WASC Reviews LSU’s Accreditation

On July 19, 2011 La Sierra University issued a press release regarding an “action letter” from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in which WASC noted several points of concern over LSU’s handling of the recent resignation of four members of LSU’s board ( Link ).  WASC was especially concerned over the “divisions on the board concerning the controversy over the teaching of science” and the actions of the board chair (Elder Ricardo Graham) that were largely independent of the board.  WASC suggested that Graham “acted in his capacity as a church leader” rather than as part of an independent board – undermining “institutional autonomy.”  Therefore, WASC issued a “Formal Notice of Concern” to LSU with a scheduled visit to LSU in the Spring of 2012 to evaluate the steps taken by LSU to address the concerns raised by WASC.

The following is an excerpt from the WASC letter:

Based on the bylaws and the statements of the board chair himself, it appears that he did not have independent authority as La Sierra’s board chair to take these actions and was not acting at the instruction of the board. The board chair reported that he consulted only with a few of the Church-designated trustees, members of national Church leadership, and university counsel before asking for the resignations of the four individuals involved. The Commission could infer from these facts that the board chair acted in his capacity as a Church leader, which would be a clear violation of WASC standards on institutional autonomy.

Here is La Sierra’s response to the WASC letter:

Though the University’s eight-year regional accreditation is not affected, WASC has identified concerns regarding the role and composition of the La Sierra University Board of Trustees and issues related to institutional autonomy. Those findings have led WASC to issue a Notice of Concern.

The WASC Commission has requested a meeting between WASC leadership and the university president, provost, and full governing board within the coming 90 days to offer further information as to the reasons for their actions and to discuss the University’s response plan.  WASC has also indicated that they will return for a follow-up visit to La Sierra in Spring 2012 to determine whether appropriate progress is being made in addressing their concerns.

The La Sierra Board of Trustees, which met on July 18 to review the letter, stated that it “takes WASC’s findings seriously,” has reconvened the Articles and Bylaws Committee “in response to concerns noted by WASC”, and plans to meet again in August.

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576 thoughts on “WASC Reviews LSU’s Accreditation

  1. Faithful&#032Disciple: Erv, everyone here can see you clearly for who you are, an angry progressive old man who hates SDA beliefs does everything in your power to tear them down.

    Wrong. That may be your (unchristian) way of looking at him. Some of us see an intellectual giant in comparison to the others on this site (with the exception of Brantley and Jeff Kent).

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  2. Ron: Don’t forget that Mrs. White implied that we would have to change some of our fundamental beliefs as truth progresses.

    Ellen White:We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God’s word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.– Preach the Word, p. 5

    Do you know what the pillars of our faith are Ron?

    Ellen White:Messages of every order and kind have been urged upon Seventh-day Adventists, to take the place of the truth which, point by point, has been sought out by prayerful study, and testified to by the miracle-working power of the Lord. But the waymarks which have made us what we are, are to be preserved, and they will be preserved, as God has signified through His word and the testimony of His Spirit. He calls upon us to hold firmly, with the grip of faith, to the fundamental principles that are based upon unquestionable authority.—Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, p. 59 (1904).

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  3. BobRyan: blind faith evolutionism should have been excluded from all science classes

    Bob, This is an illogical rant. It seems to me that you are willingly ignorant of the facts. Science is about what we can see and measure. We can see and measure evolution. It isn’t junk science. It is very productive science. You are like a blind man ranting at everyone who can see. I am sorry you are blind, but am afraid you will never convince honest hearted people that evolution doesn’t exist just because you refuse to see it.

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  4. Ron: Yes, do you believe in Present Truth, that truth is ever progressive? Don’t forget that Mrs. White implied that we would have to change some of our fundamental beliefs as truth progresses.

    Ron, Do you think Dr. Taylor is a modern day prophet who can give us some new present truth?

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  5. Faithful&#032Disciple: Erv has to periodically vent here to let off some steam. He has to once again use his (sic) addition to the name Educate Truth to show his anger towards conservatives who are loyal to the Bible’s clear beliefs, when he is not. I see that he once again has failed to provide the 98% overwhelming evidence of evolution and is just full of hot air! Erv, everyone here can see you clearly for who you are, an angry progressive old man who hates SDA beliefs does everything in your power to tear them down.

    Faithful, Does the Loma Linda Universtiy church allow people who hate SDA beliefs to be members? I agree that Dr. Taylor seems to fit that description from his views over on the Adventist Today website, however.

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  6. Ron: Don’t forget that Mrs. White implied that we would have to change some of our fundamental beliefs as truth progresses.

    Ron, I think what you are implying is a very serious mis-reading of what she said and implied.

    Also, how do you know she wasn’t addressing that to folks such as yourself that apparently don’t believe in the authority of Scripture? Maybe she was implying that you needed to come into closer harmony with Scripture?

    I might remind you briefly of Proverbs 16:25 which says that “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

    What I say doesn’t matter. What you say doesn’t matter. If either one of us is in rebellion against God, it won’t end well for for the one(s) in rebellion.
    We might all do well to always remember that.

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  7. Faithful&#032Disciple: I guess I should slightly amend my last post. I should have said, there are not many Daniels in the official church structure, except Ted Wilson and Cliff Goldstein. There are still Daniels in the church membership, Shane, Sean, and David Read being three.

    I agree that there are not very many. But Jerry Page is also someone I have also always admired.

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  8. First Ron makes the self-conflicted mistake of arguing that religious points of view should be excluded from science classes.

    So I point out the religious nature of the argument for evolutionism.

    BobRyan: blind faith evolutionism should have been excluded from all science classes because it is nothing more than junk-science and bad-religion about “birds coming from reptiles” no matter our observations in nature to the contrary of that evolutionist mythology.
    In fact if you let them tell their story long enough – they will in fact argue that “birds come from plants” — it is a longggg story as it turns out.

    Ron: Bob, This is an illogical rant. It seems to me that you are willingly ignorant of the facts. Science is about what we can see and measure. We can see and measure evolution.

    Well once again you shoot your own argument in the foot. We do NOT “observe or measure – birds coming from reptiles”.

    And as even your own failed attempt showed in regard to the prokaryotes – evolutionists want to “claim they made one” only to be “shown” that all they did is some gene map in already existing yeast cells.

    How sad that evolutionism’s fictions are so blatantly obvious.

    No wonder atheist evolutionists like Patterson lament the religious nature of their proclamations.

    How sad that even one SDA would pretend to be duped by such tactics.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  9. Sean said…….

    “A dictionary definition of “self validation” is:

    “Requiring no external confirmation, sanction, or validation.”

    Sean, this does not necessarily say that it is against an individual saying and validating any given statement.

    The “external confirmation” can simply mean no outside source is claiming to support the affirmation. That is, no one is agreeing and proving any given statement except the person making the statement.

    If a man says “I can lift a ton of weight”, and no one agrees, or affirms his claim, he may actually lift the amount he claimed he could and in this, he “self validates” his own claim.

    And this is in agreement with the dictionary definition. Since God Himself and only God Himself could validate His own claim, how could you possibly deny it is “self validation” even by way of the dictionary definition?

    You interpret it to mean no evidence at all on any level. I don’t think this is what it means or how the dictionary meant it to be understood.

    If I say to you “John Brown is dead.” and you say, “I don’t believe it”, then the undertaker affirms my statement and shows the body, this is not “self validation” on my part.

    But if I say, “John Brown is dead” and you say, “I don’t believe it” and then I personally show you the body, this is “self validation” of my statement without any outside affirmation.

    So, I still think much of the argument is less than productive. God and the bible are “self affirming” because they produce their own evidence of their truthfulness.

    And unless we explain exactly what we mean in our use of words and concepts, we can only continue in confusion.

    So, again I have said, we need to qualify what we mean as many times as necessary to be sure we are not misunderstood.

    And by the way, this is the method the bible uses over and over so there can be no misunderstanding of what it means by anyone who sincerely desires to know what is said and how it is applied.

    We know any biblical concept can easily be misunderstood if and when the concept is lifted from its biblical context and interpreted and applied outside the biblical norm.

    People may use a phrase to explain a comprehensive idea that goes beyond a simple definition. Such as, pre-advent investigative judgment. A very comprehensive phrase that covers a lot of territory in meaning, definition and application. It is a SDA phrase. But many such phrases are used historically such as, the trinity, original sin, faith alone, the rapture, and other such phrases that can only be understood by careful study and examination of their meaning and usage by those who formulated the phrase.

    And as I said, the whole bible follows this format. Simply because word meanings are limited and some concepts require a comprehensive definition that can not be defined in a few words. Thus, we can study the bible through out eternity and never exhaust all the ideas and thoughts to be gleaned on and on into the endless future.

    And of course, there are some objective givens that are not negotiable. Such as the one being discussed on this forum. God is the creator of heaven and earth and accomplished this reality in 6 literal days and rested on the seventh.

    This thought is too clear to be misunderstood and is affirmed again and again through out the biblical revelation.

    Bill Sorensen

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  10. Sean&#032Pitman: The generation time is essentially irrelevant when it comes to the effect that the powers of natural selection may have on the formation of a gene pool. How is the generation time going to matter if the reproductive rate of an individual is very low? How is the generation time going to change anything for natural selection?

    Which of the following two species “reproduces” faster? Which will yield a larger population after 100 years? And which will be able to respond faster to a changing environment?

    Species A – produces 3 progeny per generation and has a mean generation time of 2 years. (You get a minimum of 50 generations in 100 years; the exact number depends on the extent, if any, that generations overlap.)

    Species B – produces 3 progeny per generation and has a mean generation time of 20 years. (You get a minimum of 5 generations in 100 years; again, the exact number depends on the extent, if any, that generations overlap.)

    Obviously, species B has “slower” reproduction over a finite period of time (say, 100 years), but as I suggested, what you are probably referring to as “slowly reproducing” is number of progeny per individual or generation, which would make species A and B equal. Again, your usage of “slowly reproducing” is ambiguous.

    Now which gene pool do you think can respond more quickly to a changing environment? A or B? If you have a 10 year drought, which gene pool is likely to be hit harder and which is more likely to emerge with a changed gene pool? Do you seriously believe generation time is irrelevant to natural selection?

    Research on deleterious mutations has FAR outpaced research on beneficial mutations, and we have MUCH to learn about the latter. Again, your simplistic mathematical models focussed on deleterious mutations do not take into consideration a realistic understanding of how natural selection works. The more you write, the more I question your overall understanding of natural selection.

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  11. Sean&#032Pitman: But, do you have any evidence that the beneficial mutation rate is remotely able to compensate for the detrimental mutation rate? As far as I’m aware it is quite clear that the detrimental mutation rate so far outpaces the beneficial mutation rate that there really is no comparison. If you know better, by all means present your evidence.

    Now we’ve come full circle. I already showed you specific examples in which selection overcame deleterious mutations in slowly-reproducing mammals, including the conclusion of Hagenblad et al. 2009, based on real data from nature (rather than your mathematical mumbo jumbo): “For markers on chromosome 23, the signal of selection was particularly strong, indicating that purifying selection against deleterious alleles may have occurred even in this very small population.” You dismiss all such studies, just as you dismiss everything else that doesn’t suit your notions or purposes. You asked for empirical evidence; what more do you want? Never mind…I don’t give a rat’s hairy behind.

    Sean&#032Pitman: Sure, in your scenario “Species A”, having a shorter generation time, will be more likely able to quickly adapt to a new environment. But what does this have to do with the elimination of the genomic load of detrimental mutations? Nothing! Nothing at all.

    If detrimental mutations are completely, irrevocably protected from selection, then you are right. You insist that selection cannot overcome the accumulation of deleterious mutations, but obviously your claim depends on the strength of selection. You’ve now conceded that generation time is indeed relevant to the strength of selection, but you still refuse to connect the dots.

    I’ve tired of this discussion, and I’m finished with it. There’s no point in continuing if we are going to go in circles.

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  12. Sean, I guess it depends on what you would define as “self validating”.

    If a man has a thousand employees who don’t know who their boss is, and he comes into the room and says, “I’m the owner and boss of this company.”

    Someone might say, “I don’t believe it.”

    So the boss says, “You’re fired.”

    When the individual does not get a check the next pay period, he can be sure by the evidence of no check, that he is truly fired and the man who said so, is so.

    For me, this is “self validating.” Is there any evidence? Yes. He gets no check. But the boss validated himself when he claimed the authority for the action.

    In fact, the evidence only proves the point. Just so, God claims who He is in the bible and then gives evidence to affirm His declaration.

    I call this self validation. No one can declare who God is or His authority except God Himself. And when He reveals Himself to prophets and spokes persons, they can only point out what He has said about Himself and what He can and will do.

    Thus, we agree with EGW who rightly said, “The only religion that can lead to God, is the one that comes from God.”

    To you, the evidence God reveals, does not agree with the idea of self validation. But I say, “If God is the one who gives the evidence, then it is most certainly self validation.”

    And in my opinion, this applies equally to the principle of the bible and its authority and self affirmation of the same. In the end, in some areas at least, God can and will say, “It is so, because I said so.”

    So I am not against evidence, as long as it is not used to deny God’s self validation of Himself, who He is, and all that pretains to the biblical revelation.

    Hopefully, we are not simply into “word games” as seems apparent in some of the ongoing dialogue.

    Bill Sorensen

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  13. Bill Sorensen: Are you in the “Lion’s den”, Sean?

    It’s more like a den of kittens who think they are lions.

    I’m sure we all hope we are on God’s side. This isn’t at all personal for me. I’m just hoping to share the good news as a small part of an organization that is devoted to spreading the Gospel Message of hope. We all have a lot to learn and God will make the truth of his Word clear in His own way and time to those who are open to hear Him.

    Sean Pitman

    Sean, I guess I am not much for “bickering” about the scientific issues like some are. I also know that God gives “evidence” to support His word that helps us build faith in the bible.

    None the less, I think you know all the scientific “evidence” we can produce will not “prove” that the God of the bible created “the heavens and the earth.”

    In the end, we may even persuade people of ID. But that is not necessarily the God of the bible. So, how can we “prove” the God of the bible is the creator?

    You know I have opted for the compelling evidence of prophecy. If the God of the bible can predict so accurately so many details of the future, and then claim He is the creator, we would do well to listen carefully what He says about many things.

    The new testament writers especially appeal to prophetic utterances as their main support concerning all their testimonies. So Peter tells us of his experience with Christ, and then concludes, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed…….”

    So, his personal testimony is valid, but he puts forth as the ultimate validity the prophecies of scripture. And all the other bible writers do the same, even Jesus Himself. “If they believe not Moses and the prophets, then neither will they believe though one rose from the dead.”

    What a statement! That is why in this context, the bible is self validating and needs no outside validation. Even if some physical realities can be shown to be in harmony with the biblical affirmations.

    When Jesus healed the crippled man, he walked. Is this validation of Jesus power to heal? Of course it is. Does this in and of itself “prove” Jesus is the Messiah?

    NO. Miracles can be emulated and even performed by Satan. But when Jesus predicts the future with certainty and accuracy, no one can gain say what has happened nor undo the facts.

    I have learned in giving bible studies that you can “over prove” your point beyond a necessity. Often times, the obvious needs no added commentary. The bible speaks for itself.

    At the present time, much of Adventism is falling all over themselves to affirm the biblical creation account. The new president, 3ABN, Amazing Facts, Amazing Discoveries, and a host of evangelists feel called to spend a great deal of time defending creation and the SDA position.

    As the saying goes, “Me thinks you protest too much.” After all, the biblical account of creation is obvious is needs little or no explanation. Either you believe it, or, you don’t. And this goes for the whole bible, doesn’t it? And it goes for bible Adventism too, doesn’t it? Either you believe it, or you don’t?

    Well, I am not against evidence. But I think honest discussion can eventually turn into “bickering” that is less than productive.

    Bill Sorensen

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  14. @Professor Kent:

    My question: Does God want us to “know” Him by finding physical evidence to prove his existence, or through a personal relationship? Is either one alone sufficient for salvation?

    How can you have a real “relationship” with someone who never interacts in a detectable way with the empirical world outside of your own mind? – or with someone who says things about the empirical world that are apparently false according to everything God has given us to determine fiction from reality? How is your God better than an imaginary friend that you just made up in your own mind to make you feel better about things? How do you know your God exists outside of your own mind or has any practical value to anyone besides yourself?

    Every time I ask you this question, and you actually respond, you list off several empirically-based evidences of God’s existence… evidence that exist independent of your own mind in the empirical world.

    You see, it simply makes no sense to argue that one can have a real relationship with God that gives a solid hope in the reality of a bright future without any appeal to God’s detectable interaction with you through your physical senses – without any effect on the empirical world.

