the end, you will have to decide in faith. That is what you will do with the science or with the religion. Right at this time, I think we are all going to have to chose if we are going to make a religion out of science or not. If not, I think we better stick with what the Bible says and it is pretty straight forward to me. Then, it will always be nice to get a little back up from the science but we don’t have to.

    Sincerely,

    Shannon

    PS–The Bible advises not to sleep with your neighbor’s wife. If society said otherwise, and 99.9% of experts said it was okay, would you do it? Some things we just will get wrong.

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  5. @Carl:

    I understand better how you have reached your conclusions. You have a powerful bias that the Bible must be literal history, and that predisposition has driven much of your scientific thinking.

    It’s not just my own bias. This was also the bias of the Biblical authors themselves. The author(s) of the Genesis account were not writing allegorically. They were attempting to present to their readers an accurate account of real historical events. This is clearly how Jesus interpreted the Genesis account. And, most modern Hebrew scholars, even liberal Hebrew scholars like James Barr, do not question that the Genesis account was always intended to be taken quite literally.

    What still mystifies me is that you attempt to take the open issues of science and use them as an argument that a short history is equally as believable (I think you claim more believable) as a long history. That is one huge leap.

    It isn’t nearly as big a leap for me anymore after 15 years of study into this topic. As far as I’m able to tell, the weight of evidence strongly favors the young-life position and works quite strongly against the mainstream position on the ancient origin of life on this planet and its evolutionary progress over hundreds of millions of years of time.

    I’ve read parts of your personal Web site, and it seems to me that you have failed to establish your points. In what you have written, I have found no compelling evidence to believe a short history. You do well in raising doubts about the standard model, but doubts on one side are not a convincing argument on the other side.

    You’re in good company in your conclusions. Certainly the majority agree with you. However, you are mistaken when you say that the presentation of doubts on the one side is not a convincing argument for the other. Have you ever heard of the null hypothesis? Evidence against the hypothesis in question is in fact evidence for the null hypothesis.

    For example, say I find pealed a banana laying on a rock out in the middle of nowhere. Say that it looks and smells and even tastes “fresh”. Say that someone comes along and tells me their theory that this banana has really been sitting on this rock for ten years. If I can present evidence that indicates that such a hypothesis is not consistent with the known decay rate of bananas, this evidence not only effectively falsifies the long-age hypothesis, but supports the “fresh” hypothesis at the same time.

    Exactly the same thing is true for evaluating the mainstream theories on origins. Presenting evidence that cannot easily be explained by the long-age model not only argues against the validity of that model, but, at the same time, argues in favor of a shorter-age model.

    You do not have any detectable theory of how the earth could possibly come to be as it is within about 10,000 years. Your discussion above again misses the major issue. The evidence that is at odds with a short history is much greater than the evidence that is at odds with a long history. You have come nowhere close to showing otherwise. Ten thousand years is a very short period of time.

    Again, your view is certainly shared by the majority. However, as far as I can tell, your own arguments, and the arguments of your mainstream colleagues, while certainly abundant, do not carry the weight of those features of living things and of the fossil record which very strongly argue for a very recent history of all life on Earth. Such evidences should be presented within our own schools by those who actually favor the young-life model of origins.

    If you personally do not think this model tenable, then you really shouldn’t be working for a paycheck from the SDA Church with whom you have a fundamental disagreement. What you are doing is undermining your employer’s clearly stated goals and ideals on the employer’s dime. What do you call that?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  6. I don’t mean to impugn anybody’s integrity, but I question whether any human being is honestly willing to forego ALL preconceptions and objectively embrace as truth whatever the weight of the evidence reveals.

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  7. While in Roosevelt, New York, August 3, 1861, different churches and families were presented before me. The different influences that have been exerted, and their discouraging results, were shown me. Satan has used as agents individuals professing to believe a part of present truth, while they were warring against a part. Such he can use more successfully than those who are at war with all our faith. His artful manner of bringing in error through partial believers in the truth, has deceived many, and distracted and scattered their faith. This is the cause of the divisions in northern Wisconsin. Some receive a part of the message, and reject another portion. Some accept the Sabbath and reject the third angel’s message; yet because they have received the Sabbath they claim the fellowship of those who believe all the present truth. Then they labor to bring others into the same dark position with themselves. They are not responsible to anyone. They have an independent faith of their own. Such are allowed to have influence, when no place should be given to them, notwithstanding their pretensions to honesty.

    Erv has had decades to come into line. According to the above counsel from the Lord, “no place” should have been given him regardless of his pretensions. And it is far past time that place cease to be given him.

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  8. I’m not so much interested in what professional arguers say, but rather in what the truth is. And there’s only one option here for a Seventh-day Adventist. That option is that the Bible is accurate. Ellen White dealt directly with the types of ideas that Dr. Taylor likes to promote. The issue is already settled. The early chapters of Patriarchs and Prophets, along with other references, make clear that one either rejects the divinity of Ellen White’s writings (and the obvious reading of the Bible), or the person believes in divine Creation just as it sounds like it happened in the book of Genesis. So while Dr. Taylor may find it entertaining, interesting, or satisfying to suggest that one can be a Seventh-day Adventist and also make up his/her theology on the fly, it just isn’t so. And the fact that many members in good-standing may be willing to support Dr. Taylor’s position has exactly no substantive value.

    So as Bob Pickle has recommended, let’s move beyond giving any space, thought, or respect to these frivolous comments. Dr. Taylor may or may not have points to raise if he is addressing a group of people who don’t know better, but we do, or should.

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  9. Taylor wrote: “He must reject all of the mainline conclusions of 99.9% of all those scientists who are involved in all isotopic dating methods, and all other types of dating methods including dendrochronology, varve dating, ice core dating, stable isotope studies of ocean cores, and on and on.”

    This is pure Argumentum ad Populum. This logical fallacy is common among naturalists when faced with opposition which they are incapable of comprehending.

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  10. Re Wes’s Quote

    “Inconsiderate of me to assume you might be familiar with a character (and Book) from, ahem, the Bible.”

    Dear Wes

    Not inconsiderate at all. I fondly remember the story of Daniel in the furnace from my bible school days. Epic, like Frodo surviving Mount Doom.

    By the way have you read Joseph Cambpell’s works: The Hero With A Thousand Faces or the Power of Myth? Nice to have perspective on all things.

    Out of the fire and into the frying pan
    Sancho Panza

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  11. How fitting, Erv Taylor’s rhapsody, even if meant as a lampoon, to Sean’s heroism. Sounded more like an old Dean Martin Roast.

    But if Sean is heroic, as indeed he is, and his undertaking heroic, as indeed it is, and timely, as indeed indeed it is — it’s about time! — the award presenter himself, Dr. Taylor, merits an Award for Disruption/Enlightenment on a Biblical scale, fittingly of the Bible itself, and of denominational identity. Under his inspiration, the Bible is to be seen as allegorical, not inspired. Thus Dr. Taylor stands among the heroes of Adventism, along with James White and Hiram Edson (cornfield fame), Canright and Kellogg (not of corn-flake fame). Applause-applause, as nowadays is heard bursting forth beneath the Klieg lights, from our churches, for an especially great performance.

    As any gracious awardee would say, “Thank you thank you! But there are so many others who also deserve this award!” Gracious words, and true, for Taylor’s Heroes have pretty much taken over our Stalag 13, as they see it. Ceded to them are just about all SDA scholarly circles, in the bigger churches and bigger medical institutions and bigger educational centers. I know, I can attest. I’m not making this up.

    I can with the authority of experience speak to and of those circles, for by fluke of profession and my scholar-admiration, those are the circles I have found myself in, for nearly fifty years. The only circles I’ve known, they enclose my best friends, really my only friends, my most admired mentors. Even if, in those circles, I was an alien, fearing to speak up, and put in my place when I did (“I feel sorry for you”).

    I can but trust that outside such enclaves other kinds of Adventists do exist. Thanks again, then, to EduTruth, for opening the door to those other Adventist voices, unfamiliar to me ensconced in my higher circles, and for opening the closet, from whence I feel it is time to emerge, however sweatingly, anxiously, guardedly.

    That it is that way inside our edu-ghettos, is, again (I find myself saying “again” a lot), thanks to the pioneering and untiring work of our Dr. Taylor especially. Nearly fifty years, that’s a long time. (By the way, his and my tenures started in the same little church, and are synchronous if not, in the end, tandem. I’ve seen him at work for a long time. A Lifetime Achievement award?)

    Honestly, I’m a little sweaty and nervous about naming names, but, well, Dr. Taylor has – again – set precedent. Do unto others as…pretty good ethics, still.

    That’s not the end of it. Another award is due, again fitting if unsought. For as Dr. Pitman says in the preface to this thread, if Dr. Taylor is the archetype of the Postmodernist Adventist (Postadventist) thought-leader, he is by the same token responsible for jarring awake and perking up another, if minority, segment of educated Adventists. I can certify such cases. Like, long ago, when Dr. Pitman was in high school and more concerned with girls than genomes, this Adventist, lulled and lethargic (once known as Laodicean), went into a Taylor seminar taking Creation and Genesis 1 for granted (Creation is true, of course, so what else is new?), and came out whacked and reeling, staggering back to Genesis 1, this time seriously. And being educated and scientific, saw evidence, and believed, this time staunchly and actively. “Thanks, Erv, I needed that,” as some old movie line goes.

    And there was this other Adventist who likewise for years and years was whacked and whacked at large SDA Medical Center Sabbath Schools, of all places, as taught by a string of our PhDs. There, whew! I’ve come out of the closet. Not easy, among friends.

    Now, I must muster the audacity to insert this I-was-there witness among all the other postings insisting that the evidence and documentations presented herein are all boat-rocking, insensitive, biased and baseless and base distortions and outright lies and invasions of privacy and incursions against academic freedom; and anyway so what – it’s progress, it’s freedom, it’s liberation. It’s science. (Meanwhile, over at Adventist Today…better left in ellipsis.) Well, sigh, if I felt constrained to hold my peace for all those years at Sabbath School, my own church, by the same token I shan’t here. And I’ll do it on Thanksgiving, while waiting for the feast, when nobody will notice and it’ll all soon lost to the archives. This isn’t heroism; it’s merely, at my age, anticlimax. Happy thanksgiving, all.

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  12. I wish to express my appreciation to Dr. Kime for his very kind (I think) words. He takes me back many years to what I like to recall as the first Free Adventist Church in modern Adventism (Or is that just the projections of an aging memory?). I still recall (I think) the cover Dr. Kime created for a predecessor magazine to Adventist Today and Spectrum published out of that church—it was called Perspective. (And, of course the old Dialogue magazine of the old Claremont Church of ancient memory can be viewed as the predecessor of those two magazines.)

    Just one minor comment: Dr. Kime suggests that my view is that the “Bible is to be seen as allegorical, not inspired.” May I offer a demur in opposing or contrasting “allegorical” with “inspired.” They sometimes go together. In this connection, two alternatives stated many times before come to mind: “The Bible is too important to be taken too literally too often.” and “The Bible is to be taken seriously, but not literally.”

    A final note to Dr. Kime: Your comments would be very welcomed over at the rational end of the Adventist blogosphere—at the Adventist Today web site.

