Comment on The End of “Junk DNA”? by Professor Kent.
Sean Pitman: Come on now. We are all subject to bias – even you.
Of course we are. And as we try to nurture young minds to think for themselves, we need to teach them to recognize bias as best they can. That’s why it’s inappropriate to spoon-feed college students a biased data set that confirms their prior church- and family-informed bias, and then tell them, “Look, see, the weight of evidence fits well with the SDA view on origins!”
To present a “scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation,” we need to be honest in pointing out the limits of evidence. We need to tell students that SDAs reached and maintain their conclusions NOT because of the physical evidence, but because of trust in God’s written word. Should the two testimonies ever diverge, orthodox SDAs will NEVER follow the physical evidence from fossils and DNA; they will follow the written word. Orthodox SDAs do not elevate mute fossils and DNA above God’s word. Never have. Never will.
As Pauluc has pointed out, your faith is very frail indeed. With your heterodox convictions, you have declared repeatedly that if you saw solid scientific evidence that contradicted what you interpret scripture says about origins, you would give up your beliefs altogether in Adventism and Christianity.
For orthodox SDAs who have a rock solid relationship with Jesus, it doesn’t matter what the fossils and the DNA have to say. We acknowledge that what they say may be marred by Satan’s efforts to deceive. We also humbly acknowledge that the evidence is very complex, and that the ability of our feeble minds to grasp it is limited.
Orthodox SDAs believe in God because we have taken time to get to know Jesus one-on-one, and this is what every SDA professor should prioritize ahead of telling students they can believe because of the supposed weight of cherry-picked evidence.
Professor Kent Also Commented
Sean Pitman: – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 637-638
This passage describes those who will be in heaven who were ignorant about Jesus and religion, not those we think of as “atheistic” who deliberately chose to reject God (and even more so those who rejected Jesus). I don’t think you’ll find scriptural or EGW support for your contention that such individuals will be in heaven.
Sean Pitman: Professor Kent: “Yet you are also insisting that no junk DNA–DNA that fails to do its job properly or any job at all–exists.”
Where did I say this?
You wrote, “There is precious little junk DNA left in the human genome.” Okay, so let’s change my wording from “no” to “precious little.”
Sean Pitman: Professor Kent: “You are insisting that all DNA, including the substantial mutations which you claim have accumulated and continue to accumulate in the genome, still serves important functions.”
Again, I’ve never made this claim…
Okay, you wrote, “A genome where the significant majority of sequences within the genome are functional has important implications for evolutionary theories.” The research itself certainly implies that we can expect most of human DNA to be involved with regulation and expression.
My point remains: you’re stretching credibility to suggest that both (1) the relative lack of junk DNA accumulation and (2) the increasing amount of junk DNA accumulation both support creation theory and refute evolutionism. Creation and evolutionary theory are equally accommodating to these interpretations.
This is my problem with your approach. As data accumulates, knowledge changes, interpretations change, views shift, and those who are dogmatic in their views look increasingly irrelevant. I realize you despise my position.
The End of “Junk DNA”?
I don’t think ad hoc interpretions to shore up a theory are particularly useful–for either side.
Let’s face it: no matter what the evidence is, you will always interpret it one way because your mind requires physical evidence to support your predetermined views (since faith is not rational enough for you) and you abhor uncertainty.
Recent Comments by Professor Kent
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Nic Samojluk: No wonder most creationist writers do not even try to submit their papers to such organizations.
Who wants to waste his/her time trying to enter through a door that is closed to him/her a priori?
You have no idea what you’re writing about, Nic. As it turns out, there are in fact many of us Adventists who “waste” our time publishing articles through doors that open to us a priori. Even Leonard Brand at Loma Linda, a widely recognized creationist, has published in the top geology journals. I mean the top journals in the discipline.
The myth that creationists cannot publish in mainstream science is perpetuated by people who simply do not understand the culture of science–and will remain clueless that they do not understand it even when confronted with their misunderstandings. Such is human nature.
Your questions about conservation genetics are very insightful. I don’t understand how all these life forms were able to greatly increase in genetic diversity while simultaneously winding down and losing genetic information to mutations. Sean seems to insist that both processes happen simultaneously. I had the impression he has insisted all along that the former cannot overcome the latter. But I think you must be right: God had to intervene to alter the course of nature. However, we can probably test this empirically because there must be a signature of evidence available in the DNA. I’ll bet Sean can find the evidence for this.
I’m also glad the predators (just 2 of most such species) in the ark had enough clean animals (14 of each such species) to eat during the deluge and in the months and years after they emerged from the ark that they didn’t wipe out the vast majority of animal species through predation. Maybe they all consumed manna while in the ark and during the first few months or years afterward. Perhaps Sean can find in the literature a gene for a single digestive enzyme that is common to all predatory animals, from the lowest invertebrate to the highest vertebrate. Now that would be amazing.
Wait a minute–I remember once being told that SDA biologists like Art Chadwick believe that some animals survived on floating vegetation outside the ark. Now that would solve some of these very real problems! I wonder whether readers here would allow for this possibility. Multiple arks without walls, roof, and human caretakers.
Ellen White said, “In the days of Noah, men…many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians [presumably referring to humans] perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history…”
Sean Pitman said, “All human fossils discovered so far are Tertiary or post-Flood fossils. There are no known antediluvian human fossils.”
Ellen White tells us that humans and dinosaurs (presumably referred to in the statement, “a class of very large animals which perished at the flood… mammoth animals”) lived together before the flood. Evolutionary biologists tell us that dinosaurs and humans never lived together. You’re telling us, Sean, that the fossil record supports the conclusion of evolutionists rather than that of Ellen White and the SDA Church. Many of the “very large animals which perished at the flood” are found only in fossil deposits prior to or attributed to the flood, whereas hunans occur in fossil deposits only after the flood (when their numbers were most scarce).
Should the SDA biologists, who are supposed to teach “creation science,” be fired if they teach what you have just conceded?
La Sierra Univeristy Fires Dr. Lee Greer; Signs anti-Creation Bond
For those aghast about the LSU situation and wondering what other SDA institutions have taken out bonds, hold on to your britches. You’ll be stunned when you learn (soon) how many of our other schools, and which ones in particular, have taken out these bonds. You will be amazed to learn just how many other administrators have deliberately secularized their institutions besides Randal Wisbey, presumably because they too hate the SDA Church (as David Read has put it so tactfully).
Be sure to protest equally loudly.
So clearly you believe that science can explain supernatural events. Congratulations on that.