Carl says: April 3, 2010 Sean Pitman has presented many criticisms of …

Comment on LSU leaves out key facts by Sean Pitman, M.D..

Carl says:
April 3, 2010

Sean Pitman has presented many criticisms of the standard model. but that does not make it wrong and it certainly does not constitute an alternative model. Just saying that some data fit into a short chronology does not fit all of the other data into the same chronology.

As I’ve explained to you before, significant unanswerable challenges of the standard model not only suggest that this model is untenable, but, at the same time, support the short-chronology model.

You argue, of course, that there is no absolute proof against the standard model or in support of short chronology. That is correct. Science isn’t based on absolute proof, but on the weight of evidence which never reaches perfection. There is always a chance for falsifiability in science.

It is for this reason, as Kuhn put it, that there is always an element of subjectivity in science that cannot be avoided. Science is not, as many people imagine, a purely empirical enterprise. Subjective interpretations of the available data always come into play.

If anyone, Sean Pittman or anyone else, could present a short-history model, you would see a great response from SDA scientists including LSU science faculty members. That would be exciting and wonderful. I grew up hoping and believing that someone would do it.

I have presented you ways in which all of your “evidence” for the standard model could much more easily fit into a short chronology model. You simply reject these arguments because you believe that the evidence cannot really be explained by a short chronology model. This doesn’t mean that there is no short chronology model or reasonable arguments in support of this model – – there are. Can everything be explained at the current time? No – just as not everything can be explained by the standard model (not even close).

All models are limited and have their problems. A problem with a model, as you yourself point out, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a model.

Robert Brown (physicist, former GRI director and a hero of mine) couldn’t do it;
Robert Gentry couldn’t do it;
Ariel Roth (former GRI director) couldn’t do it;
James Gibson (present GRI director) hasn’t done it;
Richard Hammil said he found no one who could do it;
Ray Cottrell (Assoc Editor of the SDA Bible Commentary) said that he knew of no one who could do it;
Peter Edger Hare couldn’t do it.

Peter Hare was convinced, primarily by his amino acid racemization dating model (AARD), that short chronology was untenable. Unfortunately, after his death, his AARD method has been falsified as anything other than a relative dating technique, not the independent dating method that he imagined. For further details see:

Richard Hammil and Ray Cottrell really had no background in the sciences with which they were so impressed. They simply went by the authoritative statements of others who claimed to be in the know regarding “real science”.

Robert Brown, Robert Gentry and Ariel Roth have all strongly supported a short chronology model in the writings and speaking appointments. They’ve presented much data in strong support of this model. Ariel Roth has also actively debunked several arguments which used to be strongly used in favor of the standard model, such as the notion of large termite nests within the geologic column (now known to be the product of inorganic chemical formation).

The ice cores reveal what are believed to be 800,000 successive annual layers. Suppose that the number is terribly wrong, maybe by a factor of 10. That’s still 80,000 annual layers. And, these are layers that were not covered by a flood about 4,000 years ago. Where is the record of the Flood in the ice layers? Where is the record of the Flood in the geologic column? It’s not there. For every suggestion, there are many objections. If those layers were formed quickly, why don’t they contain the expected distribution of pollen spores?

You seem to be very impressed by the standard model ice-core interpretations. However, there is very good evidence that the ice-core data is unreliable as interpreted and can in fact be much more easily explained by a rapid formation of the ice within recent history. The expected distribution of pollen spores given a catastrophic model of formation would be much different from the standard model – a model which also fails to take into account the hypsithermal period in recent history. The recent period of more mild global warming has produced changes in the Greenland and even the Antarctic ice that has shocked scientists whose models didn’t come remotely close to explaining the reality of the changes being currently observed. The melting of the ice sheets is far more rapid than any mainstream scientist thought possible.

Anyway, I could go on and on, but for further information see:

I’ve asked many SDA scientists, What positive evidence can you give that there was a world-wide flood within the last 10,000 years? There is usually a pause followed by, “I don’t know of any such evidence. There are reasons to doubt parts of the standard model, such as para-conformities, but there is no evidence for a flood that fits the Genesis description.”

The world-wide sedimentary layers, with uniform paleo-currents, a lack of expected bioturbation and weathering, evidence of the sudden and catastrophic burial of billions of animals and massive pure uncontaminated coal seams, and the remains of significant amounts of radiocarbon in both coal and oil are just a few of the many “positive evidences” of a recent catastrophic world-wide watery catastrophe.

