@pauluc: We return again to wonderland and to unique definition …

Comment on The End of “Junk DNA”? by Sean Pitman.


We return again to wonderland and to unique definition of species and argument;

Why do you continually misrepresent my position? As I’ve explained to you and Professor Kent several times now, I’m not presenting a new definition of “species” – not at all. The mainstream definition of species works just fine for its intended purpose and does have value. My definition is a definition of unique “kinds” of gene pools that contain qualitatively unique functionality that cannot be evolved by RM/NS. This is not the same thing as the species concept and I’m not sure why you both continue to try to equate the two? That is why different species can indeed evolve, quickly evolve, over short periods of time while different “kinds” of biological systems cannot evolve beyond very low levels of functional complexity regardless of how much time is allotted this side of a practical eternity of time.

Note also that you’ve presented several demonstrably false assertions so far in this particular thread. You started off with the claim that the increasing mutation rate for men with age is clearly too high to consider the Bible’s claim for antediluvian reproductive life spans of several hundred years remotely tenable. You were wrong. You also claimed that other forms of mutations besides SNP-type mutations are too high to be consistent with the Biblical model. You were wrong. And, your claim that deleterious mutations can be effectively removed from slowly reproducing gene pools (via some form of genetic recombination?) is also clearly mistaken.

Why not just admit that Neo-Darwinism is obviously bankrupt and move on? Still clinging to your top-down approach “as Darwin did”? How is that valid “science” when your mechanism is so obviously bankrupt?

Your glory seem to be that classification of phenotypic and genotypic diversity “means what I say it means” completely disregarding the conventions of 150 years of biology and biologist who have gone before.

Not at all. The classification conventions of 150 years of biology are just fine for what they do. However, they do not, as you well know, draw a distinction between what can and cannot evolve via the Darwinian mechanism of random mutations and natural selection (RM/NS). My definition of qualitatively unique “kinds” of biological systems at various levels of functional complexity does draw this distinction and is not a redefinition of the species concept – despite your repeated attempts to paint it as such. The reality is that mine a unique concept that is independent of the species concept.

What is on the line here is the neo-Darwinian mechanism of random mutations combined with natural selection vs. the Biblical model of origins.

Does the mechanism of RM/NS have limitations that can be clearly defined? The answer to that question is yes. Any qualitatively novel system of function that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues has not been observed to evolve and statistically is extremely unlikely to evolve this side of a practical eternity of time.

As a practical illustration, let’s say that we are comparing eukaryotic vs. prokaryotic motility systems for single-celled organisms. One type is based on a rotating flagellar system while the other is based on a back-and-forth sliding system. These two systems are qualitatively unique and they both require a minimum of far more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues to work as motility systems. It is quite safe to say, then, that these two populations did not share a common ancestor – unless one wishes to propose that the common ancestor of both had both types of motility systems “front-loaded” in the original parental gene pool.

Another example would be the different kinds of vision systems in existence from a single light-sensitive cluster of cells to a cup-shaped “eye” to a compound eye to an eye with an inverted retina to an eye with a verted retina to an eye with a lens, etc. All such visions systems are qualitatively unique beyond the level of 1000 specifically arranged residues. Therefore, any comparison between gene pools containing codes for vision systems with such differences would suggest that these two gene pools do not share a common evolutionary ancestor – unless one wishes to propose that the original parental gene pool contained codes for both types of vision systems being compared… etc.

The other issue in play here, of course, is the credibility of the Bible. Has the Biblical account of origins been effectively falsified by the claims of modern scientists so as to require a non-testable Divine miracle to overcome? So far, based on what you’ve personally presented, the answer to this question is clearly no. You’ve not come remotely close to falsifying the Biblical claims regarding origins or even calling them into serious question. If anything, you arguments have ended up supporting the Biblical model. In short, the significant weight of the empirical evidence that we currently have in hand fits very very well within the Biblical model while effectively falsifying the neo-Darwinian perspective on origins.

“The biosystems themselves within different gene pools are what can be evaluated as far as levels of functional complexity are concerned. This is not beyond the capabilities of modern science.”