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  13. @wesley kime:

    Like, long ago, when Dr. Pitman was in high school and more concerned with girls than genomes, this Adventist, lulled and lethargic (once known as Laodicean), went into a Taylor seminar taking Creation and Genesis 1 for granted (Creation is true, of course, so what else is new?), and came out whacked and reeling, staggering back to Genesis 1, this time seriously. And being educated and scientific, saw evidence, and believed, this time staunchly and actively. “Thanks, Erv, I needed that,” as some old movie line goes.

    Everyone has his/her purpose I guess.

    Loved your “confession” 😉

    Happy Thanksgiving Wes…

    Sean

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  14. @Ervin Taylor:

    Just one minor comment: Dr. Kime suggests that my view is that the “Bible is to be seen as allegorical, not inspired.” May I offer a demur in opposing or contrasting “allegorical” with “inspired.” They sometimes go together. In this connection, two alternatives stated many times before come to mind: “The Bible is too important to be taken too literally too often.” and “The Bible is to be taken seriously, but not literally.”

    How can you take an allegory too seriously when it was originally intended to be taken literally? It’s kind of like some forms of modern art – they mean whatever you want them to mean. This view of the Bible results in the individual changing it to fit one’s own perspective instead of the Bible changing the individual to fit a higher reality that is independent of the individual. If truth is entirely in the eyes of the beholder, if truth is entirely relative, what’s the value of searching for it or discovering it? If the individual perspective can explain everything, doesn’t it then explain absolutely nothing?

    A final note to Dr. Kime: Your comments would be very welcomed over at the rational end of the Adventist blogosphere—at the Adventist Today web site.

    I think you will find that you’ve misread Wes (aka Dr. Kime)… He’s not nearly as “rational” as you seem to believe 😉

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  15. When Postadventist, aka Postmodernist, whimsy kicks in, ironical befuddlement sets in worse than at the Tower of Babel, or than with hearing aids when you’re deaf (another fact I can attest to). “Adventist Today is risible”? Oh, you said “Adventist Today is rational.” Now that’s top notch whimsy. Or is it allegory?

    But seriously, Erv, nice to see you again, after all these years.

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  16. Re Sean quoting Erv

    “A final note to Dr. Kime: Your comments would be very welcomed over at the rational end of the Adventist blogosphere—at the Adventist Today web site.

    I think you will find that you’ve misread Wes (aka Dr. Kime)… He’s not nearly as “rational” as you seem to believe 😉

    Sean Pitman”

    Dear Sean and Erv

    Might I respectfully point out the sublime irony of fine folks of the same faith trying to carve out bigger pieces of the pie of rationality.

    Historically this is what happens in all religions. People of strong conviction and charisma insist their interpretation or vision is more rational, or prophetic. A schism occurs and a new religion or sect of same is born. I think Educate Truth will likely be the wedge that divides the YEC and OEC pieces of the Adventist ‘rational?’ pie.

    When comes to matters of faith who is empirically right?

    When it comes to matters of science time and ceaseless rational inquiry will tell.

    Sean, I don’t yet see a viable young earth model, but I applaud your efforts to establish it.

    Regards
    your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  17. Unless I am mistaken, Sean is not a YEC (young earth creationist). He is a YLC (young life creationist). He believes the unviverse and planet Earth were created millions or billions of years ago and that life was created about 6,000 years ago. He accepts the “big bang” as the creation of the universe.

    Sean has pointed out that the SDA church has no stated position on the age of the universe or planet Earth. But what I don’t get is how some SDAs interpret literally “For in six days the LORD made” but not “heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11). Isn’t that being inconsistent for a Biblical literalist? Especially because it was engraved with God’s finger in stone! How can you demand that SDA professors be YLCs but not YECs?

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  18. @Ken:

    “Might I respectfully point out the sublime irony of fine folks of the same faith trying to carve out bigger pieces of the pie of rationality?”

    Yes you may, certainly. Not only “respectfully” but also accurately, sublimely accurately, and, if not exactly disinterestedly, helpfully. Thank you.

    But I don’t think God (for the moment “faith”) should be thanked for that. The Goddess of Reason should be — she whom the Enlightenment apotheosized, as befits a divinity; she whose oblation, since her apotheosis, has gotten so partisan and so discombobulated, and so ugly and so out of hand, that only inquisitions and investigations, blogs and moveOn.Org can handle it. For the Goddess of Reason has turned out to as bicephalic, double-headed and double-faced – rationality/irrationality — as the pagan god Janus or any of Revelation’s beasts. It’s hard to tell which head is talking, the rational or irrational. Follow me?

    Anyway, somehow religion, wherein God at least sometimes is to be found, has received the award from academia for most irrationality, and atheism for most rationality. But, speaking of irony, by what authority does academia, wherein irrationality is increasingly found, bestow these awards?

    Fact is, the awards have been presented to the wrong parties, like a newborn sent home with the wrong parents. For God must be the sublimest rationality in all Hubble’s heaven and scoffing or science-ing Him off (by whomever, in or out of the church), is the saddest irrationality, speaking of irony. To me the evidence, and then faith, point thus.

    First by evidence and then by faith you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you? (And by the same token, I rather know what you’ll say. So here we are, you and I, munching our rations of rational pie.)

    Anyway and anyway, it’s when religion, ours certainly, is open-eared only to the Goddess of Reason and deaf to God that we wind up in such an ironic and sorry pass as this, as you perfectly respectfully say. Ironically, we needed that, from you. Thanks again.

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  19. Sean has pointed out that the SDA church has no stated position on the age of the universe or planet Earth. But what I don’t get is how some SDAs interpret literally “For in six days the LORD made” but not “heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11). Isn’t that being inconsistent for a Biblical literalist? Especially because it was engraved with God’s finger in stone! How can you demand that SDA professors be YLCs but not YECs?

    In Genesis 1 – on day 2 God makes the heavens – the atmosphere. And on day 5 God makes the birds to “fly in mid heaven” – the atmopshere.

    In Genesis 1 on day 3 God makes the dry land appear and “God called the dry land EARTH” Gen 1:10.

    By contrast on day 1 prior to doing anything “the Earth was formless and void and water covered the surface of the deep”.

    Thus when Ex 20:8-11 says “FOR in SIX DAYS the Lord MADE the heaven and the Earth the seas and ALL that is in them and rested the seventh day; THEREFORE the Lord BLESSED the Sabbath day and made it holy” it is a reference to the same formating of our atmosphere and our planet (oceans and dry land) that we see described in Genesis 1. And it concludes with the same “blessing and making holy” the day of the Lord that we see in Genesis 2:3 – and in Ex 20:11.

    The question that remains is how old is the “formless and void earth with water covering the surface of the deep”. And how long was it that the stars that God also made – were already in existence.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  20. Dear Oink

    Very well stated.

    Sorry but I don’t see rationality in atheism, philosophically or empirically. Cartesian existentialism seems to rule that out for me. Unless I am someone else’s pipe dream and not a free thinking entity at all.

    Don’t know if that is that stern Goddess of Rationality is talking to me or the Clown of Curiosity. But those two seem to hang out quite a bit in the middle of the faith non faith spectrum.

    Worship? Why? Think ad infinitum? Why not?

    By the way, like my friend Wes you are greatly gifted with the cyber gab. I enjoy your work!

    Cheers
    Ken

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  21. @ Shane Hilde

    Who interprets them differently? Adventists believe God made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is in six days.

    Sean Pitman has stated repeatedly that the earth had to have been here long before day 1 of creation. As he and, I believe, others including yourself have stated here, the SDA Church has no official position on the age of the earth itself. Eddie is right in pointing out the inconsistency of interpreting Exodus 20:11. If we are going to accept as literal Exodus 20:11, then the creation of the earth absolutely MUST be included in the six day creation week. Ellen White herself, in the much-quoted 3SG statement, made crystal clear that only infidels believe the earth is older than 6,000 years. I think you guys and the Church leadership oughta figure out what you really believe about the earth’s age. I hope that Educate Truth can take a position on the right side of truth.

    “Young life creationist”–now that’s an interesting contrast to “young earth creationist.” Fascinating.

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  22. @Professor Kent:

    Sean Pitman has stated repeatedly that the earth had to have been here long before day 1 of creation. As he and, I believe, others including yourself have stated here, the SDA Church has no official position on the age of the earth itself. Eddie is right in pointing out the inconsistency of interpreting Exodus 20:11. If we are going to accept as literal Exodus 20:11, then the creation of the earth absolutely MUST be included in the six day creation week. Ellen White herself, in the much-quoted 3SG statement, made crystal clear that only infidels believe the earth is older than 6,000 years. I think you guys and the Church leadership oughta figure out what you really believe about the earth’s age. I hope that Educate Truth can take a position on the right side of truth. “Young life creationist”–now that’s an interesting contrast to “young earth creationist.” Fascinating.

    Both the Bible and Mrs. White talk about the pre-existence of the universe and of intelligent life in this universe (Job 38:7) prior to the creation of life on this planet and the structure of the planet, and probably the solar system as well, making it able to support complex life.

    As far as the definition of “the heavens”, the Bible describes and defines three different “heavens”. The Earth’s atmosphere is the “first heaven”. The place where God and the angels live is the “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2). Therefore, the space between the Earth and the third heaven is the “second heaven” which contains the stars and other worlds upon which other created intelligences live.

    Therefore, when the Biblical authors talk about God making the “heavens and the earth” in six days, they are refering to the Earth’s atmosphere, or the “first heaven” as the “heaven” descrived in Exodus 20:11. Mrs. White also, in her reference to the Earth being “about 6,000 years old” is refering to the creation of the structure of the Earth that is able to support complex life. She is not necessarily refering to the amorphous matter of the Earth before it was formed into the complex structure that we see today…

    This is why the SDA Church has taken no stand on the age of the universe or of the basic material of the Earth prior to creation week. However, what is not at all confusing about the claims of the Biblical authors is that life on this planet was created by God in just six literal days. Very few Hebrew scholars or experts in Hebrew literature really question the intent of the author(s) of Genesis in this regard. This is why the SDA Church, as an organization, has taken a very clear stand that God created of all life on Earth in just six literal days.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  23. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Therefore, when the Biblical authors talk about God making the “heavens and the earth” in six days, they are refering to the Earth’s atmosphere, or the “first heaven” as the “heaven” descrived in Exodus 20:11. Mrs. White also, in her reference to the Earth being “about 6,000 years old” is refering to the creation of the structure of the Earth that is able to support complex life. She is not necessarily refering to the amorphous matter of the Earth before it was formed into the complex structure that we see today…”

    Dear Sean

    Thanks for your comments.

    Did you believe this prior to the beginning of your empirical observations, or a result of them, or both?

    Regards
    Ken
    Ken

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  24. @ken:

    Did you believe this prior to the beginning of your empirical observations, or a result of them, or both?

    Since I was a young child I always believed that the universe and probably the material of the Earth itself existed prior to our creation week based on the various statements of the Bible and Mrs. White along these lines…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    View Comment
  25. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Since I was a young child I always believed that the universe and probably the material of the Earth itself existed prior to our creation week based on the various statements of the Bible and Mrs. White along these lines…

    Sean Pitman”

    Dear Sean

    Thanks for your honest, candid reply.

    You are a man of strong conviction and intelligence. I know you truly believe what you do and your work is aimed at empirically demonstrating that for all.

    Whether your endeavours will be heroic, quixotic or – both? – remains to be seen, but this agnostic is enjoying the ride.

