Comment on Why those who hate the Bible love blind-faith Christians by Professor Kent.
Here is a classic explanation from modern science to shore up our faith in the Bible. This happens to be from Sean Pitman (above):
Beyond this, the Earth isnâ€™t that big of a place (~24,000 miles in circumference). It doesnâ€™t take very long even for seemingly slow moving creatures to get from one side to the other. Just moving 12 miles per year, it would only take 1,000 years to migrate to the other side of the planet. Even a small slow tree sloth can easily migrate that fastâ€¦
So what do we really know about sloth movements?
In a 2004 paper in the journal Biological Conservation, Maned Sloths translocated from an urban area to a forest preserve in Brazil moved the most in their first year as they adjusted to their new environment, and much less in years 2 and 3. The average linear movement was approximately 24 yards per day. That would translate to 8760 yards per year, or 5.0 miles per year. However, the measure of “linear movement” was not in a straight line. It included zig-zag movements back and forth within a home range of less than 30 acres (the majority of sloths occupied home ranges less than half this size). And these numbers were essentially identical to a 2006 study published in Journal of Zoology of non-translocated sloths.
In a 2007 paper in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation, two species of sloths in Costa Rica occupied median home ranges of only 13 acres (for Three-toed Sloths) and 11 acres (Two-toed Sloths). Thus, their movements were even less than the Maned Sloths from Brazil.
The reality is that individual sloths do not move in straight lines for much of a year or throughout their lifetime. They have to pause to feed, locate mates, and raise offspring. Like most animals, they require a stable home range in which they know where reliable resources can be found. They are not nomads, continually on the move. Thus, we cannot expect each successive generation to continue a straight-line march across the globe for thousands or even hundreds of years. In their normal daily movements, they might move 5 miles in a year…but not in a straight line. We have been reassured that even a “small slow tree sloth” can migrate at a 12-mile-per-year pace across the globe. I don’t think so!
It’s easy to invent “just-so” stories from modern science to defend creationism. They sound good and make us want to believe. But why should we put our confidence in this kind of “science” when it is so often exaggerated, and when we have, instead, the sure word of God?
Professor Kent Also Commented
Why those who hate the Bible love blind-faith Christians
Bob, are you seriously suggesting the following?
1. That theistic evolutionists uncritically accept their beliefs and dogmas, and by faith alone.
2. That atheists and SDAs, by contrast, use science and the historical-grammatical hermeneutic to examine whether the most direct reading of what the Bible says is true?
Rather odd to see how much we have in common with atheists. I had no idea.
BobRyan: The reference quoted was not at all speaking of ucritically accepting evolutionismâ€™s claims in nature…H-G only speaks to the RENDERING of â€œthe textâ€. It never recommends making up wild fictions about nature and claiming that both are true.
Who is misleading whom? Phil Brantley never proposed ucritically accepting evolutionismâ€™s claims in nature. He never suggested that H-G (the historical-grammatical hermeneutic) recommends making up wild fictions about nature and claiming that they are true.
Why those who hate the Bible love blind-faith Christians
Inge Anderson writes:
…it is clear that Dr Pitman accepts a biblical world view (necessarily rejecting a naturalistic world view) and thus demonstrates in practical terms that he honors the Bible above the â€œscientificâ€ interpretation of the evidence found in the natural world â€” no matter how vehemently he is accused of undermining the Bible.
And yet Dr. Pitman writes:
… science has religious implications and religion can be, and I think should be, based on a form of scientific reasoning and higher cortical function…
Dr. Pitman makes no bones about his position: the Bible can only be believed if science and human reason can verify it. He has told us this dozens of times. He has stated repeatedly that he would abandon his faith if science (in his interpretation) contradicted scripture. Take off your sunglasses, Inge.
Recent Comments by Professor Kent
Sean Pitman: Science isn’t about “cold hard facts.” Science is about interpreting the “facts” as best as one can given limited background experiences and information. Such interpretations can be wrong and when shown to be wrong, the honest will in fact change to follow where the “weight of evidence” seems to be leading.
Much of science is based on highly technical data that few other than those who generate it can understand. For most questions, science yields data insufficient to support a single interpretation. And much of science leads to contradictory interpretations. Honest individuals will admit that they have a limited understanding of the science, and base their opinions on an extremely limited subset of information which they happen to find compelling whether or not the overall body of science backs it up.
Sean Pitman: The process of detecting artefacts as true artefacts is a real science based on prior experience, experimentation, and testing with the potential of future falsification. Oh, and I do happen to own a bona fide polished granite cube.