    At least that’s true for me. If it’s not true for you, that’s great for you. But, how do you share a God that only speaks to you in your own mind with others who have not experienced what you’ve experienced?

    There needs to be some universal source where all who are honest and have access to intelligent minds can recognize the voice of God. That source is empirical reality which is the same for all of us and which clearly shows the fingerprints of God in nature and in the written Word.

    Now, I’m not saying a personal experience with God, to include a personal prayer life and personal answers to prayer are not important. These evidences are very important, but they are also supported by empirical reality as is the case for any real relationship that humans may enjoy.

    For example, if your wife never did anything in response to your conversations or requests which changed your empirical reality in a detectable way, how would she be different than an imaginary friend? The same is true for a true relationship with God.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  15. @Professor Kent:

    At the tertiary level, we deal with organisms subject to natural selection rather than hand-feeding, heavy petting, protective fencing, grooming, leashes, and capricious decisions about who gets to breed and who does not.

    Of course. Natural selection is only worried about reproductive fitness; not how cute a lapdog may look to his/her owner. Obviously many breeds of dog would not survive very long in the wild. Because of the limits humans have put on natural selection during the course of dog breeding, there is no doubt that detrimental mutations have increased as a result in the gene pools of many breeds. The same thing is true of modern medicine and our ability to keep people alive who would otherwise have died before being able to reproduce.

    The fact remains, however, that even when natural selection is given full powers of selection, without intelligent interference with the natural course of things, creatures like humans and apes and elephants, etc., reproduce far too slowly for natural selection to keep up with the very rapid rate that detrimental mutations enter the gene pools of such slowly reproducing creatures in every generation. There really is no currently known way to explain this problem from the perspective of the modern synthetic theory of evolution. However, this problem is explained rather neatly by the Biblical model of origins.

    I know you don’t like the fact that empirical evidence exists to support a rational faith in the credibility of the Bible, but the fact remains that such evidence, powerful evidence that appeals to rational intelligent candid scientific minds, does in fact exist.

    The effects of mutations often depend on the presence or absence of other mutations; the environment; the size and structure of the population, which can severely limit the ability of selection to discriminate among the “good,” “bad,” and “indifferent” mutations; and the fate of other mutations that have more pronounced effects and are in close proximity on the same chromosome. To help us get a better grasp on this complexity, theoreticians generally divide the parameter space of their models into smaller regions, and rely on simplifying assumptions that narrow applicability. Sean’s selective use of models from the literature does not and cannot encompass all of this complexity. The biggest unknowns, of course, are going to be the epistatic interactions across the entire genome and the specific dynamics of the environment (the exact nature of selective forces). The models Sean has latched on to do not and cannot at this point accommodate such complexity.

    Epistatic interactions (the effects of a given mutation modified by other mutations) are irrelevant to the problem at hand – as are your arguments as to the nature of the environment and the presence of other mutations.

    The minimum possible detrimental mutation rate remains essentially the same regardless of environment or environmental changes over time. In other words, the detrimental mutation rate cannot be reduced to zero nor can the number of prior detrimental mutations be reversed to any significant degree regardless of any kind of environmental change. Of course, a change in the environment might result in a previously detrimental mutation becoming beneficial. However, the same is true of previously beneficial mutations becoming detrimental. Statistically, these possibilities cancel each other out so that there is no net effect one way or the other.

    Epistatic interactions or non-interactions also have little effect on the basic problem. If there is positive epistasis so that the effects of multiple detrimental mutations are multiplicative instead of additive, all that happens is that the threshold of genetic meltdown is reached sooner rather than later. The fact that a slowly reproducing gene pool is still headed downhill is not affected by various forms of epistasis. Extinction will still be realized sooner or later either way. Also, the notion that multiple detrimental mutations will cancel each other out isn’t a valid assumption. There are of course rare examples (I published a paper detailing how two normally detrimental mutations did in fact cancel each other out), but this is the very rare exception, not the rule.

    The fact that mutations with more pronounced effects can be more easily detected and eliminated by natural selection does not solve the problem either since even if all individuals with strong or weakly detrimental mutations were immediately eliminated before reproduction, the death rate needed to achieve this feat would be far greater than the human reproductive rate is able to achieve.

    So, we’re back to square one since none of your counters work individually or collectively to substantively address the problem. This really isn’t very complicated. The data is clear and the implications are straightforward. The standard arguments of evolutionists fall flat in that they don’t actually solve this particular problem by a long shot – a problem that is fundamental to the entire modern theory of evolution.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  16. @Bill Sorensen:

    So, his personal testimony is valid, but he puts forth as the ultimate validity the prophecies of scripture. And all the other bible writers do the same, even Jesus Himself. “If they believe not Moses and the prophets, then neither will they believe though one rose from the dead.”

    I’m a big fan of pointing to fulfilled prophecy as empirically-verifiable evidence of the Divine origin of the Bible. All such evidences should be used as a basis for “the reason for the hope that is in us”. After all, we are told to “Be prepaired to give a reason for the hope that is in you.” I think such evidences are very good reasons.

    What a statement! That is why in this context, the bible is self validating and needs no outside validation. Even if some physical realities can be shown to be in harmony with the biblical affirmations.

    The Bible is not “self-validating” since nothing can validate itself. Fulfilled prophecy is based on external empirical realities that can be investigated and determine to match the historical claims of the Bible. Other books make prophetic claims as well. The only problem here is that when one investigates these claims against empirical reality, these prophecies are largely falsified. The superior credibility of the Bible is based on the realization that the Bible’s prophetic claims actually match up very well with external empirical reality.

    It is for this reason that your claim of “self-authentication” is not a rational argument. The claims of any text about empirical reality must be compared against actual empirical reality that exists outside of the claims of the text itself to see if the text accurately reflects reality. If it does, it gains credibility. If it does not, it loses credibility.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  17. Sean&#032Pitman: I know you don’t like the fact that empirical evidence exists to support a rational faith in the credibility of the Bible.

    This is a bizarre and completely misguided attribution, but it does raise an interesting contrast and an important question germane to how the Church relates to origins:

    Sean Pitman: “I, personally, would have to go with what I saw as the weight of empirical evidence. This is why if I ever honestly became convinced that the weight of empirical evidence was on the side of life existing on this planet for hundreds of millions of years, I would leave not only the SDA Church, but Christianity as well…”

    God: “Be still, and know that I am God.

    My question: Does God want us to “know” Him by finding physical evidence to prove his existence, or through a personal relationship? Is either one alone sufficient for salvation?

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  18. @Professor Kent:

    If you don’t think the environment or epistatic interactions are relevant, then you’ll have much difficulty deciding whether a given mutation is deleterious, neutral, or beneficial, and you won’t have a clue how strong selection is on it.

    As I’ve already explained to you, when it comes to addressing the downhill direction of a slowly reproducing population over time, it doesn’t matter how strong selection is or isn’t on a given detrimental mutation or if multiple mutations have addative or multiplicative effects. The downhill slope angle for the decline of genomic quality may be modified, but the fact that all the various potential epistatic possibilities still end up with a gene pool that is going downhill remains true.

    You see, statistically, the direction of all forms of epistatic interactions is still a downhill trend for the quality of the gene pool as a whole. The only difference various forms of epistatis make for slowly reproducing creatures is in the time till extinction. That’s it. The fact that extinction is eventually inevitable for slowly reproducing creatures is not affected regardless of the epistatic effects in play.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  19. @Professor Kent:

    Sean Pitman: But, do you have any evidence that the beneficial mutation rate is remotely able to compensate for the detrimental mutation rate? As far as I’m aware it is quite clear that the detrimental mutation rate so far outpaces the beneficial mutation rate that there really is no comparison. If you know better, by all means present your evidence.

    Prof. Kent: Now we’ve come full circle. I already showed you specific examples in which selection overcame deleterious mutations in slowly-reproducing mammals, including the conclusion of Hagenblad et al. 2009, based on real data from nature (rather than your mathematical mumbo jumbo): “For markers on chromosome 23, the signal of selection was particularly strong, indicating that purifying selection against deleterious alleles may have occurred even in this very small population.” You dismiss all such studies, just as you dismiss everything else that doesn’t suit your notions or purposes. You asked for empirical evidence; what more do you want? Never mind…I don’t give a rat’s hairy behind.

    Come on now. All this study points out is that beneficial mutations do happen. That’s obviously true. I’ve never said otherwise. Beneficial mutations, in the form of reversion mutations, compensatory mutations, truly novel beneficial mutations, and the like do actually happen and are selectable, in a positive manner, by natural selection.

    The problem, of course, is that the rate of beneficial mutations is far far less than the rate of detrimental mutations. None of your examples say anything about the rate of beneficial mutations vs. detrimental mutations – especially when it comes to near-neutral mutations.

    In real life, the detrimental mutation rate swamps the beneficial mutation rate – to the point where the beneficial mutation rate is effectively irrelevant when it comes to the overall effect on the quality of the gene pool over time.

    If detrimental mutations are completely, irrevocably protected from selection, then you are right. You insist that selection cannot overcome the accumulation of deleterious mutations, but obviously your claim depends on the strength of selection. You’ve now conceded that generation time is indeed relevant to the strength of selection, but you still refuse to connect the dots.

    Detrimental mutations are not protected from natural selection – by defintion (except of course for near-neutral mutations which are protected, but only for a while until a threshold level of them is realized). Natural selection always acts, ultimately, against detrimental mutations. However, natural selection needs an excess in offspring, per generation, beyond what is needed to maintain the population’s size, in order to act over time without destroying the population itself and driving it into extinction.

    What you’ve yet to understand is that the ability of natural selection to act against detrimental mutations doesn’t solve the problem for creatures that don’t produce very many offspring per generation.

    You also don’t yet understand that the strength of natural selection doesn’t affect this particular problem at all – not at all. The strength of selection is entirely irrelevant when it comes to trying to solve the problem we’re discussing. You see, it doesn’t matter if natural selection is very strong or very weak as it acts against detrimental mutations.

    For example, lets say that natural selection was extremely strong in a given environment, able to detect and eliminate every single detrimental mutation as soon as a detrimental mutation strikes any individual in a population. What would such strong powers of natural selection do to the population? Well, it depends on the rate of detrimental mutations compared to potential rate of offspring production. If the average detrimental mutation rate were 3 mutations per individual per generation (U=3), that would mean that in every generation 95% of all offspring would have at least one detrimental mutation and would be eliminted before reproduction by a strongly-selective process.

    What does a 95% death rate before reproduction suggest to you? What it suggests to me is that if the gene pool is to stay functionally neutral the average reproductive rate per female is going to have to be more than 40 offspring in order for two to survive the culling process of natural selection and reproduce the next generation. Otherwise, the population size would shrink in every generation until the population went extinct.

    As it turns out, the detrimental mutation rate for humans is over 5 (some suggest that U is really greater than 10 or even greater than 30 given the newly discovered functionality of what was once thought to be “junk-DNA” in the human genome). The death rate for U=5 would be ~99.5% – suggesting a required per female reproductive rate of greater than 292 offspring per generation to stay afloat and avoid population meltdown.

    Now, if you weaken the force of natural selection, all you do is allow for more detrimental mutations to build up in the gene pool until a threshold level is reached whereby natural selection is forced to act against them at essentially the same death rate. You see, lowering the force of natural selection simply puts off the inevitable genetic meltdown for creatures that cannot produce very many offspring per generation.

    I’ve tired of this discussion, and I’m finished with it. There’s no point in continuing if we are going to go in circles.

    We’re only going in circles because you really don’t understand the problem yet. You still don’t understand that environmental changes and changes in generation times, while they do have the power to affect the action of natural selection as you point out, do not have the power to solve the problem of detrimental mutations building up over time in the genomes of creatures that only produce a few offspring per generation. Not until you do understand this will we stop moving around in circles. But, I’m not holding my breath…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  20. Faith: This is why Professor Kent’s claim to believe in Creation as stated in the Bible is not taken seriously. How can it be when he tries to claim there are no evidences to support Creation?

    Is it too much to ask, Faith, that you criticize me with what I have said rather than what you say I have said?

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  21. Bill&#032Sorensen: So, Professor Kent, is this what you believe that SDA’s believe and teach? And is it what you personally believe yourself?

    If you people can’t figure out what I believe by now, after I’ve stated my convictions far more times than anyone else at this forum, it will serve no purpose to do so again. And it doesn’t really matter anyway. I can tell you seventy times seven that I believe in something and the all-knowing guys among you say “spin, spin, liar, liar.” It becomes little more than fodder for the fools.

    As David Read once wrote, if you’re going to impeach someone, then do so on what they said and not what you say they said.

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  22. Prof Kent: “it just might be a good idea to be more tentative when you declare you know with certainty someone’s mind and soul”

    Kent to me: “You have reached a conclusion based on nothing but presumption, prejudice, ignorance, and malice.”

    Practice what you preach, Kent. Or does the first quote only apply to you?

    Apology: IF I misunderstood your post–I am truly sorry. Perhaps you could make yourself a little clearer one day. You wonder why everyone has a hard time trying to understand your stance on this issue, but if you were less critical to Educate Truth and the Creation supporters on this site, then perhaps we would be able to figure out what you actually do stand for. You keep saying you repeat your position over and over, but then you say stuff that sounds like you are attacking creation. Personally, I give up on you.

    I stand for Creation as recorded in the Bible. Plain and simple. I don’t entirely agree with Sean, but I don’t entirely disagree with him either. I don’t take issue with proofs for Creation just because the scientific community does. (which is one area where you run into grief)

    I do try to stand for truth, but I don’t try to make it personal and I don’t want to hurt anyone. If I do, I am sorry, but truth is of utmost importance.

    Perhaps, PK, we can leave it right there and quit the clash of the personalities. Perhaps you could be a litte more charitable to me as well.

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  23. Bill&#032Sorensen:

    The bible identifies God, His authority, and personhood in a thousand ways and mocks those who ignore and/or attack the biblical affirmation and says in a polite way, “Shut up and listen”. But only after massive doses of self affirmation in His word.
    How would you know who God is if He does not first identify Himself and His position and authority in the universe?
    While the bible does not give us absolute falsifiable proof, it does give us adequate evidence based on prophecy and history and yes, even science to some degree as to who He is and all His claims for worship.
    We must remember that “adequate” is not “absolute”.
    Just as faith gives us adequate assurance, but not absolute assurance that we are and can be saved. And this is of course because of the human factor in salvation.
    If there were no human factor, then, and then only, could we have absolute assurance.
    Just so, we have adequate evidence to base our faith on and there is no need for unbelief. Especially in light of the cross.

    I totally agree, Bill.

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  24. Sean&#032Pitman: That is exactly what Phil Brantley has said and Prof. Kent fully supports Phil Brantley whenever he has made such claims in this and other forums. While both admit that there may be evidence in support of the Bible’s claims, Brantley in particular argues that an appeal to such evidence is not needed since faith alone is sufficient to support the Bible’s claims to Divine origin.

    Phil Brantley and Professor Kent argue that SDA beliefs are based on Sola Scriptura–God’s word alone. We agree with the official SDA position, voted by the General Conference in session, that Scripture must not be subject to criticism and external validation. When empiricial evidence, human reason, and science conflict with God’s word, faithful SDAs must accept God’s word at face value. This is exemplified in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Science makes clear that resurrection of a human body after several days of decomposition is physically impossible. SDA’s have a choice: to go with the evidence, or to accept God’s word at faith value. Phil Brantley and Professor Kent place God’s word ahead of empirical evidence, human reason and science, which IS the official SDA position.

    SDAs who insist that supernatural claims of scripture, such as the virgin birth, resurrection, and recent 6-day creation, can be believed only if science validates them are denying the authority of God in his revealed Word. They are elevating their own reason ahead of God’s Word. They are not faithful SDAs. I am sad that this position angers so many of you, but you really should reconsider your claims.

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  25. Sean Pitman: I know you don’t like the
    fact that empirical evidence exists to support a rational faith in the credibility of the Bible.

    Thus – believe in evolutionism would totally destroy Christian faith for the individual – as Darwin points out, as Dawkins and Provine and Meyer point out – and as Ellen White points out in 3SG 90-91.

    Essentially “stating the obvious”.

    But then we get this story in the form of facade from Kent –

    Professor&#032Kent:
    This is a bizarre and completely misguided attribution, but it does raise an interesting contrast and an important question germane to how the Church relates to origins:
    Sean Pitman: “I, personally, would have to go with what I saw as the weight of empirical evidence. This is why if I ever honestly became convinced that the weight of empirical evidence was on the side of life existing on this planet for hundreds of millions of years, I would leave not only the SDA Church, but Christianity as well…”

    God: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
    My question: Does God want us to “know” Him by finding physical evidence to prove his existence, or through a personal relationship? Is either one alone sufficient for salvation?

