@pauluc: Did the disciples have more or less faith …

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

@pauluc:

Did the disciples have more or less faith after the resurrection? This is a semantic argument.

It’s not a semantic argument at this point. It’s just a simple question:

Did the Resurrection have any affect on the disciple’s faith? – yes or no?

However, I do understand why you really don’t want to directly answer this question – despite the fact that the answer is obvious to the vast majority of people.

Do you make a distinction between belief and faith?

Yes, but that doesn’t answer my question…

As far as faith vs. belief, it is impossible to have faith without belief. However, it is possible to have belief without faith. As you point out, “the devils also believe and tremble” (James 2:19). The difference, of course is that the devils do not love the truth. They do not love God or what they know is true. Therefore, faith is superior to belief only in that faith also requires that one love that which is known to be true.

If you concatenate faith and belief then you will come to different conclusions that I do when I make a distinction between them. Obviously after a demonstration [evidence] they have stronger belief but was there less requirement for faith? If by faith you mean the Hebrews 11 faith that acts when there is uncertainty or lack of evidence then they clearly needed less faith when the evidence was clear.

Again, you misunderstand Hebrews 11 as describing the basis of faith when it is in fact describing the results of faith. That is why you define faith as being opposed to evidence. You argue that an increase in evidence results in a decrease in faith. That is not a Biblical concept. The Bible describes them as going hand-in-hand. Faith always increases as evidence increases (as long as there is a love of truth).

Upon what basis does the faith of my own son increase in me and my love for him? Does this increase in faith not have a basis in increasing evidence in his mind?

Think about it. If the disciples of Jesus had maintained their faith in Him as the Son of God at his death, they would not have been fearful. If their faith remained, they would not have hidden in the upper room, trembling for their very lives. They would not have run away when Jesus was captured in the garden.

It was only after the Resurrection that the disciples became strong in their faith in Jesus as the true Son of God. Before this time, their faith was shakable. After this time their faith was unshakable – even in the face of a painful martyr’s death.

Over and over again the Bible ties faith in with evidence. Consider the following examples of this:

The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. – John 11:44-45

Many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, “When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?” – John 7:31

[Regarding the miracle of turning water into wine] This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. – John 2:11

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. – John 2:23

He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” – John 3:2

And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. – Exodus 14:31

And the list goes on and on. Perhaps John is foremost in the New Testament pointing out evidences for Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God – evidences which John calls “signs”. John refers to these signs as a reason why people did and should put their faith in Jesus and believe His claims. Without the demonstration of these “signs” there really would have been no rational reason to have faith in Jesus as the Son of God vs. the claims of any other rabbi of the day.

Your premise that evidence and faith are positively correlated only makes sense if you think faith is belief. If as I suggest faith is what carries you beyond evidence then there is a negative correlation between evidence/belief and faith.

Not true. Belief also carries one beyond evidence. Any scientist who believes a particular hypothesis or theory to be “most likely true” is going beyond what the evidence itself can definitively support. So, belief also requires a “leap of faith” beyond that which can be definitively known. Therefore, in this regard, faith has no advantage over belief.

Concerning wiki I was simply suggesting that this is the consensus view of faith. If you disagree then get on there and change it if you have the evidence.

There’s no point in trying to change a consensus view on Wiki. It will just get deleted. The problem with using Wiki for your reference is that the consensus or popular view isn’t always right.

“I’m probably confused yet again here, but didn’t you just admit, in this very thread, that you subscribe to a form of fideism?”

Not exactly. I said that I would be happy to be included among those philosophers to whom the designation was applied as I do appreciate their emphasis on God as a revelation not something we can appreciate or apprehend by rational thought alone. To me faith is action in the absence of data and is not the same as belief.

Isn’t that the very definition of fideism? – i.e., a type of faith that is independent of evidence?

