I have no problem with ET’s position that SDA views …

Comment on PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood? by Professor Kent.

I have no problem with ET’s position that SDA views on these issues should be taught with respect, and evidence presented when it exists. I have become convinced that, in the recent past, there was a serious problem at La Sierra University. But as ET has further refined its position, it now demands three things: (1) that every employee of the Church believe in the traditional SDA viewpoints, not because of faith, but because of empirical evidence; (2) that every employee of the Church make clear, when discussing these issues, that the weight of evidence favors all interpretations held by the SDA Church; and (3) that every employee has an obligation to publicly support efforts to “expose” those individuals who fail to comply with the first two commands.

The penalties for violating these three demands are severe: you will be publicly exposed and held up to ridicule by your Church family. Consider Dr. Clausen of the Geoscience Research Institute and Dr. Beitz of Southern Adventist University. These two individuals actually BELIEVE and TEACH the traditional SDA viewpoint, but were roundly criticized for violating demands #1 and #2 (Dr. Clausen), and demand #3 (Dr. Bietz). It’s unfortunate these two names were needlessly drawn into the public arena, where they could be tried and judged in the court of popular opinion. Very few of you had the courage to defend these individuals, so there is every reason to believe most of you sympathize with these three demands, which I find deplorable and uncharitable.

And that is why I continue to challenge the “science” discussed at great length here. I believe the basis for claims #1 and #2 is completely and unequivocally distorted, which of course completely obliviates claim #3. I completely understand why my SDA biologist colleagues (whom I wish I knew more of) refuse to participate at this website, because they are presumed guilty until proven innocent. Very few of you are HONESTLY willing to consider the possibility that the case for science supporting your faith is grossly overstated, so of course they could never defend this position here. Someone needs to speak up on their behalf, and that is why I manage to irritate so many of you. It’s not because I’m defending evolution; it’s because I’m defending your faith and the right to cherish and share it.

Professor Kent Also Commented

PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
Faith wrote

Something in the way of disciplinary action should have taken place years ago before so many people lost their faith… I am praying that the new leadership will be able to do this.

I totally agree with Faith on this. But I want to add two pertinent things: 1) we have utterly failed our young people when their faith is based more on what we say and teach than on a personal, abiding relationship with Jesus; and 2) disciplinary action should ideally take place within the Church, and not on the same hill upon which Jesus was crucified for the entire world to see.

PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
Ut-oh, the secret is out. Some people actually question the Bible and the messages God gave to Ellen White. Shame on PUC for letting the students in on this! Shame, shame, shame. Those poor students.

PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
David, I appreciate and respect your reply. Very refreshing. I agree with you on these matters.

Recent Comments by Professor Kent

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: Science isn’t about “cold hard facts.” Science is about interpreting the “facts” as best as one can given limited background experiences and information. Such interpretations can be wrong and when shown to be wrong, the honest will in fact change to follow where the “weight of evidence” seems to be leading.

Much of science is based on highly technical data that few other than those who generate it can understand. For most questions, science yields data insufficient to support a single interpretation. And much of science leads to contradictory interpretations. Honest individuals will admit that they have a limited understanding of the science, and base their opinions on an extremely limited subset of information which they happen to find compelling whether or not the overall body of science backs it up.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: The process of detecting artefacts as true artefacts is a real science based on prior experience, experimentation, and testing with the potential of future falsification. Oh, and I do happen to own a bona fide polished granite cube.

Not from Mars. Finding the cube on Mars is the basis of your cubical caricature of science, not some artefact under your roof.

Sean Pitman:
Professor Kent: If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.

The question is not if one will catch a fish, but if one will recognize a fish as a fish if one ever did catch a fish. That’s the scientific question here. And, yet again, the clear answer to this question is – Yes.