    And of course that nice story above works just fine until you recall just how far Kent was willing to state his case “in absentia” when it comes to the Romans 1 argument in favor of Intelligent Design.

    In Romans 1 we are told that “they are without excuse” (even among the pagans) who “pretend” not to see the “invisible attributes of God” clearly seen “in the things that have been made”.

    Where was Kent when it was time to stand behind the Bible on the subject of ID – when his friends and associates over at the big-left-tent chose to assail that Bible point both here and at that other board?

    Did he “stand up to them” as he is trying to do with Sean in the supposed case he makes above?

    Sadly – the history of posts in fact do not show any such thing to back up Kent’s story above.

    None at all.

    How sad.

    How instructive for the unbiased objective reader.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  26. @Bill Sorensen:

    Sean, I guess it depends on what you would define as “self validating”.

    For most people, the phrase “self-validating” means that there is no reference to anything outside of one’s self. No external evidence is needed to accept the claims of the individual or text. All that is needed is a reference to the internal claims of the individual or text claiming authority.

    Your appeals to prophecy are a form of external validation of the claims of the Bible since they are an appeal to something external to the Bible itself – i.e., real history. The same thing is true for my reference to other forms of empirical evidence to validate the claims of the Bible – such as the Biblical claims concerning God’s creative acts and our ability to recognize His Signature in nature. There is no difference here. Your argument that prophecy is “internal validation” while appeals, like mine, to various features of design in nature (like the functional complexities of living things or of the inanimate universe itself) are somehow inappropriate because they are “external” doesn’t make sense either. Both forms of argument reference evidences that are external to the Bible to give the claims of the Bible credibility.

    Your argument that because an individual can verify his/own claim by referencing or even generating various forms of imperical evidence is not the same thing as “self-validation” either. Reference to anything outside of one’s self-contained claim is open to the potential of testing and falsification. That’s the risk of making claims regarding the empirical world that can actually be investigated, tested, and potentially proved to be wrong. This is what science is all about.

    And, if you realize it or not, you are using a form of scientific reasoning to uphold the credibility of the Bible in your own reference to the credibility of Biblical prophecy. In other words, your arguments have the potential to be proved wrong – to be effectively falsified.

    This is only possible, of course, because the Bible is not “self-authenticating”. It opens itself up for the theorectical potential of testing and even falsification…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  27. Bill Sorensen said, “Does Professor Kent think that God simply points to Himself and says, “I am God, now believe it?” Only a fool would believe it.

    God said, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10). Only a fool would refuse to believe.

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  28. @Faith:

    Faith: “And round and round we go.”

    Indeed!

    There are two opposite sides in “The Great Controversy”. Everyone is on one side or the other in this great war. The battle is for the hearts of the individuals of humanity and many have made a firm decision as to which side they will be loyal. Some know whom they serve. Others are deceived.

    How does one KNOW the Bible is literally true?
    How does one KNOW that the still small voice he/she listens to is the Holy Spirit?

    Proverbs 16:25 – “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

    For everything that God has given us, Satan has devised a counterfeit. The nature of a counterfeit is that it is convincing. Monopoly money would never pass as real Federal Reserve Notes. It has to SEEM real and be most convincing. SO….

    * For the Sabbath, Satan has substitued Sunday.
    * For miraculous creation,he has substituted evolution.
    * For God’ ten commandments, Satan took God’s commandments but eliminated the one about IMAGES and then divided the one about coveting into two parts. (That one seems a bit obvious but actually most of Christianity has sort of bought into it, yes?)
    * We know that Jesus is coming again but that His coming will be preceeded by a false coming by the “anti-christ” that will “deceive the whole world” so much that IF POSSIBLE even the “very elect” will be deceived.
    * And yes, there is the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit. How does one distinguish that voice from the whispers of temptation that Satan puts into our “ears”? Most certainly, Satan has a counterfeit “holy spirit” that can be manifested in multiple convincing ways.

    There is ONE TRUTH. There are many counterfeits. How to know which is right and which is wrong? Is the Bible really God’s first and pure line of information from Himself to humanity?

    Faith: “And round and round we go.”

    True. Faith, if you ever “win” a round with these guys, just remember what Ben Franklin said, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

    Each must evaluate the evidence for truth and make a decision. There are billions on planet earth who are seeking truth. When all have made their final decisions, Jesus is coming. It will be soon. Many will be saved. Sadly, the majority will be lost.

    Happy Sabbath, everyone. I pray everyone participating on this board will be present in the Kingdom.

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  29. @Bill Sorensen:

    Well, Sean, I would have a hard time believing anyone would subscribe to the definition you have stated in the context of “self validation”.

    A dictionary definition of “self validation” is:

    “Requiring no external confirmation, sanction, or validation.”

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/self-validating

    While I think I now understand what you are trying to say, your usage of this term has been especially confusing to me since you have argued that prophecy is used by the Bible as a form of “self validation” while you dismiss other forms of empirical evidence which are also consistent with the claims of the Bible. You seem to be contradicting yourself besides using terms in ways that few others use them in my own experience.

    If God said, “I am God and there is no other”, what good would it do for someone else to agree with Him with no evidence of the fact?

    Exactly, but this is what those like Phil Brantley and Prof. Kent are suggesting – that God’s Word can be accepted at face value, based solely on the self-declared claim to be the Word of God, without any appeal to empirical evidence whatsoever. In fact, according to Brantley, even if all available empirical evidence were in apparent conflict with the claims of the Bible, one should still believe the Bible based on faith alone since the Bible is not to be subjected to any tests or verification of any of its claims about anything.

    But, if God says, “I am God…..” and then proceeds to give evidence of His self pro-claimed statement, this can only be called “self-validation”.

    An appeal to “evidence” that exists outside of one’s self, even if that evidence is apparently generated by one’s self, is still an appeal to something that exists outside of one’s self that all can examine independently to see if the evidence really does or does not support the claim. In other words, the evidence has its own separate existence that is independent of the claims of an individual or a text. It is for this reason that such independent evidence can be used to validate the claims of an individual or text concerning such evidence.

    Does Professor Kent think that God simply points to Himself and says,”I am God, now believe it?” Only a fool would believe it.

    That is exactly what Phil Brantley has said and Prof. Kent fully supports Phil Brantley whenever he has made such claims in this and other forums. While both admit that there may be evidence in support of the Bible’s claims, Brantley in particular argues that an appeal to such evidence is not needed since faith alone is sufficient to support the Bible’s claims to Divine origin.

    For Satan could equally say the same thing. Or you or me, for that matter. So if this is what Kent believes true Christanity is about or even bible Adventism, he is way off the mark.

    Indeed…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  30. Sean said……

    “For most people, the phrase “self-validating” means that there is no reference to anything outside of one’s self. No external evidence is needed to accept the claims of the individual or text.”

    Well, Sean, I would have a hard time believing anyone would subscribe to the definition you have stated in the context of “self validation”.

    I would say it means the person who made any claim was the one who proved it. And I think it is the only rational explanation of what “self validation” could possibly mean.

    If God said, “I am God and there is no other”, what good would it do for someone else to agree with Him with no evidence of the fact?

    But, if God says, “I am God…..” and then proceeds to give evidence of His self pro-claimed statement, this can only be called “self-validation”.

    We could ask, “Did God Himself give the evidence, or was it some other source?”

    The answer is “God Himself gave the evidence.” And this same principle applies to the bible as well. For it is the word of God according to His own testimony.

    So, I still claim most of this bickering discussion is more related to “word games” than any substancial dialogue.

    Does Professor Kent think that God simply points to Himself and says,”I am God, now believe it?” Only a fool would believe it. For Satan could equally say the same thing. Or you or me, for that matter. So if this is what Kent believes true Christanity is about or even bible Adventism, he is way off the mark.

    So, Professor Kent, is this what you believe that SDA’s believe and teach? And is it what you personally believe yourself? If so, I’ll assure you there is no “blind faith” in bible Adventism.

    God gives many “evidences” that are not beyond doubt or unbelief by someone who wishes to doubt. There is no scientific “proof” that God created anything. If this is the point you want to make, then I personally would agree.

    Proof and evidence are not always exactly one and the same thing. Especially in spiritual matters.

    Hope everyone one has a nice Sabbath experience in the Lord.

    Bill Sorensen

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  31. Hey, this is a church institution and it isn’t supposed to have autonomy–it is supposed to be accountable to the church who founded it and support it.

    In my opinion, WASC is intruding where it doesn’t belong. Autonomy is a ridiculous requirement.

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  32. Based on the bylaws and the statements of the board chair himself, it appears that he did not have independent authority as La Sierra’s board chair to take these actions and was not acting at the instruction of the board. The board chair reported that he consulted only with a few of the Church-designated trustees, members of national Church leadership, and university counsel before asking for the resignations of the four individuals involved. The Commission could infer from these facts that the board chair acted in his capacity as a Church leader, which would be a clear violation of WASC standards on institutional autonomy.

    First of all – the SDA constituents don’t give two cents concern about whether WASC is “happy” the fact that the SDA church owns and operates LSU.

    Contrary to the apparent tone of the WASC letter – most SDAs do NOT view LSU as an independent public university that “just so happens” to have some SDA students and teachers present during any given school year.

    Furthermore – it is highly doubtful that any of the other WASC accredit Christian schools view themselves in such a fashion either. WASC is quickly boxing itself into a corner on this one because in the end – they cannot afford to take actions totally inconsistent with their auditing of their many other Christian denomination owned-and-operated schools.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  33. Professor&#032Kent: I take it Educate Truthers love this. They would rejoice at a showdown between LSU and WASC. The outcomes they might praise:

    Educate Truth members are not the ones audiotaping themselves talking about plans to manipulate the WASC into acting on behalf of the T.E’s at LSU.

    The guys talking about their ability to manipulate WASC – are more likely to be found over there at the big-left-tent if one can believe their own self-taped audio.

    Maybe you thought you were posting over there just then.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  34. WASC is concerned about the “expansive authority of the Board to hire and discharge” faculty. Isn’t that a beaut? Isn’t that usually what Boards do? Otherwise what is the purpose for their existence?

    Having observed the current president of LSU even when he was at former CUC, I have little confidence in his ability to choose persons with total dedication to Adventist theological commitment to Creation, etc.

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  35. In which case blind faith evolutionism should have been excluded from all science classes because it is nothing more than junk-science and bad-religion about “birds coming from reptiles” no matter our observations in nature to the contrary of that evolutionist mythology.

    In fact if you let them tell their story long enough – they will in fact argue that “birds come from plants” — it is a longggg story as it turns out.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  36. Ervin&#032Taylor: Hmm. An “angry progressive old man” who is a”modern day prophet.” I think I will try that out on my grandchildren and see what they think.

    Dr. Taylor, Do your grandchildren actually agree with your views? How old are they? Are they SDA?

    Don’t you think “you” may be a modernday Ellen White? You have many great ideas, as I’ve read over on Adventist Today.

    You’ve called for the resignation of Mr. Knott. You’ve made fun of many of our SDA evangelists who use catastrophies as possible signs of Christ’s return.

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  37. Wayne: ALL Christian colleges in the region already submit their theology to WASC

    The problem is, you are confusing Theology and Science. WASC doesn’t care what you teach in theology classes, in fact it would probably get after you if you didn’t enforce denominational guidelines. The problem is that you are trying to teach theology in a science class. Science is different that religion, and as far as I know there aren’t any other Christian colleges or universities that confuse the two.

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  38. Charles:
    @Bob Pickle:
    Meaning?

    LSU stated:

    Though the University’s eight-year regional accreditation is not affected, WASC has identified concerns regarding the role and composition of the La Sierra University Board of Trustees and issues related to institutional autonomy.

    So what does that mean? That means that the WASC wants LSU to operate independently of the denomination. “Institutional autonomy.” And the WASC is concerned about how many church leaders and/or members are on the board, it appears.

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  39. @Sean Pitman:
    In another twist and turn you say:

    Regardless, the point that larger populations play a role in compensating for detrimental mutations is quite clear and was never in question in my discussion with you. My point from the beginning, which you have yet to even address as far as I can tell, is that population size is not enough to compensate for the detrimental mutation rate experienced by slowly reproducing creatures.

    That was not the point. You said there was no viable mechanisms to remove mutations and I responded with a clear model albeit artificial which showed that natural selection removed mutations. I never at any point tried to pretend it would remove all. You now concede this point but narrow the goal post to large slowly reproducing animals.

    I would as Galileo in the face of certainty based on religious approach to science and just such predictions respond with “and yet they move”

    Let me give you an assignment and see if you really can read and interpret the papers properly as I am beginning to doubt.

    I will let you Look up the literature on animals moving into the high radiation exclusion zones around Chernobyl. The prediction from your model of impossibility of removal of the high mutation rate associated with radiation would be that there would be a genetic meltdown.

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  40. @Professor Kent:

    Several lines of evidence suggest that the increase in heterozygosity with time may be attributable to selection.

    Your point? Of course natural selection plays a role in stabilizing the gene pool and slowing down the degenerative nature of detrimental mutations. That’s not the argument here. The argument in play is if the effects of detrimental mutations can be overcome fast enough to avoid a gradual but steady decline in the gene pools of slowly reproducing creatures?

    So far, the answer to that question appears to be no. I’ve failed to find any reasonable way whereby the steady buildup of detrimental mutations can be effectively countered by any natural mechanism when it comes to slowly reproducing creatures. Perhaps there is a way of which I am not aware? Perhaps. But, for now, I fail to see how anything you or Pauluc have referenced seriously addresses this problem…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  41. Sean&#032Pitman: Please explain how slowly reproducing creatures (like humans, apes, elephants, etc.) can effectively compensate for the constant influx of detrimental mutations (most of them only slightly detrimental) without them building up faster than they can be neutralized over time?

    What’s the point of this stupid exercise? It’s like challenging the effectiveness of straterra (atomoxetine) for Attention–Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by asking, “what’s the mechanism of action?” In reality, the answer is “unknown” (you can read the FDA label for yourself), but it’s completely irrelevant. Clinical studies demonstrate efficacy of the medication for treating ADHD.

    Humans and many other slowly-reproducing animals have had more than ample opportunities to experience “a decline in the functionality of the gene pool” and the “inevitable meltdown” you have described. And yet…they carry on, beautifully and exquisitely capable of not only reproducing, surviving, and diversifying, but thriving in the exact manner God prescribed: “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” Where did God say, “be fruitful…and die off in spite of your fruitfulness?”

    There is NOTHING Biblical or SDA in your silly argument. Nothing. It’s simply an exercise in rhetoric and trivia that you think makes you look superior in knowledge and reason. If anything, your petty argument directly contradicts scripture(Gen 1:28, Gen 5:2, Gen 8:17, Gen 9:1, Gen 9:7, Lev 26:9). The last verse in particular is relevant: “I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you.” Sorry, but humans as a species are not “winding down” as you claim.

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  42. Sean&#032Pitman: I’ve read many and written a few papers myself as primary author.

    Your papers are case studies that lack an experimental approach. No randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies with statistics (the gold standard in medicine); just anecdotal cases. None involving non-human subjects. None involving fossils or rocks. None involving dating methods. None involving genetics and molecular methods. And that’s okay.

    Most young life creationists do not have a strong empirical background, and those who do are generally assumed to be dishonest, sold-out-for-science, all-for-evolutionism, ardent reptiles-to-birds believers who ignore 3SG 90-91 (and the guy who stutters it by day and in his sleep). Most young life creationists who claim to rely on empirical evidence ahead of faith (in my experience, only EducateTruthers) have no background to interpret the appropriateness of an experimental design and the statistical anlayses. They simply rely on the word of those they place their faith in–rather than in the word of God. Shameful.

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  43. Sean&#032Pitman: It remains, therefore, as I originally claimed – that there is no known viable mechanism for removing detrimental mutations from such slowly reproducing creatures nearly as fast as they are entering these gene pools.

    You’re a total, complete fraud, Sean!

    We can show you science in which adaptive mutations keep slowly reproducing creatures (like sheep and wolves) ahead of the deleterious mutations, and you dismiss them by simply saying, “Yet you and your friends in this forum (like Prof. Kent and our young LSU graduate) still do not seem to grasp the significance of such a fundamental problem for the ToE – a problem which you yourself evidently have no idea how to substantively address much less explain (even less so for Prof. Kent and LSU-Alum-96 who don’t seem to understand the very basics of the problem.”

    It is YOU who fails to understand the very basics of the problem. There are tens of thousands of species, and millions of populations of these species, that have become uniquely and exquisitely adapted to their environments. They have occupied environments that were destroyed at the flood, having done so from a gene pool of only two to seven individuals. They are FAR more genetically diverse today than they were immediately after the flood, yet you insist they are all winding down, and will eventually die off from their degenerative mutations! What a crock!!! If this evidence alone does not falsify your stupid hypothesis, what will?