To go back a few steps in the logic. As I have expressed it on many occasions here I am committed to rationalism and naturalistic premise of science as a way of understanding the natural world for I believe it is consistent and true. Like you I practice medicine in exactly the same evidence base way that does not rely on miracles. It is clear that the anthropic principle argues for at least some conception of a purpose or some diety. I do not at all think that rationalism can take us beyond that point. I do not ascribe to some God of the gaps that can give us certainty in understanding the natural world or fill in our ignorance but consider there are and always will be gaps where we can only honestly say we do not know but there is no reason to abandon the premise of methodological naturalism.

So, you’re a deist. That is your view of God? – nothing more? You do not have a belief or faith in a God that is detectable as personally interacting with anything in this universe in a manner that is evident as deliberate and intelligent?

As a scientist I appreciate that there is expertise in all areas of knowledge and investigation. I take scholarship as a serious enterprise undertaken by honest men in good faith. They are wrong on occasions but that is the nature of scholarship; to root out error and correct it with better understandings. I do not at all imagine that the textual criticism and higher criticism of the scripture has no real basis or that any holy text cannot be subject to analysis by rational process. I understand that any position has a history. I know there were very many sacred writings that did not become canonical and that God likely inspired the writers of these texts in as far as they often have parallels in the canonical text. I do not pretend that there is overwhelming or predominance of evidence in an objective sense that would support the Christian canon as being an absolutely accurate account of actual events notwithstanding popularist contributions such as Lee Strobel’s. In this objective sense do I even know if the account of the resurrection was true? We can rationalize and propose probabilities but we do not truly know except by a leap of faith.

Again, you are defining knowledge in absolute terms. That’s not the correct definition of knowledge. Very little that we think we know about the world in which we find ourselves do we know with absolute certainty. That is why science is not based on absolute knowledge, but upon the weight of evidence. The same can be said for faith. It is possible to base one’s faith upon the weight of evidence. This is the type of faith promoted by the Bible. While you may not have seen the Resurrection, those that did see it were able to use it as the basis for their strong faith in the face of otherwise overwhelming obstacles. Today, we have other evidences that are, collectively, just as remarkable and therefore have, if appropriately recognized, the power to sustain a very strong faith in the face of otherwise overwhelming obstacles.

And that is where I stand as a Christian. There is uncertainty that only increases with the investigation but I accept that God is revealing himself in Jesus and accept that premise by faith. A faith born of the spirit.

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

You ask “How is your faith in the existence of Jesus and His supposed care for you any different than someone else’s faith in any other imaginary entity that happens to have the support of a community of believers? ”

It is not but I have a witness. I have seen the Grace of God and his call to discipleship and accept his commission to tell the good news of his Grace and his Kingdom. A call to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” That is faith. To create an edifice based on your own assumptions and intellect and think it unassailable and completely logical is to assume omniscience is frankly delusional.

You don’t think the call to “taste and see” is a call to empirically test the claims of God? – to establish a personal form of evidence upon which to base one’s faith? A “taste test” is a scientific type of test – or at least it can be.

Also, you continue to bring up this notion of absolute knowledge. You argue that I consider my position unassailable. Yet, you also claim, at the same time, that my faith is fragile because of the fact that my faith position is open to the potential for falsification. How can you have it both ways? How can my position be unassailable and assailable at the same time? The reality is that it is your position, not mine, that is unassailable because you do not allow for even the potential of falsification. You do not allow your faith positions to be subjected to any kind of test. You can’t be wrong – by definition!

You also seem to suggest that there is no useful or reliable knowledge short of absolute knowledge. You don’t seem to recognize the value of the weight of evidence. Again, do you not know that this notion of yours (where you appear to negate the value of partial or limited knowledge) is inherently opposed to all forms of scientific and rational thinking in general?

I also think it quite interesting that one who admittedly believes in what you describe as an “irrational position” thinks himself clear to call the faith or beliefs of anyone else “delusional”. How do you know that your irrational faith position is at all superior to that of anyone else? – if you have no generally accessible evidence upon which to make such a determination?