Indeed that is true but as far as I can see it so far has been beyond you to use the tools of modern science to evaluate your hypothesis. Certainly you do not even seem to have attempted to do so. There are complete genomes of at least 30 mammalian species as I have given reference to before. You seem to believe that there are differences between the mammalian species that would conform to your criteria of limits insuperable by an evolutionary process. Most biologist have long since past the point of worrying about these supposed limits so you cannot rely on someone else to do your research. Sit down at your computer and use the available free online resources and compare these genomes and tell us what and where are the 1000faar limits in these genomes that unequivocally destroy the argument that these mammalian species have arisen from a common mammalian ancestor.

I have given you multiple examples of qualitatively unique systems that could not have evolved by RM/NS. Any such systems in any gene pool would be beyond the powers of Darwinian mechanisms. What you seem to want is an analysis of innumerable gene pools with published dividing lines for each. That simply isn’t needed before the basic concept becomes clear – that there is a limit to the creative powers of RM/NS to very low levels of functional complexity and a steady devolution of slowly reproducing gene pools.

If you really think I’m wrong, you’re the one who needs to show how the high level qualitatively unique systems within modern species of plants and animals could actually have evolved given only a few billion years (a drop in the bucket compared to what the average time needed to achieve anything beyond the 1000saa level)? – and get rid of detrimental mutations faster than they are currently entering all slowly reproducing gene pools? That is the just-so story telling fairytale that is beyond scientific tenability.

“All the Pitta species can interbreed and produce viable and virile offspring. Therefore, they share the same basic “kind” of gene pool.”

Pardon my scepticism but I am reluctant to take this on your say so. Please provide a reference for the statement “All the Pitta species can interbreed”.

There are many examples of hybrids between Pitta bird species and no reason to think that any particular Pitta cross breed would be genetically impossible.


This is simply obfuscation and a restatement of your postulate and does not at all respond to the question. Of course there is incomplete lineage sorting as is included for example in the Scally et al paper on comparison of primate genomes (Nature 2012 483:169). You cannot however use this mechanism to say that the 1000fsaar differences have been lost from all the sequenced genomes. Either the differences between mammalian species includes genes or DNA sequences fulfilling your criteria of 1000fsaar or it does not. I find it hard to accept that there are 1000fsaar differences that limit evolution somewhere beyond the species level but at the same time that you insist that all extant canid species arose over 4000 years from 2 animals by a process of mutation and natural selection. You seem to be insisting there is a rapid natural mechanism for speciation and that speciation occurs by multiple minor mutations (very very low complexity) yet there is some profound barrier at some arbitary point that you then use to define a kind.

I’m afraid I do not follow you here? I don’t see that you’ve presented any barrier to rapid canid speciation or any example of any kind of qualitatively unique system within various species of canids that is beyond low levels of functional complexity?

I also don’t see where you’ve presented any example of any qualitatively novel system of function evolving beyond low levels of functional complexity or how this might even be statistically tenable?

I also don’t see where you’ve explained how any naturalistic mechanism can deal with the very high detrimental mutation rate that is realized in every individual in every generation within slowly reproducing gene pools?

Where then is the “science” behind your position?

Oh, you want to me to list off distinct differences innumerable gene pools that could not be evolved. To a limited, but sufficient degree, I’ve already done this – as noted above. Other examples I’ve discussed with you include various qualitatively unique differences between reptiles and birds at high levels of functional complexity (like the breathing system for instance). Or, what about the qualitatively unique differences between human and ape brain structure and function that are based on unique genetic sequences?

I really don’t see why I need to get much more detailed here to get my basic point across? If no higher level system can evolve via RM/NS and slowly reproducing gene pools are devolving, not evolving, over time, then Neo-Darwinism is rationally and scientifically untenable while the claims of the Bible are right in line with the significant weight of the scientific evidence that is currently in hand.