    If you want to quibble with the mechanism being natural selection, then you’d better be prepared to explain how slowly reproducing creatures not only thrive for thousands of generations, but diversify. That, or you could simply acknowledge that your hypothesis of the accumulation of deleterious mutations is meaningless, but organisms thrive quite well despite them. Why don’t you try getting real instead of simply dismissing the arguments against your stupid hypothesis with a lazy, disingenuous, “you don’t even understand the problem.”

    Frankly, you aren’t the least bit open to falsification of your hypothesis. You play the numbers game by citing what you think we understand about mutation rates and/or rates of selection for the very limited number of genes we have data on, but you can’t address the most basic and fundamental flaw in your argument: POPULATIONS AND SPECIES NOT ONLY PERSIST, BUT THEY DIVERSIFY AND BECOME REMARKABLY ADAPTED TO THEIR ENVIRONMENTS. Are you denying this?

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  44. pauluc: I think when it comes to faith we should forget about trying to prove the science and simply accept the revelation of God through Jesus Christ and the community of faith that communicates that to us. You can call it blind faith if you will but that is the basis of salvation.

    Amen, brother Pauluc. I think it’s hilarious that the most ardent defenders of our faith–EducateTruthers–are the ones who insist faith is feeble and must be buttressed by scientific evidence (cherry-picked, of course). They actually denigrate faith and call those of us who accept God’s word at face value liars. What a hoot!

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  45. Sean&#032Pitman: No. Slowly reproducing creatures have been degenerating all along since Eden.

    Where do the scriptures require this view? Where has the SDA Church stated this is its official view? Are you suggesting that SDA biologists who fail to teach this view are unqualified to teach within the system?

    Sean&#032Pitman: The argument in play is if the effects of detrimental mutations can be overcome fast enough to avoid a gradual but steady decline in the gene pools of slowly reproducing creatures?

    Sean, you stated, and I quote, “What is not published in literature is any viable mechanism whereby the overwhelming load of detrimental mutations might be removed from the gene pools of slowly reproducing creatures (like all mammals for example) nearly as fast as they are entering it. While there have been some feeble attempts in literature to try to explain how this might happen, these attempts all have fundamental flaws that do not substantively address the problem…

    Pauluc offered an example in nematodes for which natural selection overcame the detrimental mutations, but you insisted it could not happen in slowly-reproducing species. The abstracts I posted very clearly demonstrated how critical traits in slowly-reproducing species can indeed be selected for at rates that exceed the detrimental mutations. To dismiss the abstracts outright is to move the goalposts.

    If your thesis is correct, Sean, it becomes very difficult to explain how slowly reproducing creatures–including many but not all fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals–have successfully colonized islands and remote regions of the planet subsequent to the flood. How do YOU suggest they became adapted to live in their unique environments if, as you say, they are all succombing to degeneration faster than natural selection can ensure the origin and refinement of new traits that ensure survival in new and continually changing environments? Can you elucidate your personal model to explain how thousands of new species managed to evolve during the past 4,000+ years after departing the ark?(We’ll call this “microevolution” for the sake of those disturbed by any such notion.) It seems to me your model would suggest a gradual or even rapid declines in the genetic diversity of populations and in global species diversity.

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  46. @Sean Pitman:
    You suggest I have not read the paper and offer a proof text. I make a living reading and writing papers in the research literature so I think I have developed some skill. Let me give you some pointers on approaching scientific literature. First lets see what you have read into this paper. You seem to have skipped the statement that encapsulates the basis of this paper;

    “Population size was extremely efficient in ameliorating fitness decline, its effect highly significant across all
    traits and population-size treatments in both assays.”

    pg 1272 in the first section of the results with its accompanying figures 1, 2 and 3 that plot the data supporting this statement. Instead you fixate on the statement in the results on pg 1274 which says as you have correctly indicated

    “Notably, no lines in the long-term natural MA experiment have ever been observed to significantly improve beyond the control with respect to the typically measured fitness-related characters.”

    You seem to not understand what is the control in this experiment. In context this simply says that the worms with homozygous defect in the Msh2 DNA repair enzyme were never phenotypically fitter than the control N2 worms with normal Msh2 DNA repair. This may seem so blindingly obvious that you might say why did they even say that? The explanation lies in the next section “Observed vs. expected fitness decline in populations of different size:” and in their figure 4 data. Here they compare their results with the predictions based on the Bateman-Mukai method that “relates changes in the mean and among line variance of a character experiencing mutation to the genome-wide mutation rate and average mutation effect”. The prediction being that ” ..under a model of constant, large mutation effects, our calculations (see materials and methods) indicate that no decline in productivity or r due to fixations of new mutations would be expected in these larger populations”

    As figure4 shows there is a residual effect asymptotic to the x axis that indicated an effect that persists despite increasing population size. Hence their statement that it was never better than control. They further explain this in the discussion

    “The decline in fitness with decreasing population size suggests that the majority of the mutational variance discernible in the benign environment of the lab is due to mutations producing large, negative effects as population sizes of three were able to maintain fairly high fitness levels relative to the control over the course of the study. This result is congruent with our estimates of average mutational effects (Table 1). (The fact that the msh2 strain began the experiment with fitness well below the N2 control may place a bound on how large a population-size effect could be detected in this experiment.)”

    “However, even the largest population-size treatments show a slight trend toward reduced fitness compared to the control. Our comparisons of observed vs. expected declines in fitness correlates (Figure 4) show that fitness reduction observed in the larger-population-size treatments was greater than that expected on the basis of our B-M estimates of average mutation effect, while the decline observed in smaller population sizes closely matched the expectations. There are at least two possible explanations for this observation: (1) a fraction of small-effect mutations managed to reach fixation in the large population lines or (2) the reduced fitness at the larger population sizes is due to still-segregating mutations that arose during the experiment.” pg1276-1277

    I did expect better of you and though they would teach you how to read a research paper as a medical student? You cannot approach research with the proof text approach. You have to ask what is the theme of this paper, What does the data show? You will learn little if you come to a paper to selectively pick out the conclusions that you have already arrived at as seems to be what you have done here.

    Though some might think you are being deceptive in quoting out of context but I do not think you are at all dishonest, simply subject to mortons demon selectively reading and accepting data unconsciously so that certainty remains. We all tend to do this.

    Why have I spent so much time on this process which I am sure has bored some of your readers from the first sentence. I do it because I value honestly and truth. I worry that I could extrapolate and find similar selective reading of almost any piece of primary peer reviewed literature that you might cite. I think when it comes to faith we should forget about trying to prove the science and simply accept the revelation of God through Jesus Christ and the community of faith that communicates that to us. You can call it blind faith if you will but that is the basis of salvation.

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  47. @pauluc:

    So God has to intervene for big animals that reproduce slowly but not for little animals that turn over rapidly and can use a process of natural selection to maintain fitness and eliminate negative mutations? Is that your view?

    No. Slowly reproducing creatures have been degenerating all along since Eden.

    I have referred you to the literature that clearly shows there is a natural process for elimination of “bad” mutations. I do not know if this is the only mechanism operative in slow growing animals with long generation times. I suspect there are other similar natural mechanisms but that ignorance is no excuse for denying that there is a viable mechanisms which was all I was initially arguing.

    Of course there are natural processes that can eliminate “bad” mutations. The problem is that for slowly reproducing creatures these mechanisms cannot eliminate them nearly as fast as they are entering the gene pool. That’s the problem here which you have not substantively addressed.

    Nuchman and Crowell Genetics 2000? Come on genetics has moved on a long way since then. No-one is denying mutation and no-one is denying that they are mostly detrimental. That is obvious as I stated before.
    We now have genomic sequence data from families (trio) to define directly the new mutation rate per generation.

    Roach JC, Glusman G, Smit AFA, Huff CD, Hubley R, Shannon PT, Rowen L, Pant KP, Goodman N, Bamshad M, Shendure J, Drmanac R, Jorde LB, Hood L, Galas DJ. Analysis of genetic inheritance in a family quartet by whole-genome sequencing. Science 2010 Apr;328(5978):636-639.

    ~1.1 × 10^−8 per position per haploid genome or 66 per genome.

    This is an interesting result that essentially cuts in half the previously cited human mutation rate. For example, a 2009 Nature article cites direct measurements of mutations in the Y-chromosome in a family line to come up with an overall mutation rate of around one in 30 million base pairs or ~200 mutations per person per generation.

    http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090827/full/news.2009.864.html

    Either way, the overall mutation rate isn’t really the issue here. The problem is with the detrimental mutation rate. Given the dramatic reduction in what was previously thought to be non-functional “junk DNA” in the human genome (it is now thought that the majority of the genome is functional to one degree or another), even a mutation rate of “~66 per person per generation” is going to produce well over 3 functionally-relevant mutations per person per generation (probably well over 5 or 6). Of course, the vast majority of such mutations will have a detrimental effect on functionality, swamping the relatively rare compensatory and other forms of beneficial mutations. In order for natural selection to help weed out all of these detrimental mutations as fast as they are being produced, many individuals will have to die before reproducing the next generation. What death ratio are we talking about here? That’s the important question.

    The reduction in fitness (i.e., the genetic load) due to deleterious mutations with multiplicative effects is given by 1 – e^ -U (Kimura and Moruyama 1966). For U = 3, the average fitness is reduced to 0.05, or put differently, each female would need to produce 40 offspring for 2 to survive and maintain the population at constant size (i.e., a 95% death rate before reproduction). If the detrimental mutation rate is increased to 5, the reproductive rate would have to increase to ~296 per female per generation in order for natural selection to keep up with the detrimental mutation rate.

    How is this problem explained? I fail to see how anything you’ve cited so far really deals with this issue? It is easy to explain how bacteria, viruses, and nematode worms can keep up with such bad karma since their potential reproductive rate is in the many thousands per individual per generation. This is simply not true for humans or other slowly reproducing animals.

    I am beginning to doubt you have read any of the the Este papers referenced. In defining population size effect they kept the population size to 1, 5, or 25 in their initial papers. Ie they took that number of 25 worms after each generation and moved them into the next culture for 1 generation. And yes you can have sexual reproduction with a population size of 1 as they are hermaphrodite. The 1000 progeny that you cite is a nonsequitor for the experiments on population size and natural selection.

    I’m beginning to doubt that you carefully read the Este papers yourself. If you will note, when the population was kept at 25, there was a constant degenerative effect over time in the gene pool.

    “Notably, no lines in the long-term natural MA experiment have ever been observed to significantly improve beyond the control with respect to the typically measured fitness-related characters… Even the largest population-size treatments show a slight trend toward reduced fitness compared to the control.” – Estes et. al. 2004

    In short, for natural selection to effectively act to counter the entire detrimental mutational load per generation, the effective reproductive rate had to be increased quite significantly… as highlighted in subsequent papers on C. elegans.

    Oh, and by the way, the human selection of individual nematode worms to populate the next generation is equivalent to an enforced death rate that is extremely high. If the individual reproductive rate for a nematode worm is around ~5000 offspring during the lifespan of the worm, and only 25 of the offspring are selected to populate the next generation, that is an effective pre-reproductive death rate of over 99%. Again, such a death rate could not be remotely tolerated by a human population without very quick extinction.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  48. @Sean Pitman:

    Is it only coincidence that your claim that humanity, as a species, is on a genetic decline echoes so closely that posed by EGW herself? From Testimonies:

    “The present enfeebled condition of the human family was presented before me. Every generation has been growing weaker, and disease of every form afflicts the race. Thousands of poor mortals with deformed, sickly bodies, shattered nerves, and gloomy minds are dragging out a miserable existence. Satan’s power upon the human family increases. If the Lord should not soon come and destroy his power, the earth would erelong be depopulated.”

    Contrary to your offhanded and unsupported insult to myself and Professor Kent, I understand well the point you are making – you were proposing a straw man argument (“prove to me that you understand how the detrimental mutations are removed in slowly-reproducing species”) without conclusively proving that the detrimental mutations occur in slowly-reproducing species at a rate that requires compensation, or that understanding of the mechanism by which those mutations are eliminated is a prerequisite to acceptance of the overarching theory. As countless studies (not to mention the anecdotal research in which you specialize) demonstrate, we slowly-reproducing mammals demonstrate observable mutations of functional value without any evidence of genetic decline. It wasn’t true when EGW said it, and it’s not true today.

    Of course, you have shifted the goal posts yet again, since your original thesis was disproven handily. Namely, your focus is now on “near-neutral mutations.” Your claim is that we are amassing genetic mutations that don’t result in quantifiable (or at least fatal) expression until they reach some threshold, or mix in some genetically toxic cocktail that will spell the end of the species. It is your turn to reference some respectable, refereed academic journals that have conducted scientific studies to support this hypothesis. You propose a genetic time bomb ticking in each of God’s creations – and the existence of this time bomb nullifies the theory of evolution as currently and generally understood. Sadly for you, you are in a no-win situation here: if you can “prove” this hypothesis, science will not be offended and will instead take this knowledge to further refine the theory – but you will have failed to prove the theory wrong. If you cannot “prove” this hypothesis, you will be forced to find another “smoking gun” on which to hang the entirety of your argument against evolution. Pushing the boulder up that hill is really a tireless, unrewarding job, isn’t it?

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  49. @Professor Kent:

    Sean Pitman: The potential for diversity is not enhanced by phenotypic/genetic isolation.

    When I read “Educated Truth” like this, I have much difficulty swallowing anything that Dr. Pitman writes. This comment shows little understanding of the most important mechanism of diversification: allopatric speciation. Some readers will recognize it as high school material.

    I’m not talking about the method of diversification, but the results of diversification. The method(s) are quite clear and are not the topic of this particular discussion. The results, on the other hand, do not result in an improvement of the offspring compared to the original parent population. Rather, such the phenotypic/genetic isolation of sub-populations (when the sub-population does not contain all the genetic/phenotypic variables available to the original parent population) reduces the future ability of these sub-populations to adapt to new environmental changes. This very simple concept should be self-evident to all but the most obtuse.

    Your noted mechanism of speciation, allopatric speciation in particular, occurs when biological populations of the same species become isolated due to geographical and/or other changes that may isolate sub-populations from each other. Clearly, such isolation allows for the isolated groups to genetically diverge from each other over time.

    This form of “speciation” may involve a situation where the exact same gene pool options are divided into two isolated groups, which then mutate independently at that point over time. Of course, I’m not talking about this type of genetic isolation. I’m talking about isolating certain specific phenotypes (and their unique underlying genotypes of course) from the original gene pool of phenotypic options – as in the isolation of various unique breeds of dog using selective breeding out from the original parental gene pool (a gene pool which has more numerous phenotypic options that does the particular selection of options that comprise a particular breed of dog).

    Such selective breeding, isolating out certain phenotypic features from the original gene pool of options, may eventually result in “speciation” according to various definitions. However, this form of “speciation” does not enhance the abilities of either population to adapt to new environments compared to the original parent population which had access to greater genetic options and therefore had the potential for greater adaptability to changing environments.

    In other words, breeding for certain traits does not improve the informational quality or adaptability of the isolated gene pool of phenotypic/genetic options. The resulting breed and/or species is less adaptable to additional environmental changes than was the original parental population.

    It is quite clear that pure-breeds of dog or cattle or potato or whatever are less adaptable and more prone to sickness and disease compared to the original parent population. It is also for this reason that the phenomenon of “hybrid vitality” or “hybrid vigor” is commonly observed (where the hybrid offspring of parents from different gene pools are more fit than either parent).

    If you would get beyond your high-school textbook, perhaps you’d pick up on a few of these concepts?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  50. @ Sean Pitman,

    Your term, “slowly-reproducing,” is ambiguous, since the relevant time frame is with respect to generation time. Assuming you are speaking of relatively few offspring produced in an individual’s lifetime (k-selected as opposed to r-selected species), you could examine your theory by comparing species having similar progeny-per-generation but highly disparate longevities. Surely you could compare, for example, the genetic load of mutations between a “slowly-reproducing” bat or rodent with a short lifespan versus a much larger mammal mammal with a long lifespan. Since you claim that one can actually measure the detrimental mutation load well enough to identify when it is near or approaching complete meltdown, you could use this approach to test the hypothesis that species with the short lifespan are much closer to suffering extinction than those that have a long lifespan. Have some chutzpah. Put your theory to a test.

    This is just a suggestion; I’m not engaging this further.

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  51. @pauluc:

    Mea Culpa. I apologize, You are right. I seem to have misread your original statement as a broad questioning of the process of darwinian natural selection. You are absolutely correct that you have been consistent in your claim.

