@Professor Kent: Um…the issue was quality of evidence. Wonderful experimental …

Comment on Faith without Evidence: Are we really a bunch of ‘Flat Earthers’? by Sean Pitman.

@Professor Kent:

Um…the issue was quality of evidence. Wonderful experimental design–and in the field no less.

The statement of yours that I was responding to, in particular, was your assertion that “evolution happens”.

Without qualification, this statement is meaningless. There was no functional gene pool evolution described by these authors at all. The gene pool itself remained the same. So, your statement that “evolution happens” certainly isn’t referring to any kind of functional change within the underlying gene pool itself – much less a high-level change in qualitatively novel functional complexity.

If you say so (although the authors reach a different conclusion).

Not beyond the level of systems requiring at least 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues they don’t. These authors only deal with very small systems well less than 100aa in size.

Do you really not understand the implications of their formula for the ratio of beneficial vs. non-beneficial sequences in sequence space? – extrapolated for higher and higher level systems? Do you not see the exponential decline in this ratio? Tell me, what implications, if any, do you see that this formula has regarding the likely success of RM/NS at higher and higher levels of functional complexity as defined by Hazen et. al.?

Sean Pitman

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Faith without Evidence: Are we really a bunch of ‘Flat Earthers’?
More Arguments for Blind Faith Trumping Evidence and “Last Thursdayism”


You start by asserting that the clear weight of evidence is strongly supportive of the SDA position on origins. Ervin Taylor disagrees with you. You dismiss Ervin Taylor’s comment by calling him an ardent evolutionist. You reply with an Ad hominem attack. You attack Ervin Taylor, not his assertion.

Obviously, it is only my personal opinion that the weight of evidence is clearly in favor of the SDA perspective on origins.

You are also in the same boat I’m in by the way. You do realize that the majority of modern scientists also disagree with your personal opinion that the weight of scientific evidence supports the need for a God or a God-like power to explain the origin of certain features of the universe and life on this planet?

As far as presenting personal pejorative attacks against Erv Taylor, I’ve done no such thing. I’ve only presented his true personal views on origins as being clearly opposed to the stated fundamental position of the organized SDA Church on origins – which is a fact. I’ve also specifically addressed many of his old-life arguments on my website – to include his arguments for the ancient age of many of the Earth’s ice sheets, his assumptions on amino acid racemization dating, and his arguments for radiocarbon and tree ring dating. You can review my counter arguments on my website if you wish…

The crux of this argument appears to be whether or not the scientific evidence supports young age creationism (YEC) or not. You assert that it does. You are in the distinct minority view on this. Said more strongly, you are wrong.

You are certainly with the majority in that opinion. However, your opinion is against the opinion of the SDA Church organization… which is my whole point in this particular forum.

I have read your website. It contains many interesting points that reveal the weaknesses in the scientific evidence, but it does not rewrite the scientific consensus on plate tectonics, geology or other sciences that can inform a scientific evaluation of the claims of YEC.

It is one thing to make bald assertions like this. Any specific counter-arguments to anything I’ve actually said on these topics? in particular?

Here’s a list of just a few of my arguments for evidences that seem to me to clearly demand a young-age of life on this planet and a recent world-wide watery catastrophe as the origin of much of the geologic column and fossil records. I’d be most interested in your counter arguments to some of these points…


You are not wrong that the data are most consistent with a superhuman intelligence (God) creating the universe and life.

Why are you so willing to disagree with the mainstream consensus of modern scientists here (telling me that my arguments in opposition to mainstream science are correct in this case), but tell me that I’m nuts for disagreeing with mainstream scientists when it comes to my interpretations of geology and the fossil record?

There is no way that inanimate matter could become alive due to random natural processes. An early insuperable obstacle is the homochirality problem, but that is merely one impregnable barrier. Many others follow.

