@pauluc: Lots of non-Adventist individuals and organizations are committed to …

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

@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

Sean Pitman Also Commented

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


The End of “Junk DNA”?
@pauluc:

The very existence of the God of the Bible and the notion that the Bible, among all competing options, is the very Word of God, is undermined when you effectively falsify the claims of the Bible.

Your argument for a fideistic form of faith is by definition irrational in that it seeks no empirical explanation for choosing to believe one particular concept among many competing options. In contrast, a child’s faith in his family vs. the concept of Santa Claus is not fideistic. Yet, you write:

The point was that even a child negotiates the negation of the myth of santa claus without loss of faith in family and christmas but you cannot negotiate the loss of belief in the myth of divine fiat without proposing completely rejecting Christianity. It says to me that you think Christianity outside you arguments has no intrinsic value.

A child determines what is and is not myth based on the weight of evidence that he can understand. As the weight of evidence builds beyond a certain level, the child starts to question the actual existence of Santa Claus. Yet, he doesn’t question the existence of his own family because of the weight of empirical evidence in favor of their existence. He can see and touch them after all on a daily basis. He also maintains his faith in his family’s love for him based on the continued weight of empirical evidence in favor of this love hypothesis in his own mind. It’s all based on a form of scientific investigation (even if done on a subconscious level).

However, such hypotheses can be rationally challenged, as with any scientific hypothesis, if the weight of empirical evidence shifts so that this love hypothesis is no longer supported – as I previously described.

You see, a rational faith or belief is always based on the weight of evidence that the individual can personally understand. A fideistic faith is not any more rational than wishful thinking or one’s own imagination or invention of an image of God – a form of idol making.

What you’ve done is invented your own God and your own Jesus independent of the claims or credibility of the Bible or any other external authority outside of your own mind. Your inventions are simply not based on the claims of the Bible nor do they reflect the God or the Jesus of the Bible – because you reject what they say about themselves and about historical realities within the pages of the Bible. You pick and choose what elements you will use to build your own image of “christianity”… which is quite different from the Biblical claims.

That is why I would reject the Biblical version of Christianity as remotely credible if I were to accept the claims of mainstream science regarding origins. Such claims, if accepted, directly undermine and effectively falsify the basis of Biblical credibility regarding the nature of God and of Jesus Himself. What you are left with, at this point, is something of your own creation. Something that I create in my own mind is not reliable or credible as a something in which I can put my faith and hope for a very real and very bright future. Obviously, the significant majority of scientists agree as most are atheists or agnostics or reject the Bible’s view of God as based on nothing more significant than moral fables and myths.

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?

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Scott Ritsema, Dr. Lela Lewis, Pastor Wyatt Allen an Dr. Peter McCullough on COVID-19 Vaccines
First off, it’s Dr. Marcum, not “Marcus”. Secondly, the “natural immunity” he speaks of was the result of getting infected by the COVID-19 virus. Sure, the antibodies against COVID-19 that his immune system produced after his infection are helpful in preventing future infections with the alpha variant, but, unfortunately, not so much when it comes to the delta variant (Link). The fact of the matter is that the best and safest way to educate the human immune system to effectively resist the delta variant is via the mRNA vaccines. Why on Earth people believe that getting infected by the COVID-19 virus is somehow safer than exposing one’s immune system to a tiny inactive part of the virus is beyond me. Upon what rational basis do you believe this? Where is your scientific evidence or medical mechanism for this notion of yours?

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m at all opposed to the Adventist Health Message. Since the very beginning of this pandemic I’ve promoted good health, diet, exercise, vitamin D, etc as a great place to start to improve one’s immune system (Link). Unfortunately, however, for many this just isn’t enough. I have very good SDA friends who live very strictly according to the Adventist Health Message, yet they still got very sick and many died. Even some young SDA friends of mine in their 30s and 40s who didn’t die almost did die and some have permanent injuries from their COVID-19 infections.

The problem is that the COVID-19 virus attacks the lining of blood vessels throughout the body, even for many very good and very healthy SDAs. This results in long-term injuries and organ damage – to include damage to the lungs, heart, and even the brain. It can even permanently reduce your IQ (Link).

Regarding Revelation 18:23, in particular, the term “pharmakeia” is best translated as “sorcery” here. There is no intended advice at all against modern medicine in this passage. What, are you suggesting that medications like antibiotics to treat bacterial infections or insulin to treat diabetes are evil “sorceries”? Again, such arguments only make the Christians who say such things look sensational and irrational – which puts the Gospel Message itself into a bad light for those who are considering following Christ. (Link)

This isn’t to say that vaccines are without risks. As with pretty much everything in life, the mRNA vaccines have various known risks, including a very very small risk of death. Of course, these risks are all very minimal compared to the very same risks for getting infected by COVID-19 – which are much much MUCH greater with the COVID-19 infection than with the vaccines. The odds of dying due to an mRNA vaccine are less than the odds of getting hit by lightning! The same cannot be said for the odds of dying and/or getting permanent serious injuries from a COVID-19 infection. The odds of death from COVID-19 double for every seven years one is older than the age of 20. By the time you’re over the age of 75, your odds of death are 32 times greater than someone in their 20s. I have spoken to the various relative risks of the vaccines in this forum many times. It’s not like I’m trying to hide anything. I want all the cards to be on the table. Why would I want to hide anything? The unvarnished truth is, again, that even though there are real risks to vaccines, these risks are minimal compared to the much MUCH greater risks of getting infected with the actual COVID-19 virus – when it comes to every single type of risk one can imagine (Link, Link). You mention “heart inflammation” in young men, for an example. And, that’s indeed a real risk of the vaccines. However, this risk is minimal at around 1 in 200,000 – with no deaths or evidence of long-term injury resulting from this particular type of risk (Link). Compare this with the risk of myocarditis from getting infected by the actual COVID-19 virus at around 30%. That’s right, around a third of otherwise healthy young people who get infected by COVID-19 will get heart inflammation (Link). Again, the risk of COVID-19 infection far FAR outweighs the very same risk for the vaccine. This is true for every other valid risk that you or anyone else can list.

Why then would you choose to expose yourself and those close to you with the much riskier option that is available to you?

Regarding censorship, I’m not a fan of government censorship of free speech. While I do agree that misinformation on this topic is, in fact, killing people, I also believe that free speech is fundamental to this country and to the very fabric of our society. That doesn’t mean that I have to provide a platform, however, for speech that I consider to be dangerous. The same is true for others who provide platforms for various forms of conversation. They are also free to promote whatever they want on the platforms that they own.

In any case, I have yet to see a medical or scientific argument coming from you that I can actually understand as offering some reasonable support for your claims or that effectively undermines anything that I’ve said in favor of the mRNA vaccines. Really then, what do you have as a solid empirical basis for your position? – beyond your personal feelings? – or your appeals to various authority figures who are making claims that you personally haven’t investigated as to their actual scientific basis? Do you have any scientific background or medical training or understanding at all? Where is your weight of empirical evidence that might help a pathologist like me actually understand the validity of your position?


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.