    It’s Ok. We all misread or forget what we read from time to time.

    I assumed incorrectly that you could envisage a mechanism to be applicable beyond the confines of its initial demonstration.

    Ouch! Gatta try to save face somehow I guess…

    The problem here is that not all extrapolations are reasonable if certain variables, which are very different in different situations, are not carefully considered.

    Your mistake, in this particular discussion, is in your assumption that the effects of natural selection in populations of nematode worms could be directly extrapolated to human populations (and other slowly reproducing populations). The problem with this notion is that nematode populations have key features that are dramatically different from human populations, preventing straightforward extrapolation. For example, as previously noted for you, nematode worms have a reproductive potential of several thousand offspring per individual worm. This is not true for humans or other slowly reproducing creatures. This means, of course, that nematode worms can suffer a much higher death rate (i.e., death before reproduction) compared to humans – as high as 99.5% death before reproduction. This means, of course, that natural selection can act in a much stronger manner with nematode populations compared to human populations where the surplus number of offspring that natural selection can work with is very limited in comparison.

    It is for this particular reason that human and other slowly reproducing populations are much much more sensitive to the detrimental mutation rate within the gene pool. When you’re talking about more than 5 (likely more than 10) near-neutral detrimental mutations per individual per generation within the germline, mutations that are essentially invisible to natural selection anyway, you have a huge problem to explain. Even if the mutations were visable to natural selection where natural selection could immediately eliminate each one as it was realized, there would be a huge problem. Why? Because, elimination of such mutations requires the death of the individual before the individual is able to reproduce and pass on the detrimental mutation load. The death rate required if U=5 would be greater than 99% per generation – way beyond the powers of slowly reproducing creatures to keep up.

    You see, either any way you look at it, the required death rate needed for natural selection to keep up with the detrimental mutation rate is beyond the abilities of humans and other slowly reproducing creatures to keep up. For such species, eventual genetic meltdown is inevitable.

    That you are consistent however does not add to the virtue of your claim.

    “It remains, therefore, as I originally claimed – that there is no known viable mechanism for removing detrimental mutations from such slowly reproducing creatures nearly as fast as they are entering these gene pools.” – Sean Pitman

    I do not know of a mechanism beyond that of selection shown in model systems for the removal of large slowly reproducing species. I am not arrogant enough to say there is no mechanism fulfilling the criteria you have selected but I am prepared to consider it unknown.

    Science isn’t based on what is unknown or what might be known in the future. Science is based on what little is known right now. Based on what is actually known right now, the best empirical evidence we have strongly suggests that slowly reproducing creatures are gaining detrimental mutations far far faster than they can be removed from these gene pools by natural selection. That’s the best scientific conclusion that is currently available.

    Will future observations undermine this scientific hypothesis? Perhaps. The potential for falsification is always there for any useful scientific theory. However, until that time, the evidence that is currently available remains very strong.

    If you show me data that genetically all life is degenerating I will accept it but I will examine that data critically and I will compare against the other data I know on genetic evidences for a history within the genome and see it is cogent.

    The data doesn’t show that all life is degenerating. Only those forms of life that are not reproducing fast enough to allow for natural selection to effectively eliminate the detrimental mutation load per generation are degenerating.

    I am sceptical of mathematical predictions and models which is really the basis of your and Sandfords predictions.

    That’s what science is. Science is all about the statistical predictive power of the hypothesis. If you cannot demonstrate the statistical odds of your prediction being useful at predicting the future, based on past successes of your hypothesis at predicting the future, you don’t have a scientific hypothesis.

    To convince me you will have to provide some data. You will also need to have a model.

    The data and the model have already been presented to you. What more do you want? You know the detrimental mutation rate and you know the required death rate in order for natural selection to be effective at eliminating these detrimental mutations from the gene pool. You also know that every human being has thousands of detrimental mutations within his/her genome. As a recent example, it has just been discovered that 20% of men have, not just one, but two defective copies of a gene called, “DEFB126”. This gene is responsible for producing the protective protein coating on sperm cells so that they can more effectively penetrate cervical mucus to reach the egg. The defective sperm look and behave perfectly normally otherwise. Yet, it is thought that this particular defective gene may explain why some 70% of male infertility cases are “unexplained”.

    There are hundreds of thousands of mutations like this in existence in the human population as a whole and we each individually have thousands of detrimental mutations in our own genomes. And, it is only going to get worse over time given the data currently in hand.

    What else do you need to know?

    Do you believe that it was only after the flood that mutations began to accumulate?

    Did you not read where I said that the genetic decline started after Eden? For being such an expert in reviewing and understanding scientific papers, you don’t seem to me to have a very good memory for what you read.

    Was there a mantle over the earth that protected the antedeluvians?

    How is this question relevant? While I’m sure the pre-Flood world was very different than ours, much of the germ line mutation rate is based on copying errors which are independent of radiation or any other potential outside influence on somatic genetic mutations.

    If you assume that the mutations present in the human genome described in the 1000 genome project were not present in 2349-2348 BC all must have accumulated over the last 4360 years.

    I’m sure Noah and his sons had many mutations in their genomes that Adam did not originally have in Eden.

    “Each individual had 50-100 variants implicated in inherited disorders and 250-300 loss of function variants”. This makes it likely that there are 300-400 loss of function or genetic defects. At a generation time of 20 years we should have 1.4-1.8 new mutations per generation.

    This reference does not take into account “near-neutral” detrimental mutations, which would be a great deal more than 300 or so. This reference only deals with major detrimental mutations that are known to be involved with known inherited disorders. There are many many more inherited disorders which are unknown or which have such a slight deleterious effect that they have yet to be identified.

    What do you predict from an egyptian mummy or a sample of tissue from 1000 years ago. You would expect essentially no defect in any open reading frames for the mummy and around 100 defective genes for the 1000 year old sample. Sandford has a heap of money I would have thought you could persuade him to test this.

    There would be less detrimental mutations, but determining how many then vs. now would be impossible given current technology since we are currently unable to identify very many near-neutral mutations in humans… even though we know they exist by other means.

    On of the characteristics of Mortons Demon is that it does not allow you to openly search for new information so I suspect that both you and he would not be keen on doing the science. It easier and safer to do the modelling complete with all it assumptions about the proper variables.

    Oh please. You have your own Morton’s Demon that blinds you to the implications of very relevant data due to your own pre-existing paradigm. We all have our own blinders on. It is best when we can at least acknowledge the fact that those who disagree with us or question our ideas aren’t the only one’s subject to personal bias and the potential to be blind to evidence.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  52. Let’s see now…sin entered the earth. Non-human primates, assuming they were created (I certainly believe they were), began accumulating degenerative mutations that immediately fated them for extinction because, after all, the “decline in the functionality of the gene pool” (Pitman’s words) is inevitable.

    How many species existed before or immediately after the flood is unknown. However, a handful of individuals of each species emerged one morning from the ark on Mt. Ararat, and soon began to multiply and disperse, as God commanded. Over a few thousand generations (no more, since constrained by the roughly 4,000 years after the flood), they multiplied to millions, and somehow walked, swam, hitched rides with eagles, rode the shoulders of humans…whatever…to find their way to the most remote regions of the earth.

    Today, we have more than 430 species of non-human primates (lemurs, lorises, galagos, tarsiers, monkeys, and apes) represented by 16 families scattered across most of the tropical and subtropical regions of the earth. Some 294 species representing 8 families presently occur only in the New World. How every individual of each species within each family arrived in the New World, without leaving any of their descendents in the Old World where they emerged from the ark, remains a mystery that only God and possibly Sean Pitman can explain. We can assume one of two most likely scenarios: that most of the species evolved in situ in the New World, or all of the individuals of each species made a pact that they would all migrate together to the New World, leaving none behind.

    Considering only the New World monkeys, they somehow managed to acquire diverse adaptations that allowed them to persist in novel environments that, Sean Pitman assures us, were very different from the pre-flood environments (yes, the flood dramatica lly changed the earth’s environments…with RAIN forests being but one that could not have existed prior to the flood). Some species are big, others are small. Some rely on fruit, others folivory (leaves). Some are territorial, others are highly social. All recognize local food items and predators (in some cases having a demonstrated genetic basis), but are vulnerable to unfamiliar invasive species (exotic toxic plants and predators). All have aquired some genetic resistance to disease, but remain vulnerable to exotic diseases. Curiously, the New World species form monogamous pair bonds, and show substantial paternal care of their young, unlike most of their Old World counterparts.

    So how DID all these primates manage to overcome the inevitable accumulation of deleterious mutations? Wow!!! And Sean tells us that HE is right–they cannot overcome such a genetic load–because WE cannot explain a mechanism for explaining how, in fact, they have actually done what he says cannot be done.

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  53. Sean is clearly well-versed in using the language of a scientist to speak the thoughts of a layman. He can use the proper terminology, but his conclusions are flawed, his grasp of the research is tenuous, and his obsession with proving his theory in complete ignorance of any scientific search for truth renders him unqualified to discourse on this topic. Yet, discourse he does, and with his pablum he seeks to bring down an entire university (and, potentially, the entire denomination, were he and his friends truly successful in their stated mission) because of his self-centered, egotistical crusade.

    Simply put, Sean et al. believe that creation, as per the Bible and reiterated by EGW and our official church position, is the only possible explanation, and any deviation from the literal account is false. In the presence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, all he can do is manufacture, misquote, or wrench from context “scientific” evidence not to support his position, but rather to destroy the opposing view. His defensive position is, rhetorically, an easy one, given the phalanx of similarly-ignorant foot soldiers he has arrayed around him. Logically and scientifically, however, his chrome-plated babbling is no more scientifically sound than Faith’s emotional aspersions. (And don’t me started on Bob’s unsupported “junk science” claims and personal attacks – we could be here for hours. I don’t claim to be a stellar example of what LSU can provide, but if my intellect and spirituality were to be judged against that of those here who claim superior SDA-ness, I would not fear for the conclusion).

    The significantly better educated (and equally well-spoken) contributors to this thread have provided reams of evidence to counter Sean’s laughably narrow and woefully insufficient evidence, yet the rabble continue to be roused. Evidence does NOT support the view that genetic mutation is necessarily degenerative, regardless of population size or generational frequency. While you quibble over contemporary research that fails to conclusively uncover evolution’s “smoking gun,” you ignore the gestalt of a century of research and millions of studies that all point in the same general direction. According to both history (and consistent with evolutionary theory), humanity has frequently faced extinction, and many other species of similar complexity have succumbed. Variants of “humanity” have, in fact, become extinct. As we have also observed scientifically, the term “detrimental mutation” can be falsely proscriptive, as it may take generations for a mortality-increasing mutation to demonstrate a species-saving purpose. There are, too, somewhat unique qualities demonstrated by homo sapiens and other long-gestation, long-generation, low-offspring species that counteract some of these potentially terminal genetic mutations (advanced and abstract concepts of socialization and division of labor, for instance), and some of the genes we carry today would have likely been the end of our species in another organism or at a different point in our own evolution. Is this an argument for God’s hand in observable evolution, or simply blind chance? There within lies an opportunity for theological discussion. Against the argument that evolution has shaped each and every organisms on this planet, however, there is no theological counter that should be given the weight of science in our curriculum.

    It’s as if we have a 1000-piece puzzle, and on its cover we can see a beautiful scene of nature. Some maintain that we should never open the box, simply believing that the pieces are there, and be content to enjoy the cover alone (given my personal facility with puzzle-making, perhaps I should consider this approach). Others believe we should put a few of the pieces in place, but if we find something we cannot understand, we take scissors and cut apart the box lid, and try to fit those clippings into the empty spaces to see something approximating the full picture and consider our job finished. Some of us, however, upon putting 800 or so of the pieces in place, come to see a pattern, and continue to search for the remaining pieces-all the while referring to the cover for guidance. The picture on the cover, however, which is smaller and is partially obscured by labels and cropping and a price tag, is not a literal account of what the puzzle will look like when it is complete.

    The 800 pieces we’ve found say “evolution.” We might occasionally put a piece in the wrong spot, and we will probably never find all of the pieces – but we know enough to know we’re on the right track, and most of the pieces don’t go together any other way. Are we not supposed to show this puzzle to our students? Are we supposed to feel guilty for understanding this much? Are we supposed to disregard the evidence in front of our own eyes simply because it doesn’t look like the cover? (“but the wildebeast is SUPPOSED to say “$12.99″ on it because that’s what it looks like on the cover!”)

    The Bible does not even possess logical internal consistency; it is only through dedicated effort that we can reconcile the entire work in a consistent document. Must we also be forced to jump through these hoops to bring it our current interpretation of the Bible into alignment with our observable world, and if so, must we grant this particular interpretation of the Bible inviolable primacy? EGW never required this – why should we today?
    Sean seems to think we need to work on the puzzle, but he seems to feel that we need to trim the pieces to make them fit, instead of accepting we’ve got them wrong. Sometimes, though, we simply need to accept that we are wrong – that is the nature of science, and should also be the hallmark of any valuable religious community.

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  54. Sean&#032Pitman: The potential for diversity is not enhanced by phenotypic/genetic isolation.

    When I read “Educated Truth” like this, I have much difficulty swallowing anything that Dr. Pitman writes. This comment shows little understanding of the most important mechanism of diversification: allopatric speciation. Some readers will recognize it as high school material.

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  55. Are you in the “Lion’s den”, Sean?

    Daniel had his own problems, but not unlike yours, it is with those who would destroy a knowledge of the true God.

    Remember the Lion is Satan, “seeking whom he may devour.” But he uses human instrumentalities today just as he has in the past.

    Even if we were able to present the truth in its perfection and purity, we could not persuade everyone of its validity. Jesus couldn’t, neither can we. But like Paul, we can “by all means, save some.”

    Bill Sorensen

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  56. @Bill Sorensen:

    Are you in the “Lion’s den”, Sean?

    It’s more like a den of kittens who think they are lions 😉

    I’m sure we all hope we are on God’s side. This isn’t at all personal for me. I’m just hoping to share the good news as a small part of an organization that is devoted to spreading the Gospel Message of hope. We all have a lot to learn and God will make the truth of his Word clear in His own way and time to those who are open to hear Him.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  57. @pauluc:

    You suggest I have not read the paper and offer a proof text. I make a living reading and writing papers in the research literature so I think I have developed some skill. Let me give you some pointers on approaching scientific literature. First lets see what you have read into this paper. You seem to have skipped the statement that encapsulates the basis of this paper;

    “Population size was extremely efficient in ameliorating fitness decline, its effect highly significant across all
    traits and population-size treatments in both assays.”

    Of course population size affects fitness since a larger population gives natural selection more to work with. Where in anything I said did I come across as suggesting otherwise?

    You seem to not understand what is the control in this experiment. In context this simply says that the worms with homozygous defect in the Msh2 DNA repair enzyme were never phenotypically fitter than the control N2 worms with normal Msh2 DNA repair.

    That’s quite obvious. It would be very difficult to repair a defect in such a functionally complex structure within even a very large population. It is for this reason that natural selection acts as a preserving force in nature, not a creative force beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.

    What is interesting in this particular experiment, however is the following prediction (which you cited):

    “The prediction being that ” ..under a model of constant, large mutation effects, our calculations (see materials and methods) indicate that no decline in productivity or r due to fixations of new mutations would be expected in these larger populations.”

    The question is, was this prediction actually supported by the experiment? Evidently not entirely as predicted. Why not? You write:

    As figure4 shows there is a residual effect asymptotic to the x axis that indicated an effect that persists despite increasing population size. Hence their statement that it was never better than control. They further explain this in the discussion…
    “The fact that the msh2 strain began the experiment with fitness well below the N2 control may place a bound on how large a population-size effect could be detected in this experiment…

    However, even the largest population-size treatments show a slight trend toward reduced fitness compared to the control. Our comparisons of observed vs. expected declines in fitness correlates (Figure 4) show that fitness reduction observed in the larger-population-size treatments was greater than that expected on the basis of our B-M estimates of average mutation effect, while the decline observed in smaller population sizes closely matched the expectations. There are at least two possible explanations for this observation: (1) a fraction of small-effect mutations managed to reach fixation in the large population lines or (2) the reduced fitness at the larger population sizes is due to still-segregating mutations that arose during the experiment.” pg1276-1277″

    In other words, there was in fact reduced fitness beyond what was predicted before the experiment. The authors suggest that this discrepancy was perhaps due to “small-effect mutations” managing to reach fixation in the larger population lines or perhaps to “still-segregating mutations that arose during the experiment.”