I am happy you can accept as a faith position these extraordinary contradictory positions because of a particular literal reading of the biblical text. But to say

“All that mainstream scientists really have to prop up this concept are fantastic just-so stories that have no more scientific value than fairytales for children.”

and to imagine that even a fraction of the genomic and genetic data supports your unique and peculiar models without even actually examining the genomic data with a view to testing your models compels me to think that you have little understanding of the process of science or the explanatory value of natural process.

It is not a blind faith position to recognize the clear limitations of the Darwinian mechanism of RM/NS or to see that humans and all other slowly reproducing species are devolving toward eventual extinction over time.

All of you who accept the claims of mainstream scientists at face value without considering the limitations of the proposed Darwinian mechanism are not buying into science, but into a popular philosophy of mainstream scientists – a fairytale story that should have no more status in science than any other fairytale told to children at bedtime…

Sean Pitman

Sean Pitman Also Commented

The End of “Junk DNA”?

Lots of non-Adventist individuals and organizations are committed to Jesus Christ – like the Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Mormons, etc. However, the simple criteria of being committed to one’s own personal view of Jesus Christ does not qualify one as being a paid representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Now, this isn’t to say that being committed to Jesus Christ and His example, as detailed in the Bible, isn’t a good thing. It’s a very very good thing and the motive of love behind such a decision is the very basis of salvation. However, even being in a saving relationship with Jesus is not enough to qualify an individual to be an effective representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in particular.

The Adventist Church takes on basic Christianity as well as an additional mission – a mission which includes upholding before the world some 28 doctrinal beliefs which the church considers “fundamental” or crucial to its primary goals and mission during the last days of Earth’s history.

Now, one may be saved without being a part of the Adventist mission or church – thank God! In fact, the vast majority of people who will be saved in Heaven one day will never have even heard of Seventh-day Adventists. So, this isn’t an issue of salvation. It is an issue of appropriately representing the primary goals and mission of an organization as that organization defines itself.

You, weather you like it or not, are not in line with many of the primary goals and ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. That doesn’t make you good or bad or outside of the saving love and grace of God. It just means that you cannot adequately represent the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a paid representative. Your representation would be counterproductive to the stated goals and missions of the church as an organization.

That is why it would be much better for you, and for more honest, if you were to take on a label that more accurately represents your current world views…

Sean Pitman

The End of “Junk DNA”?
@Professor Kent:

When empirical evidence and God’s word go different directions, you will choose the evidence, whereas the SDA Church always has and always will prioritize God’s word.

During the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church the founding fathers took on the position that the Bible prophesied that Jesus would return in 1844. The empirical evidence proved this notion wrong. And, these founding fathers were forced, by the empirical evidence, to admit that their faith in what they thought the Bible said was mistaken.

You see, the SDA Church, from its very beginnings, has been forced to recognize the interplay between faith and evidence for the rational mind. One cannot rationally argue that one’s faith in what one thinks the Bible says, or even the origin of the Bible, is entirely independent of the weight of empirical evidence.

It is for this reason that the modern Seventh-day Adventist Church is actually concerned over what is being taught at La Sierra University regarding the topic of origins. If all that mattered was a fideistic faith in the Bible and our own special interpretation of the Bible, the church wouldn’t care what people thought of the empirical evidence. It wouldn’t care what was being taught in science classes within its own schools. This simply isn’t the case.

You are delusional to believe that the SDA Church will agree to disembody and disavow itself of God if the accumulated evidence goes against its present interpretation of scripture.

But the church has changed its mind before regarding its views of the Bible based on the weight of empirical evidence (as noted above).

Again, God does not ask us to believe or have faith without the weight of evidence. He does not expect us to believe in something that has no more evidential backing than the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. That simply wouldn’t be reasonable on the part of God nor would it be fair for Him to act in such a manner…

Sean Pitman

The End of “Junk DNA”?

There is a great gulf between You and I. Where does one start in trying to find common ground and responding to your very concrete thought structure. Its as if the last 200 years have not happened. Your view of natural theology may have been accepted by William Paley but is not an approach to God thought valid by most modern theologians with any acquaintance with science.

