@Geanna: If we struggle to understand how 400 species of …

Comment on Dr. Geraty clarifies his “Challenge” to literal 6-day creationism by Michael Prewitt.


If we struggle to understand how 400 species of Plethodontid salamanders can evolve solely in North America in a mere 4000 years (roughly 1 new species every 10 years), then how rapidly can new genera evolve?

The math you used is a little messed up. You assume the salamanders evolved sequentially, which is extremely improbable. Most likely one subspecies became 2, those 2 became 4, those 4 became 8, those 8 became 16, and so on. It requires as few as 9 or 10 subspecies generations (2^9=512, 2^10=1024) to achieve 400 or more variations. In 4000 years, this allows 400 or so years for the various mutations and genetic reductions to occur in each successive branch.

Michael Prewitt Also Commented

Dr. Geraty clarifies his “Challenge” to literal 6-day creationism

Michael, you are using the word “subspecies” for salamanders as if you deny there are 400 species of plethodontids. Why? Would you suggest that the 500 species of tyranid flycatchers that have evolved in the New World actually represent 500 subspecies, too? I have a birdwatcher friend who showed me about 10 flycatcher species here in southern California one day. I can assure you that the vermillion flycatchers and black phoebes and kingbirds and some other stuff I don’t remember bore little resemblance to each other.  

Geanna, I will be the first to admit that my use of terms is not exactly in line with conventional usage. This especially applies to my use of words like “species,” “subspecies,” “macroevolution,” “microevolution,” etc. However, at the same time I do not apologize for it, because I believe that current mainstream usage and application of these terms represents Darwinist presuppositions about the fluid nature of species and the common ancestry of all living things. So my intentional misuse of them is somewhat of a small rebellion against the systemic misuse of them in mainstream science (insofar as the way the terms are defined and applied within mainstream science is a methodology that in itself implies falsehoods).

So, to answer your question, yes, I believe all 500 subspecies/species of plethodontids are in fact one in the same “kind” (in the biblical sense), which should rationally be grouped together under the same species designation, with the variations described as races or breeds or variations or some other term that does not equate their differences with the differences between totally unrelated species. As to flycatchers and such, I direct your attention to the various breeds of dogs and cats. They sport all kinds of differences — in size, shape, color, hair length and texture, build, and many other things. Yet they are all of one genetic stock; though once considered a separate species, all dogs have been reclassified as subspecies of the gray wolf. I read recently that until some years/decades ago, it was thought that the various kinds of dogs (wolf, coyote, etc.) were separated by unique chromosomes. However, recently it was found that they all had exactly the same chromosomes, only the grouping of the chromosomes was different.

To say animals are different species simply because they look distinctly different, and even because they mate independently or even because they can no longer produce offspring together, is poor science in my estimation. There was a study done on fruit flies that showed that in a few as eight generations they could be bred into distinct groups that no longer mated freely with each other. Might as well call them species, the way science throws the term around … but any sane person will tell you that they are all really just fruit flies that have acquired restrictive mating tastes, and ought to be looked at as variations or subspecies.

Dr. Geraty clarifies his “Challenge” to literal 6-day creationism
I should add that if a species has a high rate of reproduction, meaning more babies per litter or more frequent litters, and therefore increased rates of microevolution, or if the species is prone to higher rates of mutation, the above formula would *underestimate* the amount of time available per “subspecies branch”. Consider that 2.2^8=548 (which is well over 400, the number of salamander species in your example). In this case, supposing that every 500 years each salamander species produced, on average, 2.2 subspecies, it would achieve well over 500 total subspecies in 4000 years time. That includes the root subspecies. This means that really only 1.2 *new* subspecies would need to be spawned every 500 years.

Recent Comments by Michael Prewitt

Ted Wilson: “We will not flinch. We will not be deterred.”