Again, most modern scientists think you’re wrong here…

You are capable of arguing this point effectively, because the evidence is not in debate, even in scientific circles. The only debate revolves around opinions wholly unsubstantiated by anything other than the most scant of data. Scientists do not have a mechanism for the ignition of life from matter. They simply claim it happened. And without a universe that includes God, they resort to untestable ideas about selection based upon multiple universes with this universe being observed “because” an observer exists, rather than because God created it. (Anthropic principle)

Obviously, I agree with you here, but the same thing is true, in my opinion, for the mainstream interpretation of the fossil record and the geologic column…

However, YEC and flood geology cannot be supported by the available data. It is possible that God created a young earth to look old, much older than 6000 years. It is also entirely possible that the creation and flood were miraculous and that we cannot use human observation to answer these questions at all and we must simply believe.

It is also possible that God made everything Last Thursday, or even 5 seconds ago, and just made it look like it has been here longer. Such arguments are simply not helpful when it comes to establishing a solid basis for a rational hope or faith in the Gospel’s “good news”.

You are also not considering the possibility that what looks old to you only looks that way because you are not reading the evidence correctly. As I see the available evidence, the significant weight of evidence is inconsistent with the old-age arguments for the ancient age of either the geologic column or the fossil record. Both of these records literally scream “recent catastrophe”.


If you disagree, by all means list off some specific argument that I’ve made, either here or on my website, and why you think I’m wrong. Again, the above link would be a good place to start.

An honest scientist who works for the church is being demanded by you to hew to a dishonest position, and yet you call him/her a thief. This is untenable and wrong.

A honest scientist who disagrees with the SDA Church should not work for the SDA Church. It is not honest to take money from any organization that you honestly think is so wrong that you would be forced to undermine what they are trying to promote. It is dishonest to take money from anyone while going about promoting just the opposite of what you were paid to promote.

It is not a “worldview” problem. It is a data problem. Adventist GRI scientists honestly acknowledge the science does not support YEC, and yet they support fundamental belief #6, choosing to place faith above human interpretation of data and humbly acknowledging their inability to provide a scientific explanation that agrees with YEC. You follow by stating that Ben Clausen “has done and is doing the Church a disservice in his employment with GRI.”

If all that was needed was “faith” without any appeal to evidence, what’s the point of spending the Church’s money on the GRI institute? The GRI was not set up by the Church to argue that the best we have is “faith without evidence”. That’s not the point of the GRI. The point of the GRI, clearly, is to present the world with actual evidence in support of the Church’s position on origins. If you or anyone else, as a scientist, cannot, in good conscience, support the Church’s position on origins, the Church is not obliged to hire those who disagree. It doesn’t matter if the Church’s opinion is in the distinct minority when it comes to the modern scientific consensus. The Church is not required to support the majority view. If the Church wishes to remain viable, however, it definitely needs to hire only those who can, in good conscience, support the Church’s view…

Please stop the attacks. They are not thieves. They are not stupid. They are not dishonest. They are in the same position that I and many other committed Adventists are in. We love and support our church, we believe it’s message, we accept the bible for what it says.

I never said that they were stupid or dishonest in their views on origins. What I said is that they are being dishonest toward their employer – the SDA Church in this case. The Church hired them to support the SDA perspective on origins, not with arguments of blind faith, but with arguments of empirical evidence. If a person cannot fulfill such a request in good conscience, then it would be dishonest of such a person to take such a job; to take money for doing one thing while doing just the opposite…

At times, science seems to disagree with revelation. In those circumstances I refuse to rise to the bait. I refuse to submit my belief in God and His creative power to the test of whether or not He is observable in the eyes of Richard Dawkins. This does not make me a believer in his flying spaghetti monster, nor does it make me a flat-earther. It makes me a person who is willing to wait for God to reveal this mystery to me in His own time, if necessary during eternity.

There are many who believe that faith trumps all forms of empirical evidence – that one can believe via faith even if all the available evidence is completely opposed. The problem with this notion is that it leaves one with no rational basis to distinguish between different faiths. Why is your faith in the existence of God better than someone else’s faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? or the Book of Mormon? or the Qur’an? or even the faith of most mainstream scientists that everything ultimately came from nothing via mindless mechanisms?

Upon what rational basis should anyone accept your “faith” as being any more credible than any of these other “faiths”?

Sean Pitman

Faith without Evidence: Are we really a bunch of ‘Flat Earthers’?
@Professor Kent:

What can I say? I’ll let the reader decide whether you are undermining a fundamental SDA doctrine, and whether you yourself would be a liar and a thief if employed by the SDA church.