    Take care
    Ken

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  26. Okay…I see in Genesis 1:1 that “earth” refers, presumably, to the entire planet, and in Genesis 1:10, “dry land” is called “earth.” Thank you, Bob.

    I don’t have time this evening to see if the same Hebrew word is used for both verses, and what is used in Exodus 20:11, but I can buy the “heaven and earth” interpretation here.

    So why was Ms. White inconsistent in her description of the age of the earth, saying, for example, that only “infidels” believed the earth was as old as 10,000 years (the famous 3SG-whatever-page-numbers quote)? I thought we could take as literal everything she said.

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  27. An Apology
    My attention was just called to the PS at the bottom of one of Sean Pitman’s previous postings on this thread. He said: “Little does Dr. Taylor realize his own significant contribution to this particular “crusade” within the SDA Church in support of Creation. Without the antagonism of Dr. Taylor, this effort, to include this particular website, would most likely never have gotten off the ground much less have achieved the level of exposure that it currently enjoys within the SDA Church. So, for that I am deeply grateful and most thankful.”

    What a terrible piece of news! According to Dr. Pitman, I have been directly complicit in fostering his “crusade” and even more serious, in his creation of this web site. If this is even a little true, may I offer my profoundest apology. He said that “without my antagonism,” he would not have embarked on his tirades against La Sierra University. I wonder if he might be exaggerating just a wee bit. What might give it away is the “I am deeply grateful and most thankful” part. Also, others have told me that he has had a habit of doing this on other topics for some time. However, if his statement is even a little bit true, I guess all I can say is “Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa”

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  28. @Ervin Taylor:

    What a terrible piece of news! According to Dr. Pitman, I have been directly complicit in fostering his “crusade” and even more serious, in his creation of this web site. If this is even a little true, may I offer my profoundest apology. He said that “without my antagonism,” he would not have embarked on his tirades against La Sierra University. I wonder if he might be exaggerating just a wee bit. What might give it away is the “I am deeply grateful and most thankful” part. Also, others have told me that he has had a habit of doing this on other topics for some time. However, if his statement is even a little bit true, I guess all I can say is “Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa”

    I’m kind of a one trick pony. I really don’t deal with “other topics” outside of Creation and, of course, pathology.

    Now, don’t feel bad, but it is the truth, perhaps providential, that without the antagonistic remarks you published on Adventist Today regarding the efforts of students and others to have the SDA perspective on creation promoted at LSU, I would not have started writing letters regarding the LSU situation, David Asscherick would not have written his famous letter regarding the LSU situation, and this website would most likely not have started.

    So, there you have it. I guess God works in mysterious ways after all 😉

    Many thanks…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  29. Sean, antagonistic remarks?

    I wrote Erv on March 10, 2009:

    I found your piece to be a little puzzling:

    http://www.atoday.com/fundamentalist-creationist-gets-lukewarm-student-reception-la-sierra-university

    If Sean Pitman was promoting the biblical Adventist belief that God created the world in 6 literal days, what is wrong with that? The way you wrote this piece, it comes across as if you do not believe that yourself.

    Bob

    He responded:

    Bob:

    My report/commentary was about student reactions to the speech not my opinions about the subject matter of the speech. My perception of the efforts of La Sierra University (LSU) faculty and administration is that they are seeking to educate students who “will not be mere reflectors of other men’s thoughts.” It seems to me that LSU is doing an excellent job of educating independent thinkers.

    Thank you for expressing your thoughts on this piece.

    ET

    His response seemed less than forthright. I replied:

    You wrote in your commentary:

    As an institution functioning within the Christian tradition, as expected, most students approach their understanding of the contemporary world from a theistic perspective and thus hold the view that God is responsible for the ultimate origin of the natural world. In this sense, all Christians are “creationists” and thus, also in this sense, it would be expected that Adventist Christians would adhere to that view as well.

    In popular contemporary discussions, the word “creationism” has acquired a connotation that has severely narrowed its meaning to describe a belief that the world and/or all of its life forms were created in the relatively recent past (less than 6000-10,000 years) in seven literal, 24-hour days and that there has been a even more recently, a world-wide Flood. This more restrictive understanding of creationism has been adopted by some fundamentalist-oriented Protestant denominations and the fundamentalist wings of others.

    These paragraphs do not describe student reactions, but rather are written in a way that gives the impression that this is your view of things. But you did not mention that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is one of those “fundamentalist-oriented Protestant denominations.” And:

    Although some highly conservative elements made a concerted attempt to add fundamentalist language to the official fundamental Adventist statement of belief, these efforts were not successful and the official summary of belief continues only to quote the Biblical expression used in Genesis to describe the origin of the world.

    This statement gives the impression that you personally adamantly oppose the idea that God created the world in six days 6000-10,000 years ago, and that there was a worldwide flood since then. It says nothing about LSU students feeling this way.

    The way the commentary is written it appears that LSU faculty are educating students to be mere reflectors of the thoughts of infidels. Both 1SP and 3SG have a chapter entitled “Disguised Infidelity” which identifies the idea that the days of creation aren’t literal as being that very thing. If it is true that LSU faculty are teaching such things, that is pretty serious, as well as false science.

    Bob

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  30. Educate Truth has already documented the fact that Erv Taylor is one of the key external-to-LSU evolutionists (in addition to a list of internal LSU evolutionist evangelists) being asked to contribute to the evolutionist onslaught that occurs during the LSU biology capstone course for seniors. How “unsurprising” then that Erv approves of evolution at LSU as the right answer for a doctrine on origins.

    Erv Taylor is qouted in Bob Pickle’s post above – as saying

    Erv said
    Although some highly conservative elements made a concerted attempt to add fundamentalist language to the official fundamental Adventist statement of belief, these efforts were not successful and the official summary of belief continues only to quote the Biblical expression used in Genesis to describe the origin of the world.

    Larry Geraty makes a similar argument on Spectrum
    http://www.spectrummagazine.org/blog/2010/07/02/clarification_regarding_history_fundamental_belief_6_creation#comment-73031

    His opening article ends with these words

    Geraty said –
    “When this statement was being discussed on the floor of the General Conference Session, with Elder N. C. Wilson,* president, presiding, there were suggestions from some delegates on the floor supportive of the move to include more restrictive language, i.e. “literal 24-hour days,” etc. However, some delegates resisted in favor of just quoting the language of Genesis 1 to which all delegates could agree, not interpretive language that might cause dissension.

    The aim at the time that the belief on Creation was written was to employ biblical phraseology and thus unify believers in the biblical view of creation. Doesn’t it seem strange for people to argue that biblical language is “open, ambiguous, and in need of revision”? As John Brunt got up to say at the floor mic (but time was called before he had a chance to speak), “One would think that the Bible, mighty as the sword, could withstand delegates tampering with its wording.”
    *****
    Larry Geraty earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University and is president emeritus of La Sierra University. ”

    It is facinating how the talking points of Geraty and Fritz Guy get passed around among the pro-evolutionists connected with LSU – as we see reflected in Taylor’s comments above.

    But there is a key flaw in their strategy on the point above about the Bible not being “sufficient” for conservatives. And the flaw is that in the wording of FB#6 was crafted in such a way that the Bible statements MOST clearly affirming a literal 7 day creation week are OMITTED from the FB#6 language!

    I highlight that flaw in their argument in my posted response to Geraty’s statement this way –

    BobRyan said
    I agree with Geraty that the Bible language is clear on this point. It is “instructive” that the areas where the Bible is MOST clear regarding the days of creation week – are missing from the text of FB#6. Since Geraty claims to have drafted the statement (or was it Fritz Guy, they both seem to be claiming credit for this) – maybe he can explain why the –

    1. Evening and morning were the nth day language is missing from FB6 — IF the intent was really to show the degree to which the Bible language supports a literal 7 day creation week?

    2. The “SIX days you shall labor…for in SIX DAYS the LORD MADE…” language is missing from FB#6 — IF the intent was to show the degree to which the Bible language supports a literal 7 day week.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    The other thing that would be “nice to know” is how is it that our other Fundamental Beliefs can summarize our views without being limited to snippet Bible quotes “alone” but Geraty feels it would be unwise to follow that same model with FB#6?

    Again – inquiring minds want to know.

    Geraty also argued that the Michigan Conference stated affirming the 7 day creation week found in the Bible is “extra-biblical”

    Geraty said — “Fundamental Belief No. 6 uses Biblical language to which we can all agree; once you start interpreting it according to anyone’s preference you begin to cut out members who have a different interpretation. I wholeheartedly affirm Scripture, but NOT the extra-Biblical interpretation of the Michigan Conference ”

    So I responded —

    BobRyan said
    So how is it that the literal 6 day creation week that we find in Ex 20:11 is “extrabiblical” just because the Michigan Conference leadership accepts it in their own affirmation and “commitment to a seven literal historical, consecutive, contiguous 24-hour day week of creation 6,000 years ago” (as quoted by Geraty in his own comments on that point about the Michigan conference) ?

    How is it that accepting the “text as it reads” (historical grammatical method being used by our denomination and the Michigan Conference leaders) is “extra biblical” but evolutionisms “actually — birds come from reptiles over billions of years of time” is considered by Geraty to be faithful Bible reading of the text??

    When we observe that barely 20 out of 2000 delegates voted against the corrections to be made to FB#6 many conclude that the FRINGE element is the 20 not the 2000. Yet innexplicably Geraty writes ” I believe the tea party movement and radical right-wing politics is affecting our beloved church”.

    In any case – this little rabbit trail hoping to confuse some readers into thinking that belief in a 7 day creation week is “extra-biblical” does not much of a life to it because it relies on the belief that the listener/reader – will NOT read the text!

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  31. Re: “Telling Lies for God?”: The Coke/Pepsi Analogy
    On December 4th, 2010 Seanpit says:

    Erv Taylor said (on Adventist Today blog):

    Perhaps the story should have made clear that this is an ideal world where the people who run the Coke company (= SDA church) realize that in the long run the company (= church) would be better off if its “employees” (= clergy, theologian, scientists) honestly express their opinions and concerns without fear of reprisals or being fired. Over the long run, it would make for a better church.

    http://www.atoday.com/content/“telling-lies-god”-cokepepsi-analogy

    This is a poor analogy simply because no real viable organization, to include Coke and Pepsi, works like this. As Nathan already explained, if you don’t honestly believe in the product your company is “selling”, go and work for someone who is selling something you do believe in.

    Trying to reformulate “Coke” so that it tastes more like “Pepsi” doesn’t do anything but end up providing more “Pepsi” and less options. Yet, this is exactly what Erv is trying to do. He is trying to get the SDA Church to be like everyone else – like the majority. He doesn’t like the unique doctrinal features of the SDA Church – the very reason for there being a unique entity that is actually different from everything else out there. In short, Erv is trying to destroy something that is unique and replace it with something that is already available to those who want other options besides what the SDA Church is offering.

