Comment on Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’ by Professor Kent.
@ Sean Pitman
Therefore, when a professor working for a Seventh-day Adventist school starts actively undermining the clearly stated goals and ideals of the SDA Church…
You keep insisting that a professor undermines the “clearly stated goals and ideals of the SDA Church” by personally accepting creation largely on faith and teaching as much to students. That’s an outright lie, Sean. Never has the SDA Church taken a position that creation should be believed on the basis of empirical evidence.
Professor Kent Also Commented
Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’
@ Inge Anderson
Paul, in Romans, does address my argument in suggesting that Godâ€™s creative power is evident in nature. Thus, those who do not have the background of a Christian society can, nevertheless, deduct from nature that there is a Creator and open themselves up to communication with Him.
I repeat: Your repetition of â€œonly faithâ€ is no help at all.
What are you talking about? That’s not my position. Evidence comes in many forms, and there has always been ample evidence to support the validity of scripture without any modern science. Would you, like Sean Pitman, let go of your faith if modern science failed to support the Genesis account? Do you, like Sean Pitman, place science and reason ahead of scripture?
A correct understanding of the creation is a first step towards worshiping the Creator.
One day we will get to ask the thief on the cross what he thinks of this.
And we believe that we, as Seventh-day Adventists have been specifically called out to preach a message of Creator Worship: â€œAnd worship Him who made heaven and earth and the fountains of waters.â€ Thus the teaching of the evolutionary development of this planet is directly contrary to the fundamental mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
Your vision seems to be somewhat limited. Seanâ€™s vision appears to go beyond yours to address the questions asked by those who must decide what kind of God to believe in.
My vision matches that of the official SDA Church. If it’s limited, then maybe you have a problem with the SDA Church, and not just me. You’re right: Sean’s vision goes much further. He insists that the Bible alone is insufficient to form one’s faith, and that one can believe only by finding evidence in modern science. If you think he is right, you too are undermining the SDA Church and its fundamental beliefs. Out of curiosity, are you a Church employee?
Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’
@ Sean Pitman
Well, upon what then do you base your choice of the Bible over other self-proclaimed mouthpieces for God?
We’ve been over this ad nauseum. There is ample evidence within the Bible itself; it has served generations well, long before studies of DNA and fossils came in vogue. You can choose to believe otherwise at your own peril, Dr. Pitman.
Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’
More from Richard M. Davidson, Interpreting Scripture According to the Scriptures: Toward an Understanding of Seventh-day Adventist Hermeneutics
The sufficiency of Scripture is not just in the sense of material sufficiency, i.e., that Scripture contains all the truths necessary for salvation. Adventists also believe in the formal sufficiency of Scripture, i.e., that the Bible alone is sufficient in clarity so that no external source is required to rightly interpret it.
Does anyone here disagree with one of the leading SDA theologians, representing the Adventist Biblical Research Institute, on these points? You can read more here: http://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/documents/interp%20scripture%20davidson.pdf
A good soul kindly shared these sources with me; I claim no credit in finding them myself. I am a humble biologist with no formal training in hermaneutics. I more or less was taught these things growing up (in the Church), and retained them during my years of private reading and devotion. I’m delighted to learn that I am in line with official Church teachings. Please, for Christ’s sake, do NOT base your beliefs in God and His word based on what the fossils say!
Recent Comments by Professor Kent
Sean Pitman: Science isn’t about “cold hard facts.” Science is about interpreting the “facts” as best as one can given limited background experiences and information. Such interpretations can be wrong and when shown to be wrong, the honest will in fact change to follow where the “weight of evidence” seems to be leading.
Much of science is based on highly technical data that few other than those who generate it can understand. For most questions, science yields data insufficient to support a single interpretation. And much of science leads to contradictory interpretations. Honest individuals will admit that they have a limited understanding of the science, and base their opinions on an extremely limited subset of information which they happen to find compelling whether or not the overall body of science backs it up.
Sean Pitman: The process of detecting artefacts as true artefacts is a real science based on prior experience, experimentation, and testing with the potential of future falsification. Oh, and I do happen to own a bona fide polished granite cube.
Not from Mars. Finding the cube on Mars is the basis of your cubical caricature of science, not some artefact under your roof.
Professor Kent: If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.
