@pauluc: Thanks for elaborating on your cryptic post. I …

Comment on WASC Reviews LSU’s Accreditation by David Read.

@pauluc: Thanks for elaborating on your cryptic post. I disagree that Educate Truth or anyone associated with it is painting with a broad brush, ala “kill them all and let God sort them out.” Shane and Sean have not made a blanket complaint about all the Adventist colleges, only the one that they have personal knowledge about: LaSierra. Likewise, they are not calling for all the professors to be fired (or any, for that matter), just for honesty and transparency about what is being taught. I wouldn’t like to fire everyone either, but I would like to find out which of the professors are Darwinists, and ask them to find, within a reasonable period of time, say two years, somewhere else to pursue their careers.

You argue that we are defenders of the status quo, but the real status quo is not creationism but Darwinism. A Darwinist can go almost anywhere without being molested. Darwinists control almost all major colleges and universities, museums, foundations, newspapers, media outlets, etc. But there is no “academic freedom” in these places. Anyone who openly advocates for creationism commits immediate career suicide. The fact that there is no tolerance of creationists in almost every worldly academic perch is a good reason why it is important for SDA colleges to be centers for creationist science. At least at our colleges, there should be freedom to pursue origins science within a biblical framework or paradigm. Creationist scientists need safe academic environments; Darwinists already have many thousands of such places.

You’ve falsely stated that I want to see LaSierra lose its secular accreditation. I do not. But at the same time, I recognize that LaSierra has no real reason to exist if it is merely duplicating the philosophy of education, and in particular, science, that controls hundreds of state universities. LaSierra was established by Adventists to provide education that is Adventist in philosophy and content, not to provide–at far greater expense–what is already being provided by the public university system. I disagree with your conception of a university as being of necessity a place where faith is undermined. If that were true, then there is no reason for Adventists to sponsor universities. But the source of all wisdom and truth is God, and true education does not undermine the Word of God or the Christian faith of the students.

You’ve argued that accredited colleges are necessary as feeders to Loma Linda, but why is Loma Linda necessary? Loma Linda made sense when the “medical work” was functioning as a missionary arm of the church (I’d say until about 40 years ago). Today, the Adventist hospitals are profit-driven businesses; they do not emphasize even in the slightest degree the lifestyle reforms advocated by Ellen White, but practice conventional, Western, acute care medicine. Eventually, they will be nationalized (shortly after the country figures out that we cannot be economically competitive with countries that spend 10% of GDP on health care while while we lavish 17% going on 20% of GDP on health care). All this is a roundabout way of saying that I reject your argument that we must tolerate Darwinist biology departments in order to have accredited colleges to feed Loma Linda. That argument carries no weight.

This discussion does highlight a very important distinction between believing Adventists versus cultural Adventists (who make up the vast majority of the Seventh-day Darwinians. To the believing Adventist, what is important is the faith, and the incredibly beautiful way that all the doctrines fit together and support each other. To the cultural Adventist, what is important is the institutions–the schools, colleges, hospitals, conferences and unions–that the faith has spawned, and the jobs and social networks that these institutions provide. To the believing Adventist, the institutions exist to further the mission of the church, which is to maintain, nurture, and spread the faith. To the cultural Adventist, the institutions are paramount, and must be protected even at the cost of severely compromising or even losing the faith. The cultural Adventist and the believing Adventist are never going to see eye to eye, because their value systems are radically different.

David Read Also Commented

WASC Reviews LSU’s Accreditation
Bill, you go too far when you say that the official church endorses Spectrum Magazine or its website. It doesn’t, and I imagine that Clifford Goldstein isn’t the only one at GC headquarters who is horrified by some of the things Spectrum publishes.

It is true that Spectrum and AToday are allowed to have booths in the exhibit area of General Conference sessions, but many independent, unaffiliated organizations and ministries are afforded the same courtesy. It goes too far beyond the evidence to say that allowing them booth space constitutes an “endorsement.”

I also do not appreciate your critique of Clifford Goldstein for supposed passivity. Cliff puts his faith into practice in editing the Sabbath School quarterly; why do you think that publication continues to stand firm for creationism and other Adventist doctrines? He also visits the Spectrum website and fights the good fight there. He has dynamically applied his faith, more than I and many others of us have.