    Also, no one is asking anyone to be dishonest here. For Erv to suggest that the only real choice a representative of the SDA Church has is either to be dishonest or get fired, is naive. As surprising as it may sound to those like Erv, there are actually more than a few of us left who still honestly believe in all of the fundamental doctrinal positions, goals and ideals of the SDA Church…

    Sean Pitman

    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  32. Elain Nelson said (on the Adventist Today blog):

    Why not compare automobiles? The companies are never content to rest on their laurels (Ford’s Model T was repeated a long time until it became rather obsolete).

    http://www.atoday.com/content/“telling-lies-god”-cokepepsi-analogy

    The SDA Church does change over time. It keeps up with what it thinks, as an organized body of believers, is “present truth”. Those who think that they are ahead of the Church (i.e., more “progressive” than the organized Church) are, unfortunately, not in line with the Church as a body and therefore, even if they are indeed much more “progressive” and even correct in their views, would not be able to adequately represent the Church in any kind of official capacity at the present time.

    The simple and seemingly obvious fact is that no organization can afford to pay just anyone to be a representative. Organizations must be quite choosy when it comes to hiring representatives. No organization can long afford to hire people to say and do whatever they please just because they are “honest” men or women. Honesty, by itself, simply isn’t enough to be an effective representative of a particular organization that has particular goals and ideals…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  33. On December 4th, 2010 Seanpit says:

    Nathan Schilt wrote (on the Adventist Today blog):

    Science tells us much about the physical world, nothing about the nature of God, and very little about the nature of man. The Bible tells us much about the nature of God and man, but very little about the nature of the physical world.

    http://www.atoday.com/content/“telling-lies-god”-cokepepsi-analogy

    I think that, perhaps, St. Paul would disagree with you. After all, wasn’t it Paul who said:

    “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20

    It seems to me that Paul is arguing for the idea that the works of an author have something important to say about the nature of that Author. Also, it is hard to say that the Bible really says nothing of any significance about the nature of the physical world. The Bible is filled with stories about the physical world. It even describes scientific experiments set up to test God. For example, even the Philistines set up an experiment to test the deliberate design vs. the chance or “natural” hypothesis:

    If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the LORD has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance.” 1 Samuel 6:9

    So, it seems like the author(s) of Samuel had some sort of concept of natural cause in the physical world and proposed rather scientific ways to distinguish the acts of mindless nature from “acts of God”.

    The same is true of the Genesis account of origins. It is an account of physical reality where the author(s) of this account did in fact intend to portray a literal historical account of empirical reality. Most Hebrew scholars, even liberal Hebrew scholars, accept that this was in fact the intent of the author(s) of Genesis.

    In short, it seems to me like empirical and spiritual realities go hand-in-hand. If the Bible really said nothing useful about physical reality, then its statements on spirituality would have no real basis to judge their usefulness: to judge them as being most likely true or false. After all, even Jesus tied in empirical reality as a basis to believe his claims concerning metaphysical realities. He did this all the time. Consider, for example, his healing of the paralytic. Before Jesus healed the paralyzed man he said:

    Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? – Matthew 9:5

    Now, let me ask you, what would have happened to Jesus’ metaphysical claim to be able to forgive sins if he had been unable to provide the empirical evidence of physical healing? Think about it…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  34. Professor Kent wrote (Adventist Today blog):

    Dr. Pitman is not just attacking theistic evolutionists in the Church. He is declaring unfit anyone who disagrees with HIS personal opinion that the “weight” of scientific evidence favors the SDA interpretation of origins. My SDA biologist close friend and colleague, who knows many of the biologists at various institutions in the Church, assures me that the majority are faithful YEC/YLC believers but do not, for a minute, believe the “weight” of evidence favors the Church’s position.

    http://www.atoday.com/content/“telling-lies-god”-cokepepsi-analogy

    This is like saying that, “We know that there is overwhelming scientific evidence for a spherical Earth, but we still support the Flat-Earth position because of ‘faith’ in our Good Book which says that the Earth is flat. Therefore, we are going to keep teaching that the Flat-Earth position is scientifically untenable while continuing to urge our students to believe in a flat Earth anyway based on faith in the Good Book for which there really is no reasonable empirical evidence. How do we know that the overwhelming scientific evidence is wrong and that our Good Book is right? Again, we simply have faith that is not open to testing or potential falsification by mere empirical observations.”

    Who can argue with that? It’s a conversation stopper if you ask me. It’s the very same line my LDS friends use when I ask them why they believe in the Book of Mormon as superior to the Bible or all other lines of empirical evidence. They always respond with, “Because the Holy Spirit has given me a ‘burning deep within” and the Holy Spirit wouldn’t lie to me. I therefore have faith that the Book of Mormon is correct despite any empirical evidence or other argument you may have.”

    Again, if this is the basis of your faith, fine and good. However, there are many, probably the vast majority, of thinking students for whom such a position of faith against what they are being taught is the clear if not overwhelming weight of scientific evidence just won’t cut it. Rational minds need something more than otherwise empirically blind statements of faith.

    As already noted, the Bible itself often refers to empirical evidence as the basis of the faith of those who expressed great faith. Let me ask you, did the disciples of Jesus have more or less faith before or after the empirically observed resurrection of Jesus?

    Is it not true then that faith may be increased or decreased by the perceived weight empirical evidence? Think about it…

    Sean Pitman

    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  35. Re Sean’s Quotes

    “Since I was a young child I always believed that the universe and probably the material of the Earth itself existed prior to our creation week based on the various statements of the Bible and Mrs. White along these lines…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com Sean Pitman(Quote)”

    “They always respond with, “Because the Holy Spirit has given me a ‘burning deep within” and the Holy Spirit wouldn’t lie to me. I therefore have faith that the Book of Mormon is correct despite any empirical evidence or other argument you may have.”

    Dear Sean

    I understand your rationale. Feelings or competing prophets are not an objective way to advance one faith over another, or faith over non faith for that matter. Empirical evidence is required.

    I also understand Prof Kent’s dilemma: he looks at the weight of all the evidence and knows the vast ‘majority’ of it does not support YLC. He knows, notwithstanding this, that he must have great faith to believe in YLC.

    It is quite interesting to note that no one on the site believes quite the same thing. Different posters will use different quotes from EGW or the Bible to support their strongly held convictions. Different posters will be partially in one camp and partially in others. That’s OK and normal because that is how the world works outside of Adventist circles as well.

    Sean, I commend your search for science to support YLC. My concern of course, is that your deeply held convictions you have held since you were a small boy, are causing you to be selective in how you view the evidence. As an example of this I refer to your theory of rapidly moving tectonic plates for which you have no direct scientific explanation. To fill this void you refer to the writings of EGW and the bible to describe what happened at the time of the Noachian flood. Although that is a ‘leap of faith’ that is not empirical science my friend.

    Hence the dilemma that is occurring at Adventist institutions. Strict, or strictly interpreted foundational statements, that conflict with the majority of the evidence. Scientists like Dr. Clausen and Dr. Ness, whose faith I do not share by the way, are understanding and trying to reconcile this dilemma.

    Does that mean are wrong Sean? No, you may be absolutely right and eventually able to prove it and overturn the majority opinion. Look at Galileo and Darwin as examples. I’m keeping my mind open in that regard. But if you fill in the gaps or problems with leaps of faith then I am not so sure that is superior to what your Mormon friends are doing. And I do not fault or criticize you for this- no sir, not at all- I just want you to objectively recognize how you view the world as a mix of faith and science.

    Ahhh, but the readers say, what makes your views superior Ken? Nothing. That is why I keep asking questions.

    Regards
    your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  36. @ken:

    Sean, I commend your search for science to support YLC. My concern of course, is that your deeply held convictions you have held since you were a small boy, are causing you to be selective in how you view the evidence. As an example of this I refer to your theory of rapidly moving tectonic plates for which you have no direct scientific explanation. To fill this void you refer to the writings of EGW and the bible to describe what happened at the time of the Noachian flood. Although that is a ‘leap of faith’ that is not empirical science my friend.

    You mistake my comments. I said that I’ve always believed that the Bible and Mrs. White support the idea that the universe pre-existed the creation of life on this planet. That isn’t the reason why I believe that the Bible and Mrs. White are credible, however. The empirical evidence in support of the Bible and Mrs. White is the basis of my current belief in their credibility.

    When you say that there is no evidence for a much more recent and rapid movement of the continental shelves, I strongly disagree. I’ve given you numerous evidences that are inconsistent with the mainstream model of very slow movements of the continents over hundreds of millions of years of time – to include the lack of expected coastal and surface erosion, universal paleocurrents, the lack of a viable non-catastrophic model or mechanism to explain the vast amounts of energy needed to produce continental movements on such a massive scale, the lack of expected ocean sediments… etc. These features, taken together with many others, strongly favor the catastrophic model of rapid continental movements to include the rapid building of mountain chains and ocean trenches.

    In any case, if I ever did come to believe that the significant weight of empirical evidence did in fact essentially falsify the SDA position on origins, I’d have the integrity to leave the SDA Church behind.

    One more thing regarding bias. No one is free of bias. All are affected to one degree or another by their previous experiences and concepts of reality which may or may not be true. Even you are not free of bias. Of course, you’ve taken the “safe” road of non-commitment when it comes to public discussions – safe in that you cannot be challenged since you take no position. The problem with your non-position is that you end up loosing out on what you could have had if you had. I therefore advise you to seriously strive to determine the truth regarding these issues. Such an effort could change your life for the better beyond what you can probably imagine…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  37. This is like saying that, “We know that there is overwhelming scientific evidence for a spherical Earth, but we still support the Flat-Earth position because of ‘faith’ in our Good Book which says that the Earth is flat. Therefore, we are going to keep teaching that the Flat-Earth position is scientifically untenable while continuing to urge our students to believe in a flat Earth anyway based on faith in the Good Book for which there really is no reasonable empirical evidence. How do we know that the overwhelming scientific evidence is wrong and that our Good Book is right? Again, we simply have faith that is not open to testing or potential falsification by mere empirical observations.”

    Okay, so does this mean that if the overwhelming weight of the evidence at some point tips in the direction of a localized flood that you would then gladly change your beliefs in that area? Or would you still keep saying that the overwhelming scientific evidence supports a worldwide flood in such a case? Or would you do like Leonard Brand has done and admit that the “current” evidence is largely against our interpretation, but express a faith that given time more evidence in our favor will be found.

    I see your position on the worldwide flood as rather unique among SDA apologists with whom I am acquainted. Essentially all of the ones I know personally, and even those I only know casually, openly admit that there are numerous problems with the physical evidence for a worldwide flood, and yet, they maintain a belief in it (or at least an open mind) expressing faith that if we keep studying the problems we will eventually find enough evidence to support the historicity of a worldwide flood.

    Of course, you seem to be saying in a number of your comments that such individuals should then disqualify themselves as professors at SDA schools. Are you saying that even professors like Brand should resign because they cannot unequivocally state the case for overwhelming scientific support in favor of a workdwide flood?

    And please don’t broaden my comment here to encompass creation issues. I know you don’t see belief in creation and the flood as separate issues, but again, based on what I know about other’s beliefs in this area, you are again a bit unique. Many SDA biologists are well aware that the flood is used by a vast number of lay people in the church as a way to explain the fossil record, while also being well aware of how many problems there are in such explanations. Consequently, there are many, again a number that I know personally, who are more open-minded about reevaluating our interpretation of the Genesis flood, while maintaining a much more solid belief in a literal, short term creation. Just because you cannot conceive of someone believing in the literal creation week while rejecting a worldwide flood, do not just assume that such a belief system cannot exist.

    You may also see this as a “slippery slope” issue, which I see as a bit of an unfair characterization. If we never move downslope, we would never change or refine our beliefs. The very same argument was used against Galileo. Even though the church at the time was obviously heavily influenced by the ideas of Aristotle, they did consider the Bible as supporting their geocentric view of the universe.