It is just that you are more impressed by the interpretations of mainstream scientists than with what would otherwise be the significant weight of evidence in line with the catastrophic model of the rapid formation of much of the geologic and fossil records.

Your mode of thinking reminds me of those who opposed J Harlen Bretz for so many decades in the interpretation of the formation of the Scablands as requiring many millions of years of time…

But, there is scientific evidence for a local flood of the Black Sea at about the same time as Noah’s Flood. Read the book “Noah’s Flood,” by Ryan and Pitman, and see for yourself. Then ask yourself, “What should LSU be teaching about earth history?”

The Black Sea flood was a local flood that occurred after the world-wide Noachian catastrophe. There have been many such local floods evidences in Tertiary sedimentary layers… as would be expected.

Your timing, again, for such features is influenced by the mainstream model of radiometric dating methods, all of which have been calibrated according to the mainstream model and against each other. Yet, there are many inconsistencies and contradictions with your dating methods…

If you have a scientific model for a short chronology, bring it on. I am one who would be excited to hear about it.

You are too impressed my mainstream scientists to grasp the model that is right before your eyes. And, you don’t seem to have the moral integrity to back up your convictions on the mainstream model with a move to be supported, financially, by those who agree with your convictions in this area. You take money from the SDA Church organization while actively going around undermining what that organization is paying you to support on a fundamental level. How can you justify such subversive activity on the Church’s dime?

Even if you steal money from a stupid person who is completely ignorant of the true reality of this or that scientific idea and use that money in a much more “beneficial” manner, it is you who is still guilty of theft. Stealing is still stealing no matter who you stole the money from…

Sean Pitman

Sean Pitman, M.D. Also Commented

LSU leaves out key facts
Here’s an interesting article:

Neither side in the controversy at La Sierra University over the teaching of the origins of the universe and life is satisfied with the latest developments.

La Sierra officials are none too happy about an online article by Mark A. Kellner, news editor of Adventist Review, concerning the continuing complaints, primarily from alumni, that biology professors are teaching theistic evolution rather than the young earth account of creation as portrayed in the bible.

One member of the La Sierra board of trustees, Dr. Carla Lidner-Baum, a dentist in Riverside, California, is quoted in the Adventist Review article as explaining that she was concerned about the potential direction an evolutionary view could take the Seventh-day Adventist Church:

“This is a real time of threat to the historically held Adventist beliefs. … Either we are accepting this change or we are not,” Dr. Lidner-Baum said in a telephone interview by the Adventist Review, referring to those supporting a move away from the traditional view of creation.

Responding to the article, Larry Becker, the executive director of University Relations, stated Thursday (April 1) that it contributes to the controversy rather than to its solution, gives a disproportionate voice to critics, ignores steps that have been made toward solving the issue, wrongly characterizes the university’s actions against a student, and fails to mention the institution of a new class for all freshmen biology students “to help prepare them to navigate issues of faith and science…”

Bill Knott, editor of the Adventist Review denied the allegations, stating that its policy is to make every attempt to ensure that articles and news reports appearing in the Review are carefully researched, factually accurate, balanced, and ultimately supportive of the larger mission of both the magazine and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

According to Kellner’s article, a student, Louie Bishop, said he was placed on “citizenship probation” for circulating letters opposing the teaching of evolutionary concepts and for posting a professor’s lecture notes online. The university statement vigorously denied ever disciplining any student for holding Adventist beliefs and said the article did not give the University an opportunity to share its attorney’s opinion of the ethics and legality of “unapproved selective posting of faculty intellectual property.”

But critics of the biology courses are not satisfied with the university’s explanations, saying it is the university that is misstating the facts. According to an article on the website, on Friday (April 2). critic Sean Pittman, M.D. insists that the university has put extreme pressure on Bishop and others to keep quiet about “the theistic evolutionary ideas being promoted at LSU which actively undermine faith in a literal six-day creation week–a fundamental doctrinal position of the SDA Church.”

While acknowledging that the board of trustees has spent much time considering the issue and making recommendations, Pittman said nothing substantive has changed. The new freshman class the university set up, Pitman said, is being taught by many of the same science professors who were “actively promoting theistic evolutionary views to begin with” and that most of the guest speakers were also theistic evolutionists who questioned the literal interpretation of the Genesis account as interpreted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“If anything, this new class only makes things worse when it comes to the active undermining of the faith of students in the reality of a recent, literal creation week,” Pittman said.

