Comment on Why those who hate the Bible love blind-faith Christians by OTNT_Believer.
Sean, I think that what you say above mischaracterizes those who disagree with you on the “weight of the evidence” issue. At least for me, and for others who have opposed your dogmatic stance, I can see a lot of evidence that life was created by God. In fact, I see the weight of the evidence in favor of creation, considering the fact that evolutionists have absolutely no idea how the first life might have arisen. They flail about with various untenable ideas, and even bring in a concept like the multiverse to solve the intactable problems of probability for eaven the essential molecules of life arising on their own. On this bit of empirical alone there is very strong support for a belief in the Bible or the Koran. And don’t forget that the Koran comes from the same tradition, to some extent, as the Bible, not that I am advocating its acceptance as Holy writ.
I also am not saying there is NO evidence for a worldwide flood or a recent, literal creation, I just don’t see the evidence as overwhelming. A lot of the so-called evidence you and others committed to a literal interpretation of Genesis use is dependent on a variety of assumptions which may be true, but cannot be supported unequivocally. So, I do see some evidence for the traditional SDA position, but am, I hope, honest enough intellectually, to recognize the many things that are uncertain. On the flip side, I see many problems with the traditional evolutionist views too, which is evidence, albeit weak, for other alternatives, including the traditional SDA model.
There is also a variety of other empirical evidence for the Bible, miuch it from fulfilled prophecies and historical corroboration. Although there are some discrepancies between secular and Biblical history, there is enough agreement to support such things as Jesus being a real historical figure and the origins of the Jewish people. Even the Koran provides corroborating evidence for the historicity of Abraham and the early patriarchs. And the Bible is pretty unique in this regard, as the holy texts from say Hinduism or Buddhism show little parallel with secular history and, in fact, tend to be more metaphysically oriented than the Bible.
So, do i believe in the Bible by blind faith? Absolutely not! There is ample empirical evidence to believe that it is the Word of God. What I find problematic is taking evidence that is so marginal scientifically, that were I to present some of the evidence you tout so proudly, i would be laughed at. On the other hand, any honest atheist knows how shaky their belief system is when it comes to the origin of life, so i can bring that up and be taken at least a little more seriously. I can even bring up Intelligent Design, which opponents often do laugh at, because I can see clear scientific principles that tell me that ID is real science. I think evolutionists mainly fault ID because they don’t like the conclusions it makes if something is shown to be intelligently designed, but at least with intelligent design it is theoretical and mathematically based.
So, please don’t keep accusing some of us who simply don’t see your evidence convincing as operating on blind faith. Nothing is farther from the truth.
Recent Comments by OTNT_Believer
Johnny – the idea was to try to “put words in her mouth” so that even though she said nothing at all about “Jupiter” — make it appear that God in fact told her that He was showing Jupiter to Ellen White in a vision — (and of course the description that follows in her vision does not match Jupiter at all) — and then claim that totally discounting whatever God says to a prophet — is still a good way to believe in the prophetic gift.
Once you redefine “believe God” as “totally discount what He said” be cooking up the idea that God showed Ellen White the planet Jupiter – then you on to the Bible and discount what it says in just the same way.
Excuse me Bob, but the quotes that I shared concerning the vision of EGW where she saw Jupiter and Saturn, or at least what those who knew astronomy beieved she saw was from a book by J. N. Loughborough. Whatever EGW saw, she did not contradict the interpretation that others like Joseph Bates made of it. Why didn’t God correct the problem right then if Joseph Bates was wrong? Why did EGW make no complaint about the interpretation? Precisely because there as no need to. The vision bolstered the faith of those that were present, and maybe others as well. What if God had shown her Jupiter and Saturn as we kno them to be today? It would hardly have been faith affirming at the time, although it might have helped more for us today. I think God expects us to use our minds and judgments and realize that messages for one time may not be as useful at other times. EGW often reminded people of just that when people missaplied some of her testimonies.
EGW also makes numerous references to 6,000 years in reference to the timing of creation, a time span that was well accepted in her day. Since then, with more Biblical manuscripts available and a more careful assessment of the genologies we now know the figure is more appropiately 8-10,000 years. So, was EGW wrong when she used the 6,000 year figure. Yes, of course. Is tat relevant, no. What number would you expect someone of her day to use. Unless, of course, you think God should have set hr straight before her time. And besides, who really cares wether its 6,000 or 10,000 anyway.