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com

Sean Pitman Also Commented

The End of “Junk DNA”?
@pauluc:

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
www.DetectingDesign.com


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
www.DetectingDesign.com


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
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Natural Immunity vs. Vaccines vs. the Delta Variant

I’m glad you reached the conclusion that the immune system God designed into our bodies gives better protection against infection than vaccines do.

God didn’t “design” COVID-19 derived immunity any more than vaccine-derived immunity. What God designed was an immune system that could learn from past infections (or exposure to foreign antigens) in order to prevent future infections by the same type of invader more effectively.

You see, I’m not sure that we have the same definition of “natural immunity” in the context of COVID-19 here. The human body was designed with two different types of immune systems known as the “innate” and “adaptive” immune systems. Consider, now, that I’m not talking about generalized immunity that isn’t specific or targeted against COVID-19 in particular. In other words, I’m not talking about the “innate” immune system. What I am talking about is the “adaptive” immune system – a type of immunity that can be gained by surviving a “natural infection” to COVID-19 – which then produces “natural immunity” or “naturally-derived immunity” within the adaptive immune system that is specifically targeted against future COVID-19 infections. And, as already mentioned, while this “natural” method of gaining targeted adaptive immunity can be superior to the immunity gained by vaccines, for some people, it is far riskier and is not nearly as consistent as vaccine-derived adaptive immunity.

But, you counter with the argument that vaccines are also not consistent since there are “breakthrough infections”. However, the consistency I’m talking about is in regard to the reduction of and deaths – not just breakthrough nasopharyngeal infections (which aren’t the real problem). As noted in my McCullough article (Link), a fairly new study showed that the “percentage of variant cross-binding memory B cells was higher in vaccinees than individuals who recovered from mild COVID-19.” (Goel, et al., August 23, 2021). In this regard, it seems as though those who were vaccinated have an advantage in that the resulting immunity is more consistent and predictable as compared to natural immunity. These higher levels of memory B-cells within vaccinated people may also be the reason for the long-term protection against hospitalizations and deaths – despite the waining levels of antibody levels against the virus over time. Memory T- and B-cells produced in response to the vaccine can be “awakened” when an infection hits the body, a pre-formed arm that is ready to fight off the repeat offender. This is all right in line with a recent Lancet study:

Researchers in the United Kingdom analyzed data from a project called the ZOE Covid Study, where users report symptoms, vaccination status and other demographic information daily via an app. The researchers looked at data collected on more than 1 million people from December 2020 through July 2021, a period that spanned both the alpha and delta variant waves in the U.K. Participants received two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine. Overall, less than 0.2 percent of the participants reported a breakthrough infection, with such cases more likely in people already considered to be vulnerable, including older adults or people with underlying illnesses. When breakthrough infections did occur, most were mild — just 6 percent of people with breakthrough infections reported symptoms. What’s more, vaccination was shown to cut the risk of hospitalization by more than two-thirds. The study also found that the chances of developing long Covid were cut in half in fully-vaccinated people. Long Covid refers to when people experience symptoms of the illness, such as brain fog, exhaustion and a racing heart, for at least a month after infection, and sometimes much longer. (Link)

Those are AMAZING results – for the vaccinated.

For the unvaccinated, on the other hand, there is also the problem that up to a third of people who were previously infected by COVID-19 don’t develop antibodies against it (Liu et al., September 2021). Ultimately, 36% of those who were infected by COVID-19 remained seronegative, meaning that they never developed detectable levels of such antibodies in their blood, even when multiple blood samples were checked for each person. The study also revealed that people who had lower SARS-CoV-2 viral loads in their respiratory tract were less like to subsequently have antibodies in their blood. This means, of course, that the adaptive immune system was never educated enough to effectively combat future infections by COVID-19.

