Comment on Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’ by OTNT_Believer.
This is like saying that, â€œWe know that there is overwhelming scientific evidence for a spherical Earth, but we still support the Flat-Earth position because of â€˜faithâ€™ in our Good Book which says that the Earth is flat. Therefore, we are going to keep teaching that the Flat-Earth position is scientifically untenable while continuing to urge our students to believe in a flat Earth anyway based on faith in the Good Book for which there really is no reasonable empirical evidence. How do we know that the overwhelming scientific evidence is wrong and that our Good Book is right? Again, we simply have faith that is not open to testing or potential falsification by mere empirical observations.â€
Okay, so does this mean that if the overwhelming weight of the evidence at some point tips in the direction of a localized flood that you would then gladly change your beliefs in that area? Or would you still keep saying that the overwhelming scientific evidence supports a worldwide flood in such a case? Or would you do like Leonard Brand has done and admit that the “current” evidence is largely against our interpretation, but express a faith that given time more evidence in our favor will be found.
I see your position on the worldwide flood as rather unique among SDA apologists with whom I am acquainted. Essentially all of the ones I know personally, and even those I only know casually, openly admit that there are numerous problems with the physical evidence for a worldwide flood, and yet, they maintain a belief in it (or at least an open mind) expressing faith that if we keep studying the problems we will eventually find enough evidence to support the historicity of a worldwide flood.
Of course, you seem to be saying in a number of your comments that such individuals should then disqualify themselves as professors at SDA schools. Are you saying that even professors like Brand should resign because they cannot unequivocally state the case for overwhelming scientific support in favor of a workdwide flood?
And please don’t broaden my comment here to encompass creation issues. I know you don’t see belief in creation and the flood as separate issues, but again, based on what I know about other’s beliefs in this area, you are again a bit unique. Many SDA biologists are well aware that the flood is used by a vast number of lay people in the church as a way to explain the fossil record, while also being well aware of how many problems there are in such explanations. Consequently, there are many, again a number that I know personally, who are more open-minded about reevaluating our interpretation of the Genesis flood, while maintaining a much more solid belief in a literal, short term creation. Just because you cannot conceive of someone believing in the literal creation week while rejecting a worldwide flood, do not just assume that such a belief system cannot exist.
You may also see this as a “slippery slope” issue, which I see as a bit of an unfair characterization. If we never move downslope, we would never change or refine our beliefs. The very same argument was used against Galileo. Even though the church at the time was obviously heavily influenced by the ideas of Aristotle, they did consider the Bible as supporting their geocentric view of the universe.
So, please know that my comments are in reference to just the flood, not other creation issues.
OTNT_Believer Also Commented
Why the cold feet gentleman? Why the protective mantra? Iâ€™m dismayed at this.
Debates are a normal, active, dynamic part of life. Letâ€™s not pre-judge or worry about the outcome.
I’m not worried about the outcome, I’m just enough of a cynic to believe that debates are about putting on a show, not sharing truth. Proof of that is what is made of debates after the fact. Often, both sides claim to have won, and whoever is able to make up the best story about the debate controls the future narrative, regardless what was actually debated. Case in point is the Huxley/Wilberforce creation/evolution debates. Most people nowadays believe Huxley won, some people at the time thought Wilberforce won, and i think we all lost. 🙂
Does anyone seriously believe Jesus or Ellen White would condone a debate? (Quote)
I too think this is a bad idea, although it might be a good way for Sean to show off a bit. 😉 From my experience, debates are more about entertainment (for those who enjoy such) and scoring points for your side. Few minds get changed. I also seem to recall some rather negative statements about public debates by EGW.
Iâ€™m continually disturbed by the â€œrequirementsâ€ everyone seems to quarrel over regarding what it takes to be an â€œAdventist.â€ Itâ€™s tragic, really. There was a time when Church members used to praise anyone who had a connection to Adventismâ€“Paul Harvey, for example (who often attended an SDA Church with his wife, but neither were ever baptized)â€“without erecting obstacles such as fidelity to FB # such-and-such. God could use virtually anyone to further along His kingdom.
