Dear Brad Thanks for your kind reply. No, I am not specifically …

Comment on Elliot Sober: Just Don’t Call the Designer “God” by Ken.

Dear Brad

Thanks for your kind reply.

No, I am not specifically admonishing anyone for personality attacks, just hoping we will all treat each other with the greatest respect. You and Sean are very smart people and I have a great deal of respect for both of you.

Thanks for your comments on you belief system. As you know, mine is agnosticism. It has been ever since I was 12 and the kind Anglican minister I had suggested that he or the church could not answer my never ending questions. I’m still asking them. I find faith to be an interesting, sociological phenomenon but for whatever reason it has never had a hold on me. But, I confess, I find no merit in atheism as well. I don’t thinks humans are capable of absolute knowledge, only ongoing advances in same.

I liked your reply to my hypothetical. Three gods in a bubble, on a polytheistic cruise around the infinite bend. It’s good to laugh with others rather that at them.

Sally forth!


Ken Also Commented

Elliot Sober: Just Don’t Call the Designer “God”
Dear Bob

Well said.


Elliot Sober: Just Don’t Call the Designer “God”
Re Bob’s quote

It may “seem” to a non-Christian that the Bible is so “bendable” that you can take any text you like (take Daniel 8 as in your example) then claim that “days are not really days” if it suits your bias or preference. In that model there is no real objective model of exegeting the text – just the “need” of a certain outside bias or preference that might “want” to take the text literaly in one case or figurately in another.

“It makes perfect sense looking from the outside in – to suppose such a flexible text. But it is a bit like a musician looking at a calculus formula and supposing that a summation or integration operator is simply randomly inserted into the equation as may suite the one who writes out that formula. The historical grammatical method is the one we use to apply the rules of exegesis.

in Christ,

Bob BobRyan(Quote)”

Dear Bob

Thanks for your reply, and it is a good one. As I stated before, I readily concede my lack of expertise when it comes to biblical interpretation.

In my job I interpret and draft agreements for a living. Do I encounter different opinions and different interpretations on the written word? All the time, that is why I respect the point of view argument as you have so aptly stated.

Respectfully however, it appears as if different folks from even within the same faith can interpret the Bible differently. This is evident as between the YEC and the OEC Adventists regarding the interpretation of Genesis. This inter faith lack of consensus – over and above the questions of ignorant agnostics!- demonstrates this is a dynamic issue.

This is why your church is going through fascinating times right now. On one hand, Elder Wilson, democratically and properly elected,is strongly reaffirming literal 6 day, recent creation. On the other hand Dr. Clausen is saying that science does not support it. Sean Pitman, making a valiant effort I venture, opines that the science must support the doctrine or the faith behind it does not stand.

That is why I applaud this forum allowing all to voice their opinions and get to the heart of the matter.

Kind regards

Elliot Sober: Just Don’t Call the Designer “God”
Re Ben Clausen, GRI Quotes

“As a scientist, I do research in the area of radiometric dating and the directly associated earth science concepts of plate tectonics2 and magma cooling rates.3 I am also a person of faith and a strong believer in the importance of Genesis 1–11, but I work daily with data that I don’t know how to fit into a short time frame. I would like to find convincing evidence confirming the literalness of the Genesis record, but in my area of research I usually find that the data fits better with a long-age model. Nevertheless, though I may appear to some to bow to the god of evolution in my research, just as Naaman told Elisha, I also declare, “[Y]our servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord.”

The finitude of mankind

Yes, I am sympathetic to church members who would like defi nitive answers about the issues regarding the age of the earth. I don’t want the church to change its beliefs. In return, I would hope for sympathy and understanding from leaders and members of the diffi cult position that, as a scientist, I am in. Many have exhibited sympathy, understanding, and trust. And I really do appreciate the leaders who, sympathetic with my concerns, have said to me, “Go in peace.” Indeed, I appreciate the patience of the church as I try to understand these two apparently discordant sets of data—nature and revelation—both of which I hold in high regard.”

Dr.Clausen’s quotes speak for themselves regarding evidence of an old earth. I hope he will not be pilloried by the church as I think he is doing his best to balance his scientific findings with his faith.


Recent Comments by Ken

God and Granite Cubes
@ Sean

I enjoyed your article. As I’ve stated before, I think Intelligent Design is a more modern form of Deism and do not think it is irrational. However, as science on an ongoing basis shows what matters are explainable by cause and effect, less is attributable to conscious design. The question of course is what are the limits of science in this regard? For example, will it ever be able to explain First Cause/

Below is a more fulsome quote of Professor Townes, an self acknowledged Protestant Christian. Please note what he has to say about literal creation and evolution. Do you think he is being more reasonable than you on the nature of design?

“I do believe in both a creation and a continuous effect on this universe and our lives, that God has a continuing influence – certainly his laws guide how the universe was built. But the Bible’s description of creation occurring over a week’s time is just an analogy, as I see it. The Jews couldn’t know very much at that time about the lifetime of the universe or how old it was. They were visualizing it as best they could and I think they did remarkably well, but it’s just an analogy.

Should intelligent design be taught alongside Darwinian evolution in schools as religious legislators have decided in Pennsylvania and Kansas?