One of the problems I personally have with your perspective, and that of many modern theologians, is that it seems to me to be inconsistent with itself. You yourself describe your own position as “irrational”! You reject the authority of the Scriptures when the Biblical authors describe the miracle of God creating life on this planet in just six literal days (clearly what the author of the Genesis account was trying to convey to his readers)… because of what you view as the contrary evidence of modern science. Yet, at the very same time, you accept the claims of the Biblical authors when they describe the miraculous virgin birth, life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus. You accept this portion of the Scriptures contrary to the claims of the vast majority of modern scientists who claim that such things are impossible.

Does this not then mean that your internally derived “faith” allows you to pick and choose what you will and will not believe independent of the influence of anything else? It isn’t a matter of consistent Biblical interpretation for you because you simply aren’t consistent in how you interpret the Bible or determine what is or isn’t true. You pick and choose based on your own individual desires for what you want to be true. That is why your faith is inconsistent with itself and is, as you yourself explain, completely irrational to the point of overt fideism. You take on a form of fideism that is its own evidence independent of any influence outside of your own mind and your own feelings and desires – to include any consistent influence from the Bible itself.

What argument can you or any modern theologian present to make what you yourself claim is an irrational position appear remotely attractive to those who appreciate rational thought and careful consistent investigation of fantastic claims?

It is not the 19th century and we are called to preach the grace of God to a secular world. Your vision shows no imagination or understanding of spirituality or the reality and value of vision, myth and abstract concepts that may have no correspondence in concrete realities.

But I do find value in various myths, legends, allegories, and fairytales. Even Jesus used such stories to teach various truths about the existence of realities that are not yet seen. However, it makes a great deal of difference if one believes that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is a good moral fable vs. true empirical historical reality. If the disciples of Jesus had believed His claims to be the Son of God simply allegorical, rather than empirical reality, they would not have put their own lives on the line. No rational person, who is naturally prone to avoid a martyr’s death, is going to put his life on the line for stories that he believes are mythical or allegorical – devoid of any “correspondence with concrete realities”.

They key point here is that if Jesus had not been raised from the dead and His disciples had not personally witnessed the empirical reality of this event, there would be no Christian Church of any kind today. All of Christian faith hinges on the literal reality of the Resurrection. Without this reality, there is no mystical experience with God that can rationally support the claims of Christianity.

Do you agree with Martin Luther in his statement about scripture trumping observation:

“People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool [or ‘man’] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.”
– Martin Luther, Table Talk

If you truly privilege scripture over science you should really revamp this web site to be consistent with the supremacy of scripture along the lines of the site http://www.fixedearth.com/ A site that is at least absolutely consistent with biblical literalism as Luther saw it.

Even though we who live in this modern age know that the Earth does in fact revolve around the Sun, we still speak in everyday terms as the Sun “rising in the east” and “setting in the west” or the “Sun going down”. Such are terms of perspective. In context, therefore, no further interpretation is necessitated in the Bible’s description of Joshua speaking from his own Earth-bound perspective. Surely you can understand the difference between such passages and passages in Genesis where it would be very very difficult to misinterpret the observation of “evenings and mornings” separating the “days” of creation – regardless of perspective. In such passages the author is clearly claiming that God showed him that the days of creation were separated by what clearly appeared to be “evenings and mornings” from his Earth-bound perspective. There’s a big difference here.

As far as Martin Luther is concerned, he was a great reformer and he did advance important truths for his time. However, he was no prophet and received no privileged revelation regarding such things. He forwarded and acted upon a great many points of misunderstanding regarding the meaning of many Scriptural truths which the Seventh-day Adventist Church has since realized – to include those truths revealed to us by God speaking in a very privileged manner through Ellen White.

Now, you can either accept or reject the Adventist perspective on such things, but it is very difficult to call yourself an Adventist or a true representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church when you are actually fighting against numerous doctrinal ideals that the Adventist Church, as an organization, still holds to be fundamentally important. It would be much better and far more honest for you to describe yourself in terms that more accurately reflect your true beliefs.