I think I’m going to spend the afternoon with my favorite scientist–my 8-year-old nephew. We’re going to go fishing at Lake Elsinore. He wants to know if we might catch a shark there. Brilliant scientist, that lad. He already grasps the importance of potentially falsifiable empirical evidence. I’m doubtful we’ll catch a fish, but I think he’ll recognize a fish if we do catch one.

While fishing, we’ll be scanning the skies to catch a glimpse of archaeopteryx flying by. He believes they might exist, and why not? Like the SETI scientist, he’s doing science to find the elusive evidence.

He scratched himself with a fish hook the other day and asked whether he was going to bleed. A few moments later, some blood emerged from the scratched. Talk about potentilly falsifiable data derived from a brilliant experiment. I’m telling you, the kid’s a brilliant scientist.

What’s really cool about science is that he doesn’t have to publish his observations (or lack thereof) to be doing very meaningful science. He doesn’t even need formal training or a brilliant mind. Did I mention he’s the only autistic scientist I’ve ever met?

As most everyone here knows, I have a poor understanding of science. But I’m pretty sure this nephew of mine will never lecture me or Pauluc on what constitutes science. He’s the most humble, polite, and soft-spoken scientist I’ve ever met.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: I don’t think you understand the science or rational arguments behind the detection of an artefact as a true artefact. In fact, I don’t think you understand the basis of science in general.

I’m amused by this response. I don’t think you understand the limits of a philosophical argument based on a hypothetical situation, which is all that your convoluted cube story comprises, and nothing more. Whether the artefact is an artefact is immaterial to an argument that is philosophical and does not even consider an actual, bona fide artefact.

Sean Pitman: You argue that such conclusions aren’t “scientific”. If true, you’ve just removed forensic science, anthropology, history in general, and even SETI science from the realm of true fields of scientific study and investigation.

Forensic science, anthropology, and history in general all assume that humans exist and are responsible for the phenomenon examined. Authorities in these disciplines can devise hypotheses to explain the phenomenon they observe and can test them.

SETI assumes there might be non-human life elsewhere in the universe and is nothing more than an expensive fishing expedition. If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.

The search for a granite cube on Mars is nothing more than an exercise in hypotheticals. Call it science if you insist; I don’t see how it is different than a child waiting breathlessly all night beside the fireplace hoping to find Santa coming down the chimney.

I guess the number of science colleagues I acknowledge needs to grow exponentially. I apologize to those I have failed to recognize before as scientists.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: The observation alone, of the granite cube on an alien planet, informs us that the creator of the cube was intelligent on at least the human level of intelligence – that’s it. You are correct that this observation, alone, would not inform us as to the identity or anything else about the creator beyond the fact that the creator of this particular granite cube was intelligent and deliberate in the creation of the cube.

Your frank admission concedes that the creator of the cube could itself be an evolved being, and therefore you’re back to square one. Thus, your hypothetical argument offers no support for either evolutionism or creationism, and cannot distinguish between them.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
I have taken much abuse by pointing out the simple fact that SDAs have specific interpretations of origins that originate from scripture and cannot be supported by science (if science is “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence”). The beliefs include:

o fiat creation by voice command from a supernatural being
o all major life forms created in a 6-day period
o original creation of major life forms approximately 6,000 years ago

None of these can be falsified by experimental evidence, and therefore are accepted on faith.

Sean Pitman’s responses to this are predictably all over the place. They include:

[This] is a request for absolute demonstration. That’s not what science does.” [totally agreed; science can’t examine these beliefs]

The Biblical account of origins can in fact be supported by strong empirical evidence.” [not any of these three major interpretations of Genesis 1]

Does real science require leaps of faith? Absolutely!

I think it’s fair to say from Pitman’s perspective that faith derived from science is laudable, whereas faith derived from scripture–God’s word–is useless.

Don’t fret, Dr. Pitman. I won’t lure you into further pointless discussion. While I am greatly amused by all of this nonsense and deliberation (hardly angry, as you often suggest) for a small handful of largely disinterested readers, I am finished. I won’t be responding to any further remarks or questions.