So, you see, the vaccine may not reach as high a level of immunity as is gained by some who survived a prior infection by COVID-19. However, the level of immunity gained, when it comes to reducing hospitalizations and death, is more consistent for the vaccinated. This is the reason why there are so many stories of those who thought that they were safe, because of some previous mild COVID-19 infection, but then got infected again with COVID-19 and got very sick, particularly with the Delta Variant, with many dying as a result.

As far as your “alternative views” being more hopeful and less scary, that would be the case if they were actually true. The problem is that the conspiracy theorists that you consistently follow paint the vaccines as much more risky and scary than they truly are and the COVID-19 pandemic as much less serious and much less scary than it really is. They also create far more confidence in alternative drugs and therapies, like ivermectin for instance, than is actually supported by the weight of scientific evidence. That’s the problem. They create fear where there shouldn’t be fear and they create confidence where there shouldn’t be so much confidence. They get things exactly backward.

This is not to say that I think things were handled by the government very well at all. I don’t think it was necessary to shut down the government, for one thing. However, this is all 20/20 hindsight of course.

As far as the “miraculous recoveries” you mention, these are far too few. There are far far too many hospitalizations, serious long-term injuries, and deaths to be very comforted by miraculous recoveries. Clearly, these miraculous recoveries aren’t remotely common enough nor are they associated with drugs like ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine which have, so far, not shown a consistently detectable benefit in the best and largest RCTs.

Sure, ivermectin has relatively few side effects (unless you overdose) and a low mortality rate. However, it’s not as though the mortality risk is zero. “Between the years 2003 and 2017, the total average population treated [with Ivermectin] was around 15,552,588 among which 945 cases of SAE [severe adverse effects] were registered in DR Congo, i.e. 6 cases of SAE for 100,000 persons treated per year. 55 deaths related to post-CDTI SAE were recorded, which represents 5.8% of all cases of SAE.” (Link). Still, the point here is that even if the risks for ivermectin were actually zero, there’s still no good evidence that it provides much of a useful benefit – certainly nothing close to the benefits provided by the vaccines against COVID-19.

Yet, you write:

If an alternative drug is safer than aspirin and there are thousands of claimed recoveries resulting from the drug, isn’t it worth a trial, no matter what the “studies” say, considering the alternative is often death after being on a ventilator?

It might be worth a try if that was your only option. However, it isn’t your only option. Now that we have vaccines that provide a very clear and very substantial benefit, it is far far more reasonable to take the vaccines than to trust that ivermectin will save you – when the best scientific studies have yet to detect much of a benefit, even with early treatment, at reducing severe COVID-19 infections or death.

But it’s okay. We each can choose a path that is consistent with the best evidence as we understand it. For that matter, it seems to me that vaccination is the best course for many but not for others. Most don’t bother to understand just what these COVID vaccines do, much less do a benefit-risk analysis. But some of us do, and some of us find that avoiding the COVID vaccine, boosting our immune system and preparing for a possible infection is the best path for us.

You’re certainly free to choose. However, your choice could impact others – in a negative way. If the vaccines really do significantly reduce the odds of transmitting the virus to others (as several studies have shown), the choice of a person not to get vaccinated increases the odds of viral transmission to others who might not do as well against a COVID-19 infection. We aren’t islands here. Our choices have the potential to affect other people.

But, you think you can “boost your immune system” some other way. I wish this were true, but there just isn’t any other way that is as effective as the vaccines at the moment. The problem is that as humans age, our immune systems deteriorate at an almost exponential rate. Diet and healthful living do help, to be sure, but this does not negate the need to take advantage of the additional substantial advantages offered by vaccines – and this becomes more and more true the older and older we get. Add as many layers of protection as you can. Do it all. Be as healthy as you can be – AND take the vaccine.

Consider also that even a very healthy young person, who personally might have a very low risk of serious sickness or death, can still get infected and transmit the virus to others who might not do so well with an infection.