The question is not if one will catch a fish, but if one will recognize a fish as a fish if one ever did catch a fish. That’s the scientific question here. And, yet again, the clear answer to this question is – Yes.
I think I’m going to spend the afternoon with my favorite scientist–my 8-year-old nephew. We’re going to go fishing at Lake Elsinore. He wants to know if we might catch a shark there. Brilliant scientist, that lad. He already grasps the importance of potentially falsifiable empirical evidence. I’m doubtful we’ll catch a fish, but I think he’ll recognize a fish if we do catch one.
While fishing, we’ll be scanning the skies to catch a glimpse of archaeopteryx flying by. He believes they might exist, and why not? Like the SETI scientist, he’s doing science to find the elusive evidence.
He scratched himself with a fish hook the other day and asked whether he was going to bleed. A few moments later, some blood emerged from the scratched. Talk about potentilly falsifiable data derived from a brilliant experiment. I’m telling you, the kid’s a brilliant scientist.
What’s really cool about science is that he doesn’t have to publish his observations (or lack thereof) to be doing very meaningful science. He doesn’t even need formal training or a brilliant mind. Did I mention he’s the only autistic scientist I’ve ever met?
As most everyone here knows, I have a poor understanding of science. But I’m pretty sure this nephew of mine will never lecture me or Pauluc on what constitutes science. He’s the most humble, polite, and soft-spoken scientist I’ve ever met.
Sean Pitman: I don’t think you understand the science or rational arguments behind the detection of an artefact as a true artefact. In fact, I don’t think you understand the basis of science in general.
I’m amused by this response. I don’t think you understand the limits of a philosophical argument based on a hypothetical situation, which is all that your convoluted cube story comprises, and nothing more. Whether the artefact is an artefact is immaterial to an argument that is philosophical and does not even consider an actual, bona fide artefact.
Sean Pitman: You argue that such conclusions aren’t “scientific”. If true, you’ve just removed forensic science, anthropology, history in general, and even SETI science from the realm of true fields of scientific study and investigation.
Forensic science, anthropology, and history in general all assume that humans exist and are responsible for the phenomenon examined. Authorities in these disciplines can devise hypotheses to explain the phenomenon they observe and can test them.
SETI assumes there might be non-human life elsewhere in the universe and is nothing more than an expensive fishing expedition. If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.
The search for a granite cube on Mars is nothing more than an exercise in hypotheticals. Call it science if you insist; I don’t see how it is different than a child waiting breathlessly all night beside the fireplace hoping to find Santa coming down the chimney.
I guess the number of science colleagues I acknowledge needs to grow exponentially. I apologize to those I have failed to recognize before as scientists.
Sean Pitman: The observation alone, of the granite cube on an alien planet, informs us that the creator of the cube was intelligent on at least the human level of intelligence – that’s it. You are correct that this observation, alone, would not inform us as to the identity or anything else about the creator beyond the fact that the creator of this particular granite cube was intelligent and deliberate in the creation of the cube.
Your frank admission concedes that the creator of the cube could itself be an evolved being, and therefore you’re back to square one. Thus, your hypothetical argument offers no support for either evolutionism or creationism, and cannot distinguish between them.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
I have taken much abuse by pointing out the simple fact that SDAs have specific interpretations of origins that originate from scripture and cannot be supported by science (if science is “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence”). The beliefs include:
o fiat creation by voice command from a supernatural being
o all major life forms created in a 6-day period
o original creation of major life forms approximately 6,000 years ago
None of these can be falsified by experimental evidence, and therefore are accepted on faith.
Sean Pitman’s responses to this are predictably all over the place. They include:
“[This] is a request for absolute demonstration. That’s not what science does.” [totally agreed; science can’t examine these beliefs]
“The Biblical account of origins can in fact be supported by strong empirical evidence.” [not any of these three major interpretations of Genesis 1]
“Does real science require leaps of faith? Absolutely!”
I think it’s fair to say from Pitman’s perspective that faith derived from science is laudable, whereas faith derived from scripture–God’s word–is useless.
Don’t fret, Dr. Pitman. I won’t lure you into further pointless discussion. While I am greatly amused by all of this nonsense and deliberation (hardly angry, as you often suggest) for a small handful of largely disinterested readers, I am finished. I won’t be responding to any further remarks or questions.