WASC Reviews LSU’s Accreditation
@pauluc: pauluc, your sarcasm and unsubtle attempts to attribute to me what I did not say diminish the joy of dialoging with you.

I do not think there is anything inconsistent with plenary biblical belief in the teaching, studying or practicing of medicine. The incredible design of the human body testify that its designer possessed a genius far beyond mere human capacity. And the plethora of diseases and injuries that the body is subject to testify that an enemy has also been at work in the creation.

In general, Western science has largely been the product of Christian men, who were typically also creationists. They had faith that the universe would be intelligible and work according to logical, understandable laws and principles, because such qualities were associated with the Creator-God they knew from the Bible. Now science seeks to separate nature from nature’s Creator, but the very principles that ensured that the creation would be intelligible and work according to ascertainable laws also demand that it had a creator. There is no free lunch.

I think you vastly underestimate the extent to which mainstream origins science is warped by its rigid adherence to naturalism. The basic premise of abiogenesis, or life from non-life, was discarded some 150 years ago after conclusive experimentation and observation by Pasteur and several others; as the decades have passed, and we have learned more about the complexity and genius of life at the cellular level, the hypothesis of accidental self-organization has become even more absurd and anti-rational. It remains part of mainstream origins science only because of the warping effect of the rigid control of philosophical naturalism over origins science (yes, I know the difference between methodological and philosophical naturalism, and there is no difference when it comes to origins).

To the extent that “education” is a threat to the church, it is only because modern origins science insists on telling only one side of the story, and effectively indoctrinating Darwinism, which is the new orthodoxy from which no deviation is permitted. This merely highlights the need to make Adventist colleges become centers for creation science and Christian origins apologetics. Having an “Adventist” college where the professors indoctrinate Darwinism is simply corporate suicide on the part of the SDA Church. It is saying, “hurry up and kill me, already!”

WASC Reviews LSU’s Accreditation
@Faith: Faith, good luck getting pauluc to acknowledge that faith and science must not be separated. I’ve been trying to get Jeffrey Kent to acknowledge that, so far without success.

I don’t see how any real scientist could deny that science relies upon paradigms, models, theories, working hypotheses, etc., and that when it comes to origins, the theory is that God, if there is a God, had nothing to do with the origins of anything, and that a naturalistic explanation must be thought up for the origins of everything.

Jeff Kent has insisted that he is a conventionally believing Adventist, and pauluc now seems to be saying the same thing. Now if you really believe that God created the world and its ancestor life forms in six literal days a few thousand years ago, why would you base your science on the assumption that life evolved by chance over the course of 600 million years? If the Adventist origins scenario is truth, why would an Adventist scientist do science as if it were not truth?

Put another way, if a person is in Los Angeles, and really believes that the way to go to Santa Barbara is to take the 101 to the west, why would the person go east on the 10? We are entitled to conclude that either, a) the person doesn’t really believe that the 101 is the way to Santa Barbara, or b) the person is not really even trying to go to Santa Barbara. Likewise we are entitled to conclude of an Adventist scientist who does mainstream origins science that either, a) he doesn’t really believe in the Adventist origins scenario, or b) he is not really trying to do science to discover truth; he’s just going along with the herd of his peers, going along to get along, trying to not to make waves, just trying to make a living.

Recent Comments by David Read

La Sierra University gets 3-year AAA Accreditation
@Beatrice: Beatrice, I note that you have posted here a copy of your post at ADvindicate.com.

It’s interesting that you say that John Perumal replaced Lee Grismer as department chairman “a long time ago,” but the first news of that change was your own comment at ADvindicate a couple of days ago. There was no public announcement, and no news from any of the usual sources: the Review, ANN, Spectrum, ADvindicate, or Educate Truth. When I was researching my story, there was nothing on La Sierria’s official website to indicate that the chairmanship had changed; the website was not updated to reflect the change in chairmanship until after my article was posted at ADvindicate on October 17. Am I “lazy” if I don’t telephone La Sierra every couple of months and ask if Wisbey has had a change of heart and demoted the hardened Darwinist that he promoted to department chair two years ago?? I cannot help but wonder why this change in departmental leadership was a closely held secret until AFTER my article started making the rounds and being read by Adventist opinion leaders, but some mysteries will likely remain mysterious.