    Regardless, the point that larger populations play a role in compensating for detrimental mutations is quite clear and was never in question in my discussion with you. My point from the beginning, which you have yet to even address as far as I can tell, is that population size is not enough to compensate for the detrimental mutation rate experienced by slowly reproducing creatures. Do you not understand that the reproductive rate also comes into play? – not just population size? Nematode worms like C. elegans are capable of extremely high rates of reproduction. This is not true for humans or other slowly reproducing animals that cannot sustain such a high mortality rate. And, I fail to see how increasing the population size is going to do anything to solve this problem for slowly reproducing creatures? If you can explain this to me, I’d be most grateful.

    I did expect better of you and though they would teach you how to read a research paper as a medical student? You cannot approach research with the proof text approach. You have to ask what is the theme of this paper, What does the data show? You will learn little if you come to a paper to selectively pick out the conclusions that you have already arrived at as seems to be what you have done here.

    I’ve read many and written a few papers myself as primary author. That doesn’t mean I’m immune from misinterpreting what I read on occasion. If I have missed where the papers you cite explain how the detrimental mutation rate can be solved by increasing the population sizes for slowly reproducing creatures in particular, by all means do show me my error.

    Though some might think you are being deceptive in quoting out of context but I do not think you are at all dishonest, simply subject to mortons demon selectively reading and accepting data unconsciously so that certainty remains. We all tend to do this.

    Why have I spent so much time on this process which I am sure has bored some of your readers from the first sentence. I do it because I value honestly and truth. I worry that I could extrapolate and find similar selective reading of almost any piece of primary peer reviewed literature that you might cite. I think when it comes to faith we should forget about trying to prove the science and simply accept the revelation of God through Jesus Christ and the community of faith that communicates that to us. You can call it blind faith if you will but that is the basis of salvation.

    I don’t see how I’ve been deceptive or quoted out of context. I also value honesty and truth and I think it somewhat uncharitable of you to apply the blinders of “Mortons demon” to me and not to yourself.

    I also appreciate the fact that you consider faith without empirical backing to be “the basis of salvation”, but I don’t agree. Salvation has very little to do with empirical knowledge. Salvation has everything to do with the motive of love. Even those who are completely mistaken in how they interpret the empirical evidence can be saved based on how they expressed unselfish love toward their fellow man.

    So, while empirical knowledge does not have the power to save a person, it is still important in that it has the power to provide a solid basis for hope in the metaphysical realities described in the Bible. While many people will be saved who never had a conscious hope of salvation in this life, how much more tolerable would this life have been for them if they had been given the knowledge of the Gospel message of hope?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  58. @Professor Kent:

    You simply cannot establish precisely what was present or absent in an original gene pool with “pre-established phenotypic options,” so you are operating on assumptions of what “was there,” not actual data. How is your position any better than that of evolutionists?

    Let’s consider dog breeds as an example. We know that essentially all modern breeds of dog (~400 of them) were created within the last 300 years or so. We also know that much of this variation was not the result of novel allelic mutations that were not already present in the recent ancestors of all modern breeds. As with the case where human siblings can look quite different from each other based on genetic recombination of pre-established trait options, the same is/was obviously true for dogs. These trait options are selectable either by nature or by artificial/human selection for desired trait expression.

    Of course, there are several well characterized traits that are the result of truly novel mutations within dogs. For example, mutations are responsible for the stubby, curved legs of dachshunds, corgis, basset hounds, and 16 other breeds of dog. This particular feature is known to be the result of a mutation of a single gene. This mutant gene causes the overproduction of the growth-promoting protein, which turns on key growth receptors at the wrong times during fetal development. In other words, this mutation results in a loss of a pre-established genetic function. The odds that a random mutation would be able to disrupt such functionality are actually very good. If such a disruption in functionality is preferentially selected, it can be realized in a gene pool very quickly.

    As would be suspected, therefore, most known nonsynonymous mutations in dogs are thought to be detrimental.

    “The excess nonsynonymous changes in dogs are likely to be mainly slightly deleterious…”

    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/11/2331.full.pdf

    It is therefore quite reasonable to assume that the same thing is true for human ancestry – that we, as slowly reproducing creatures, have suffered a significant number of near-neutral detrimental mutations for each individual in each generation at a rate well beyond what can reasonably have been compensated for by natural selection.

    The potential for diversity is not enhanced by phenotypic/genetic isolation. It is reduced. – Sean Pitman

    Did you take a course in General Biology? Let me guess: your course at Southern Adventist University (your alma mater) actually skipped the chapters on evolution.

    Isolating a breed of dog from interbreeding with other breeds of dog does not enhance the future potential for phenotypic diversity of the isolated breed. The genetic potential for variability is reduced. The isolated breed is less adaptable compared to the original ancestral wild-type gene pool. If you take part of a gene pool and remove it from the larger pool of options, what you have is a reduced number of genetic options – i.e., less potential for future variability.

    The fact that novel breeds and even “species” can still be produced over time has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that detrimental mutations are building up in all slowly reproducing gene pools faster than they can be eliminated – i.e., that they are in fact headed for eventual extinction. – Sean Pitman

    A remarkable assertion. Was this God’s screw-up, that life–or at least “slowly-reproducing” life–is not sustainable?

    Does a car the wears out without constant repairs mean that the designer of the car screwed up? Without access to the tree of life, to God tuning us up on a regular basis, we all get old and die. Is this a “screw-up” on God’s part? – that our own lives, and our individual genomes, are not sustainable for very long without his input? The same is true for the overall gene pool of the human race and for all slowly-reproducing creatures.

    So, you argue that we have extremely rapid adaptive changes that promote extremely rapid divergence (as in dog breeds), which you argue occurs most rapidly in sympatry (living together) rather than in allopatry (living isolated from each other). Moreover, the buildup of detrimental mutations does not impair adaptive divergence. Amazing. Are you able to calculate when all these continually evolving races and species are scheduled to crash because of the deleterious mutations they are accumulating? Have many species already succombed due to deleterious mutations rather than other causes of extinctions (e.g., environmental change)? Can you name some examples?

    Potential variability is greater for the original wild-type vs. the pure-breed. That’s a well-established observation. The wild-type is simply better able to adapt to new environments and is less prone to disease/sickness. The buildup of near-neutral mutations need not have a significant effect on the ability to reproduce or adapt to new environments until a threshold level of detrimental change is realized.

    As far as a population appearing healthy and fully functional, but in fact being on a genomic death march, consider the following statement published by Higgins and Lynch (2000):

    “Here we have shown that accumulation of deleterious mutations may be a significant threat to large metapopulations and would be expected to exacerbate the effect of habitat loss or fragmentation on metapopulation viability… Because the decline is sudden but extinction itself still takes a while to occur, the metapopulation may be completely inviable on intermediate or long time scales, although appearing healthy on short time scales.”

    http://www.pnas.org/content/98/5/2928.full.pdf

    Predicting the time of the actual genetic “crash” is rather difficult since it is hard to known the actual level of “fitness” of a population and how long it will take near-neutral detrimental mutations to reach a threshold level which irrevocably undermines a minimum level of fitness. Some, like Sandford, generously suggest an upper limit of less than a million years. Based only on detrimental mutations in mtDNA, Loewe (2006) set a generous limit of 20 million years till human extinction. At this point, however, the only thing that can be known with a very high degree of confidence is the direction slowly reproducing species are headed… downhill.

    “Overall ToE” concerns all life forms, so if the accumulation of deleterious mutations is a problem only for slowly-reproducing species, then why is this a problem for “overall ToE?” Don’t you think you’re overstating your claims?

    If slowly reproducing creatures are headed downhill, not able to survive the proposed evolutionary time frames for their evolution, this would undermine the entire mainstream theory of evolution. This is not an overstatement by any means. A great deal would collapse for the ToE if the problem of deleterious mutations building up in slowly reproducing genomes were generally recognized.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  59. @Professor Kent:

    You’re a total, complete fraud, Sean!

    What? For asking a simple question that you seem unable to answer in a meaningful way?

    We can show you science in which adaptive mutations keep slowly reproducing creatures (like sheep and wolves) ahead of the deleterious mutations, and you dismiss them…

    That is because they are irrelevant to the question. Most adaptations are the result of Mendelian-style variation or sexual recombination of pre-existing alleles, not functionally novel mutations within the vast gene pool of pre-established phenotypic options. Those adaptations that are the result of functionally novel mutations are most often due to a quantitative change in a pre-existing system of function. And, most of these are the result of a loss, not a gain in functionality. For example, cave fish without eyes or flightless birds on windy islands gain a reproductive advantage through functionally novel mutations that block pre-existing functional systems from being expressed. Such adaptations happen very quickly because there are so many ways mutations can stop a system from working. Those adaptations that are based on truly novel systems of function (qualitatively speaking) evolving into the gene pool are much much less common and never go beyond very low levels of functional complexity.

    This is a problem because detrimental mutations build up faster than reversion or compensatory mutations can compensate for their buildup in slowly reproducing creatures – especially when you’re talking about near-neutral mutations. Sexual recombination and natural selection can compensate to a certain extent, but not fast enough to keep up with the gradual decline of the genomes of such creatures. This decline in genomic quality does not necessarily express itself in a corresponding reduction in reproductive rate or reproductive potential until a certain threshold level of detrimental mutations is reached. At this point, reproduction is affected and the population itself declines.

    In the meantime, gene pools that are slowing declining in quality will continue to function to adapt to new environments as they were originally designed to do. This continued ability for very rapid adaptation to new environments has nothing to do with the fact that the underlying gene pool is slowly devolving.

    It is YOU who fails to understand the very basics of the problem. There are tens of thousands of species, and millions of populations of these species, that have become uniquely and exquisitely adapted to their environments. They have occupied environments that were destroyed at the flood, having done so from a gene pool of only two to seven individuals. They are FAR more genetically diverse today than they were immediately after the flood, yet you insist they are all winding down, and will eventually die off from their degenerative mutations! What a crock!!! If this evidence alone does not falsify your stupid hypothesis, what will?

    You seem to be ignorant of certain key features of population genetics, the basis of adaptation, and of the problem of near-neutral mutations. The potential for diversity is not enhanced by phenotypic/genetic isolation. It is reduced. For example, the original “kind” of “wild type” dog had much greater potential for diversity than any given modern breed of dog. It is for this reason that essentially all modern breeds of dogs were rapidly produced within the last 300 years or so – because of the pre-established potential of the original gene pool for phenotypic diversity. The fact that novel breeds and even “species” can still be produced over time has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that detrimental mutations are building up in all slowly reproducing gene pools faster than they can be eliminated – i.e., that they are in fact headed for eventual extinction.

    If you want to quibble with the mechanism being natural selection, then you’d better be prepared to explain how slowly reproducing creatures not only thrive for thousands of generations, but diversify. That, or you could simply acknowledge that your hypothesis of the accumulation of deleterious mutations is meaningless, but organisms thrive quite well despite them. Why don’t you try getting real instead of simply dismissing the arguments against your stupid hypothesis with a lazy, disingenuous, “you don’t even understand the problem.”

    Because everyone who is actually familiar with the problem knows that you don’t grasp the very basics of the problem. You also assume that we humans have really been on this planet for “thousands of generations” when the Bible suggests that we have been here for less than 500 generations (given an average generation time of 20 years). The Bible also strongly suggests a decline in genetic quality… consistent with the observed detrimental mutation rate that is uncompensated for by any known natural mechanism.

    Frankly, you aren’t the least bit open to falsification of your hypothesis. You play the numbers game by citing what you think we understand about mutation rates and/or rates of selection for the very limited number of genes we have data on, but you can’t address the most basic and fundamental flaw in your argument: POPULATIONS AND SPECIES NOT ONLY PERSIST, BUT THEY DIVERSIFY AND BECOME REMARKABLY ADAPTED TO THEIR ENVIRONMENTS. Are you denying this?

    Of course I’m not denying this! What you don’t understand is that the ability to adapt and diversify has absolutely nothing to do with the gradual buildup of detrimental mutations within slowly reproducing gene pools – nothing!. Once you understand this you’ll begin to understand the significance of this problem for the overall ToE.

    What’s the point of this stupid exercise? It’s like challenging the effectiveness of straterra (atomoxetine) for Attention–Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by asking, “what’s the mechanism of action?” In reality, the answer is “unknown” (you can read the FDA label for yourself), but it’s completely irrelevant. Clinical studies demonstrate efficacy of the medication for treating ADHD.

    Humans and many other slowly-reproducing animals have had more than ample opportunities to experience “a decline in the functionality of the gene pool” and the “inevitable meltdown” you have described. And yet…they carry on, beautifully and exquisitely capable of not only reproducing, surviving, and diversifying, but thriving in the exact manner God prescribed: “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” Where did God say, “be fruitful…and die off in spite of your fruitfulness?”

    There is NOTHING Biblical or SDA in your silly argument. Nothing. It’s simply an exercise in rhetoric and trivia that you think makes you look superior in knowledge and reason. If anything, your petty argument directly contradicts scripture(Gen 1:28, Gen 5:2, Gen 8:17, Gen 9:1, Gen 9:7, Lev 26:9). The last verse in particular is relevant: “I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you.” Sorry, but humans as a species are not “winding down” as you claim.

    So, you readily admit that the answer to my question is “unknown”? – but you believe it is a non-issue anyway because slowly reproducing animals can still reproduce quite rapidly and adapt to new environments? Well, at least you admit that you don’t know how to answer my questions. You simply have faith that it isn’t an issue because of your misunderstanding of genetics.

    You simply don’t get it. Reproductive rates and the potential for adaptability can be maintained at a fairly constant level until the near-neutral mutations build up to a threshold level that actually starts to affect these abilities. Until then, everything goes on in an apparently normal fashion, masking the slow rot that is taking place in the underlying gene pool.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  60. @Professor Kent: Professor Kent: To discredit devolution of the gene pool you ask, “Was this God’s screw-up?”

    You have established that you take by faith a literal Genesis 1 in the face of evidence 100% dead against it. But is your faith stretched too far by Genesis 3, which informs of sin, death, the Fall of Man — and thus his DNA? Wouldn’t a preponderance of detrimental mutations and deterioration of the gene pool be the pivotal mechanism? Don’t Adventists blame Satan and not a screw-up by God? Yes, and don’t we have faith that man, and his DNA, shall be redeemed, and rejuvenated, by God and not screwed up? Keep the faith!

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  61. @Sean Pitman:

    Mea Culpa. I apologize, You are right. I seem to have misread your original statement as a broad questioning of the process of darwinian natural selection. I assumed incorrectly that you could envisage a mechanism to be applicable beyond the confines of its initial demonstration.

    You are absolutely correct that you have been consistent in your claim.

    “It remains, therefore, as I originally claimed – that there is no known viable mechanism for removing detrimental mutations from such slowly reproducing creatures nearly as fast as they are entering these gene pools.”

    That you are consistent however does not add to the virtue of your claim.

    “It remains, therefore, as I originally claimed – that there is no known viable mechanism for removing detrimental mutations from such slowly reproducing creatures nearly as fast as they are entering these gene pools.”

    I do not know of a mechanism beyond that of selection shown in model systems for the removal of large slowly reproducing species. I am not arrogant enough to say there is no mechanism fulfilling the criteria you have selected but I am prepared to consider it unknown.

    If you show me data that genetically all life is degenerating I will accept it but I will examine that data critically and I will compare against the other data I know on genetic evidences for a history within the genome and see it is cogent.

    I am sceptical of mathematical predictions and models which is really the basis of your and Sandfords predictions.

    To convince me you will have to provide some data. You will also need to have a model.

    Do you believe that it was only after the flood that mutations began to accumulate? Was there a mantle over the earth that protected the antedeluvians. If you assume that the mutations present in the human genome described in the 1000 genome project were not present in 2349-2348 BC all must have accumulated over the last 4360 years.

    “Each individual had 50-100 variants implicated in inherited disorders and 250-300 loss of function variants”

    This makes it likely that there are 300-400 loss of function or genetic defects. At a generation time of 20 years we should have 1.4-1.8 new mutations per generation.

    What do you predict from an egyptian mummy or a sample of tissue from 1000 years ago. You would expect essentially no defect in any open reading frames for the mummy and around 100 defective genes for the 1000 year old sample.

    Sandford has a heap of money I would have thought you could persuade him to test this.

    On of the characteristics of Mortons Demon is that it does not allow you to openly search for new information so I suspect that both you and he would not be keen on doing the science. It easier and safer to do the modelling complete with all it assumptions about the proper variables.

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  62. Sean&#032Pitman: That is because they are irrelevant to the question. Most adaptations are the result of Mendelian-style variation or sexual recombination of pre-existing alleles, not functionally novel mutations within the vast gene pool of pre-established phenotypic options.

