My understanding is that there were biology faculty who sincerely …

Comment on LSU Board says ‘we apologize’ by Professor Kent.

My understanding is that there were biology faculty who sincerely questioned the literal interpretation of Genesis and others who genuinely accepted it. I also understand that some of the doubters made disrespectful statements. I don’t question these facts; I have it on word from two well-informed colleagues who are biologists within the SDA system that these unfortunate events indeed happened.

What I’m not clear on is the claim that these faculty lied. One was quoted by the press giving what could only be deemed an honest disclosure of his views. If anything, the biologists should have be more secretive of their views, but instead were openly honest about them. For having those views, and for sharing their doubts, I don’t believe they should be faulted any more so than faculty who share their honoest views on dancing, caffeine or alcohol consumption, abortion, homosexuality, sex on the Sabbath, or other Adventist “hot potatoes.” Seventh-day Adventists have always engaged in discussion of divergent views, and universities in particular are a proper place to engage in these discussions. What the faculty should unquestionably be faulted for is insensitivity and failure to be more accomodating toward those who had divergent views. But that is hardly legal grounds for justifying termination. Bear in mind that the legal issues involved in dismissal of clergy is a very, very different situation than what an academic institution has to contend with.

The administration, clearly, should have addressed the situation long before things became such a public spectacle. Had the faculty been told to immediately cease and desist any kind of teaching of theistic evolution, and were told that doing so would be a condition of continuing employment, then from that point on they could and should be held accountable. For all we know, that message may well have been communicated to the faculty (which seems highly likely to me), and the errant professors may well have complied.

Professor Kent Also Commented

LSU Board says ‘we apologize’

The Southern Adventist University situation was a very strange one. I have a lifelong buddie who is an SDA biology professor, and I have recently befriended several others. These are good people–very faithful, very well-informed individuals whom I respect. I was told that a lot of people became very upset last year when Southern interviewed some perfectly acceptable candidates–very “safe” ones–and then rejected them because they lacked a passion for teaching and research specifically on creationism. In one or two cases, the department refused to hire a candidate who stated they could not “prove” creation. How ludicrous is that?!!! I was told that not all of the faculty were happy with the decisions, which resulted in a work overload for all. (I think maybe one or two faculty also put off their retirement; sorry, I’m a bit fuzzy on the facts, as amusing and riveting as they were.) If SAU wants to teach and indoctrinate creationism rather than biology, more power to them. I just hope that their output of future scientists and physicians is not negatively affected.

I don’t know what became of the rejected candidates, but if I was in their shoes with the current climate of outright hostility, I would not want to apply for any other openings within the Church. Who would want to teach at an institution with constituents who assume a priori you’re an evilutionist, dissect endlessly any statement that could be twisted to mean something sinister, expose to public ridicule on the internet anyone who fails to state “the weight of evidence favors the traditional SDA position” (Sean Pitman’s favored tactic), and send blanket hate mail to every biologist on the staff?

You don’t think we have a problem finding replacements for all the faculty you want to fire? Pull your head out of the sand! (Okay…the last comment was tongue-in-cheek; I believe you simply fail to grasp the significance of the problem.)

LSU Board says ‘we apologize’
Dr. Chadwick,

You are an SDA biologist devoted to exploring issues involving creation and origins. Do you think we need to have science, reason, and empirical evidence to inform us whether the Bible is true? Is Sean correct insisting this to be the case? Is Sean’s position what you folks teach at Southwestern Adventist University?

LSU Board says ‘we apologize’
Angelina, upon re-reading, I fear I insulted you with the head-in-the-sand remark. As a biologist, I find amusing images of animals, like the ostrich this idiom is based on, engaged in humorous activities. However, I recognize that I relate to such images in a different manner than others, and I apologize if I offended you.

Wayne, I appreciate your optimistic take on the matter.