@Shane Hilde: In other words, we want our professors to be uncredible instructors.We want to indoctrinate instead of teach.We want to start with the the end in mind and eliminate true research and discovery.We want to create clones of ourselves. We declare that there is nothing more to learn.We declare that medical doctors now dictate scientific approach.…You can have it!Me and mine will not.  

Corrected version: We want our teachers to be credible in heaven’s eyes, even if that means being not credible in the eyes of worldly accrediting bodies. We want our teachers to teach subjects in a way that is in harmony with Bible truth, instead of indoctrinating our young people with popular errors. We want to keep our youth out of areas of philosophy and ideology that God has forbidden, so they can blossom in every area of worthwhile research and discovery. We want to create a united body of believers. There is so much more to learn! We declare that God has laid the foundation principles that should guide all academic inquiry, including the pursuit of scientific knowledge.

Ted Wilson: “We will not flinch. We will not be deterred.”
I think Ted Wilson’s repeated and emphatic use of the phrase, “Go forward,” was a direct strike at the idea of “progressive” Adventism. Everything in his “forward” march is completely against the grain of “progressive” Adventism.

It is important to check the “progressives” in their word plays. Obviously the phrase “progressive” sounds forward-moving, positive. But to the other major segment of the church, it is anything but. Put another way, when a “conservative” (i.e, a member faithful to the church’s fundamentals) hears the word “progressive” these days, they are likely to think first “liberal” and then somewhere in the back of their mind another word along the lines of “backslidden.” This is because “progressives” are really regressives. Nearly everything they advocate is not post-SDA, but pre-SDA; not derived from our unique and biblical message, but rooted in philosophies and viewpoints that predate Adventism and that were rightly rejected by our spiritual forebears.

If/when “progressives” split from the church, I am suggesting this new, progressive name for their group: the Rainbow Diversity Movement of Post-Seventh-day Humanists (RDMPSDH). It’s a bit long, I know. They can go by just RDM for short. RDM members believe everything SDAs believe, except: the Bible is not a clear and trustworthy guide in all matters of faith and doctrine; Genesis cannot be taken as a literal and historical account; miracles may never have happened; Jesus may not have been divine, nor actually resurrected (except in the metaphysical sense); there is no sanctuary in heaven; the second coming may not literally occur; traditional SDA prophetic views are all wrong; we should have gay pastors; Ellen White was not inspired; you can do whatever “makes you feel spiritual or refreshed” on “whichever Sabbath works best for you”; the atonement is a myth, God (or whatever Significant Power you worship) simply wants to be your friend; sin is not really that dreadfully bad, but if anything lowers your self-esteem, you should quit it; no one should insist on belief in angels or demons, since we can’t prove they exist; you can eat and drink whatever you want, as long as it’s legal (or you do it very secretly and it doesn’t hurt anyone else); there is no biblical view of marriage, nor of “male” or “female” qualities, nor of appropriate sexual activity; and RDM members reserve the right to drop anything else deemed “unscientific” or “embarrassing” from their list of beliefs.

Honest thieves
There seems to be prior evidence from this website that some of the teachers of evolution at LSU are less than forthcoming and open about what they teach; but certainly not all. Still, obfuscating is not the same as lying. And it is worth pointing out that it was never the original argument that they were a bunch of lying liars. The original argument was that people teaching millions-of-years evolution have no place teaching that in an SDA university, and that remains the major point today. Although it was first strongly argued that only a lunatic fringe of SDAs would insist that a literal reading of Genesis 1 is important to the church’s beliefs, the recent GC session votes clearly indicate that an overwhelming majority support this view, which is, despite what some revisionists say, the long-standing prevalent view in the church.

The LSU PR campaign has taken obfuscating and masquerading to a whole new level. “What a lovely bunch of Christian teachers and students we have here at LSU! Behold all the wonderful things they do! And we’re all creationists, too! *wink, wink*” Everything true, in a fashion, yet irrelevant to our concerns. It may be “millions of years” before LSU leadership will come out and admit that any theory of origins apart from the literally understood, historical account of Genesis was actually taught there — nor can we get them to say today in such clear language that the voted SDA belief is what they are committed to teach throughout their courses. All of which sets us up for an interesting ride ahead.