    This is a faith-based assertion. You simply cannot establish precisely what was present or absent in an original gene pool with “pre-established phenotypic options,” so you are operating on assumptions of what “was there,” not actual data. How is your position any better than that of evolutionists?

    Sean&#032Pitman: This continued ability for very rapid adaptation to new environments has nothing to do with the fact that the underlying gene pool is slowly devolving.

    Can you spell o-x-y-m-o-r-o-n?

    Sean&#032Pitman: The potential for diversity is not enhanced by phenotypic/genetic isolation. It is reduced.

    Did you take a course in General Biology? Let me guess: your course at Southern Adventist University (your alma mater) actually skipped the chapters on evolution.

    Sean&#032Pitman: The fact that novel breeds and even “species” can still be produced over time has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that detrimental mutations are building up in all slowly reproducing gene pools faster than they can be eliminated – i.e., that they are in fact headed for eventual extinction.

    A remarkable assertion. Was this God’s screw-up, that life–or at least “slowly-reproducing” life–is not sustainable?

    Sean&#032Pitman: What you don’t understand is that the ability to adapt and diversify has absolutely nothing to do with the gradual buildup of detrimental mutations within slowly reproducing gene pools – nothing!. Once you understand this you’ll begin to understand the significance of this problem for the overall ToE.

    So, you argue that we have extremely rapid adaptive changes that promote extremely rapid divergence (as in dog breeds), which you argue occurs most rapidly in sympatry (living together) rather than in allopatry (living isolated from each other). Moreover, the buildup of detrimental mutations does not impair adaptive divergence. Amazing. Are you able to calculate when all these continually evolving races and species are scheduled to crash because of the deleterious mutations they are accumulating? Have many species already succombed due to deleterious mutations rather than other causes of extinctions (e.g., environmental change)? Can you name some examples?

    “Overall ToE” concerns all life forms, so if the accumulation of deleterious mutations is a problem only for slowly-reproducing species, then why is this a problem for “overall ToE?” Don’t you think you’re overstating your claims?

    Sean&#032Pitman: You also assume that we humans have really been on this planet for “thousands of generations” when the Bible suggests that we have been here for less than 500 generations (given an average generation time of 20 years).

    Who said anything about humans? My entire post was about non-human primates.

    Sean&#032Pitman: You simply don’t get it. Reproductive rates and the potential for adaptability can be maintained at a fairly constant level until the near-neutral mutations build up to a threshold level that actually starts to affect these abilities. Until then, everything goes on in an apparently normal fashion, masking the slow rot that is taking place in the underlying gene pool.

    So what does your “model” predict: a gradual decline in population fitness followed by extinction, or something that functions perfectly well with a sudden, precipitous extinction over one or several generations? Having such detailed knowledge with your population genetic models (which I have yet to see), surely you could tell us WHERE some specific species are in this factual “decline” that you insist exists. Dogs, for example: how close are their genomes to extinction? A few generations? Hundreds of generations? Thousands of generations?

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  63. Sean&#032Pitman: I really serves no purpose for the Adventist Church to continue to fund scientists who go around telling everyone that the best we have to support Adventist beliefs is empirically blind faith. The promotion of such a blind-faith message is equivalent to the Adventist Church shooting itself in the foot…

    This is NOT what they do, Sean. This is YOUR SPIN on what they do.

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  64. Sean&#032Pitman: This form of “speciation” may involve a situation where the exact same gene pool options are divided into two isolated groups, which then mutate independently at that point over time. Of course, I’m not talking about this type of genetic isolation. I’m talking about isolating certain specific phenotypes (and their unique underlying genotypes of course) from the original gene pool of phenotypic options – as in the isolation of various unique breeds of dog using selective breeding out from the original parental gene pool (a gene pool which has more numerous phenotypic options that does the particular selection of options that comprise a particular breed of dog). [more commentary on artificial selection in dogs followed this…]

    I don’t need a primer on allopatric speciation (I’ve taught general biology for umpteen years), but I’m pleased to see you’re up to speed on it. You can dismiss it for your purposes, but in doing so you completely ignore the key driver of diversification: natural selection. And your example of dog breeds illustrates your neglect further: there is no natural selection to balance the acculumulation of deleterious mutations.

    If you would get beyond your high-school textbook, perhaps you’d pick up on a few of these concepts?

    Couldn’t resist, could you?

    At the tertiary level, we deal with organisms subject to natural selection rather than hand-feeding, heavy petting, protective fencing, grooming, leashes, and capricious decisions about who gets to breed and who does not.

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  65. THE GRI’S FAITH AND SCIENCE MEETINGS IN BANFF

    A group of the SDA Church’s most informed scientists and theologians met recently in Banff, Cananda, to discuss issues of origins and faith. The approximately 100 participants included primarily NAD science teachers, but also GRI staff, theologians, behavioral scientists, philosophers, and students. The chief purpose of the meeting was “increased opportunity…for interdisciplinary dialogue and research, in a safe environment, among Seventh-day Adventist scholars from around the world.” The meeting was organized by the Geoscience Research Institute, which Educate Truth and its supportors have repeatedly slammed. A nice summary of the meetings is presented at Spectrum Magazine (http://tinyurl.com/3wenn5h).

    I appreciated the following statement from the article: “Conference organizers emphasized the importance of confidentiality in the proceedings: presentations represented the personal views of their authors and should not be construed as official positions or policies of any organization; unguarded statements made in the course of fruitful discussion may not accurately characterize the values and intentions of an individual; and mere participation in a ‘Faith/Science’ conference could be used to stigmatize some participants, professionally.” Can anyone imagine the need for such a statement?

    The vast majority at this meeting have no interest in engaging discourse at Educate Truth, Spectrum, or other websites that promote controversy. The individuals were, for the most part, well-informed, humble enough to concede uncertainty in interpretations, and inclusive, i.e. willing to show respect for divergent viewpoints. Some of this was encapsulated by one speaker who wished to convey the following to science teachers and their students: “1) It really does matter what you believe about origins; 2) Science is about generating ideas that have some basis in observation; 3) Scientific ideas are a progress report and must never be considered a finished product; 4) Challenges to the Biblical history of origins are balanced by challenges to the secular history of origins; 5) Decisions about belief with respect to origins cannot be based on science.

    Of course, the latter two points are completely unacceptable to Educate Truth and its supporters. As Sean Pitman opines frequently, the evidence supporting the SDA position is overwhelming (which must be taught as such in the classroom, and enforced by threat of public derision and call for termination), and belief in origins must be based on science rather than faith (because faith not backed up by science is as useless as belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Sean, were you there to voice your objections?

    Personally, I took much encouragement that some of the talks and discussion focussed on ecology and the environment. In my opinion, the Church can witness much more effectively with this message than via origins.

    Professor Kent
    Professing Christ until the whole world hears

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  66. Sean&#032Pitman: conclusion: a plant-based, whole foods diet provides tremendous health benefits over traditional American/European diets. This conclusion also appears to be supported by the fact that Seventh-day Adventists are part of the longest-lived “Blue-Zone” peoples and are the only group of long-lived people that have a mixed ethnic background. This strongly suggests a dietary component to longevity.

    Agreed.

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  67. I’ve been scanning the conversations / discussions / arguments here.

    Has anyone changed their position on the creation / evolution debate yet?

    Get to know Jesus personally (yes, it is possible) and you will have no doubt about how you came to exist. That is my simple faith. I don’t need any “science” that contradicts that.

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  68. I believe that based on all the evidence actually available in nature – the storytelling about birds come from reptiles is total fiction and so we need not worry about running away from “evidence based medicine”.

    It is only in the myth and fiction ladened mind of evoluitonists that “evidence based medicine” is hog tied to fiction about “birds coming from reptiles” so only in their minds would you have to give up medicine if you thought birds actually come from birds.

    Oh well free will being what it is – we see the T.E.s making choices and the dark and can only offer them the hints and clues they will accept of their own free will.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  69. pauluc: 4] You say “Anyone who believes in evolution in any form is greatly deceived”. This conclusion I presume is based on deep understanding of the science in this field or are you merely a reflector of other men’s thoughts? It is very easy to dismiss something of which you have no knowledge. If you do want to understand for yourself I would suggest you start by reading a book by a fine Christian gentleman David Young called “Discovering evolution” that gives the historical context for the study of the origin of species in the early 19th century.

    Why not just go to the source? Why dance around like that if you want the history?

    What did DARWIN say about evolution?

    But I had gradually come by this time, i.e. 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindus….

    By further reflecting… that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracle become, – that the men of the time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible to us,- that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events,- that they differ in many important details…

    I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation…. But I was very unwilling to give up my belief; I feel sure of this, for I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans… which confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in the Gospels. But I found it more and more difficult, with free scope given to my imagination, to invent evidence which would suffice to convince me. Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct.


    Darwin (1887) I p. 308 & [Barlow (1958)].

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  70. Jesus said that He is the Way to eternal life, to God, to redemption and also that He is Truth itself – indeed He adds that Life comes from Him for He IS “the Life”.

    There is an example of a message that “is true” even though it is not strict passive dictation of John 14:8. You are not free to say “oh no He is no” or “Well not really” or “well since it is not strict dictation – we are free to change the apparent meaning in the text”.

    Obviously.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  71. There is a storyline being fabricated here promoting the idea that our colleges were never accredited. The story seems to demand that we imagine that only our Universities are accredited. We are told that once we submit to accreditation – then we must renounce the mission that we gave the colleges to start with – cutting them loose to serve at the dictates of popular worldly opinion regarding birds coming from reptiles and who knows what else.

    Question: – who is really buying their line of storytelling on those points?

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  72. pauluc: 4] I believe as the 28 fundamentals indicate that the bible is inspired and authoritative for instruction in righteousness but is not verbally inspired. I do not accept the peculiar perspective articulated in the “Fundamentals” published from the 1920s that the bible is verbally inspired and infallible in all areas of life history and science. I do not accept this of the writings of EG White though I consider her inspired of God.

    Here again is a nonsensical argument.

    The idea that the thoughts and opinions one expresses are infallible and accurate when they come from God (under inspiration) even if their very sentence structure is not passive dictation – in no way diminishes the trust in the words of the author.

    You imply that if the very sentence is not pure dictation then the trusted thoughts and teachings conveyed are not to be trusted either and that you are free to “make stuff up” when it pleases you instead of paying attention to the text.

    Again that is total nonsense. If I hand you a one page letter on the magnetosphere and declare that the teaching there has been declared infalliblly correct via a rigorous peer reviewed process… do you then “insert whatever you like” just because it is not passive dictation in its every sentence from some other author??

    What extreme in rationalization do you adopt to arrive at such wild conclusions?

    It is more than a little apparent you are using an extreme form of “anything but the Bible” eisgesis when it comes to areas where the thoughts, teaching and words of the Bible message conflict with the atheist centric doctrines of evolutionism which you apparently have adopted “by faith alone” over the Bible.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  73. Preach the truth Faith!

    “The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.

    Who has authority to begin such a movement? We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth?” Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, pages 204, 205.

    “The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing. Those who have rendered supreme homage to “science falsely so called” will not be the leaders then. Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. In the day time we look toward heaven but do not see the stars. They are there, fixed in the firmament, but the eye cannot distinguish them. In the night we behold their genuine luster.”

         “The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness.” Ellen G. White, 5 Testimonies pages 80-81

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  74. Calvin:

    We have here a situation where the church-owned institution is allowing professors to teach material in the classroom that undermines the doctrine of the SDA church. What is at stake here is the souls of those students who attend, the survival of the beliefs of the church, and the reputation of the church itself.

    It has called forth righteous indignation on the part of those members of the SDA church who love God, His church, and the doctrines He gave us.

    Personally I believe these issues are important enough to fight for and I believe that at times we need to be soldiers of Christ and this is one of those times. We are told that if we don’t stand up and renounce error, then we are partakers of the sin.

    I would be interested to hear your suggestions on how these issues can be dealt with. We are doing the best we can.

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  75. @Faith:
    Thank you Faith for illustrating my original point much better than I could ever do.

    I do not judge my beliefs by anything other than the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. I judge my science by the conventions that has been the source of the knowledge of the world that we now possess and enjoy. I do not at all confuse the two.

    I now retreat as would any self respecting Albigensian in the face of such certitude and rightousness indignation lest I suffer their fate.

    Way to go Holly. Calvin, you should be grateful you have been so soundly rebuffed. You will not find any Grace or compassion on this site possessed as it is by an undercurrent of simmering rage.

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  76. calvin: Hello,I am a Seventy-day Adventist who happened to stumble over this site a couple months ago. I have one question. Really, what are you fighting over?Isn’t there a better way to deal with the issues that you (all) seem so torn over?

    Calvin, This site is for Seventh-day Adventists, not Seventy-day Adventists. Maybe that’s why you don’t understand what’s going on?

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  77. calvin: While I believe in freedom of speech, in my opinion much of the content on this site seems reactionary and unsettling. Who’s responsible for this site? I trust that much prayer has gone into this decision . . .

    Calvin, Where have you been over the past two years? Shane Hilde and Sean Pitman are the editors or controllers of this website, as seems to be commonly known.

    Shane has already thrown off Dr. Stone, who was deemed to unsettling for this website. Who else do you want removed?

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  78. @Faithful Disciple: Thanks for your response. To clarify
    1] I have never been an do not intend to be employed in a church educational institution. I much prefer the collegial atmosphere of a University where there is respect for other scholars and a desire to seek new knowledge and understanding without proscribing the parameters of that search.
    2] I am an SDA Christian who willingly embraces the faith of our father and acknowledges that we as Christians have many incidences in our past that can only cause the angels to weep. The incident in Beziers being one such. I see too often in that history a pattern of the desire to be right and certain at the expense of compassion and love.
    3] You are right the professors are within the employ of the SDA church that has every right to tell them exactly what to teach and to control every aspect of their life at the school but I am not sure they have the right to control every aspect of their life. There is however a quid pro quo in calling the school a university. The cost of that status is giving the scholars independence in their research and in allowing them to teaching the accepted wisdom in their field of expertise. The assurance of that University status is by accreditation by some external body. This applies to every university that is to receive government funding
    4] You say “Anyone who believes in evolution in any form is greatly deceived”. This conclusion I presume is based on deep understanding of the science in this field or are you merely a reflector of other men’s thoughts? It is very easy to dismiss something of which you have no knowledge. If you do want to understand for yourself I would suggest you start by reading a book by a fine Christian gentleman David Young called “Discovering evolution” that gives the historical context for the study of the origin of species in the early 19th century.
    Do you believe as did most scientists at the time of Carl Linnaeus in the late 18th century that God is continually creating new species to account for the huge variety of species? Do you believe that there has been a process of hyper-evolution from the pair or 7 pairs of animals that emerged from the ark to give the diversity of life some 4000 years later?
    5] I do not fault you in wanting to limit academic freedom in Adventist schools but I do ask you to recognize that you cannot have an accredited university and so do.
    6] I do not have disdain for a bible college any more than I can fault the function of implementation of a Madrasas. They have an important function in imparting a body of defined knowledge and understanding but they serve a much different purpose than a University which is concerned with expanding and creating knowledge. Out of fear of the unknown you are quite welcome to eschew the risk associated with academic freedom and the process of science but for consistency you should then also avoid the products of that science much as the Amish do. In this Adventism is in a bit of a bind since it places great stock on health and higher education. Do you want to go back to the 1864 water treatments as the pinnacle of health care?
    6] I have academic freedom in my institution. I am a scientist with a PhD in immunogenetics. I can teach whatever I want including creation science but I will be judged on certain criteria. Have I subjected my ideas to peer review by publication? Have I presented it to my peers for criticism in an open forum at national and international meetings. Do others cite my work? Can I provide the data to support my ideas. Is my hypothesis convincing and am I active in a research program to test these ideas. If one wants to do science you must follow these rules of engagement; experimental hypothesis testing. Academics at Adventists Universities know these things. They also know that creation by divine fiat as a scientific explanation rather than a faith position was rejected more than a 150 years ago. I suspect they are struggling now to avoid perjuring themselves on questions of scientific origins while maintaining the Adventist tradition of God as creator and faith in Jesus. Sites like this that follow the no holds barred tradition of Arnaud Amalric do not make it easy. It seems you would rather have in Adventist colleges people who willingly tell lies for God or are willingly ignorant as the source of your scientific knowledge.