Shane, there is no such thing as a perfect survey, and I understand your frustration. Response bias is very difficult, and most impossible, to get a handle on. However imperfect the survey may have been, it DID reveal some sobering facts that caught the attention of both LSU and denominational administrators. The fact that LSU has come forward with the findings and openly shared the pointed criticism should be commended. I think it would be easier now for them to be more forthcoming (i.e., “transparent”) rather than defensive if the spotlight glared a little less brightly. What the documents unmistakably reveal is that Church leadership HAS taken a proactive role toward resolving the issues. There is clearly a process in place to straighten out the situation. I hope the process is not derailed by well-meaning people who fan the flames to the point of combustion.

Recent Comments by Professor Kent

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Nic&#032Samojluk: No wonder most creationist writers do not even try to submit their papers to such organizations.
Who wants to waste his/her time trying to enter through a door that is closed to him/her a priori?

You have no idea what you’re writing about, Nic. As it turns out, there are in fact many of us Adventists who “waste” our time publishing articles through doors that open to us a priori. Even Leonard Brand at Loma Linda, a widely recognized creationist, has published in the top geology journals. I mean the top journals in the discipline.

The myth that creationists cannot publish in mainstream science is perpetuated by people who simply do not understand the culture of science–and will remain clueless that they do not understand it even when confronted with their misunderstandings. Such is human nature.

Southern Adventist University opens Origins Exhibit

Your questions about conservation genetics are very insightful. I don’t understand how all these life forms were able to greatly increase in genetic diversity while simultaneously winding down and losing genetic information to mutations. Sean seems to insist that both processes happen simultaneously. I had the impression he has insisted all along that the former cannot overcome the latter. But I think you must be right: God had to intervene to alter the course of nature. However, we can probably test this empirically because there must be a signature of evidence available in the DNA. I’ll bet Sean can find the evidence for this.

I’m also glad the predators (just 2 of most such species) in the ark had enough clean animals (14 of each such species) to eat during the deluge and in the months and years after they emerged from the ark that they didn’t wipe out the vast majority of animal species through predation. Maybe they all consumed manna while in the ark and during the first few months or years afterward. Perhaps Sean can find in the literature a gene for a single digestive enzyme that is common to all predatory animals, from the lowest invertebrate to the highest vertebrate. Now that would be amazing.

Wait a minute–I remember once being told that SDA biologists like Art Chadwick believe that some animals survived on floating vegetation outside the ark. Now that would solve some of these very real problems! I wonder whether readers here would allow for this possibility. Multiple arks without walls, roof, and human caretakers.

Southern Adventist University opens Origins Exhibit

Ellen White said, “In the days of Noah, men…many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians [presumably referring to humans] perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history…”

Sean Pitman said, “All human fossils discovered so far are Tertiary or post-Flood fossils. There are no known antediluvian human fossils.”

Ellen White tells us that humans and dinosaurs (presumably referred to in the statement, “a class of very large animals which perished at the flood… mammoth animals”) lived together before the flood. Evolutionary biologists tell us that dinosaurs and humans never lived together. You’re telling us, Sean, that the fossil record supports the conclusion of evolutionists rather than that of Ellen White and the SDA Church. Many of the “very large animals which perished at the flood” are found only in fossil deposits prior to or attributed to the flood, whereas hunans occur in fossil deposits only after the flood (when their numbers were most scarce).

Should the SDA biologists, who are supposed to teach “creation science,” be fired if they teach what you have just conceded?

La Sierra Univeristy Fires Dr. Lee Greer; Signs anti-Creation Bond
For those aghast about the LSU situation and wondering what other SDA institutions have taken out bonds, hold on to your britches. You’ll be stunned when you learn (soon) how many of our other schools, and which ones in particular, have taken out these bonds. You will be amazed to learn just how many other administrators have deliberately secularized their institutions besides Randal Wisbey, presumably because they too hate the SDA Church (as David Read has put it so tactfully).

Be sure to protest equally loudly.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
@Sean Pitman:

So clearly you believe that science can explain supernatural events. Congratulations on that.