I don’t see the Jupeter/Saturn vision incident as troublesome in the least. It is instructive. Sometimes as science progresses we discover that previously held beliefs are wrong. Could the same be true about the worldwide flood? Well, I hope not, but shouldn’t we at least be willing to consider the possibility?
Anyway, for those who want to see what Loughborough himself wrote on this event, the book The great second advent movement: its rise and progress by John Norton Loughborough is online and can be downloaded for free. Here are a few places where you can get it:
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.
An apology to PUC
Part of the problem here is over the definition of a “new species”. What is often defined as a new species or “macroevolution” is nothing but a different expression of the same underlying gene pool of pre-established genetic options. The gene pool of options didn’t change – only the area of phenotypic expression of the pool. In fact, in order to demonstrate that many types of animals that are given different species and even genus names are actually part of the same original gene pool there are numerous examples of different “species” producing viable and often fertile offspring.
For example, donkeys, horses, and zebras have been given different species names. Yet, they can interbreed and produce viable offspring. This means that their genetic information is the same – that it was derived from the same original gene pool. They only reason that the offspring of a horse-donkey mating (a donkey) is sterile is because there has been a chromosomal inversion in one relative to the other. Such a chromosomal inversion results in chromosomal looping during meiosis and fragmenting of the chromosomal material during genetic crossover that happens during meiosis. This results in defective gametes in the mule and is the reason the mule is sterile. However, it has nothing to do with the informational quality itself – only the arrangement of this information on the chromosome. And, there are many many other such examples.
This interchange is getting a bit tedious. Although I am certainly no expert on geology, I do have expertise in genetics, and your suggestions about speciation being just a rearrangement of genetic material is woefully ignorant. I have seen this concept suggested elsewhere, and only from those who have not thoroughly investigated the topic. Of course, to get the rapid changes you feel must have occurred in such a short span of time, you have to invoke a theory like this. And the horse/donkey/mule story is no surprise whatsoever for geneticists or evolutionists. In fact the concept of speciation via chromosome rearrangement is not a new concept either, and is a way that “rapid” adaptive radiation has apparently occurred. A prime example of just such a case is the genus Oenothera in Western NA. Extensive inversions and translocations have rendered many closely related species in this genus reproductively isolated, leading to many local endemics. But to posit this as the way that all speciation occurs is simply ludicrous. You need to go back to school and take a competent genetics course and then maybe one on molecular systematics. I mean this with no disrespect, but you need to realize that your competency in this area is very low.
As for the “finches” of the Galápagos, we hardly see evidence for a simple rearrangement of genetic material. These birds are so different from any other birds that there has been a long-standing disagreement over how they should be classified—a difficulty that remains today. The following quote from Wikipedia (not the best source, but a ready one, and accurate enough in this case) illustrates the scope of this problem:
“For some decades taxonomists have placed these birds in the family Emberizidae with the New World sparrows and Old World buntings (Sulloway 1982). However, the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy puts Darwin’s finches with the tanagers (Monroe and Sibley 1993), and at least one recent work follows that example (Burns and Skutch 2003). The American Ornithologists’ Union, in its North American check-list, places the Cocos Island Finch in the Emberizidae but with an asterisk indicating that the placement is probably wrong (AOU 1998–2006); in its tentative South American check-list, the Galápagos species are incertae sedis, of uncertain place (Remsen et al. 2007).” Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin’s_finches
I could give you literally hundreds of examples of this sort of thing, and your explanation just isn’t relevant at all in these cases. Darwin’s finches represent an example of macroevolution by almost anyone’s definition. Another way of looking at why your interpretation is so far off is to consider dog breeds. Aside from physical difficulties, all breeds of dogs are interfertile, but look at how different they are from one another. And these differences are due in many cases to one or several small mutations. To keep the dog story in perspective, first realize that the current theory of dog origins (which has archaeological evidence to support it) has them being domesticated sometime between 7,000 BC (from where we have the best evidence) to possibly as far back as 30,000 BC. Now, granted, we all have trouble with the idea of something happening over 30,000 years ago, so let’s just assume the 7,000 BC figure is correct (of course, you would see this as problematic as it is pre-flood).