The EducateTruth website was created a year ago by alumnus Shane Hilde of Beaumont when the controversy first came to light, and has published numerous letters about the controversy. The university spokesman, calls it an “attack website” and claims that it has “allowed highly negative, destructive attacks on individuals and on Adventist institutions” and that it has censored supporters of the university’s side, including a posting made by Larry Blackmer, the North American Division vice president for education, who claimed that earlier comments had been taken out of context: “I feel betrayed by this website,” Blackmer wrote.

Theistic evolution is the concept that God sparked the beginning of the universe billions of years ago and left the rest to wholly natural processes. It differs from Intelligent Design which teaches that the creator personally directed the various stages that ultimately led to human life. Both concepts come from a figurative interpretation of the Genesis account of creation. See: “Refuting Theistic Evolution, on the website.

Another view, accepted by the scientific community at large, rejects both the theistic evolution and creationist explanations, holding that the universe and life are natural phenomena, the only one of these concepts compatible with atheism.

Maybe this reporter should interview someone like Paul Davies?

“Such stunning accuracy [in the precisely balanced universe needed to support complex life] is surely one of the great mysteries of cosmology…
The belief that there is “something behind it all” is one that I personally share with, I suspect, a majority of physicists… that there must be a God who is responsible for these laws and responsible for the universe.”

Davies, Paul C.W. [Physicist and Professor of Natural Philosophy, University of Adelaide], “The Christian perspective of a scientist,” Review of “The way the world is,” by John Polkinghorne, New Scientist, Vol. 98, No. 1354, pp.638-639, 2 June 1983, p.638

Note that Paul Davies doesn’t agree with the reporter, arguing that the majority of physicists favor the idea that some sort of God is responsible for it all…

Sean Pitman

LSU leaves out key facts
@Ron Stone M.D.:

Sean, Please explain what you mean by “outlandish” comments. I have plainly stated facts and named names, which is exactly what Shane and others have done on this site. I happen to “expand” the blame to others, as Shane does not appear to believe that the problem is more than a few Bio Profs at LSU.

Yes, you have been very plain indeed – very plain! – Sometimes too plain! 😉

I personally don’t think it would kill you or hurt your cause or ours much at all if you toned some of your posts down just a tad. I’m sure you know what I mean…

Also, don’t think that Shane is naive enough to think that the problems LSU is having are limited to LSU. They aren’t. They are simply most blatently demonstrated at LSU is all.

Sean Pitman

LSU leaves out key facts
Educate Truth Blocks Posts Supportive of LSU?

Jim wrote:

So Larry Becker is COMPLETELY ACCURATE when he states that your web site “deleted from the site a number of comments that take issue with positions the site is attempting to promote or that have been supportive of La Sierra University”. He saw the direct evidence of this because I emailed those screen shots from your website to him.

I’ve discussed your particular case with Shane Hilde and he doesn’t remember specifically blocking your posts. He monitors the site by himself you know… a rather large job for one person who is working full time on top of it.

There was a time there toward the end of last year where EdTruth was being flooded by posters who had no affiliation with the SDA Church who were being directed to the site by the well-known and very outspoken atheist, PZ Meyers, in an effort to disrupt the operation of EdTruth with hundreds, even thousands, of nonsense posts. All of those were blocked as effectively as one person can monitor such things. Perhaps your posts were caught up in all of this during that time?

However, the posts that have been blocked have not been blocked simply because they were supportive of LSU. In fact, the individual with the most blocked posts has been Ron Stone – an individual who is strongly against LSU but is often guilty of fairly extreme personal attacks and outlandish or very off-topic comments.

Granted, while not all off-topic or extreme posts have effectively been blocked, it is good to remember that Shane is doing the job of moderator as effectively as he can with his limited time.

In any case, if you are SDA or affiliated with the SDA Church and wish to contribute to the discussion why not try posting your comments again? Or, send them to me and I’ll post them for you with my responses if you wish (as I will do with this particular post)…

Oh, and what horrible things was I writing to deserve such a response of outright censorship? Um, I was asking you to explain in more detail a claim that you had made in an earlier post, that you had been actively lobbying LSU on the creationism issue for several years — and my posts had no swear words, no excessive length, no spam, and definitely no request to have them removed.

I was initially invited, by a student group, to lecture at LSU in 2005. At that time I was informed of the theistic evolutionism being promoted by many of the teachers at LSU and even supported by then president Lawrence Geraty as well. In response, I wrote many letters and had many phone conversations with leaders at LSU and at various levels within the SDA Church structure. I also had personal discussions with many of the students and a few of the professors involved at the time. Usually I was told that the issue was indeed a serious one and would be investigated carefully. I was told to remember that the Church would go through to the end even though it might have a few problems – so hang in there.