The reality however is that both you and I interpret the scriptures. As I have said before you appear to practice naturalistic evidence based medicine contrary to the biblical description of healing but then pretend that you are following the plain text of scripture when reject entirely naturalism when it comes to origins. You claim;

“You pick and choose what elements you will use to build your own image of “christianity”… which is quite different from the Biblical claims.”

But do not at all seem able to see that you are in fact doing exactly what you project in accepting evidence based medicine contrary to a plain reading of scripture but claiming origin by divine fiat and miracle on the basis of one particular reading of scripture.

There is actually good support for evidence-based medicine in Scripture. Just because the Scriptures also point out the power of prayer and God’s willingness to supernaturally intervene, on occasion, in our lives does not mean that the Scriptures are opposed to evidence-based medicine. Such a notion is completely contrary to the position of the Bible, Mrs. White, and the Adventist Church on the topics of health and medicine in general where the laws of nature, set in place by God, are to be dealt with on a routine basis in the practice of medicine and healthful living.

You continue to misconstrue the point of my discussion of Santa Claus and Christmas. Children can and do grow in their understanding of reality and are able to see beyond the concrete events of Christmas to see it as a representation of a worthy abstraction that is not invalidated by rejecting a fictitious Santa Claus. You seem unable to move from the concrete to the abstract and yet again claim you will reject Christ if your biblical interpretation is found not to be consistent with a simplistic reality. As though your superior mind trumps any non-rational revelation of God.

A non-rational revelation of God would not, by definition, make rational sense – right? (any more than a desire to believe in the reality of existence of Santa Claus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster?) Why then should I believe in any irrational “revelation” that makes no sense to me? Can you provide any rational answer to this question? Wouldn’t any response you might submit be irrational by definition? That’s why your position makes no sense to me. Why even try to argue for what you yourself are arguing has no rational explanation?

Your arrogance is unceasingly amazing.
You claim:

“And, so far, the organized Adventist Church agrees with me. Of course, you can call yourself whatever you want. But, again, that doesn’t mean that the church is going to recognize your claims as actually representing the church’s view of reality. So, why would you expect anyone holding views that undermine the fundamental goals and ideals of the church, the ‘fundamental beliefs’, to be paid by the church”

You are of course right if you think the church that is being rebuilt by Ted Wilson and Clifford Goldstein with their militant fundamentalism and unsavoury and ungracious political manouvering is the legitimate heir of traditional Adventism but I do not.

Where did Ted Wilson or Clifford Goldstein set up the fundamental doctrinal ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church? You give them far too much credit! These fundamentals were set up well before they came on the scene…

At the very least, you must admit that you are strongly opposed to many of the clearly stated doctrinal positions that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has long held, and currently holds, to be “fundamental” to its very existence. You fundamentally disagree with both the founders and the current leaders of the church on many key points of doctrine. You disagree with many of the modern and historical doctrinal positions of the SDA Church as an organization.

You are really more of a “social Adventist” who was raised in the Adventist Church but who really doesn’t subscribe to many of the doctrinal positions of the church as an organization. Why then do you wish to continue to take on the title of “Seventh-day Adventist” when this title doesn’t really do you justice? – when it doesn’t truly represent who you really are and what you really believe? And, why on Earth would you expect anyone who holds similar views to your own to be hired by any organization who claims to be fundamentally opposed to what you actually believe and are willing to teach/preach?

Wouldn’t it be far more honest and ethical for you and those of like mind to more clearly present yourselves and what you stand for and then go and work for those who are more than willing to pay to have such ideas taught in their schools and preached from their pulpits? Why the aversion to completely open and honest transparency here?

And, if the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as an organization, really has no problem with those from your perspective preaching and teaching on the church’s dime, why then hasn’t the Adventist Church come out in open support of such efforts? Why has the Adventist Church, as an organization, gotten so worked up over Neo-Darwinism being so openly promoted as La Sierra University? – if the church really is as supportive of your position as you seem to suggest?

