First off, I’m sorry but I feel that your latest …

Comment on Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution? by Sean Pitman.

First off, I’m sorry but I feel that your latest posts on this topic needed to be combined so that they are located in the same proximity within this thread – so as to better keep track of individual conversations.

As far as the arguments you’ve presented, there seem to me to be numerous significant problems for your position. First off, your suggestion that post-Phanerozoic granitic rocks don’t exist is just nonsense. They do exist – to include granite rocks with “crystals visible to the naked eye”. Even Gentry himself used such rocks in his original paper on the topic. Consider that numerous creationists admit this particular fact and many have argued that Gentry’s claims simply aren’t tenable. For example, in a 1988 paper R. H. Brown, H. G. Coffin, L. J. Gibson, A. A. Roth, and C. L. Webster (Link) argued:

In Creation’s Tiny Mystery, Gentry repeatedly states (pp. 25, 36, 65, 66, 98, 117, 153, 184) that the Precambrian granites represent the primordial creation rocks. Part of the reason for this statement is the presence of pleochroic halos found in them. However, Wakefield (6) and Wilkerson (7) challenge this interpretation, pointing out that the localities where the pleochroic halos are found represent secondary rocks, specifically dikes of granite and even calcite veins that intrude older rocks; hence, they are at least secondary in origin. Wise (8), who has reviewed the literature on the localities where pleochroic halos have been reported, indicates that a majority (15 out of 22) appear to come from veins or dikes (pegmatites), and hence represent secondary and not primary rocks.

Without entering into the argument as to the absolute age of the rocks (either primary or secondary), it would be safe to state that the majority of halo-containing minerals are younger than the host rock and therefore do not represent primordial material.

The presence of non-polonium pleochroic halos found near polonium halos in biotite, fluorite or other minerals weakens Gentry’s case even further. This is especially true when Gentry must invoke a nonuniform increased radioactive decay rate to account for the presence of U-238, Th-232 and Sm-146 halos, while leaving untouched the polonium decay rates! Gentry must invoke a nonuniform rate increase for some of the halos, because at present the half-lives of these other halo-producing isotopes are on the order of hundreds of millions to thousands of millions of years!

If Gentry’s independence assumption (polonium halos formed from polonium which was not produced by the radioactive parent U-238) is found to be incorrect, or even found to be strongly questionable, his whole contention that pleochroic halos are evidence of ex nihilo creation becomes suspect. The fact that the polonium isotopes involved in halo formation in the rocks are only those which are daughter products of systematic uranium and thorium decay forces one to suspect immediately that they are derived from uranium rather than a special creation.

Also, the existence of older xenolith inclusions within granite rocks (even within Mesozoic or Cenozoic granitic rocks) is also inconsistent with Gentry’s notion that God created all granite rocks instantaneosly during the Creation Week. It just doesn’t make sense that God would incorporate such xenolithic inclusions, some obviously from sedimentary rock, within such specially created granite rocks. Consider Collins’ arguments further in this regard:

Precambrian granite bodies in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Colorado have an erosion surface on which the horizontal, Paleozoic, fossil-bearing sediments are deposited, with the Cambrian Tapeats sandstone at the bottom and the Permian Kaibab limestone at the top. The eroded surface indicates that these granites are older than these sediments, the so-called “Noachian Flood deposits.” On the other hand, the Donegal granites in northwest Ireland intrude and enclose inclusions of sedimentary rocks of Cambrian age, illustrating that the granites are younger than the Cambrian deposits, whose contacts with the granites have a high-temperature metamorphic aureole (Pitcher and Berger, 1972). The same kinds of metamorphic contact-relationships are found in the granites that intrude fossil-bearing sediments in Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island (Harrison et al., 1983). The Narragansett Pier granite in Rhode Island surrounds inclusions of Pennsylvanian metamorphosed sediments containing flora fossils, Annularia stellata (Brown et al., 1978). The flora fossils are now totally carbonized as graphite, indicating the high temperature of the granite body that metamorphosed the sedimentary inclusions. The fact that the granite contains inclusions of these fossil-bearing sediments makes the granite younger than these supposed “Flood” sediments. The Sierra Nevada granite intrusions in California also have intruded and metamorphosed supposed “Flood sediments” in roof pendants containing Ordovician graptolite fossils (Frazier et al., 1986) and Pennsylvanian brachiopod fossils (Rinehart and Ross, 1964; Rinehart et al., 1959). In other places, the Sierran granites have intruded and metamorphosed “Flood sediments” containing Triassic ammonites (coiled cephalopods) (Smith, 1927). A granite in the Mojave desert in California near Cadiz intrudes Cambrian limestone containing stromatolite fossils. At the contact, this limestone is converted to marble with high-temperature metamorphic minerals, but remnants of the stromatolites can still be found (Richard Squires, oral communication, 1998). Thus, it is very clear from the above examples that some granite masses are the same age as or even younger than the “Noachian Flood deposits.” (Collins, 1998)

As another example, consider the Bathurst Batholith which intrudes into fossil-bearing layers of sedimentary rock. At the contact with this granite batholith the host fossiliferous sedimentary strata have been metamorphosed by the heat of the cooling granite batholith (Joplin 1936; Snelling 1974; Vallance 1969). Numerous minor granitic dikes cut across the margins of the Bathurst Granite and out into the surrounding host strata. Good exposures of these dikes are seen in the many railroad cuts between Sodwalls and Tarana. Up to 45 m (about 150 ft.) wide, these granitic dikes have the same composition as both the Bathurst Granite and the Evans Crown dike, often with the same porphyritic texture (Snelling 1974). The granitic bodies making up the batholith invade host country rocks as young as upper Devonian, and on the eastern margin are overlapped by Permian sediments. (Link)

As far as your reading of the SoP, I’ve gone over what Ellen White has to say about origins very very carefully and have discussed these comments with you in some detail already. Suffice it to say that your arguments remain unconvincing to me and I highly suggest that you not press the issue with others or become “dogmatic” in your position on this topic. It simply isn’t fundamental to Adventism.

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
I think she was most likely trying to address the idea that God couldn’t make something out of absolutely nothing… that God had to start with something. I don’t think she was addressing Wilcox’s ideas at all. I think she was simply explaining that God doesn’t have to start with anything – that He can and did in fact ultimately make everything out of absolutely nothing – by the speaking things into existence.

The entire universe seems to be, ultimately, based on information from the Mind of God – i.e., “The Word”. What we see, feel, touch, smell, and taste really has no independent existence outside of the Mind of God and His constant care so that everything exists and moves and has its being “in Him.” – like a mental projection.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Mike Manea:

It matters to me too, and I wish you all the best in your own efforts along these lines…

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
Because, “as they read” must be interpreted by all that the Bible has to say about creation week. It is never wise to take any Biblical statement out of context. And, in this case, I think the context clearly supports a pre-existing universe (despite the “stars” not being mentioned until Day 4 of creation) and does not clearly exclude the possibility of pre-existing basic material for the Earth. Even Peter appears to argue that water pre-existed the creation week since he says that the Earth was made or brought “out of water” (2 Peter 3:5). Taking everything into account, I just don’t think it possible to be dogmatic against the possibility of pre-exiting basic material prior to the creation week.

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.

The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.

God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.

The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.

For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”

That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.

Sean Pitman

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull
@Bill Sorensen:

Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.

God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28

Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.

Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.

This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…

Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.

Sean Pitman

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.

Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.

Sean Pitman

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…

Sean Pitman