Now, now prof. You know Seanis going to get you for this statement. Being a member of the church is not dependent on FB#6, but you better believe it as Sean does if you want to pastor or teach in the church. 😉 So, Paul Harvey is great, but if he wanted to teach in one of our colleges, forget it, unless he professes unequivocal belief in FB#6 (oh, and he would need to get baptized).
Recent Comments by OTNT_Believer
Why those who hate the Bible love blind-faith Christians
Sean, I think that what you say above mischaracterizes those who disagree with you on the “weight of the evidence” issue. At least for me, and for others who have opposed your dogmatic stance, I can see a lot of evidence that life was created by God. In fact, I see the weight of the evidence in favor of creation, considering the fact that evolutionists have absolutely no idea how the first life might have arisen. They flail about with various untenable ideas, and even bring in a concept like the multiverse to solve the intactable problems of probability for eaven the essential molecules of life arising on their own. On this bit of empirical alone there is very strong support for a belief in the Bible or the Koran. And don’t forget that the Koran comes from the same tradition, to some extent, as the Bible, not that I am advocating its acceptance as Holy writ.
I also am not saying there is NO evidence for a worldwide flood or a recent, literal creation, I just don’t see the evidence as overwhelming. A lot of the so-called evidence you and others committed to a literal interpretation of Genesis use is dependent on a variety of assumptions which may be true, but cannot be supported unequivocally. So, I do see some evidence for the traditional SDA position, but am, I hope, honest enough intellectually, to recognize the many things that are uncertain. On the flip side, I see many problems with the traditional evolutionist views too, which is evidence, albeit weak, for other alternatives, including the traditional SDA model.
There is also a variety of other empirical evidence for the Bible, miuch it from fulfilled prophecies and historical corroboration. Although there are some discrepancies between secular and Biblical history, there is enough agreement to support such things as Jesus being a real historical figure and the origins of the Jewish people. Even the Koran provides corroborating evidence for the historicity of Abraham and the early patriarchs. And the Bible is pretty unique in this regard, as the holy texts from say Hinduism or Buddhism show little parallel with secular history and, in fact, tend to be more metaphysically oriented than the Bible.
So, do i believe in the Bible by blind faith? Absolutely not! There is ample empirical evidence to believe that it is the Word of God. What I find problematic is taking evidence that is so marginal scientifically, that were I to present some of the evidence you tout so proudly, i would be laughed at. On the other hand, any honest atheist knows how shaky their belief system is when it comes to the origin of life, so i can bring that up and be taken at least a little more seriously. I can even bring up Intelligent Design, which opponents often do laugh at, because I can see clear scientific principles that tell me that ID is real science. I think evolutionists mainly fault ID because they don’t like the conclusions it makes if something is shown to be intelligently designed, but at least with intelligent design it is theoretical and mathematically based.
So, please don’t keep accusing some of us who simply don’t see your evidence convincing as operating on blind faith. Nothing is farther from the truth.
Even if God has directly appeared to you, visually, and audibly talked to you, such overwhelming empirical evidence would be great for you, personally, but what about when it comes to sharing your faith with someone else? You canâ€™t transfer your own personal experience with God to someone else. What then can you do? You must appeal to something that both of you share â€“ i.e., access to the same empirical evidence.
Wow, Sean, I canâ€™t even believe you would say this. All believers have access to this kind of evidence and my sharing my personal testimony is part of spreading the faith. This is so foundational to Christianity that I hardly feel it needs repeating! So what if I can tell someone, in detail, how the geologic and biological data all around us are in total harmony with the Bible, if I cannot point others to what Jesus has done in my own life. I donâ€™t know what else to say.
You seem to be caught up in the age old faith vs. reason debate, and you are coming down on the side of reason is of first importance, and without overwhelming empirical, science-based, physical evidence, faith is impossible. Wow! I am so glad you are so confident about the evidence, because that appears to be all you have.