After my first lecture, around 100 students signed a petition to have the SDA creation perspective presented in the science classrooms – to include upper division science classes.

Of course, nothing happened and the status quo remained and still remains in effect at LSU…

Having tried to engage you even earlier than this incident, by among other things suggesting a less strident tone might be more likely to produce the results you claim you want, I quickly learned from your response that you had no intention of trying to be charitable to anyone, certainly including myself.

I don’t understand why an effort to increase transparency as to what is really being promoted behind closed doors at LSU is so horrible? Why should such efforts for increased transparency cause such a disturbance with LSU?

Is it not the truth that most LSU science professors are in fact promoting theistic evolution over hundreds of millions of years as the true story of origins? Of course it is. So, why is one accused of “attacking” LSU when one simply points out this obvious fact and provides videos and lecture materials and personal statements from the professors themselves supporting this fact? How is this a “throwing of stones?” or “not following the direction of Matthew 18?”

If LSU really thought it was in the right here, why would they be at all upset by the public presentation of such facts? Isn’t it only those who feel themselves guilty of some wrongdoing who attempt to hide the facts of what they are in fact doing? Why try to cover up or hide what you’re doing if you know you are doing right?

Sean Pitman

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman, M.D.

The Arguments of Adventists Opposed to Vaccines
The LORD does not suffer fools who deliberately put themselves in paths of known dangers. If you deliberately jump off a cliff, putting the LORD to the test, this is not virtuous faith, but presumption – a sin against God.

The Arguments of Adventists Opposed to Vaccines
After extensive review of the available data, the FDA issued “emergency use authorization” for the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines. Pfizer, in particular, is planning on applying for full FDA approval as early as the middle of this month (April 2021).

As far as the length of immunity, it is currently known that robust immunity following mRNA vaccination lasts “at least” six months, and probably years (Link). However, if additional variants arise that aren’t effectively covered by the current vaccines, additional booster shoots would be needed.

Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?

1. I assume some defective mRNA strands and lipid layers can be generated during the myriad of involved complex chemical processes. Do we understand percentage of defective nanoparticles / mRNA strands? Does process include QA that somehow reduces or eliminates potentially harmful defects. What is risk of defective mRNA strands that could encode for harmful proteins? Any other associated risks here that I am not addressing?

Given that the mRNA sequences in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are synthetically produced, I would say that there are very few defective mRNA sequences. And, when it comes to producing proteins based on these few defective sequences, the additional risk from such defective sequences for the human body would be, effectively, zero. In fact, a few slight variations in the protein sequence for the spike protein would only result in slight variations in the immune system response. And, producing such slight variations are already part of how our human immune system is programmed to work – automatically producing slight variations in the antibodies produced against a particular type of foreign antigen, for example.

2. How much independent review occurred with these vaccines? Is the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety the only body that reviewed. Do scientiests get hands-on and eyes-on access to the actual chemical processes to verify what is happening (in vitro and in vivo), or are they just provided with white papers and reports for review?

A great many scientists were involved in the production and review of the mRNA vaccines. These vaccines, how they work, and their effects on human biochemistry are very well known by a great many scientists who work in this field of immunochemistry. There are no fundamental secrets here.

3. Some papers and FAQs claim the generated viral “spike protein” is presented on the cell surface. Some of your dialogue here seems to indicate that this is not the case. Which is it? How is it presented? Is it presented in a variety of ways?

Here are a few diagrams that illustrate what’s happening within different cells of the body where the mRNA sequences are decoded and presented:

Mechanism of action of mRNA vaccines. 1. The mRNA is in vitro transcribed (IVT) from a DNA template in a cell-free system. 2. IVT mRNA is subsequently transfected into dendritic cells (DCs) via (3) endocytosis. 4. Entrapped mRNA undergoes endosomal escape and is released into the cytosol. 5. Using the translational machinery of host cells (ribosomes), the mRNA is translated into antigenic proteins. The translated antigenic protein undergoes post-translational modification and can act in the cell where it is generated. 6. Alternatively, the protein is secreted from the host cell. 7. Antigen protein is degraded by the proteasome in the cytoplasm. The generated antigenic peptide epitopes are transported into the endoplasmic reticulum and loaded onto major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules (MHC I). 8. The loaded MHC I-peptide epitope complexes are presented on the surface of cells, eventually leading to the induction of antigen-specific CD8 + T cell responses after T-cell receptor recognition and appropriate co-stimulation. 9. Exogenous proteins are taken up DCs. 10. They are degraded in endosomes and presented via the MHC II pathway. Moreover, to obtain cognate T-cell help in antigen-presenting cells, the protein should be routed through the MHC II pathway. 11. The generated antigenic peptide epitopes are subsequently loaded onto MHC II molecules. 12. The loaded MHC II-peptide epitope complexes are presented on the surface of cells, leading to the induction of the antigen-specific CD4 + T cell responses. Exogenous antigens can also be processed and loaded onto MHC class I molecules via a mechanism known as cross-presentation. (Link)

Now, The mRNA-1273-encoded prefusion stabilizes the S protein (Moderna Vaccine) consists of the SARS-CoV-2 glycoprotein with a transmembrane anchor and an intact S1–S2 cleavage site. The presence of the transmembrane anchor would seem to enable some of the spike proteins to remain attached to the surface of the cell that produced them, such as a muscle cell, but would still be recognized as “foreign” by the immune system. (Link)

See also: Link

Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?
The following commentary by organic chemist Derek Lowe is also helpful in understanding this question (December 4, 2020):

Bob Wachter of UCSF had a very good thread on Twitter about vaccine rollouts the other day, and one of the good points he made was this one. We’re talking about treating very, very large populations, which means that you’re going to see the usual run of mortality and morbidity that you see across large samples. Specifically, if you take 10 million people and just wave your hand back and forth over their upper arms, in the next two months you would expect to see about 4,000 heart attacks. About 4,000 strokes. Over 9,000 new diagnoses of cancer. And about 14,000 of that ten million will die, out of usual all-causes mortality. No one would notice. That’s how many people die and get sick anyway.

But if you took those ten million people and gave them a new vaccine instead, there’s a real danger that those heart attacks, cancer diagnoses, and deaths will be attributed to the vaccine. I mean, if you reach a large enough population, you are literally going to have cases where someone gets the vaccine and drops dead the next day (just as they would have if they *didn’t* get the vaccine). It could prove difficult to convince that person’s friends and relatives of that lack of connection, though. Post hoc ergo propter hoc is one of the most powerful fallacies of human logic, and we’re not going to get rid of it any time soon. Especially when it comes to vaccines. The best we can do, I think, is to try to get the word out in advance. Let people know that such things are going to happen, because people get sick and die constantly in this world. The key will be whether they are getting sick or dying at a noticeably higher rate once they have been vaccinated.

No such safety signals have appeared for the first vaccines to roll out (Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech). In fact, we should be seeing the exact opposite effects on mortality and morbidity as more and more people get vaccinated. The excess-death figures so far in the coronavirus pandemic have been appalling (well over 300,000 in the US), and I certainly think mass vaccination is the most powerful method we have to knock that back down to normal.

That’s going to be harder to do, though, if we get screaming headlines about people falling over due to heart attacks after getting their vaccine shots. Be braced.

Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?
I know that various European countries, including the Netherlands, Denmark, and Spain, have reported outbreaks of COVID-19 in mink pelt farms – leading to the culling of more than a million animals. From laboratory experiments, it’s also clear that ferrets (a relative of the mink) are also readily infected with the “novel coronavirus”. Aside from this, however, I’m not aware of any “issues” with animal experiments regarding COVID-19 in particular. However, in 2008 there was an interesting experiment involving ferrets that were given the flu vaccine against the H1N1 virus – who then became sicker once exposed to the live virus as compared to those ferrets that weren’t vaccinated. The reason for the effect was unclear, and Skowronski, the lead author, urged other research groups to take up the question.

“Skowronski likened the mechanism to what happens with dengue viruses. People who have been infected with one subtype of dengue don’t develop immunity to the other three. In fact, they are more at risk of developing a life-threatening form of dengue if they are infected with one of the other strains.”

Skowronski called the second theory the infection block hypothesis. Having a bout of the flu gives the infected person antibodies that may be able, for a time, to fend off other strains; flu shots only protect against the strains they contain. So under this theory, people who didn’t have flu in 2008 because they got a flu shot may have been less well armed against the pandemic virus.”

While interesting, such an effect has not been identified in the animal or human trials for the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. Also, subsequently updated flu vaccines to the H1N1 strain haven’t had this problem either (Link).