Comment on The End of “Junk DNA”? by Sean Pitman.
In answer to your nonsense question about a supposed direct correlation between knowledge and faith I would simply ask you to read Hebrews 11. Do you really think this supports the notion that faith increases as certainty increases?
Yet again, you didn’t actually answer my “nonsense” question:
Did Jesus’ disciples have more or less faith after the Resurrection?
Did Paul himself have more or less faith after his vision on the road to Damascus where he personally saw and heard Jesus? Do you think Paul (Saul) would have changed his mind if Jesus had not given him this extra bit of evidence?
Paul demonstrated to all who heard him that his change of faith was not from impulse nor fanaticism, but was brought about by overwhelming evidence. – Ellen White, LP, p 33
In this light, do you really think Hebrews 11 (which some suggest was probably written by Paul) is about a type of faith that has no basis in evidence or any form of rational thought? Why did Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, etc., believe in what was not yet seen? Because of blind faith? Really? No. Not at all. They believed in what was not yet in hand because of the Word of a God whom they did know and had proved through many past experiences – experiences or evidences which established a very rational faith in His Word regarding the future.
When the Bible says, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”, this is an expression of the results of faith – not the reason for faith.
It’s like when I told my little three year old boy that I was going to get him a bicycle for his birthday. He really believed me and got all excited before he actually had the bike in hand. Why did he believe me? Because, he had past experience with me and had evidence that I actually do what I tell him I will do.
The same is true for the patriarchs in the Bible. They all had very good evidence that God exists and that He will do what He says He will do. If they did not have this evidence, they would be no more rational or praiseworthy that those who go about believing anything that any Joe-blow tells them or who are prone to wishful fanciful thinking.
In short, nowhere in the Bible is there a promotion of blind faith or wishful thinking or any kind of faith that has no basis in evidence. All the accounts of faith listed in the Bible are based on solid evidence, the weight of evidence, that God has provided. That is why I believe that Jesus will really come back to this Earth again to take His children home to live with Him for eternity – because I recognize the evidence of His reliability throughout the Bible in those elements that can be tried and tested.
As the Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias points out, “What your mind rejects, your life will eventually reject also, however close it may be to your heart.”
Nowhere does it say here that faith was because they had great intellectual gifts that could calculate the probability of truth much much better than any of their peer. That they had knowledge above all scientists and could with impunity disregard anything they might say. That they could consider any theologian or student of the biblical text or any historian as dross because they themselves had looked assidiously into all these things and knew it was true by the weight of evidence. No it simply says
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Again, why should one believe that God exists, much less rewards the righteous, without any solid evidence upon which to base such a fantastic belief? while rejecting any other admittedly irrational beliefs? – like the existence of Santa Claus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Outside of wishful thinking, why have faith in one particular story of God’s existence and His desire to reward you? – just because you especially like that story? That’s it?
In terms of science I was going to ask you to look at the recent data on DUF1220 but I tire of the tedious repetition here. To give you a hint, the DUF1220 are the human specific repetive elements in a couple of genes that define some of the unique characteristics of the human brain. I can not at all see that there is any 1000fsaars limit in any of these genes or any of the other genes associated with mans unique brain structure unless you invoke some very creative accounting. I will leave that with you to show us the data and the interpretation. Unlike the ENCODE study or the Eugene I. Shakhnovich mutation data, I fear the DUF1220 data will not be making the rounds of the literal creationist sites so you will not be able to scrape the information that way. Incidently I was interested to see he damns with faint praise such site from min 35 in the video you linked http://cssb.biology.gatech.edu/node/2961.
It isn’t any one gene or genetic sequence, but the minimum system requirements needed for a particular system to produce a particular function that forms basis for measuring levels of functional complexity.
God never asks us to believe anything without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word, are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith. – Ellen White, SC, p. 105
The word of God, like the character of its Author, presents mysteries that can never be fully comprehended by finite beings. But God has given in the Scriptures sufficient evidence of their divine authority. His own existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word, are established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. True, He has not removed the possibility of doubt; faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration; those who wish to doubt have opportunity; but those who desire to know the truth find ample ground for faith. – Ellen White, ED, p. 169
“God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding, will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith.” Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church 4:232, 233 Testimonies for the Church 5:675, 676. MOL 497.2
Sean Pitman Also Commented
It does seem like this feature would probably have an effect on the odds, but I’m not sure what additional significance this would bring to the table since the odds of evolving anything qualitatively novel that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues would require trillions upon trillions of years of time.