    So, please know that my comments are in reference to just the flood, not other creation issues.

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  38. @ Sean Pitman

    There is no empirical evidence that Jesus was the son of a virgin, yet you and I believe. There is no empirical evidence that Jesus never sinned, yet you and I believe. There is no empirical evidence that Jesus ascended to heaven, yet you and I believe. Why is it okay for you and I to accept these teachings of the Bible without evidence, but wrong for me, and other SDA biologists, to believe in creation without the “weight” of evidence?

    Sorry, Sean, but your interpretation of the “evidence” doesn’t cut it for me or the majority of practicing SDA scientists. Yes, some evidence can be interpreted in our favor, but much of it remains problematic and we are simply honest, not Badventists, to reach this conclusion. Stop the bullying.

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  39. To apply Dr. Sean Pitman’s reasoning consistently:

    All SDA biologists who do not believe the “weight” of empirical evidence supports Young Earth Creationism, regardless of whether they accept it on faith, must resign.

    All SDA theologians who do not believe the “weight” of empirical evidence supports The Virgin Birth, regardless of whether they accept it on faith, must resign.

    I wonder if we will need to elect a new GC President?

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  40. Re Sean’s Quote

    “The problem with your non-position is that you end up loosing out on what you could have had if you had. I therefore advise you to seriously strive to determine the truth regarding these issues. Such an effort could change your life for the better beyond what you can probably imagine…”

    Dear Sean

    Actually I don’t think it is a problem. Think of me as a non biased, agnostic member of the jury on the trial of origins. Now as the advocate for the YLC, do you think you should lecture me on salvation to procure my verdict or appeal to my objective reasoning abilities?

    Cheers
    from the friendly jury box
    Ken

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  41. So Dr. Pitman, a publicly acknowledged believer in, and champion of, Genesis 1 and God, uses not only his heart – faith – but also his brain – evidence — to validate his premise? He would say he uses his frontal cortex as well as his limbic system. Which wins him the Taylor-Quixote Hero award, for nobody else, scientist or theologian, Adventist or agnostic, uses both, it would seem.

    But that’s the way a good MD must function, by attention to all organs. If a cardiologist were oblivious to the brain, and a neurologist the heart, you’d be outraged that he paid no attention to the whole patient. You wouldn’t want him taking care of you, never. Certainly not be your pathologist (as Dr. Pitman is), to whom, by the way, the profession and patients all look for the final word available.

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  42. @ken:

    But couldn’t — shouldn’t — what Dr. Pitman is saying to you be considered as referring to the CONTEXT and OUTCOME of your philosophy, not your philosophy itself? And were not context and outcome the very essence of philosophy itself, what philosophy was for, back when philosophy wasn’t a free-standing otherwise purposeless pursuit, before the Enlightenment? Ah, oh yes, pardon me — the Enlightenment fixed that. Being ages old myself, and biased, I keep forgetting that. And, honorable Jury, don’t juries increasingly go by motive and consequence to the public, not mere fact? Still, our Sean does bang his fist once and awhile, like Perry Mason, which got him and award too.

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  43. @Wesley Kime:
    But may I anticipate, Ken, how you’ll respond? As to tone, you’re too much of a gentleman to hit me with “you don’t know who I am! You don’t know what I’m thinking! How dare you! Shut up!” But as to content, may I? I may indeed be way off, but I’d guess you’d say you’re an existentialist, which renders you immune to context and consequence, eternal especially. The court grants your point. But I suppose we’ll have to take back Kierkegaard’s philosophy award. Easy come easy go.

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  44. @ken:

    Actually I don’t think it is a problem.

    I know you don’t, but I ask you to reconsider since I see you as having a rather significant problem…

    Think of me as a non biased, agnostic member of the jury on the trial of origins. Now as the advocate for the YLC, do you think you should lecture me on salvation to procure my verdict or appeal to my objective reasoning abilities?

    Again, there is no one so blind as the one who actually believes that he/she is not at all blinded, to any degree, by bias – i.e., a truly “objective” observer does not exist outside of the mind of God Himself. You’re simply fooling yourself. You are not entirely objective in this discussion. You bring to the table significant biases just like everyone else.

    Also, as you know, I don’t think this is an issue of salvation. I do, however, think it is an issue of no small importance which I think you will one day wish you had a firmer grasp of beyond your current position of agnosticism. A correct understanding of the issues in play here has the power to save one from a great deal of perplexity and even heart ache in this life.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  45. @Professor Kent:

    There is no empirical evidence that Jesus was the son of a virgin, yet you and I believe. There is no empirical evidence that Jesus never sinned, yet you and I believe. There is no empirical evidence that Jesus ascended to heaven, yet you and I believe. Why is it okay for you and I to accept these teachings of the Bible without evidence, but wrong for me, and other SDA biologists, to believe in creation without the “weight” of evidence?

    As I’ve noted for you dozens of times now, the credibility of the metaphysical claims of the Bible which cannot be directly tested or evaluated through any scientific methods, are based on the credibility of those Biblical statements that can be directly tested and evaluated in a potentially falsifiable manner.

    As you know, the Biblical authors often show this association between the metaphysical and the physical… such as the story of Jesus healing the paralytic. Jesus asks the question, “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? – Luke 5:23

    So, tell me, what would have happened to the credibility of Jesus’ claim to be able to forgive sins if the paralyzed man had just laid their when Jesus said, “get up and walk”?

    In the same way, the credibility of the Bible declines as those elements of it that can be falsified are actually falsified to a significant degree of certainty in people’s minds. That’s just the way intelligent candid minds work and God fully understands and appreciates that. This is how He made us after all… at least for those like me who require the weight of empirical evidence to support our faith as “rational” 😉

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  46. @ Sean Pitman

    As I’ve noted for you dozens of times now, the credibility of the metaphysical claims of the Bible which cannot be directly tested or evaluated through any scientific methods, are based on the credibility of those Biblical statements that can be directly tested and evaluated in a potentially falsifiable manner.

    As I’ve noted for you dozens of times now, the origin of life as stated in the Bible is a metaphysical event. You acknowledge that the metaphysical claims of the Bible cannot be directly tested or evaluated through any scdientific methods, YET YOU DEMAND THAT SDA SCIENTISTS TELL OUR YOUNG PEOPLE THAT THE SCIENCE PROVES THE METAPHYSICAL CLAIMS OF GENESIS.

    Does your head spin in circles?

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  47. In what decade, Sean, did it become immoral for an SDA scientist to teach, “you CAN believe in creation even if the science doesn’t support it?” Please help us understand the evolution of this morality.

    1874 – when the first SDA college opened?
    1880s?
    1900s?
    1920s?
    1940s?
    1960s?
    1980s?
    2000s?

    Let me guess: it would be the 2000s, after one groundbreaking website came online (www.detectingdesign.com) and one masterful book was published (Turtles All The Way Down). And for one simple reason: you have finally succeeded in what no prior scientist in the Church was able to do by showing how the preponderance of accumulating evidence now supports the SDA position.

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  48. @Professor Kent:
    I respectfully apologize, my friend, but I’m having trouble following this particular exchange with your friend Sean. You start with a quote from Sean, “…the metaphysical claims of the Bible…” and your comment is, “As I’ve noted for you dozens of times now, the origin of life as stated in the Bible is a metaphysical event.”

    I assume that when you say “the origin of life as stated in the Bible” you are talking about Genesis 1. If so, you are saying Genesis 1 is metaphysical. But I seem to remember your having been at pains to assert that you, a committed SDA, believe, by faith rather than evidence, in a literal 6-day creation. As I understand the terms “metaphysical” and “literal”, they are at odds. But maybe I don’t understand what “metaphysical” means (does anybody, really?) My request, deferentially and diffidently offered, with gentlemanly and genuine Christian intent, is for help in reconciling a literal with a metaphysical Genesis 1. Meanwhile, hmmm, don’t all our other professors say Genesis is “allegorical”? That I understand.

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  49. @Professor Kent:

    As I’ve noted for you dozens of times now, the origin of life as stated in the Bible is a metaphysical event. You acknowledge that the metaphysical claims of the Bible cannot be directly tested or evaluated through any scdientific methods, YET YOU DEMAND THAT SDA SCIENTISTS TELL OUR YOUNG PEOPLE THAT THE SCIENCE PROVES THE METAPHYSICAL CLAIMS OF GENESIS.

    The Biblical assertion that life on this planet, and the structure of this planet and solar system needed to support complex life, was created in just six literal days is not entirely metaphysical or immune from the realm of scientific evaluation. It is a statement about physical reality that can actually be investigated and potentially falsified to a reasonable degree of certainty.

    Is absolute certainty or “proof” attainable? Of course not since no scientific theory is absolutely certain. However, to the degree that empirical reality matches or is consistent with the Biblical account(s), the Bible, to include faith in the Bible as “true”, gains or looses credibility. The same thing is true for the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an. Credibility, for most people, just so happens to be closely tied to physical reality as they perceive it…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  50. @ Sean

    The Biblical assertion that life on this planet, and the structure of this planet and solar system needed to support complex life, was created in just six literal days is not entirely metaphysical or immune from the realm of scientific evaluation. It is a statement about physical reality that can actually be investigated and potentially falsified to a reasonable degree of certainty.

    Excuse me? I would like to know what kind of empirical evidence could ever be found to support a literal 6-day creation. Wow! That’s like saying that evolutionists expect to find the location and time of the origin of the first life, which no one is predicting, even the staunchest evolutionist/atheist. I can see finding empirical evidence for a recent creation, but empirical evidence that would distinguish the length of creation days? We don’t even know what day of the week Jesus was born, which should be a lot easier to establish with empirical evidence! In fact, I would challenge you to even present theoretical empirical evidence that would distinguish literal creation days from say year-long creation days. While you’re at it, maybe you could provide empirical evidence for the feeding of the 5,000.

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  51. @OTNT_Believer:

    Excuse me? I would like to know what kind of empirical evidence could ever be found to support a literal 6-day creation. Wow! That’s like saying that evolutionists expect to find the location and time of the origin of the first life, which no one is predicting, even the staunchest evolutionist/atheist. I can see finding empirical evidence for a recent creation, but empirical evidence that would distinguish the length of creation days? We don’t even know what day of the week Jesus was born, which should be a lot easier to establish with empirical evidence! In fact, I would challenge you to even present theoretical empirical evidence that would distinguish literal creation days from say year-long creation days. While you’re at it, maybe you could provide empirical evidence for the feeding of the 5,000.

    In science, there’s a difference between being able to absolute prove a theory or statement vs. being able to essentially falsify it. Absolute proof is essentially impossible in science.

    While not being open to absolute demonstration, the literal six-day creation week is open to the potential for essential falsification. However, if the best available evidence strongly favors a very recent arrival of life on this planet, such evidence would not only strongly counter mainstream evolutionary theories, it would also be consistent with the Biblical account of origins.

    This is what science is all about – the predictive power of the hypothesis/theory and the potential for effective falsification; not absolute demonstration.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    P.S. Note that the structure of the Earth and the living things that were originally created on the Earth are still around for scientific evaluation. This is not true of the 5,000 that the Bible claims were fed by Jesus from just five loaves and two fish. Nothing is left of that event but the witness of the Biblical authors for scientific evaluation.