You do realize that God most certainly answers prayers for Hindus, Muslims, Latter-day Saints, etcâ€¦ right? An answer to prayer is not, however, evidence that the individualâ€™s view on this or that Holy Book is really valid. Your answered prayers, and mine as well, seem to be very good evidence of the existence of a God or God-like presence in the universe. However, evidence for the existence of God, by itself, is not evidence for the Bible being the true Word of God, much less the SDA interpretation of the Bible being the most valid interpretation.
Really, now, God honors people of other religions, even non-Christian ones? The next thing youâ€™re going to tell me is that people from these other religions are going to be saved too! I guess that shows how important it is to be right about which Holy book is the right one. I am reminded of a quote by Leonard Sweet, â€œItâ€™s the same truth whether from the mouth of Jesus or the ass of Balaam.â€ What all this tells me is that God is overwhelmingly interested in having a relationship with me, even if I donâ€™t quite have the exactly right picture of Him. And isnâ€™t this the message we want our young people to hear?
Just to be a bit outrageous for a moment, let me suggest that we leave the SDA FB#6 just as it currently is, or better, simply take the exact words as they appear in the Bible, without our interpretation of those words. Then, let all members interpret the exact meaning of those words for themselves. If a member chooses to believe that God created the world via some sort of directed evolutionary process, then fine, as long as they see Him as the creator, and as long as they continue to hold the Sabbath as sacred (It is in our name, donâ€™t you know!)
With that in mind, letâ€™s now suggest that college professors, in the long tradition of academia, be required to cover all the facets of creation and evolution, including what evidence (or lack of) there is for these competing world views. In the tradition of academia, the professor is required to be as objective as possible in this process and should not unduly push her students to believe exactly as she does. This, of course, would mean that the professors at LSU may deserve some censure and redirecting, which I think has happened there, but would not require firing such individuals unless they continue to refuse to teach as required. Along with this, because we are talking about SDA schools, the professor must make the environment supportive for the most conservative interpretations of FB#6, but should also be supportive even of those students who may be atheists.
I make this suggestion, as outrageous as it may sound, because I have been around the church enough to know 1) that there is a diversity of belief regarding creation among our members, 2) that the majority of members could care less exactly how FB#6 is interpreted by others in the church, and 3) that most members believe in the more conservative interpretation of FB#6 and will continue to do so regardless of what you or I or a college professor may say or not say. A college education is not so much for the indoctrination of our young people, as it is for an expanding of their vision of the world from the SDA perspective. part of that is realizing what a diverse church we are.
I have known a few professors, not biology professors, at a few of our institutions which were overtly outspoken about their beliefs in theistic evolution. I have heard some complaints from students who were in these professorsâ€™ classes. For the most part those who knew them just tended to ignore their unorthodox views and let it be. I have been troubled in the past over some of these individuals, but as I saw the limited effects they had over the years, I have come to conclude that little damage was done. In fact, I believe more damage would have been done had these individuals been publicly confronted and fired.
Believe it or not, Sean, there are people in our church who are very committed, vibrant, active members of the SDA church who are theistic evolutionists. I also believe that some of our young people fall into this category. If we weed out all our professors who just might believe a little differently than the party line, where will these students find leaders that can relate to them, that can be examples for them. Their faith could be much more easily shaken if we marginalize those, whether professors or students, who believe a little differently. Of course, you might say, such individuals would be better off in another church. How callous! What other church believes that the Sabbath is the Seventh Day and that the Lord is returning soon? Seventh-Day Baptists maybe? Donâ€™t forget, there are social reasons to stay as an SDA too and these are totally valid. We worship as a community for a reason. We are social beings. Many who have grown up in the church would find their faith uprooted if they needed to leave the church.
Letâ€™s not forget the reason for this site in the first place, to bring the situation at LSU to the attention of the church and its leaders. That has been accomplished. The second reason for this site to continue to exist would seem to me to be a place to discuss the issues, which should avoid continuing to crucify those professors or leaders that, in your opinion, are teaching falsely. Paul wrote two letters to the church in Corinth and then let the leaders deal with it. I doubt they did a perfect job, but Paul did not continue to rail against them. Maybe ET should do the same.