There is no point in discussing with someone who is trying to be deliberately obtuse. FB#6 is clearly talking about the existence of all things good… as at the end of Creation Week when God said that it was “very good”. Genesis 1:31 NIV

The suggestion that God made the bad as well as the good, the Ying and the Yang as some religions believe, is very clearly not a position of the SDA Church. As Prof. Kent very well knows, the SDA Church presents God as only being responsible for all that is good and none of that which is bad or evil in this world and universe…

Sean Pitman

Faith without Evidence: Are we really a bunch of ‘Flat Earthers’?
@Professor Kent:

I believe that reading the Bible can change a person. It changes me. It’s changed many of my family members and friends. I believe the Holy Spirit plays an important role in this. When I read the accounts of the apostles, who portray themselves as bumbling fools, I am moved by how little they gained and how all of them were willing to give up their lives for what they claimed they saw and heard. There are aspects of history portrayed in the Bible, and Biblical prophecy, that ring very true. These are but some of the evidences I choose to believe in, and from them, I am willing to accept the Bible in entirety as God’s inspired word and even much of the Creation account as true.

So, you do appeal to actual empirical evidence to support faith in the Bible… using similar arguments to the ones I use myself. That’s great!

However, at this point, I really don’t understand your efforts in opposition to my efforts to actively promoted additional evidences for faith? – specifically in reference to those empirically testable aspects of the Genesis account of origins? …

And none of us need quantitative scientific data to prove beyond doubt that all major life forms were created in only 6 days less than 6,100 years ago.

That’s not the issue. The issue is that given an understanding of the data that indicates that it is overwhelmingly evident that life has in fact existed and evolved on this planet over the course of hundreds of millions of years, the Genesis narrative cannot be true. It is effectively falsified and therefore looses a great deal of credibility given such a scenario – a loss of credibility which significantly impacts many other aspects of the Bible and various metaphysical claims that cannot be tested or falsified in such a direct manner.

Sean Pitman

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Dr. Peter McCullough’s COVID-19 and Anti-Vaccine Theories
The hospitalization/death rate is far less for the vaccinated vs. the unvaccinated (Link).

As far as natural immunity gain via a prior COVID-19 infection, it can actually be superior to the immunity gained via full vaccination. However, natural immunity is less predictable. Up to a third of people who were previously infected by COVID-19 don’t develop antibodies against it (Link). However, if one can demonstrate an adequate level of antibodies against COVID-19 it seems reasonable to me that such people should be considered to have adequate immunity.

As far as the immunity generated by vaccination, the type of immunity generated would not be so effective at preventing a mucosal nasopharyngeal infection since the types of antibodies produced (IgG and IgM) would preferentially be blood-based rather than tissue-based (IgA) type of immunity (Link). Because of this, naturally derived immunity might have an additional advantage in this regard as well.

Dr. Peter McCullough’s COVID-19 and Anti-Vaccine Theories
Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine have been studied via large RCTs with regard to early treatment and haven’t shown any detectable benefit. The meta-analysis studies were based on numerous low-quality and even a few fraudulent studies that really don’t show good support for any real benefit in light of the larger RCTs.

As far as using vitamins, like vitamin D for instance, you have to have already built up a useful level of vitamin D over the long-term before getting infected by COVID-19 in order to show an advantage. Sure, those with high-normal vitamin D levels do have a survival advantage over those who are vitamin D deficient, given vitamin D in the acute setting after a person is already sick has minimal benefits.

Dr. Peter McCullough’s COVID-19 and Anti-Vaccine Theories
When it comes to severe COVID-19, hospitalizations, and death, booster shots appear to be helpful for those who are over the age of 65 (Link). However, when it comes to those younger than the age of 50, the benefits are not so clear. It seems that for younger people the boosters reduce nasopharyngeal infections, but protection against hospitalizations/death for those who are vaccinated remains high since immune memory (i.e., memory B-cells) remains strong for those who were vaccinated many months ago.

Dr. Peter McCullough’s COVID-19 and Anti-Vaccine Theories
Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine against COVID is now being marketed under the name “Comirnaty” following FDA approval (Link). This isn’t a different vaccine. It’s the very same vaccine.