Now I think we can all agree that artificial selection is a much more powerful force than natural selection. So, with this much more powerful force humans have produced numerous distinct breeds of dogs, but no one new species. Why is that? According you your line of reasoning hundreds (or even thousands) of new species have arisen post-flood by natural selection alone working on some kind of genetic rearrangement process. The same process should have been occurring in dogs, and yet there is not one single new species of dog! I could tell the same story with a dozen other domesticated species.
The problem we have here is that you are so quick to tear down the process of macroevolution on the one hand, and then are willing to embrace it again to try and explain the rapid diversification of taxa that must have occurred post-flood. And you are accusing me of blind faith when I am willing to believe the Bible account more on faith than evidence. Well, my friend, what you are doing with genetics and evolutionary theory is just as much a form of blind faith. There are so many holes in your genetic rearrangement leading to speciation theory that I am astonished! Can we talk about something else that you know more about?
I am sorry of I have appeared unkind in my comments here, but you have truly caught me by surprise. I hope you will take the effort to educate yourself a bit better in genetics, especially as it intersects evolutionary biology. Even if your theory were the explanation for all new species, the process, where we do know it has occurred, takes much longer than a few thousand years.
But of course, your “faith” is not affected by the validity of the actual claims made by the Biblical authors regarding the physical world. You claim to be an “agnostic” when it comes to the validity of the actual empirical claims of the Biblical authors. It really doesn’t matter if the Bible is literally true or not – right? Your faith can go with the flow. Why then don’t you believe in the superior credibility of the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an? Amazing…
Wow, you seem to really understand me so well. Actually, my faith in God’s word does not include a faith in any one interpretation. The way my faith works in relation to the Bible is to recognize that the writers were humans inspired by God to write these accounts. Sometimes, in that process, a writer may not know or understand all the facts of the original story, so he writes it to the best of his ability. What my faith allows for is that if the writer of Genesis believed the flood was literally a worldwide flood, it bothers me not the least to still have faith in the Genesis account even if the actual event might turned out to have been local.
I see the problems with the flood akin to those that sometimes occurred with EGW’s inspired writings and utterances. Case in point:
In 1847, James and Ellen White published a tract in which it is announced that she had seen a vision of the planets in our solar system:
“At our conference in Topsham, Maine, last Nov., Ellen had a vision of the handy works of God. She was guided to the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and I think one more. After she came out of vision, she could give a clear description of their Moons, etc. It is well known, that she knew nothing of astronomy, and could not answer one question in relation to the planets, before she had this vision.”
Now some people use this event to claim that EGW obviously was not the inspired prophet the church has claimed her to be or she would have gotten her facts correct. I just don’t think that God is in the business of making sure all the “facts” are correct when his prophets write. The writer of Genesis may truly have believed that the flood had covered the WHOLE world. If we were somehow to discover beyond a doubt that it didn’t actually cover all of it, then we have two choices: 1) Decide the Bible is a hoax and throw it out, or 2) accept the fact that the writer, who had limited knowledge of what worldwide actually would have meant, wrote the story to best of his knowledge. My faith allows me to take the latter approach. Your faith, if based more on the weight of the “scientific” evidence would be obligated to choose the first option. I surely hope we never get incontrovertible proof that the flood was local and could not have been worldwide for the sake of those whose faith is based like yours is.
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?
I fail to see your solution to the problem. Of course, I know, you don’t really agree with the SDA Church’s official position on origins – the literal creation week and worldwide Noachian Flood and all. So, why should you offer any substantive solution to support the Church’s clearly stated fundamental stand on origins? – beyond what Shane and I are doing?
Have we made a few missteps along the way? Steps which we would, in retrospect, have taken a bit differently? Sure. However, overall, we felt and still feel that we were and are left with no other choice after decades of nobody doing anything to support what we consider to be very important, even vital, fundamental goals and ideals of the SDA Church…
Okay, I guess that answers my question. No, you did not offer the same courtesies. I guess, since LSU was so recalcitrant you just assumed PUC would behave the same way, so common courtesy was not warranted.
Oh, and how do you know I don’t believe in a literal creation week and a worldwide flood? Because ? have unanswered questions in especially the flood issue? Do you mean that if I entertain any doubts I am then to be classed as not believing? All I can say is, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”