I suspect everyone will be exposed to this corona virus sooner or later, just as we have been to other corona viruses.

Indeed. However, the faster we can achieve herd immunity, as a community, the more those who are most vulnerable among us will be protected. And, the fastest and safest way to do this is via vaccines.

What concerns me most is the lack of respect among Christians for those with opposing views. While I don’t see vaccination as a salvation matter, an attitude of forcing others into agreement with our views is not an attitude born of the Spirit of God but of the enemy. I believe we can agree on that.

Love and respect never go out of style. However, there are times when the most loving thing to do is to protect those who are most vulnerable from those who are unwilling to act in a way that best protects the most vulnerable – particularly, say, in a hospital or nursing home setting. This isn’t to say that I’m a fan of government mandates for the general population. I’m not. I think that such mandates are largely counterproductive. Given that the vaccines are generally available for those who want them now, it seems best to me to limit mandates to those who work in settings where people are sick or old or otherwise vulnerable.


Natural Immunity vs. Vaccines vs. the Delta Variant
You’re commenting on an older post regarding natural immunity. Since then, additional evidence has indeed come to light showing that natural immunity goes well beyond antibody production and is therefore generally superior to vaccine-based immunity. Of course, vaccine-based immunity does have a couple of advantages over natural immunity. The most obvious advantage, of course, is that vaccine-based immunity is gained without having to take on the significant risks associated with getting infected by COVID-19. The additional advantage of vaccine-based immunity is that it seems to offer more consistent immunity compared to natural immunity (i.e., some who were infected don’t gain significant immunity following infection).

I discuss all of this in much more detail here: Link

As far as being more critical of evolutionists, look, I’ve reviewed a great many conspiracy claims. I usually get several sent to me every day. It’s not like I haven’t reviewed these claims you’re sending my way. It’s just that they almost always turn out to be completely false or misleading. It’s the same thing as with the evolutionary arguments I get – except it’s now on the other foot. What you believe regarding COVID-19 and vaccines simply doesn’t have the weight of empirical evidence to back it up. I know the claims of conspiracy theorists can be scary and worrisome. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re true. They just aren’t true. The minority opinion isn’t always true. In fact, the majority of experts are usually right – as in this case.


COVID Vaccine Myths, Questions, and Rumors with Drs. Rhonda Patrick and Roger Seheult
There are always rogue doctors around selling snake oil remedies and forwarding a host of conspiracy theories. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a strong consensus in the medical community regarding COVID-19 and the efficacy and relative safety of the vaccines. A handful of doctors spreading conspiracy theories shouldn’t overcome one’s ability to see that the significant weight of empirical scientific evidence strongly supports the consensus conclusion in this case. After all, over 98% of medical doctors in this country are now vaccinated – particularly those working in ICUs who see that the unvaccinated are by far more likely to end up in the ICU and die with COVID compared to the vaccinated – by a ratio of more than 10:1 for any given age category.


COVID Vaccine Myths, Questions, and Rumors with Drs. Rhonda Patrick and Roger Seheult
While I agree, part of the problem is that people, in general in this country, simply don’t want to live healthful lives despite actually knowing that what they are doing isn’t healthy or good for them. When I was doing primary care, this was a constant frustration. You could tell people all day long what they should be doing, and they would usually even agree, but they just wouldn’t actually do what they knew they should be doing…


COVID Vaccine Myths, Questions, and Rumors with Drs. Rhonda Patrick and Roger Seheult
Sure, it’s very unfortunate that this pandemic has been so politicized. However, just because we know the final outcome doesn’t mean that this is it. We shouldn’t bring on the “Time of Trouble” before it’s actually here. During this particular pandemic we, particularly as Christians, should strive to separate medical science from politics. Merging them will only cause more harm. Many people really are suffering and dying due to COVID-19 and the mRNA vaccines have proven themselves to be very effective at preventing serious sickness and death.