In response to interesting comments by Professor Kent (who was responding to a post by Dr. Paul Giem):
Paul, as you well recognize, one cannot reasonably prove this possibility of life evolving millions of years ago, not today, not tomorrow, never. More importantly, even if you could prove it, God STILL could have wiped the slate clean 6000 years [ago] and created all major life forms in 6 days. The one possibility cannot rule out the other; how can you not see this? …
So the conclusion to all of this appears to be that, for SDAs, science and evidence trump faith. I completely disagree, but so be it. ( Link )
Professor Kent is not alone in his argument that “faith trumps science and all other forms of evidence.” For example, he is backed up by “Ron” who wrote:
It is possible that God created a young earth to look old, much older than 6000 years. It is also entirely possible that the creation and flood were miraculous and that we cannot use human observation to answer these questions at all and we must simply believe. ( Link )
Ever hear of “Last Thursdayism“? You’re making this very same argument here. God could have created everything 5 minutes ago, to include your memories and mine. No one can prove otherwise.
Such arguments are pointless because of the very fact that they are not, even in principle, testable or potentially falsifiable. This is the reason why, if your faith position isn’t backed up by testable potentially falsifiable evidence, it would be very hard to judge the superiority of your beliefs in God, based on faith alone, from someone else’s belief or faith in the “Flying Spaghetti Monster”.
On a more practical level, it would be very hard to judge the superiority of the Seventh-day Adventist view of reality vs. that of the Latter-day Saints or Catholics or Buddhists or Agnostics or even Atheists. Upon what basis, besides wishful thinking, does one have to decide which belief system is more likely to be in line with reality? Why, for example, do you consider your admitted belief in a literal 6-day creation week to be superior to the beliefs of those who think that life was formed and evolved on this planet over the course of hundreds of millions of years? Would it not be helpful to have at least some sort of empirical argument if you wish to appeal to another mind beyond your own? – a mind that is actually interested in an argument that appeals to something more solid than your deep feelings on the question?
Rational arguments as to the nature of the reality, a reality that we all assume really does exist outside of our minds, must be based on empirical evidence that is open to testing and potential falsification from at least the individual perspective. In other words, rational beliefs regarding the nature of reality are in line with the weight of currently available externally-derived evidence and the best predictive value that it supports at the present time from a particular limited perspective.
This is why scientific hypothesis are compared to alternate hypotheses that are also testable and, at least in principle, falsifiable with the weight of evidence. If the weight of apparent empirical evidence from a given perspective does in fact work against the idea that everything was created 5 minutes ago, the hypothesis that everything was in fact created 5 minutes ago is essentially falsified as best as anything can be falsified from a limited perspective.
The same thing is true about the Genesis statement. The only difference being that instead of 5 minutes ago the author(s) of Genesis claim that all life on this planet was created in just six literal days within recent history.
So, either you admit that your argument makes you unable to reasonable suggest that you have been alive longer than 5 minutes, or you agree that the Genesis account is, in principle, falsifiable. You really cannot reasonably have it both ways. The fact that what appears to be true may not actually be true does not negate the obvious appearance of reality from a particular perspective. That’s all that science is – an interpretation of the appearance of reality at the present time. This interpretation may or may not be true in reality, but it is the best we have at the present time when it comes to being able to more successfully live within and predict the behavior of the reality in which we find ourselves.
The SDA Church understands this. It is because of this argument, this need for faith to be supported by empirical evidence that is appealing to the intelligent candid mind, that the SDA Church original set up and continues to sponsor the Geoscience Research Institute or GRI. If one does not honestly recognize the evidence as being in favor of the SDA position, that person should not be working for an institution whose whole goal is to obtain and promote empirical evidence that actually supports the SDA faith perspective. If faith alone were enough, why would the SDA Church be interested in geoscience at all? Blind faith just isn’t enough, evidently, from the SDA perspective. That’s why the Church sponsors an organization like the GRI…
If one’s “evidence” is not testable or falsifiable that means that it is impossible for one to be wrong, even in theory, regardless of any additional evidence that might be presented. Again, given this form of non-falsifiable “evidence” it would be impossible to distinguish between the existence of God and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
If a child appealed to this sort of non-testable non-falsifiable evidence to support his/her belief in Santa Claus there would be no way that this child could ever realize that Santa Claus really doesn’t exist. It is only because the child’s evidence is potentially falsifiable given additional evidence that he/she ever comes to realize the truth about Santa Claus…
In the same way, if your evidence for the existence of God or the reliability of the Bible is not testable or potentially falsifiable, what good is it as a basis for a rational intelligent faith? – or anything else for that matter?