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  52. the literal six-day creation week is open to the potential for essential falsification.

    And how?

    the living things that were originally created on the Earth are still around for scientific evaluation.

    That’s funny, for all these years I thought they had all died, but once again I was mistaken. So roses were originally created with thorns, spiders with venom glands and fangs, and snakes without wings?

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  53. @ Wesley Kime:

    Meanwhile, hmmm, don’t all our other professors say Genesis is “allegorical”?

    Some here seem to want to believe that, especially at LSU and PUC, although I don’t believe it. But since I’m usually mistaken it may well be true.

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  54. @Eddie:

    the literal six-day creation week is open to the potential for essential falsification. – Sean Pitman

    And how?

    Just ask someone like Richard Dawkins 😉

    the living things that were originally created on the Earth are still around for scientific evaluation. – Sean Pitman

    That’s funny, for all these years I thought they had all died, but once again I was mistaken. So roses were originally created with thorns, spiders with venom glands and fangs, and snakes without wings?

    Obviously, I’m talking about the basic kinds of gene pools themselves… many of which still exist today in the various forms of living things which are decendants of those original ancestral “kinds” of living things that the Biblical authors claim that God created. These decendents can be studied and compared to the Biblical story of origins to see if the Biblical account(s) are tenable or not…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  55. @ Sean

    While not being open to absolute demonstration, the literal six-day creation week is open to the potential for essential falsification. However, if the best available evidence strongly favors a very recent arrival of life on this planet, such evidence would not only strongly counter mainstream evolutionary theories, it would also be consistent with the Biblical account of origins.

    Sean, I was not asking for absolute proof, which all of us know is not scientifically possible. I was just asking for what empoirical evidence for a literal creation week would look like.

    As for falsification, I am still wondering whether if incontrovertible falsification of a literal creation week would change your mind anyway. Oh, wait, yes it would, because then you would be stuck with just faith left to defend your view. At any rate, I find it even difficult to conceive of anything that would falsify a literal creation week, unless you were willing to accept such things as the fossil record and radiometric dating. Any kind of empirical evidence that might falsify a literal creation week is faulty according to you. So what is the point of saying something is falsifiable if you are unwilling to consider any of the evidence? Evidence, which, by the way, provides no empirical support for a literal creation. By picking apart the evidence from fossils and radiometric dating you are at best just falsifying the concept of old life on earth.

    You also commit a logical fallacy when you say “However, if the best available evidence strongly favors a very recent arrival of life on this planet, such evidence would not only strongly counter mainstream evolutionary theories, it would also be consistent with the Biblical account of origins.”

    Such evidence does nothing of the kind. Showing that life originated sometime in the last 10,000 years only provides evidence for the general timing of creation events. It does not lend scientific credibility to a literal 6-day creation scenario. I think your argument goes something like this: “since there is overwhelming scientific evidence for a recent creation, then we can be confident that the aiuthor of the Genesis account is also correct about the literalness of the 6-day creation week.” That is akin to saying something like, because a historian can prove when John F. Kennedy was born because he has the physical record of a birth certificate, that he must therefore also be correct in stating that the labor lasted for three hours and his mother had an episiotomy since he was given this information from Ted Kennedy in a telephone conversation. The second fact is no more likley correct just because the first fact is. The second fact is not based on any kind of physical evidence. The same is true of creation; the Genesis account, however correct it may be, does not constitute empirical, scientific evidence. Maybe that is also in part due to the fact that creation by fiat, as described in Genesis, is a metaphysical event, not a natural, scentifically established process.

    What it comes down to, in my mind, is that no matter what evidence you think you have, a belief in a literal 6-day creation week is based on faith, pure and simple. I accept it on faith, in part because I have seen the reliability of much of the rest of the Bible, but I am afraid that is not a terribly empirical approach. Metaphysical beliefs rarely are.

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  56. it would also be consistent with the Biblical account of origins

    Actually, as stated, yes, it would be consistent, but that says little, I think. It still provides no proof.

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  57. Brother Wesley Kime,

    If you followed my response to Pitman, you should be able to understand my context. But perhaps I was not clear enough.

    Sean concedes that the virgin birth of Jesus, His sinless life, and His ascension are metaphysical claims of the Bible; that is, they cannot be verified empirically.

    Obviously, the creation of all major life forms in 6 days, including the instantaneous conversion of a lump of dust into a living breathing human, is a metaphysical claim as well. Neither the virgin birth, nor fiat creation, can be verified empirically. These are supernatural events, beyond the realm of science.

    Sean would never demand theologians to teach that the weight of empirical evidence supports the The Virgin Birth, but he demands scientists to teach that the weight of empirical evidence supports Fiat Creation. And his demand is accompanied by teeth: he will shame and humiliate any offender publicly. Do you not see the inconsistency here?

    Until the whole world hears,
    PK
    “The righteous shall live by faith”

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  58. @OTNT_Believer:

    it would also be consistent with the Biblical account of origins. – Sean Pitman

    Actually, as stated, yes, it would be consistent, but that says little, I think. It still provides no proof.

    Science isn’t about providing ‘proof’. Science is about providing consistency and predictive value while remembering that there is always the potential for effective falsification…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  59. Dear Brother professor: Thanks so much! You are so considerate. But I rather knew where Dr. Pitman stood, and what he means by Genesis I being literal, and what he needs for validation. And I understand fully your objection to it. What I wasn’t clear on is your vocabulary: I still do not understand how — oh I’m so apologetic, even embarrassed — how you say Genesis 1 is both metaphysical and literal, as you have, as I understood it, in separate posts.

    I’m asking that question under the assumption, perhaps incompletely informed, that “metaphysical” and “literal” aren’t the same; it would have to be one or the other. But maybe you mean that Genesis 1 has a double or layered meaning: it is literal, but also, simultaneously, has an additional lesson, a metaphysical significance. Would I say “parabolic”? If so, very good! Very good!

    And thus I also assume that the way you use “metaphysical” as applied to Genesis 1 is not at all the same as our LSC scholars, notably Dr. taylor, use the word “allegoric.” I apologize again, and again, for belaboring vocabulary instead of other issues.

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  60. Re Sean’s Quote

    “You bring to the table significant biases just like everyone else.”

    Dear Sean

    Is an agnostic bias an oxymoron?

    If I say: I don’t know, is my state of mind a bias or an open inquiry.

    On one hand you seem to be imploring me to take a stand because I don’t have one, but on the other you say I have ‘significant’ biases.

    What precisely are my significant biases?

    Cheers
    Ken

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  61. @Ken:

    Is an agnostic bias an oxymoron?

    If I say: I don’t know, is my state of mind a bias or an open inquiry.

    It is much like Richard Dawkins explains. Depending on the evidence available, being an “agnostic” is equivalent to an intellectual cop-out. For example, are you “agnostic” to the existence of Santa Claus? or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? or the spherical nature of the Earth? If not, why not?

    You see, being an “agnostic” is not necessarily the most enlightened or even unbiased position. There are many reasons that would tend to bias one toward agnosticism instead of sticking their neck out and taking a public stand on a particular issue. It could simply mean that you’re risk adverse or like being seen as “unbiased”.

    Of course, it could also mean that you really truly just don’t have any idea… as could be the case for considering the existence of Santa Claus. The problem with having no idea as to the reality or non-reality of certain things is that a lack of knowledge can be quite problematic in and of itself…

    In any case, any time you or anyone else thinks that they do actually have an idea as to true reality, your notions of truth, or even the lack of truth, are based on a certain degree of bias. There simply is no escaping a certain degree of human subjectivity. It is best to at least be aware of this…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  62. @ Sean

    Science isn’t about providing ‘proof’. Science is about providing consistency and predictive value while remembering that there is always the potential for effective falsification…

    Fine, but you still have not answered my questions.

    1) What would constitute a falsification of the literal 6-day creation model?

    2) If falsified, would you then throw out the literal 6-day creation model?

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  63. @OTNT_Believer:

    Science isn’t about providing ‘proof’. Science is about providing consistency and predictive value while remembering that there is always the potential for effective falsification… – Sean Pitman

    Fine, but you still have not answered my questions.

    1) What would constitute a falsification of the literal 6-day creation model?

    2) If falsified, would you then throw out the literal 6-day creation model?

    A convincing demonstration of the clear weight of empirical evidence being most consistent with the theory of millions of years of life existing and evolving on this planet would effectively falsify, scientifically, the theory of a literal 6-day creation week.

    If such evidence were presented to me such that I became convinced of its superior weight vs. what I currently understand as the weight of evidence, I would not only leave the literal 6-day creation model behind, but the SDA Church as well…

    As an interesting aside, Clifford Goldstein has told me that he would do the same thing. Like me, he isn’t in the Church for social reasons. He is in the Church because he became convinced of the rational truth of the doctrinal positions of the SDA Church as superior to anything else he had ever heard. The same is true for me till this point in time…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  64. Re Wes’s Quote

    “But may I anticipate, Ken, how you’ll respond? As to tone, you’re too much of a gentleman to hit me with “you don’t know who I am! You don’t know what I’m thinking! How dare you! Shut up!” But as to content, may I? I may indeed be way off, but I’d guess you’d say you’re an existentialist, which renders you immune to context and consequence, eternal especially. The court grants your point. But I suppose we’ll have to take back Kierkegaard’s philosophy award. Easy come easy go. Wesley Kime(Quote)
    ReplyReply”

    Dear Wes

    Brilliant observation both in substance and on my anticipated civil response. I think you understand me very, very well. Rather than take offence, I congratulate you on your perspicacity. I respectfully bow to the court for granting me the point.

    I think we can leave dear Soren with his oxymoronic Christian existentialism prize. He needed to go a step further, but not as far as Satre

    As you do understand me, you will know that contrary to Sean’s opinion that I am not interested in the truth, the very opposite is the case. Agnostic existentialism is a severe discipline, but it is not an ontological copout, nor immoral per se.

    The real issue for you all is to assess whether in this role I can be of service to objectively look at everyone’s comments and render fair assessments. If not I am of little or no use to Adventists.

    And my dear Dr.Kime, whose judgment I so admire, the real issue for you is whether I am ‘playing’ or practicing the Royal Law of Love.

    Temporally
    Ken

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  65. @ Sean

    As an interesting aside, Clifford Goldstein has told me that he would do the same thing. Like me, he isn’t in the Church for social reasons. He is in the Church because he became convinced of the rational truth of the doctrinal positions of the SDA Church as superior to anything else he had ever heard. The same is true for me till this point in time…

    Well, let’s hope then that you are able to realize that even if the evidence might at some point tip in a direction away from a short term, literal creation, that you become able to see that a rational belief based on faith is still a possible route, as I have found that it is. Religious belief has never been entirely rational, and there is no reason to expect it to be. Not all truth is accessible by rational means.

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  66. @ Sean Pitman:

    A convincing demonstration of the clear weight of empirical evidence being most consistent with the theory of millions of years of life existing and evolving on this planet would effectively falsify, scientifically, the theory of a literal 6-day creation week.
    If such evidence were presented to me such that I became convinced of its superior weight vs. what I currently understand as the weight of evidence, I would not only leave the literal 6-day creation model behind, but the SDA Church as well…

    Evidence is in the eye of the beholder. People view evidence through different filters–in your case, a filter of faith. Even if the evidence strongly favored life existing and evolving on this planet for billions of years–which many, but not me, Professor Kent or OTNT_Believer believe, although some of you want to believe we do–it still does not falsify the hypothesis of a six-day creation week, which could have occurred billions of years ago.