Sean Pitman

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Scott Ritsema, Dr. Lela Lewis, Pastor Wyatt Allen an Dr. Peter McCullough on COVID-19 Vaccines
Yeah, well, it might help to actually understand the primary data one is looking at before one makes up his/her mind… which Dr. McCullough clearly doesn’t understand – particularly when it comes to the meaning of the VAERS data.

Scott Ritsema, Dr. Lela Lewis, Pastor Wyatt Allen an Dr. Peter McCullough on COVID-19 Vaccines
If you’re going to just present one side of an issue, just do that. Don’t bother citing your “academic” credentials and history of “always” trying to present a balanced perspective. And, don’t complain about others, like the mainstream media, doing the very same thing that you’re doing – presenting only one side of an issue.

Beyond this minor point, have you nothing of real substance or interest to say about the actual primary claims being made? about all the scientific data that appears to strongly counter the sensational claims that Dr. McCullough’s presented in this video?

Scott Ritsema, Dr. Lela Lewis, Pastor Wyatt Allen an Dr. Peter McCullough on COVID-19 Vaccines
Then don’t complain about others doing exactly what you’re doing…

Anyway, the real issue with the video is that the main claims are almost all completely false and those that are true are presented in a very misleading manner – which has the potential to harm or even kill people. That’s the real problem.

Now, I know that you’re a registered nurse and lifestyle director of the Eden Valley Institute of Wellness in Loveland, Colorado. And, that’s great! I would suggest to you, however, that excellent health would also help someone do very well with the mRNA vaccines. But why not just rely on excellent health alone? Doesn’t the Adventist Health Message completely negate the need for vaccines? Well, no, it doesn’t. I know of several very healthy vegans who have been seriously sicked by COVID-19 with some having sustained permanent and progressive injuries – and some have even died. So, I would suggest to do both – to follow the Health Message as carefully as possible and to take the mRNA vaccines. This will provide the greatest level of protection possible to our Adventist brothers and sisters. It’s certainly what Mrs. White advocated in her own day when smallpox was killing many people. She certainly wasn’t opposed to the smallpox vaccine and supported her own son William White getting vaccinated, along with his staff and associates (Link). And, her own secretary (D. E. Robinson) wrote that Mrs. White was also vaccinated for smallpox (Link).

Scott Ritsema, Dr. Lela Lewis, Pastor Wyatt Allen an Dr. Peter McCullough on COVID-19 Vaccines
That’s just it. Scott didn’t claim to “be providing a neutral platform”. He just complained about others not doing so, and then didn’t do so himself. He said that,

“I believe that everybody needs to hear both sides. My background in academics was in history, I was a history teacher. I got into ministry later in life… but I come from that academic background of dialogue and inquiry. And, as a history teacher, whenever I notice that maybe one side was getting a little more play and imbalance, and the other side had some valid and interesting things to bring to the table, whether I agreed with them or not, I would always want to give air to that other side – to let people think and evaluate for themselves and grant people that they are capable, that they are individuals with a mind, and can evaluate the evidence for themselves.”

Yet, immediately after saying all this about being all even-handed with presenting a topic, he immediately says that in this particular video, he’s “Looking forward to hearing another side of this discussion” – without actually evenhandedly presenting and/or discussing both sides for his audience to “evaluate the evidence for themselves”.

Again, I don’t mind if someone wants to present one particular side of a discussion. However, when someone states, upfront, that they are an “academic” who is all into presenting data on both sides of an issue so that people can make up their own minds, it comes across as a bit non-academic when only one side is then presented without any time given for anyone on the other side to address and give their own take on the claims being made.

COVID-19 and Vaccines – Update
As I’ve asked others, why do you think that the overall “all-cause” death rate in the United States, and around the world, suddenly spiked in March of 2020 if this pandemic we’re in is really no big deal? – if the death rates have been so exaggerated as you claim? If not for the COVID-19 pandemic, what else has killed off more than 600,000 people so far in this country alone (3.9 million worldwide)? – beyond what would usually be expected? (Link)

I’m sorry, but Dr. McCullough is basing his position off of a false interpretation of the VAERS data (maintained by the FDA and CDC by the way) and false interpretations of a few other papers as well, which he evidently doesn’t understand.