“The FDA-approved Pfizer-BioNTech product Comirnaty (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) and the FDA-authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine under EUA have the same formulation and can be used interchangeably to provide the COVID-19 vaccination series without presenting any safety or effectiveness concerns. Therefore, providers can use doses distributed under EUA to administer the vaccination series as if the doses were the licensed vaccine. For purposes of administration, doses distributed under the EUA are interchangeable with the licensed doses.”

As far as liability is concerned, again, liability has been taken over by the government so that the vaccines can be made avaiable to everyone. Otherwise, only the rich would be able to afford vaccines.

Sure, this is the first time that mRNA technology has been used to produce a vaccine for the general public. However, it is not the first time that the mRNA technology itself has been successfully used.

Patisiran is based on the very same mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. It uses lipid nanoparticles to deliver specially coded mRNA into human cells to produce the desire protein sequences to treat disease. About 1,000 people have been using Pitisiran since 2017. Now, the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 use two injects of 30μg (Pfizer) to 100μg (Moderna) of mRNA for each injection. In comparison, Patisiran uses around 100x this dose of mRNA, which gets injected intravenously every three months . . . indefinitely since 2017. And, this was done with good safety as well as efficacy results (Link).

So, it isn’t the mRNA technology that is a potential problem. This technology is demonstrably very safe and very effective indeed. The only real question, then, is in regard to the protein product of the vaccine – the “spike protein” in the case of the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. That’s really the only question here. And, the mRNA vaccines, producing the modified spike protein of COVID-19, have been extensively tested via large double-blinded placebo-controlled trials in both humans and animals – with amazing success regarding efficacy as well as safety. And, these results have continued on now that hundreds of millions of vaccines have been given worldwide. The fact of the matter is that hospital ICUs are currently filling up with those who are very sick and who are dying with COVID-19 (the Delta Variant right now). The significant majority of these people are unvaccinated. These ICUs are not filling up with the vaccinated at all. The vaccines are very clearly highly protective against serious COVID-19 infections. That’s the very clear weight of evidence that we have in hand.

Dr. Peter McCullough’s COVID-19 and Anti-Vaccine Theories
This presentation has so many sensational conspiracy theories in it that it’s hard to decide where to start. It’s all nonsense. The mRNA vaccines have nothing to do with CRSPR and cannot edit one’s DNA or epigenetics controls. Sure, CRSPR could be delivered via mRNA technology (Link), but this has nothing to do with the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.

“Last month, researchers used mRNA to deliver CRISPR gene-editing technology that could permanently treat a rare genetic disease in humans—an advance that experts say has implications far beyond the treatment of a single condition.” (Link)

There is also no “shedding” from the vaccinated person to any other person. And, “the Japanese study”, mentioned in the video by Dr. Fleming (hopefully no relation to you), deals only with the lipid nanoparticles, not the spike proteins, and only shows that a very tiny fraction of these lipid nanoparticles makes it beyond the injection site to travel to other parts of the body (Link). And, the antibodies produced in vaccinated people against the nucleocapsid as well as the spike protein is due to some vaccinated people having also been infected by the live COVID-19 virus (Link).

Also, this same Dr. Richard Fleming has a history of being convicted of health care, mail, and wire fraud (Link).

“A federal grand jury in Nebraska returned an indictment against Fleming on January 18, 2007, charging ten counts of health care fraud and three counts of mail and wire fraud. The health care fraud counts charged Fleming with submitting bills to insurance companies in 2002 for medical procedures, diagnostic heart tests, he had not actually performed. The mail and wire fraud counts charged Fleming with obtaining payment from a North Carolina soy food company in 2004 for product testing work he had not performed, and more specifically charged him with lying about whether he had performed the services he was paid for, and with creating and submitting false documents in order to cover up the fact that he had not done the work for which he had been paid. The case actually went to trial, which began on April 6, 2009, and the jury was deliberating on their verdict when Fleming pled guilty, admitting that he had committed both health care fraud and mail fraud.”

He’s just not a credible source on any of the claims he’s making – which are demonstrably false in any case.