Not from Mars. Finding the cube on Mars is the basis of your cubical caricature of science, not some artefact under your roof.
Professor Kent: If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.
The question is not if one will catch a fish, but if one will recognize a fish as a fish if one ever did catch a fish. That’s the scientific question here. And, yet again, the clear answer to this question is – Yes.
I think I’m going to spend the afternoon with my favorite scientist–my 8-year-old nephew. We’re going to go fishing at Lake Elsinore. He wants to know if we might catch a shark there. Brilliant scientist, that lad. He already grasps the importance of potentially falsifiable empirical evidence. I’m doubtful we’ll catch a fish, but I think he’ll recognize a fish if we do catch one.
While fishing, we’ll be scanning the skies to catch a glimpse of archaeopteryx flying by. He believes they might exist, and why not? Like the SETI scientist, he’s doing science to find the elusive evidence.
He scratched himself with a fish hook the other day and asked whether he was going to bleed. A few moments later, some blood emerged from the scratched. Talk about potentilly falsifiable data derived from a brilliant experiment. I’m telling you, the kid’s a brilliant scientist.
What’s really cool about science is that he doesn’t have to publish his observations (or lack thereof) to be doing very meaningful science. He doesn’t even need formal training or a brilliant mind. Did I mention he’s the only autistic scientist I’ve ever met?
As most everyone here knows, I have a poor understanding of science. But I’m pretty sure this nephew of mine will never lecture me or Pauluc on what constitutes science. He’s the most humble, polite, and soft-spoken scientist I’ve ever met.
Sean Pitman: I don’t think you understand the science or rational arguments behind the detection of an artefact as a true artefact. In fact, I don’t think you understand the basis of science in general.
I’m amused by this response. I don’t think you understand the limits of a philosophical argument based on a hypothetical situation, which is all that your convoluted cube story comprises, and nothing more. Whether the artefact is an artefact is immaterial to an argument that is philosophical and does not even consider an actual, bona fide artefact.
Sean Pitman: You argue that such conclusions aren’t “scientific”. If true, you’ve just removed forensic science, anthropology, history in general, and even SETI science from the realm of true fields of scientific study and investigation.
Forensic science, anthropology, and history in general all assume that humans exist and are responsible for the phenomenon examined. Authorities in these disciplines can devise hypotheses to explain the phenomenon they observe and can test them.
SETI assumes there might be non-human life elsewhere in the universe and is nothing more than an expensive fishing expedition. If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.
The search for a granite cube on Mars is nothing more than an exercise in hypotheticals. Call it science if you insist; I don’t see how it is different than a child waiting breathlessly all night beside the fireplace hoping to find Santa coming down the chimney.
I guess the number of science colleagues I acknowledge needs to grow exponentially. I apologize to those I have failed to recognize before as scientists.
Sean Pitman: The observation alone, of the granite cube on an alien planet, informs us that the creator of the cube was intelligent on at least the human level of intelligence – that’s it. You are correct that this observation, alone, would not inform us as to the identity or anything else about the creator beyond the fact that the creator of this particular granite cube was intelligent and deliberate in the creation of the cube.
Your frank admission concedes that the creator of the cube could itself be an evolved being, and therefore you’re back to square one. Thus, your hypothetical argument offers no support for either evolutionism or creationism, and cannot distinguish between them.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
I have taken much abuse by pointing out the simple fact that SDAs have specific interpretations of origins that originate from scripture and cannot be supported by science (if science is “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence”). The beliefs include:
o fiat creation by voice command from a supernatural being
o all major life forms created in a 6-day period
o original creation of major life forms approximately 6,000 years ago
None of these can be falsified by experimental evidence, and therefore are accepted on faith.
Sean Pitman’s responses to this are predictably all over the place. They include:
“[This] is a request for absolute demonstration. That’s not what science does.” [totally agreed; science can’t examine these beliefs]
“The Biblical account of origins can in fact be supported by strong empirical evidence.” [not any of these three major interpretations of Genesis 1]
“Does real science require leaps of faith? Absolutely!”
I think it’s fair to say from Pitman’s perspective that faith derived from science is laudable, whereas faith derived from scripture–God’s word–is useless.
Don’t fret, Dr. Pitman. I won’t lure you into further pointless discussion. While I am greatly amused by all of this nonsense and deliberation (hardly angry, as you often suggest) for a small handful of largely disinterested readers, I am finished. I won’t be responding to any further remarks or questions.