I think it’s very unfortunate that this kind of discussion has come up. People are misusing the term intelligent design to think that everything is frozen by that one act of creation and that there’s no evolution, no changes. It’s totally illogical in my view. Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.
Charles Townes
‘Faith is necessary for the scientist even to get started, and deep faith is necessary for him to carry out his tougher tasks. Why? Because he must have confidence that there is order in the universe and that the human mind – in fact his own mind – has a good chance of understanding this order.’
-Charles Townes, writing in “The Convergence of Science and Religion,” IBM’s Think magazine, March-April 1966
Some scientists argue that “well, there’s an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate – it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially. Now, that design could include evolution perfectly well. It’s very clear that there is evolution, and it’s important. Evolution is here, and intelligent design is here, and they’re both consistent.

They don’t have to negate each other, you’re saying. God could have created the universe, set the parameters for the laws of physics and chemistry and biology, and set the evolutionary process in motion, But that’s not what the Christian fundamentalists are arguing should be taught in Kansas.

People who want to exclude evolution on the basis of intelligent design, I guess they’re saying, “Everything is made at once and then nothing can change.” But there’s no reason the universe can’t allow for changes and plan for them, too. People who are anti-evolution are working very hard for some excuse to be against it. I think that whole argument is a stupid one. Maybe that’s a bad word to use in public, but it’s just a shame that the argument is coming up that way, because it’s very misleading. “

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Sean’s Quote

“Yes, I am suggesting that our scientists should also be theologians to some degree. I’m also suggesting that our theologians be scientists to some degree as well. There should be no distinct dividing line between the two disciplines…”

Hello Sean

First of all, thank you Holly for your comments. You have always treated me with civility and charity for which I am most grateful.

Secondly, on reflection, I do hope I was not strident or offensive in my recent remarks. I am a guest here and should behave with the utmost respect regarding my Adventist hosts. After all I was proposing the Chair of ID at an ‘Adventist’ institution! What gall and temerity from an agnostic!

However something Dr. Kime said struck a very strange chord in me: that a Chair in ID at Harvard would be a quantum leap ( forward – my edit) while such a Chair would be a step backward at LSU. I’ m very sorry Wes, but for me to honestly investigate reality such double standard is not acceptable.

I am sad today, because I think I’m coming to the end of my Adventist journey. I really did see ID as a sort of bridge between your faith and objective inquiry about a ‘Grand’ Design. (apologies Mr. Hawkings). Oh Wes , perhaps I am ontological Don Quixote after all, comically tilting towards immovable Adventist windmills. 🙁 .

However all is not forlorn because I’ve made excellent friends of the heart here. ;). I won’t forget you.

Good luck in your pursuit of God.

Your agnostic friend

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Wes’s Quote

“. But for a Christian, a great devolution, a great recidivation, a tragic forfeiture, foreclosure, worse. If I were to use the vocabulary of some of our recent posters, I’d not put it as delicately.”

Hi Wes and Sean

I just read again portions on ID from Sean’s website Detecting Design. I am very confused by both of your responses. Why the heck is Sean promoting ID as a scientific theory if this is such a Christian retreat? Perhaps you two differ here? I apologize if I am missing the obvious but I see a tremendous disconnect between what Sean is saying about ID and what he is prepared to do to promote it within the subset of Adventist education.

Your agnostic friend

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Sean’s Quote

“Public association is one thing. Private association is another. While many do not feel at liberty to publicly associate themselves with our work here (for obvious reasons), most who still believe in SDA fundamentals (and who are aware of the longstanding situation at LSU and other places) feel that our work in providing enhanced transparency for what is being taught to our young people in our schools was/is necessary on some level.”

Hi Sean

The irony here is that those that are supporting institutional enhanced transparency are hiding behind cloaks of anonymity. That’s not how you, I, Wes, Bob Ryan, Wes, Bill Sorenson and many others here behave. Imagine if Jesus hid behind a cloak and didn’t proclaim his nature. What legacy of respect would he have left?

Conviction requires courage period.

Your agnostic friend

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Intelligent Design

Gentleman, thanks to all for your fulsome replies.

Yes Wes, I remember your cogent analysis of November 14/11. I appreciared it then and its reiteration now. indeed I was waiting to hear from others especially Sean whose site is named Detecting Design. And, here I agree with Bob, ID
does not necessarily rule out any particular design i. e. fiat
creation ot theistic evolution.

But quite frankly I am disaapointed with Sean’s response, not Sean himself for whom I have deep admiration, because I see this as a step backward. Why? Because if you burn the bridge between science and biblical faith it will not be science that suffers.

Ironically Sean makes many fine, cogent arguments for design in nature so I find his reluctance to promote it formally in Adventist education troubling. Respectfully, I don’t think serious enquiry about reality can creep around the periphery or sneak in through the back door. I’m afraid I see a double standard here.

Yes Wes, I understand why Adventists are nervous on this issue. But if one is seeking the truth about reality one can’t wall it in or burn bridges of enquiry. Wes, perhaps the Hellenic maxim should have not so much: Know thyself, but rather Think for thyself. My park bench in Pugwash is a welcome one but does not feature ontological dividers. It is well designed for truth seekers.

Your agnostic friend