It’s hardly an excuse for wrecking the Adventist faith of those who take upper division biology courses at La Sierra that most students do not take upper division biology courses. But the information that has been provided by LSU students like Louie Bishop is that even a seminar science-faith course intended for a broad non-specialized student audience–specifically the one instituted in response to the 2009 controversy over the teaching of origins–was destructive of Adventist faith; LSU religion teachers, including John Webster who (at that time) was chairman of the religion department, told students that the Adventist hermeneutic was unhelpful, and that the Genesis narrative should not be taken literally as a description of the creation.

If AAA has witnessed a change of direction at La Sierra–and I very much doubt that–then it is up to them to say what they saw, and why they voted the way they did, in connection with their vote to extend Adventist accreditation for a further three years. There is a very public controversy about La Sierra’s blatant undermining of Adventist beliefs, and if AAA is, in the face of that controversy, going to certify that LSU is fulfilling its Adventist mission and upholding its Adventist identity, then AAA must publicly explain its vote, and justify it by outlining the changes that it observed.

You say that I “have not taken the approach Jesus advocated” and I assume that by that you are referring to Matthew 18. That passage does not apply. No one at La Sierra has wronged me personally; I have no personal stake whatsoever in the matter. The issue is that LSU is publicly undermining Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, and the response to that issue needs to be public. The relevant passage is 1 Tim. 5:20: “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.” Please look at Testimonies, v. 2, pp. 14-16.

It is not my desire or goal to undermine unity in the church, but there can be no unity except on the basis of sound biblical truth. La Sierra has been sowing the seeds of a very profound disunity, as it has for a generation been training Adventist youth at an Adventist institution (AAA approved!) to lightly regard the word of God. It has been telling the Adventist youth entrusted to it that God’s claim to have created the world in six literal days and rested on the Sabbath day (Gen. 2:2-3; Ex. 20:11) is unsustainable nonsense. This can only lead to disunity on the most fundamental level, as one group, raised and educated in the SDA Church, has an entirely different conception of what the Bible teaches and God requires than another group also raised and educated in the church.

Lay people are under an obligation of conscience to see that those who live off the tithe uphold the religious mission of the church. One very highly placed Adventist official has instructed us to “hold them accountable,” and he is right. In the absence of a vigilant laity, the SDA Church will lapse into corruption as did the post-apostolic Christian Church.

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
@Paul Giem: Paul I will pray that you are right that there has been a sea change. But it will take more than a (until recently, covert) change in the biology dept. chairmanship to convince me of that.

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
@gene fortner: That’s a good list, Gene, but do not forget Arthur Chadwick (Ph.D, U. of Miami, geology/sedimentology) and Lee Spencer (Ph.D, biology/paleontology, Loma Linda) and Kurt Wise (Ph.D, geology, Harvard) and Marcus Ross (Ph.D, paleontology, U.R.I.).

The first two are Seventh-day Adventists and very strong creationists; the second two are creationists. Kurt Wise is a good friend of Art Chadwick and has come to SDA-sponsored events before.

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
It will be interesting to see how much power John Perumal will be given, and will exercise, in reshaping the biology department. He should have veto power over new hires, and he should be able to recommend whether contracts for untenured professors are renewed or not, and whether tenure is granted or not. Typically the academic dean or provost has some say over this as well, but the department chair’s power is considerable.

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
@Paul Giem: Paul, your theory is indeed very reasonable, but I don’t think it is correct. First, I have argued that WASC’s concerns about autonomy were solicited by Randal Wisbey so that he could get bylaw changes that would give him greater autonomy from the church. One key item of evidence that has become public is that in 2011 one of Wisbey’s minions, then LSU board member Lenny Darnell, recorded himself saying that he planned to write WASC and demand that WASC recommend and insist on changes to the board structure that would dilute the power of the church officers on the board:


Second, the bylaw changes Wisbey wanted were approved by the constituency back in May, so WASC has no grounds to complain about the lack of institutional autonomy, and has indicated that it is pleased with what was done:


My theory as to why this change of department chairmen has been so hush hush is that, 1) Wisbey didn’t want his liberal base to know that he had thrown any sort of bone to AAA; he wanted them thinking he had gotten an unconditional surrender from AAA, and 2) Wisbey doesn’t want the wider SDA Church to know that AAA thought there was anything wrong at La Sierra that needed changing, much less that the chairman of the biology department needed changing.