My answer: it wouldnâ€™t affect my faith whatsoever. I spend time daily with God and I KNOW that He can be trusted, regardless of what modern science has to say. I would remain a steadfast believer of scripture, a devoted Christian, and a proud Seventh-day Adventist.
I can hardly believe that Seventh-day Adventists actually belittle the faith of other believers in the name of â€œpresent truth.â€ How very strange. Iâ€™m keenly disappointed that most individuals here, including you, condone rather than condemn Sean Pitmanâ€™s belief system and actions.
I haven;t been asked this question, but I agree 100% with the good Professor’s answer. The strongest evidence I have that my belief in God and the Bible is real is my own personal experience with God. He has answered prayers many a time and I have sensed His presence at many critical points in my life. If I were to discover that when the Genesis account says “the waters covered the whole earth” (my paraphrase) should be historically interpreted as a local event, that would not change my faith in God or His word one iota. Even if the literal nature of the creation story were to be proven to have been a series of events over thousands or millions of years, this would not change my faith in God or His word, or even my belief in the Sabbath. Were such things to change my faith I would have to turn my back on a lifetime of personal, relational evidence that God has been at work in my life.
How many Fundamental Beliefs of the religious community of His day did Jesus violate? Just compare Jesus’ actions with the Levitical laws the Pharisees held so dearly, and He comes off pretty badly. In every case where Jesus appeared to have broken the law, it was because He valued the person and the relationship over the the man-made interpretations of the law.
Would I rather have someone like Dr. Ness, whose students, both current and former, overwhelmingly supported him as a devoted and caring Christian teach my kids? Or would you rather have someone like Sean Pitman, who is adherent to the SDA fundamental beliefs to the nth degree (although there seems to be some question concerning FB#1) who frequently displays a judgmental and combative spirit teach my kids? How many of our young people would be able to stand up to the battering they might receive from some of the stronger personalities battling for the SDA fundamental beliefs in creation as they see them? I know enough of our SDA students to say that we might well lose many more were this the kind of teaching they were to receive.
I’m sorry, but my faith is too important to be put in the hands of science.
How to you correlate that with the biblical account?Or do you consider the biblical account as pure myth, with no factual data? If so, why consider that the biblical account refers to any kind of literal flood?Just wondering â€¦ (Quote)
Thatâ€™s a good question. I do not consider the flood account as pure myth, or as a myth at all. All I said was I believe that the flood is a local event
Then you are using an extreme form of eisegesis to bend the text to the usages of evolutionism.
When I say â€œGod saidâ€ I refer to the fact that the Bible is to be accepted by Seventh-day Adventist Christians as the Word of God.
I would hardly call attempting to interpret the meaning of the word â€œearthâ€ as anything but the â€œwhole earthâ€ â€œbending the text.â€ The Hebrew word in question (From Strongs) is:
From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land): – X common, country, earth, field, ground, land, X nations, way, + wilderness, world.
It is a word used for a lot of things from local to probably global (although the ancientsâ€™ understanding of â€œglobalâ€ is not completely certain, let along precisely what the writers of Genesis might know of the â€œwhole earth.â€ At any rate, there are quite a number of texts that use the term â€œwhole earth.â€ Many of these texts could be interpreted either in a local or global sense (and many are ambiguous in context). But below I list, after the couple of texts in Genesis, several texts that clearly are better interpreted in a local sense, as they would have little meaning in a global sense. So, given the broad use of the phrase â€œwhole earthâ€ it hardly seems extreme to suggest that the use of the phrase in Genesis could be a local usage, especially in light of the probable ignorance of those in the Middle East of the literal â€œwhole earth.â€
Of course, interpretation is not really the point to Sean and his supporters here. It has to be literally worldwide or they see themselves losing the one possible explanation of the fossil record that they think shows a recent, literal creation. I donâ€™t think our interpretation of the flood account should be encumbered in this way. A worldwide flood doesnâ€™t explain the fossil record very well anyway, and the fact that young life creationists â€œneedâ€ a worldwide flood should not inform our interpretation of the Biblical record.