GC Votes to Revise SDA Fundamental #6 on Creation

Literalists have a very simple and naive playbook – it starts with rule 1: “pretend that the wording in Genesis that suggests literal days and a short-term chronology is supported in numerous places in the Bible”. Please tell us what evidence is spoken of in Romans 1. Does this statement in Romans say anything about literal 24-hour days? Does it say anything about theistic evolutionists? Does it mean that our fundamental beliefs require a literal interpretation of every single word in Genesis? Or are you simply cobbling verses together to make your personal judgement of theistic evolutionists sound as if the Bible supports you.In your response, please leave Ellen White out of this unless you believe firmly she is canonical and that “sola scriptura” is a fallacy Adventists should avoid.  

You like that word, “literalists”, and like to have fun with it. But not one of the people that you argue with on this website believes that everything in the Bible is to be taken literally. They just happen to know that the wording of the Bible is so clear, and further references by later Bible writers are so clear, there is no other sensible way to understand Genesis 1. And moreover, there is certainly no other way to understand it that aligns with Adventist theology.

Genesis 1 is clear that they days were successive, evening-and-morning style days. Genesis 2 makes it clear that God rested on the 7th day, an obvious bridge to our current 7-day week, which has always been composed of literal, consecutive, 24-hour days. Exodus 20 makes it clear that the days in Genesis 1 correspond directly to the days in the time of early Israel, which by all accounts were literal, 24-hour days (“for in 4.5 billion years God made the heavens and the earth, therefore remember the seventh day to keep it holy” … doesn’t quite line up, does it?). References to Genesis 1 and 2 by Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament writers indicate that they understood the book in a literal, historical way. References in Psalms and Hebrews indicate that God created things by His word, miraculously, not out of things which currently exist by natural processes … which is very different from the evolutionary model, as well as to the naturalistic cosmological model to which is it closely tied.

Apparently you’ve already thrown out Ellen White as a reliable source, since you are no longer willing to hear her testimony on the subject. First Ellen White, next certain passages of the Bible, then the whole Bible, and then…?

“Don’t go backwards to interpret Genesis as allegorical or symbolic”

Dear Michael and BobThanks for your comments.
I appreciate the distinctions you are making between the Catholic Church and the SDA Church.
So it was not OK for the Catholics to strong arm Galileo because The Catholics were wrong about their science, but it is OK for the SDA to sanction the LSU biology professors, and perhaps Dr. Clausen, because the SDA is absolutely right about its science. Is that about the gist of it?Be brave Dr. Clausen and Dr. Bradley, you follow in the footsteps of giants of science, irrespective of their faith.Regards

The gist of my point is that it is a myth that the incident between the Catholic Church and Galileo is an example of what happens when Christians use the Bible as a filter for science. And conversely, the Bible can and should be an authority on every topic that in contains, including origins. The Bible SHOULD BE a filter for evaluating everything in life, including science, that is relevant to its claims; that, I believe, is the justification for this website and movement. If that filter were ever to prove false, we could as soon throw the Bible out. But in the case of that story of Galileo, that is not what happened. The RCC’s position was not derived from the Bible at all; it was derived from then-accepted science. One faction (the church) was using religious (but not Bible-based) and scientific excuses to persecute another person of another faction. If the church had stuck to what the Bible actually taught, the incident would never have happened. And insofar as we stick to what the Bible actually teaches, I don’t believe we have any fear of being blinded to any truth about the world we live in.

There is also the issue of the church back then being a civil power, as Sean pointed out. No one here is suggesting that the LSU teachers must not be allowed to teach millions-of-years evolution ANYWHERE; just not at LSU.