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  79. @David Read: Thanks for the invitation to respond.
    1] The papal legate Arnaud Amalric to whom this phrase is attributed was I am certain a Godly man who was dedicated to defending the truth that he knew for certain just as those on this site seek to do.
    2] Those defending the status quo did not at that time at all sympathisize with the heresies of the Cathars (or Albigensians as they seem to have been known in the languedoc region of France).
    3] The papal forces were persecuting those who EG White in the GC pg 271 called “witnesses for the truth”. The rub is that I think most Christians and certainly Adventist now would accept the Albigenses were unorthodox in their views particularly in their gnostic view that there was a pure God who demanded our worship and an evil physical world created by the Rex Mundi the “God of this world” who had equal status. That does resonate somewhat with your own view that the world we see now reflects the corrupt creative power of the devil.
    4] The papal forces at that time like the supporters of the status quo today did not understand that the search for truth that EG White recognized in the heresy of the reformation could possibly be from God and sought only to eliminate it without consideration.
    5] I would certainly concede that I do not think that those on this site are asking to burn people at the stake but the sentiment is notheless the same as that of Arnaud Amalric. There is little concern for the grace and compassion or understanding that I find in the Gospels.
    6] Just as the Papal forces did not understand the reformation or if they did they falsely characterized their supposed adversaries, here I find the same lack of willingness to address the very real questions and difficulties that exist and instead provide simplistic characterizations and platitudes. It is easier to simply eliminate the alternative views than to consider the merit.

    Take one statement from the last post; “this board defending the teaching of evolution (as truth and fact) in our schools” Is this really what the board is doing? Ambition by the church for recognition has resulted in the desire to have a University. In aspiring to this status there are certain obligations which the board is struggling to fulfil. To understand these one has to understand that a University is a collection of independent scholars that are a source of new knowledge and understanding and that academic tradition cannot exist without the ability to pursue new ideas and understanding in any field; ie academic freedom. I think that you do understand this as evident by your call for downgrading the status of LSU from an accredited university to a bible college that is not at all beholden to any secular authority. This is quite consistent with your desire that the school is directly controlled in every way by the church that is charged with seeing that the University does not depart in any way from the orthodoxy of historical Adventism. This however will have implications in terms of LSU as a school that can provide degrees and pre-medical training for LLU or any other accredited medical school but I am sure this is of little concern and that you will next want to roll back the status of LLU from a University conferring medical degrees back to its original God given incarnation as a college of medical evangelism. The sacrifice I am sure will be worth it in that you will be as true to your understanding as a needle is to the pole.
    In taking on this mission from God I think you are truly acting in the tradition of Arnaud Amalric.

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  80. @Holly Pham:

    Thanks for the correction. But based on the tone of your response I suspect this site is not for individuals who would dare type an incorrect letter in “Seventh-day”.

    “Calvin, This site is for Seventh-day Adventists, not Seventy-day Adventists. Maybe that’s why you don’t understand what’s going on?” – Extremely disappointed that you would jump to such a conclusion – very sad day for our church – – – shame on you . . .

    By the way thank you Faith.

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  81. @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.

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  82. Charles said…..

    “I suspect that those on this board defending the teaching of evolution (as truth and fact) in our schools have little regard for what EGW has written.”

    Charles, you and I know they have “little regard” for EGW in the church today.

    A lot of lip service and duplicity akin to what is happening with the LSU situation.

    I am not sure where we should go morally in this present situation. But I do know that there can and will come a time when we must necessarily seperate from apostacy or be held accountable ourselves for what other teach and embrace.

    I assume we freely chose to join the church of our choice with the understanding that it would continue to represent our own personal understanding of truth. So, just as “the church” can seperate us from its communion if “the church” feels we no longer represent its doctrine and teaching, we in turn must also place the church on trial and probation with the same goal in mind.

    “Can two walk together except they be agreed?”

    The only question now is this. At what point must there be a seperation? The church is not a civil society where we are born into membership. We are citizens by birth into our country. This does not apply to religion.

    Can we honestly “call people out of Babylon” to join us if we are becoming “Babylon” ourselves? Some would like to avoid any decision with the hope they need not make any moral decision concerning these issues.

    Today, Adventism is so fragmented and we are in a major identity crisis. Consider this, independent ministries are not officially accountable to the organized church. Amazing Facts, 3ABN, and a host of others do not make members of their organization.

    You have no official say so in anything they do. In a technical way, we do have a say so in the SDA church because we are official members. Not so of any independent ministry. So, we may have no practical influence in the church, but on the official and technical side, we do.

    It would seem the only viable conclusion is this, God will create the final Christian community as the Holy Spirit works through the bible. Christanity has always been a loose knit fellowship by way of human standards and social communion. But a close knit fellowship by way of the bible.

    Not only has EGW been ignored by church leadership for the most part, the same can be said about their attitude concerning scripture. Scripture has been wrested again and again from its biblical context and meaning. All with the purpose of defending the liberal agenda in the church today.

    “Judge not that ye be not judged” now means we have no standards to determine who is qualifed to be a church member. For if we apply standards, we are ipso facto judging. This meaning is so far from the biblical norm, it has no affinity to scriptural meaning and application. Yet, it is repeated again and again to support a false meaning to avoid discipline.

    This in and of itself is enough to condemn “the church” of ignorance and apostacy and spiritual blindness. One final comment. Sin can not heal itself. Nor can false ideas and teaching support and strengthen a church community.

    Unless there is true repentance, the outcome is certain failure.

    Hope you all have a happy Sabbath.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen

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  83. Adventist&#032kid: Let’s remember that La Sierra is first, and foremost, an accredited university. The church chose to take this route. As such, the standards that are expected of accredited schools are the primary standards the school should seek to uphold.

    Let us “wildly imagine” for a sec that the Adventist denomination decide to cut loose LSU from its role in owning and operating LSU and set it adrift to be the best possible pubulic university that Adventist tuition, tithe, offering and gift dollars could buy. No more worries about the school actually training for and representing the SDA world view.

    Now LSU’s new “masters” are the public university overlords, public opinion polls, whatever the latest storytelling is among evolutionists – et al to use and do with as they please.

    Suppose our ownly goal was to provide those entities with the best possible university campus to do with as they pleased.

    Well then EducateTruth would be focussing all of its time on the SDA adminstrators that blindly chose such a path and not only the school that would now be cut loose from SDA management and oversight.

    And while that alternate reality came may be fun for some people to buy (those who wish to see our schools divorced from the church that created them) not everyone here is going to enjoy or buy that form of alternate reality.

    Revisionist histories being what they are.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  84. @David Read:

    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.”

    Giving a booth to any group or organization at our own GC sessions is certainly viewed as a form of endorsement by most people. I personally have to agree that it is very unwise of the GC to give valuable space at our own GC sessions to organizations that are most active in undermining the fundamentals of the SDA Church (while not giving space to supportive groups like ARISE). Why not give our own booth space to the Catholic Church or even to Richard Dawkins for that matter?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  85. “You can fool some of the people some of the time. You can fool all the people some of the time. But you can not fool all the people, all the time.”

    Politics, money, Pluralism, and duplicity has been church policy for the last few decades.

    Theological ignorance has played a significant role in what has developed and manifested itself by the church endorsing the celebration movement, women’s ordination, music, dress and the whole nine yards.

    Anybody knows that what you allow, is what you endorse when you do not raise a protest and use your authority and influence to stop it.

    Can the church be saved to do what God originally intended? I don’t know. I do know it can’t and won’t be saved unless enough authoritive and influencial people do something besides “cry and sigh”.

    It is a “God size problem”, but He has never “forced” any instrumentality to do His will. If He could or would, there never would have been a rebellion in heaven.

    Free will carries a heavy responsibility. And this is what the great controversy is all about. So I say to our leaders, if you don’t want to do the job, don’t take it.

    Have you never read of the terrible retribution of God on the false leaders who lead people astray? Do you not fear God? Or do you, like the liberal forums, give each other massive doses of affirmation of “I’m OK, you’re OK?”

    Like many of you, I personally work to build up the SDA faith in the world and in the church. But I am not persuaded of the subtle “unconditional election” of the church that some of you seem to endorse.

    This attitude has destroyed God’s people again and again in the past. Why do we think we are immune? It creates a carnal attitude of indifference that is clearly reflected in the church community today.

    Jewelry was a sin in the past. But the church has spoken. How we dress in church was related to sin in the past. Not today.

    You know and I know many simply say, “Well, the church has decided.” As though this lets them off the hook to make a moral decision on their own.

    As may discern, I am not “the favorite son of the church” where I attend. Maybe they tolerate me because I support it financially.

    And let me conclude by saying, I am a happy Christian. I love Jesus and for the most part, I am often “about my Father’s business.”

    I hope you are too.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen

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  86. Pauluc:

    Just so you know, you were addressing my arguments, not Faithful Disciple’s. His was a series of very good quotations from the SOP.

    “1] I have never been an do not intend to be employed in a church educational institution.”

    Thank God for that.

    “Have I subjected my ideas to peer review by publication? Have I presented it to my peers for criticism in an open forum at national and international meetings. Do others cite my work? Can I provide the data to support my ideas. Is my hypothesis convincing and am I active in a research program to test these ideas. If one wants to do science you must follow these rules of engagement; experimental hypothesis testing. Academics at Adventists Universities know these things. ”

    Again you make it plain that you judge your beliefs on what man accepts or rejects with no reference to God. You think you are an SDA? No true SDA puts the opinions of men above the Word of God. We are “the people of the Book”, a reputation we earned because we base our beliefs on the Bible.

    You seem to think that because you have a PhD, that you are able to make all the rules–providing, of course, all your other little Phd friends agree with you. What an empty, sad little world you must live in.

    Those of us without Phds (and some with Phds who have not become so self-inflated) tend to put our confidence in God and His word. I believe that is what Jesus referred to when He said, “Except ye be as little children…”
    We aren’t supposed to be a bunch of puffed up, self-important, worldly-minded individuals. We are supposed to be humble believers in God and His word. You might try that sometime.

    “The cost of that status is giving the scholars independence in their research and in allowing them to teaching the accepted wisdom in their field of expertise.”

    No it isn’t. Just because we call our institutions “universities” doesn’t give the “scholars” any right to teach whatever they like.

    And if that is the case (and I am not saying it is) it would be far better for us to retreat to the term “college” than to be said by those that have wandered so far astray that they believe an obvious lie.

    “I can teach whatever I want including creation science…”

    Yea, right. You know full well that your “peers” that you consider so wonderfully important wouldn’t give Creation the time of day and it wouldn’t be included in any peer-reviewed literature, so you feel safe in making such a purposely misleading statement.

    I still can’t get over how supposedly educated people give their wills and consciences over to mere men rather than looking to God. Apparently there IS such a thing as too much education.

    “experimental hypothesis testing.”

    Since you can’t construct any experiment to prove the theory of evolution, it would follow that it could not be considered science. But the scientific community has decided to just go ahead and call it science because they want to. Not very scientific and not adhering to the very rules you proclaim as necessary to the proof and acceptance of a hypothesis.

    Excuse me for making an observation, but you people talk out of both sides of your faces.

    None of us true, Bible-believing SDAs are impressed.

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  87. Pauluc:

    Faith here–the one you directed your remark to earlier to open the door to the opportunity to post the above statement. (Though why you felt you needed to use such a ploy is beyond me.)

    Apparently you are one of the “progressives” and, it wouldn’t surprise me if you were one of the professors.

    In the name of “academic freedom” you seem to be prepared to concede any and all of the principles that the SDA church is founded upon like they have no value. Well, here’s a flash for you: these principles were a gift from God Himself, and are to be used in every aspect of our lives–including education.

    “…one has to understand that a University is a collection of independent scholars that are a source of new knowledge and understanding and that academic tradition cannot exist without the ability to pursue new ideas and understanding in any field; ie academic freedom.”

    As the professors are in the employ of the SDA church it is their bounden duty to uphold the principles of their employer–not subversively teach the opposite. They don’t have the right to decide for the whole church what is acceptable and what is not–they are not independant scholars. And what makes a “scholar” anyway? They are only people who have imbibed information from someone else. They are not God-inspired, unless they learned at His feet. So, unlike so many people around the universities, I don’t consider them a bit better than any of the rest of us. As SDA Christians, we have a higher standard; God is to be our source of all knowledge, not some pompous, self-inflated graduated student of the world that has slurped up worldly knowledge and now thinks they are like some demi-god who knows it all.

    Anyone who believes in evolution in any form (TE included) is greatly deceived. It does not fit the character of God in any way, shape, or form. It limits His power, and deprives Him of the glory and honor He so richly deserves. Obviously, as any thinking Christian can see, this fits into Satan’s agenda. For millenia he has tried to take away the honor and glory from God–and evolution is a marvelous way to do just that.

    You criticize us on this site because you think we have no right to limit your definition of “academic freedom”. If you want the freedom to believe a lie–you have it–God gave it to you. However, He does not give you the freedom to teach this lie within the church institution that He established. If you want to teach it (or have it taught to you), go to the public universities who teach it ad nauseum.

    I notice that the people who come on this site touting “academic freedom” usually show themselves to be worshiping education and self rather than God. They give no glory to Him as their Creator. They care not what He wants. They feel free to make all judgment calls without reference to God or His church. Apparently they feel they are more qualified by their vast education to make the decisions themselves. They seem to feel they are smarter than God Himself. They look down their noses at the general membership of the SDA church because we are apparently (to them) not intelligent enough to understand or know what is really going on. They seem to be filled with self.

    These qualities are so obviously anti-Christian, that it leaves one to wonder why they want anything to do with a church-owned and operated institution in the first place. Anyone who does not subscribe to SDA standards and principles is certainly free to go elsewhere. They are NOT free to attempt to change our church from the inside out.

    I notice that there is much disdain for the idea of a Bible college among these same people. Yet that is what our institutions started out to be. Those involved in these institutions are now so anxious to pattern our institutions (and themselves, for that matter) after the world, that they want to hijack them out from under the church (that they also apparently disdain.) You do realize that is stealing, don’t you? And theft comes with penalties both on this earth and the next.

    The institutions belong to the church–not the faculty, employees, board members, or administrators. Nor do these people have any right to do as they please, without reference to the church, in the discharge of the duties they accepted on behalf of the church.

    You want academic freedom? Try getting it at any public college–even they have their limits. I daresay if you tried to teach Creation at a public university, you would soon see just how much academic freedom you really have there. I happen to know that you are not allowed to mention God in public colleges and universities, yet there is no problem with freely discussing spiritualism–and, in truth, it is often taught as bona fide courses within these institutions. Nowadays it is unsafe for our youth to attend these places–and now you want to make our institutions just as unsafe in the name of academic freedom? Please.

    Just for the record–the board has a right to uphold the principles of the church–not provide the professors the right to undermine them.

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  88. And who doesn’t know that Fritz Guy has always been a part of AAF and Spectrum for decades? As well as many other liberal thought leaders who had tremendous influence in our higher schools of learning.

    Now, all the sudden, “What a tragic development in our colleges and universities that evolution should be so highly respected and even advocated and taught?”

    And who is responsible? A lame leadership that has for years been far more interested in unity and politics than truth and righteousness.

    If Cliff Goldstein wants to make a statement, let him stand up and put everything on the line for Jesus. His job, his reputation, and his influence in the church. Let him point his finger the true cause of the evils in the church today.

    Remember his book, “False Balances”? Lost in the shuffle somewhere, eh?

    And by the way, I respect Cliff’s theological positions on many levels. But “theology” is worthless without a dynamic application.

    What good would Luther be if he only pointed out church errors but did nothing dynamic to implement his findings? More than a few agreed with Luther who were not about to put anything on the line to support him.

    Erasmus made it clear to Luther that he agreed, but was quick to say, “Don’t compromise me in any way with your teaching and theology.”

    That is, he valued his sweet position in the church above truth and righteousness. And Father Staupitz manifested the same attitude when Luther urged him to make a decision and support the truth. He responded, “I can not choose to destroy my church.”

    It was always, “Church above Christ.” And it can only be interpreted, “Me above Jesus.”

    True believers understand the words of EGW, “Truth is more precious than all besides.”

    The teaching of evolution and every other false doctrine is a certainty. When those in responsible positions refuse to “do their job” for the sake of comfort, ease and political expediency.

    “The curse causeless shall not come.”
    Solomon

    Bill Sorensen

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  89. @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.

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  90. Let’s remember that La Sierra is first, and foremost, an accredited university. The church chose to take this route. As such, the standards that are expected of accredited schools are the primary standards the school should seek to uphold.

    Only after the standards expected of Universities are met, do any church standards come into play, and then only to complement those. The same goes for every other church-owned accredited school in the United States, Adventist or not.

    As such, the teachers at any of our schools are first employees of an accredited school of higher knowledge, where it is their duty and obligation to pursue knowledge, wherever it may lead, whether or not it is popular in the school’s constituency.

    If you don’t like this, feel free to advocate that Adventist schools refuse regional accreditation. But if you’re going to do that, feel free to go ahead and argue that they be shut down, since students are not interested in going to non-accredited institutions.

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