And just for the record, I donâ€™t see interpreting the Genesis Flood as a local event as questioning the sacredness of the Bible or the accuracy of its writers. I am talking about interpretation of the text. Interpreting a text in a manner that may be different than the traditional SDA approach hardly constitutes questioning the authenticity or accuracy of the Bible. I just question a dogmatic interpretational approach to the Bible.
(Gen 8:9) But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
(Gen 9:19) These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
(Exo 10:15) For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.
(Psa 48:2) Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
(Jer 50:23) How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!
(Jer 51:41) How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!
(Lam 2:15) All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?
(Eze 32:4) Then will I leave thee upon the land, I will cast thee forth upon the open field, and will cause all the fowls of the heaven to remain upon thee, and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with thee.
(Dan 8:5) And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
Mainstream evolutionists claim that dinosaurs existed and then died out tens of millions of years ago. They also claim and have claimed for some time that soft tissues decay rather rapidly â€“ using real time demonstrations and predictions based on kinetic chemistry. Kinetic calculations predict that DNA and protein sequences will survive for no more than 10 kyr in temperate regions and for a maximum of 100 kyr at colder latitudes owing to hydrolytic damage (Poinar et al. 1996; Smith et al. 2001). Even under ideal conditions sequencable proteins and DNA are thought to be able to remain intact beyond a million years.
Then, by lucky accident, Mary Schweitzer discovers soft, flexible, soft tissues, blood vessels, and blood cells, with intact sequencable proteins, inside dinosaur bones that are supposed to be 65-80 million years old.
By everyoneâ€™s admission, such a find would have been judged to have been scientifically impossible beforehand.
I have never claimed there is no scientific evidence consistent with our SDA beliefs, I was simply saying (apparently poorly) that the evidence is scant. Even this example you bring up about DNA constitutes little more than some tantalizing new data that adds a little bit of doubt to the long ages proposed by evolutionists. The problem is there is scientifically plausible explanations for how DNA, as very small fragments, could last for several 100kyr. Keep in mind too that DNA any older than a few 10kyr are still debatable by evolutionists themselves. There have been problems with contamination and ambiguous results because the DNA is too degraded.
Donâ€™t get me wrong, I think this evidence is cool, but its hardly definitive, give that we have only retrieved usable DNA from very recent (in geological terms) taxa. If, as you are saying (and I would love to agree with you) that this DNA has survived, you cannot automatically make the conclusion that it is therefore less than 10kyr old. If it is, and all fossils are less than 10kyr old, then we would expect to find usable DNA from fossils several 100myr old. Mary Schweitzerâ€™s discoveries are extremely interesting, and as a creationist I too was glad to see what she found. It is harder to explain such nice tissue from such old fossils, but by the same token, if all fossils are as young as we would like them to be, there should be many more widespread examples of this sort of thing from much older fossils too. And keep in mind that no one has yet extracted usable DNA from her material, even though she predicts it might be possible.
So, I have no problem with considering the DNA from ancient fossils as suggestive of and compatible with a young age scenario, but when we take such evidence as far as you are willing to do, you are behaving in a very unscientific way (not that scientists donâ€™t do the same as well sometimes). Before evidence is accepted so wholeheartedly, we need to be sure first that we are not leaping beyond where the data lead.
Why donâ€™t you actually list some of these things? It certainly would be far more helpful, and potentially interesting, than your otherwise bald pejorative commentsâ€¦
I donâ€™t do this because I have read a number of parts of your web page, and at the end of many of your papers there are email exchanges related that show me that there is no end to the string of cherry-picking you resort to to defend your views. I donâ€™t have the time for that. I have studied many of the topics you present pretty thoroughly and have even seen many of the arguments you use. You do present a lot of problems that are not well solved by evolutionists, which I appreciate, but then you take those problems and consider them as proof for a short age model. That is where you lose me, and arguing in circles about evidence I already agree with in many cases, but do not see as evidence of the same weight or kind as you do, seems hardly productive.