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  67. @Eddie:

    Evidence is in the eye of the beholder.

    Exactly…

    People view evidence through different filters–in your case, a filter of faith. Even if the evidence strongly favored life existing and evolving on this planet for billions of years–which many, but not me, Professor Kent or OTNT_Believer believe, although some of you want to believe we do–it still does not falsify the hypothesis of a six-day creation week, which could have occurred billions of years ago.

    Nothing is absolutely falsifiable… especially for a mind that will not accept any evidence that is contrary to what one wants to believe. Only God knows the heart of a person and if one is being honest or just hard headed. That is why no one can make moral judgments on such issues since only God knows the heart of a person.

    You can believe what you want to believe for whatever reason(s) you choose – to include “faith” that is blind to all empirical evidence. That’s the beauty of living in a civilly free country. The only caveat is that no one should be free to take money from those who do not agree with the product one is trying to sell. Freedom works both ways.

    Therefore, when a professor working for a Seventh-day Adventist school starts actively undermining the clearly stated goals and ideals of the SDA Church within that school, the SDA Church really has no choice but to let that professor go if that professor will not end the subversive activity and actually agree to start actively promoting the fundamental goals and ideals of the SDA Church…

    This isn’t persecution. This isn’t torches and pitchforks. This is practical government for any viable organization. No one is or should be threatened with civil penalties. However, it amazes me that there are actually those who expect to be paid for their efforts by those with whom they fundamentally disagree and are actively attacking. Call me crazy, but it’s like a person who steals your car sending you a bill for the mileage he had to drive your car to his house…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  68. Re Sean’s Quote

    “You see, being an “agnostic” is not necessarily the most enlightened or even unbiased position. There are many reasons that would tend to bias one toward agnosticism instead of sticking their neck out and taking a public stand on a particular issue. It could simply mean that you’re risk adverse or like being seen as “unbiased”.

    Of course, it could also mean that you really truly just don’t have any idea… as could be the case for considering the existence of Santa Claus. The problem with having no idea as to the reality or non-reality of certain things is that a lack of knowledge can be quite problematic in and of itself…”

    Dear Sean

    That is very interesting. I guess one should define bias. Here is one definition from Dictionary.com:

    “Bias: a particular tendency or inclination, esp. one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; prejudice.”

    So, if an agnostic says that he does not know if there is or is not a God, does he have a prejudice or inclination towards faith or non faith?

    More importantly, not being predisposed, inclined, prejudiced- in other words biased towards faith or non faith – can the agnostic view everything objectively? Dear Sean, notwithstanding that ever since you were a young boy you thought EGW and the Bible were right, notwithstanding that you self admittedly view empirical evidence subjectively, I think an agnostic can look at ontology objectively without bias.

    But then again, maybe that is only my subjective opinion?

    Keep smiling
    Ken

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  69. @OTNT_Believer:

    Religious belief has never been entirely rational, and there is no reason to expect it to be. Not all truth is accessible by rational means.

    The well-known Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, tells a story of a lady standing up during one of his lectures and explaining to him that religion is not rational and is not supposed to be rational. In response, Ravi said, “Would you like a rational or an irrational response?” – to which the lady stood silent for a moment before sitting down without further comment…

    To argue that important truths are completely irrational is itself an irrational statement that is essentially nonsensical. The God of the Bible constantly strives to appeal to the rational candid mind as well as the heart. He is quoted as saying, “Come, let us reason together.” – Isaiah 1:18 NIV.

    The Christian God is not a God of confusion, but of order and reason. He has given us rational minds for a reason. As Galileo once opined, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  70. Re OTNT and Sean’s Quotes

    “Religious belief has never been entirely rational, and there is no reason to expect it to be. Not all truth is accessible by rational means. OTNT_Believer(Quote)”

    “Only God knows the heart of a person and if one is being honest or just hard headed. That is why no one can make moral judgments on such issues since only God knows the heart of a person. Sean Pitman”

    Dear Sean and OTNT

    Gentleman, thank you for your definitive statements.

    Further to my previous post to Sean, here is how I would try to analyse them objectively. Can they be proven by empirical means? If not do they fit into the category of faith? If they are faith based can they be proven to be false? Likely not. If not, are they valid statements of faith for you who profess them. I think so.

    Now Sean, would you say I have acted objectively, or subjectively with bias, in my analysis? Everybody else?

    Cheers
    Ken

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  71. @ Sean

    To argue that important truths are completely irrational is itself an irrational statement that is essentially nonsensical.

    Well, I guess you missed my point. Oh well. There is psychological evidence that none of us is entirely rational, and some of us are more so than others.

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  72. @ Sean Pitman

    Therefore, when a professor working for a Seventh-day Adventist school starts actively undermining the clearly stated goals and ideals of the SDA Church…

    You keep insisting that a professor undermines the “clearly stated goals and ideals of the SDA Church” by personally accepting creation largely on faith and teaching as much to students. That’s an outright lie, Sean. Never has the SDA Church taken a position that creation should be believed on the basis of empirical evidence.

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  73. @Professor Kent:

    You keep insisting that a professor undermines the “clearly stated goals and ideals of the SDA Church” by personally accepting creation largely on faith and teaching as much to students. That’s an outright lie, Sean. Never has the SDA Church taken a position that creation should be believed on the basis of empirical evidence.

    Here is the request of the SDA Church for all Church representatives in all of our schools:

    We, the members of the General Conference Executive Committee at the 2004 Annual Council, state the following as our response to the document, An Affirmation of Creation, submitted by the International Faith & Science Conferences:

    We call on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins. We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation, even as they are educated to understand and assess competing philosophies of origins that dominate scientific discussion in the contemporary world.

    http://adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat55.html

    Note the call for a “scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historical belief in a literal, recient six-day creation.” If the SDA Church expected science teachers to tell our students that the SDA position is scientifically untenable, that the best we have is empirically-blind faith to rely on, that’s what they would have said. But, the Church didn’t say that. They said that they expected a scientifically rigorous defense of the Church’s position on origins to be presented in its own schools…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  74. @ Sean:

    Therefore, when a professor working for a Seventh-day Adventist school starts actively undermining the clearly stated goals and ideals of the SDA Church within that school, the SDA Church really has no choice but to let that professor go if that professor will not end the subversive activity and actually agree to start actively promoting the fundamental goals and ideals of the SDA Church…

    I agree and I’m pretty sure Professor Kent and OT/NT_Believer also agrees. Problem is, you have publicly impugned the character of many individuals who have faithfully supporting the SDA church and who are NOT “activly undermining” church beliefs.

    This isn’t persecution. This isn’t torches and pitchforks.

    It’s cyberbullying. Same effect. SDA educators do not teach students that cyberbullying is the church’s accepted method of discipline. In fact, cyberbullying is not tolerated, period. I admire the professors at LSU for not engaging with you tit-for-tat…although I suppose it is possible that somebody from LSU may be seeking revenge anonymously.

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  75. @ Sean:

    It is unjustifiable for you–and apparently you alone–to insist those of us who interpret the Bible the same way you do but interpret science differently are not fit to teach in a SDA school. It is unjustifiable for you to imply that we are less faithful to the SDA church and undermining the church simply on the basis of how we interpret science.

    The strongest evidence for long ages in the history of Earth and life on Earth comes from radiometric dating. Numerous techniques have been developed and tens of thousands of studies have been published. Virtually all point toward ages much longer than what the scriptures imply (although the Bible never states when the creation week or flood occurred). All you can do is point out flaws in the assumptions and methodology of the research. The best you can do is toss out the data as unreliable–and I honestly hope that you are right. However, you cannot–I repeat–you cannot argue that the flaws in assumptions and methodology of radiometric dating provide empirical evidence supporting the Biblical account of creation. You cannot expect me to stand in front of students and honestly tell them that the weight of empirical scientific evidence of radiometric dating supports the presence of life on Earth for only 6,000 years. If that’s what you want to believe, I’m happy for you, but I don’t see it that way. I totally agree with you that there are other forms of evidence supporting a short chronology, and like you I want to belive that those forms of evidence are more reliable. But there is no getting around the fact that the evidence from radiometric dating, which provides the strongest evidence for a long chronology, does not support a short chronology.

    The strongest evidence for megaevolution comes from the fossil record, not similarity in DNA sequences (which could be created by design). If human and whale bones were mixed in with those of dinosaurs and trilobites, I would agree with you that the weight of scientific evidence favors the creation of modern life forms within a short period of time. However, you know just as well as I do that human fossils appear only near the top of the fossil record, and that whales do not appear until after the dinosaurs are extinct. And that the fossil record shows an apparent progression of primitive to complex organisms. The best you can do is point out irregularities in the fossil record, such as the Cambrian explosion and unexpected sequence problems in megaevolutionary transitions (e.g., fish-amphibian transition), and attempt to attribute the apparently sequence of primitieve to advanced organisms to ecological zonation. I see problems with megaevolutionary theory, but those problems do not–I repeat, do not–provide evidence that humans were created within a few days of trilobites. You cannot expect me to stand in front of students and tell them that weight of evidence from the fossil record favors the creation of humans and other complex organisms within a few days of the most primitive organisms. If you believe it does I am happy for you. But I am not going to lie on your behalf in the classroom.

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  76. @Eddie:

    You cannot expect me to stand in front of students and tell them that weight of evidence from the fossil record favors the creation of humans and other complex organisms within a few days of the most primitive organisms. If you believe it does I am happy for you. But I am not going to lie on your behalf in the classroom.

    No one is asking you to lie professor. If you don’t believe in what the SDA Church is asking you to support (i.e., “a scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation”), then you shouldn’t be working for the SDA Church as a professor of science. You should go and work for an organization that is willing to pay you to teach what is in line with your conscience.

    Of course, I personally think you’re overlooking key aspects of the fossil record and geologic column (and even radiometric dating – especially radiocarbon dating), the total weight of which overcome the opposing arguments and strongly favor the SDA position on origins.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  77. @Ken:
    Yo, Ken, help! Hi, by the way; nice day, isn’t it? You want to be of service around here, you say? OK, Le’me into your faith-proof bomb shelter, quick! All that friendly-faith fire out there right now. Dog pile of barking, growling, fang-bared greater-faithed; bayonets fixed and bloody; berets and muskets cocked. My poor old ears are ringing! (At my age what am I doing out here anyway, AWOL from the old Veterans Home?) And they’re my pewmates? Whole bands-of-brothers, claiming to be whole armies, ganging up on, they think, one poor lone, tattered, stout-hearted brother cyberbully (don’t-ask-don’t-tell must have been repealed). Such smoke screens! Booby traps, watch out! So much pronged and twisted barbed wire — you’re a piker at it, my agnostic friend. Nice and quiet down here. A little dank, but quiet. Have a swig from my canteen.

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  78. “I personally think you’re overlooking key aspects of the fossil record and geologic column (and even radiometric dating – especially radiocarbon dating), the total weight of which overcome the opposing arguments and strongly favor the SDA position on origins.” Dr. Sean Pitman.

    This is certainly one of the topics that I assume Dr. Pitman will be eager to discuss in the public forum to be conducted sometime this Spring at an agreed upon date and place.