You tout reason as trumping faith but do not appear to see that the enlightenment enterprise took precisely the position you think desirable.
I didn’t say that reason trumps faith. What I said was that faith does not trump reason. There’s a difference. What I’ve also said many times in this forum is that a useful or rational faith must go hand in hand with reason. One cannot exist in any kind of meaningful or useful way without the other. Even science itself is dependent upon making leaps of faith into that which is not absolutely known or knowable. Faith and reason are equals in my mind, both created by God. I believe that God gave us our reasoning minds for a reason and He does not expect us to then forgo its use (to paraphrase Galileo).
The logical and consistent end of that road is nihlism. That people like Richard Dawkins and the new atheists unlike the old atheists arrived at a faith position of meaningfulness in humanism rather than meaningless nihlism I think reflects the essential desire in all man for meaning and some higher meaning or faith.
There is no doubt that all mankind desires meaning. However, a desire for meaning is just wishful thinking if desire isn’t backed up by evidence. The same is true for faith. Faith, without the backing of evidence-based reasoning is nothing but wishful thinking.
Also, if God is the God of reason as well as faith, the honest and sincere use of the Divine gift of reason will lead one toward the God of reason; not nihilism.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13 NIV
Motivation is vital, but given the sincere motivation of the heart, the Divine miracle is that God steps in and interacts with Human reasoning capabilities to guide the mind, based on evidences He has provided, toward Himself. God never asks for acts of faith without first providing evidence as a rational basis for the act or leap of faith. We are even asked to test various claims, to “test the spirits” to see what is and what isn’t from God. (1 John 4:1 NIV) Throughout the Bible God is constantly providing evidence as a basis for His claims and a reason to follow, serve, and worship Him. Nowhere is God portrayed as expecting blind faith in any naked claim coming from His mouth. The claims are always backed up by some form of evidence or prior experience with God and evidence of who He claims to be.
God understands the importance of evidence and the natural human desire for evidence. After all, He’s the one who made us this way.
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.” – Galileo Galilei
What is clearly not acceptable is that there is generation of any new “information” as that would clearly play into the hands of the evolutionists. As we discussed in detail concerning the vast predominance of allelic variation in canids and man that must have arisen de novo from the breeding pair or breeding 5 do you or do you not think that new allelic variation contains new “information”?
The vast majority of allelic mutational changes do and did not produce qualitatively new information – only changes to the degree of expression of pre-existing systems (i.e., more or less of the same thing). More or less of the same thing isn’t what I would call “new” information.
However, there are relatively rare examples of truly new information that is qualitatively unique entering the gene pool. The problem, of course, is that all such examples are at very very low levels of functional complexity (i.e., requiring less than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues).
So, its relatively easy to evolve a novel beneficial system that is based on a specified 3-character sequence. It’s exponentially harder to evolve a truly novel system that is based on a minimum of 20 specified characters. And, it is effectively impossible to evolve a qualitatively novel system that requires at least 1000 specifically arranged characters (regardless of the type of information system you’re dealing with).
If you say yes then you are certainly outside the current YEC convention. If you say no then you are suggesting that species with very different phenotypes can evolve without any new information. A position that most biologist would find surprising.
I have been invited to speak in numerous venues, to include those largely populated by YECs and YLCs – as you can imagine. Yet, after I present evidence for low-level evolution the vast majority of creationists I’ve spoken to respond very favorably – even enthusiastically. After all, it simply makes good sense that the random discovery of novel beneficial sequences within sequence spaces would be exponentially easier to achieve when you’re dealing with 3-character sequences vs. 20 character sequences. It just makes sense to most people – including well-educated creationists.
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…
Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.
The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.
God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.
The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.
For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”
That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.
Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.
God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28
Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.
Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.
This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…
Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.
Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.
Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…