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  79. @ Sean:

    So exactly who are the SDA science professors who agree with you that the weight of geological and biological evidence strongly favors the SDA positions on origins? And that only such professors who agree with you should teach in SDA colleges and universities? You have claimed that Drs. Brand, Chadwick and Lee do, but why should I believe your claim? What is the basis of your claim: is it based on mere personal conversation, or published statements that we can actually verify?

    Furthermore, if any such professors actually agree with you, I would like to see them publicly declare here at Educate Truth that they agree with you that the scientific evidence strongly favors the following three SDA positions on origins: (1) creation of all basic life forms occurred within a few days instead of megaevolution in which primitive forms of life gradually evolved into more complex forms of life; (2) life has existed on the planet for less than 10,000 instead of millions or billions of years; and (3) Noah’s flood covered every speck of land on the planet. And a fourth position: that anybody who disagrees with any of these three positions should resign from employment in the SDA church.

    I would be very surprised and impressed if any SDA professor actually agreed with you for any one of those four principles. But maybe I’m mistaken, as you believe I usually am. I challenge you to prove that I am mistaken.

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  80. Re Sean’s Quote

    “No one is asking you to lie professor. If you don’t believe in what the SDA Church is asking you to support (i.e., “a scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation”), then you shouldn’t be working for the SDA Church as a professor of science. You should go and work for an organization that is willing to pay you to teach what is in line with your conscience.”

    Dear Sean and Eddie

    Please take my following agnostic comments with a large grain of salt as I am certainly not qualified or educated to comment on Adventist pedagogy.

    It may may be possible to interpret the church statement in another way than what Sean is suggesting. Let’s look at the operative parts of the sentence:

    “We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation, even as they are educated to understand and assess competing philosophies of origins that dominate scientific discussion in the contemporary world.”

    The sentence says that students are to receive an ‘affirmation’ of recent six day creation. It does not mandate that this must be done in biology or for that matter science classes. It could be done in theology classes. The sentence says that students are to receive ‘scientifically rigorous exposure to’ recent six day creation. The operative word here is ‘exposure’. Exposure does not mean that the biology professor has to scientifically adopt six day recent creation, only expose his students to the concept.

    Thus if Dr. Eddie exposes to his students to creation science – show them Sean’s theories by all means- but states that he disagrees with Dr.Pitman that the weight of the scientific evidence supports YLC, is Eddie in breach of the statement? I think not

    Let’s reverse the tables with Dr. Pitman hypothetically teaching at the institution. Dr Pitman is hired and teaches a course in six day recent creation origins. Moreover he exposes and educates his students in competing evolutionary theory. He renders his opinion that he thinks the weight of evidence supports YLC. Is Dr.Pitman in breach of the statement? I think not.

    I respectfully suggest this as a possible solution to the problem.

    Your agnostic mediator
    Ken

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  81. Ken, your interpretation of the SDA statement is right on the money, of course. Dr. Pitman is grasping for straws to insist it supports his demand that SDA biologists declare the weight of evidence favors our view. Dr. Pitman is confusing “his science” with “SDA theology.”

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  82. The sentence says that students are to receive an ‘affirmation’ of recent six day creation. It does not mandate that this must be done in biology or for that matter science classes. It could be done in theology classes.
    ==============================End quote

    That is what Richard Dawkins proposes – but that is not what the Seventh-day Adventist church is proposing. Think about it for a second. We don’t NEED to sacrifice tithe, offering, gift and tuition dollars to build SDA universities and colleges so that we can “finally” have some good ol’ fashioned evolution taught at the university level as if the other colleges are doing such a lousy job at evangelizing for belief in evolutionism every chance they get!

    That is not why we divert those resources from evangelism.

    IF we were to “default” on education to whatever public schools teach — then we could establish “Bible summer schools” where students would have some Bible classes in the summer and — go to public universities the rest of the year. Then dump all that money into more evangelism —

    The REASON for SDA teaching institutions is to provide a “distinctively SDA” education because we think our view of science, health, history, psych is BETTER given that we are “informed” by our connection with God and “the truth” for these last days. That is WHY those SDA institutions exist in the first place.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  83. This is certainly one of the topics that I assume Dr. Pitman will be eager to discuss in the public forum to be conducted sometime this Spring at an agreed upon date and place.

    1. Evolutionism has already lost big time within the SDA denomination as we saw at the GC session this year – so it is obvious as to why SDA evolutionists would be looking for a public debate option. At worst the evolutionist “breaks even” because they would start out having already lost the support of the denonination. At “best” they could at least chip away at that support for creation. By contrast for Sean “at best” he could only “break even” since the denomination has already voted to toss evolutionism out the window.

    2. Online venues for debate are much more “information oriented” than public debates. So again – it is obvious as to “why” SDA evolutionists would prefer the short snippet public debate venue to online debates.

    3. Sean has talked himself out on a number of topics for any would-be opponent to know every thought Sean has before the debate ever starts – while Sean would know next to nothing about the opposing strategy in such a debate. So again – it is easy to see the value that such a public debate might have for an SDA evolutionist.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  84. Re Bob’s Quote

    “2. Online venues for debate are much more “information oriented” than public debates. So again – it is obvious as to “why” SDA evolutionists would prefer the short snippet public debate venue to online debates.

    3. Sean has talked himself out on a number of topics for any would-be opponent to know every thought Sean has before the debate ever starts – while Sean would know next to nothing about the opposing strategy in such a debate. So again – it is easy to see the value that such a public debate might have for an SDA evolutionist.”

    Dear Bob

    I understand your concerns. But the optics of this for creationists are horrible. It suggests fear. Did Jesus hide away from the public with his message? Did Gandhi, Darwin? Aren’t SDA’s supposed to be evangelists as opposed to a cyber closet club?

    Even though I disagree with Dr. Pitman’s conclusions I greatly admire him for being a strong advocate and leader for YLC. But if you hide him from public debate what is that going to say to your faithful?

    Moreover public debate does not preclude online debate.

    One can’t be a coward and still have courage of conviction. Think of Daniel in the fire. Did he ask for an asbestos closet?

    Ahhhh but Ken you say, its so easy for you to spot off anonymously on the keyboard. Ahh but Ken others say, it is so easy to be a fence sitter and not take a stance. You aren’t serious about the truth you are just a player, an ontological dabbler. Well fine Adventist ladies and gentlemen, here is my offer: if I am invited to debate with Sean and Erv I will come to any Adventist campus and voice my agnostic opinion. Moreover if Sean and Erv want me to come as a moderator I would come in that role as well. As a non Christian who does not believe in YLC or OEC I think I could be fair to both sides.

    Ask Wes if I am serious. I think he understands my conviction very well. When it comes to truth I don’t fear Adventist, atheist or eternal fires, only the embers of complacency. If you want to Educate Truth you cannot be scared to Debate Truth.

    Now on a more charitable note, I’d be very pleased to break bread with all of you in person at such a debate. I don’t wear horns or wings and I like people of all stripes. It would be a great pleasure to meet you all.

    Throwing down the ontological glove with courtesy
    your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  85. Bob Ryan wrote

    The REASON for SDA teaching institutions is to provide a “distinctively SDA” education because we think our view of science, health, history, psych is BETTER given that we are “informed” by our connection with God and “the truth” for these last days. That is WHY those SDA institutions exist in the first place.

    No kidding. No one thinks otherwise–except maybe your idol, Richard Dawkins, and why would we care what he thinks?

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  86. I’m continually disturbed by the “requirements” everyone seems to quarrel over regarding what it takes to be an “Adventist.” It’s tragic, really. There was a time when Church members used to praise anyone who had a connection to Adventism–Paul Harvey, for example (who often attended an SDA Church with his wife, but neither were ever baptized)–without erecting obstacles such as fidelity to FB # such-and-such. God could use virtually anyone to further along His kingdom.

    But, increasingly, anyone who thinks even a little differently is treated as an outcast, a reckless threat to the advancement of the Church (either in a “progressive” or “traditional” sense, depending on one’s position). This is tragic, as we’re all in the same boat together. Each one of us can do something–by paddling, bailing, offering praise or prayer, whatever it takes–to keep the boat afloat and moving closer to the Promised Land. Instead of focusing on Jesus and bringing knowledge of Jesus to the world, all we’re doing is stabbing and hacking away at each other. Do we really need uncivil war?

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  87. What are Seventh-day Adventists known for?

    I wish that, when people hear of us, their response would be, “Oh, Seventh-day Adventists are the people who really love Jesus.”

    Is there anyone else who thinks we ought to make this a high priority? ANYONE?

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  88. 12-8-10

    I just recently returned from a two week visit to my daughter Carol Paden and her family in Texas. It was a wonderful visit but during that time I was pretty much computerless so have lost out on what has been going on on this site.

    Shortly after returning I received a program of eye exercises I had ordered just before I left. (For some reason at 86 my eyes aren’t as good as they once were!) Last night was the first time I had time to sit down and start reading it and the following really caught my attention:

    “The eye is an incredibly detailed mesh of more than a billion synchronized parts continously working together to provide our brain with the thousands of images we focus on every day. No manmade machine compares to the structural complexity of the human eye.” Rebuild your Vision, by Orlin G. Sorensen, pg. 10.

    As I have stated numerous times on this site, while I am a college graduate, I am not a scientists (my deceased husband was) and my field of interest was along an entirely different line. So, much of the discussion on this site, sort of “goes over my head.” But this comment I can understand!

    If I tried to tell you the Rubik’s Cube just “evolved naturally” with absolutely no mind behind it you would consider me utterly stupid or, at least, somewhat brain damaged. Of course there was a very intelligent mind behind it–and a lot of other things the “creator” of this brain game came up with–as well as the thousands of other things MAN has invented that makes life more fun and much easier for a lot of us.

    Having said this, I am supposed to “swallow” the idea that the human eye–which is far, far more complex than this brain game could ever be–just “evolved” over vast periods of time with absolutely no “intelligent mind” behind IT? Please–what ever happened to good old Common Sense? Has “much learning” made some among us “mad”?

    Lydian

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  89. @Prof Kent

    I’m continually disturbed by the “requirements” everyone seems to quarrel over regarding what it takes to be an “Adventist.” It’s tragic, really. There was a time when Church members used to praise anyone who had a connection to Adventism–Paul Harvey, for example (who often attended an SDA Church with his wife, but neither were ever baptized)–without erecting obstacles such as fidelity to FB # such-and-such. God could use virtually anyone to further along His kingdom.

    Now, now prof. You know Seanis going to get you for this statement. Being a member of the church is not dependent on FB#6, but you better believe it as Sean does if you want to pastor or teach in the church. 😉 So, Paul Harvey is great, but if he wanted to teach in one of our colleges, forget it, unless he professes unequivocal belief in FB#6 (oh, and he would need to get baptized).

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  90. Does anyone seriously believe Jesus or Ellen White would condone a debate?  (Quote)

    I too think this is a bad idea, although it might be a good way for Sean to show off a bit. 😉 From my experience, debates are more about entertainment (for those who enjoy such) and scoring points for your side. Few minds get changed. I also seem to recall some rather negative statements about public debates by EGW.

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  91. I wish that, when people hear of us, their response would be, “Oh, Seventh-day Adventists are the people who really love Jesus.”
    Is there anyone else who thinks we ought to make this a high priority? ANYONE?

    Me.

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