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  1. Bea
    04 January 2013 @ 8:44 pm

    I have questions:  Is the GC president attempting to "cinch in" the membership to believe as he does the EGW interpretation of Creation?  Are Gibson and Goldstein treading softly where angels fear to tread?  Is our Dr. Hoehn moving forward boldly on the wings of the 12 blogs of 2012?  I read recently that one of our fold  had a wow moment a few years back when the Investigative Judgement was minced and diced for a quarter of SS lessons (he was unable to be convinced that the EGW interpretation was true).  I will watch with bated breath as you Dr. Hoehn go forward in 2013 with this mission and thirst for quenching on the Creation intrigue.  

  2. Joe Erwin
    04 January 2013 @ 8:59 pm

    I'd to see to see fewer attempts to argue with Darwin (i.e., concepts of Darwin and Wallace from 150 years ago) and more attempts to understand the evidence of modern biological and genomic sciences. As I keep saying, it should be clear enough that Darwin and Wallace lived long before much was known about genetics or population biology. The concepts of selection and genetic variation were remarkable for their time. Much more is known now about how genomic change/variation occurs and when and how selection can occur, but Darwin really had no way of knowing anything about gene expression and epigenetics. It is continually astonishing that ostensibly educated people could be so deeply committed to ignorance.

  3. Joe Erwin
    04 January 2013 @ 9:22 pm

    Teaching error in the name of truth is no virtue.

  4. Darrel Lindensmith
    04 January 2013 @ 9:29 pm

    Hi Joe, Happy New Year.  I agree with you 200% regarding Darwin and Wallace.  Could you explain 'gene expression' related to 'epigenetics' in your view?   This is a subject that I am attempting to get my mind around.  From what I read the discoveries in this area are just beginning, so possibly there is not enough data in hand yet?

  5. oldpastor
    04 January 2013 @ 11:46 pm

    I'v been saying what Joe Erwin posts for a long, long time; and will repeat it tomorrow.   It seems to me we are more interested in defending our views than discovering truth.  When I was at Andrews, Dr. Rritland was put out of GRI and teaching seminary students because he was pointing out problems in our interpretation of geology and paleontology rather than defending our beliefs.  
    But in an attempt to be honest, in Gibson's book, Understanding Creation he seems to support at least a 10,000 year old earth and perhaps some what more. rather than the 6000 years stated above.
    In our defense of Genesis 1 & 2, I'd like to see some discussion of the 4th day of creation.  The author seems to put the sun, moon and stars in the firmament which was made on day 2.  The sun and stars are not in our firmament, but rather millions or billions of miles away, moreover they were out there million or billions of years ago. How do we defend the literalness of Genesis 1 & 2 when day 4 seems so obviously wrong.

  6. Edward Reifsnyder
    05 January 2013 @ 1:32 am

    This whole subject is not one in which I have much knowledge. But it was interesting to discover a tidbit of information in a book titled A Journey Through Time about the discoveries of the Hubble space telescope.  In a chapter explaining the impact of Hubble on our understanding of the speed of light, time and distance, there was a comment on our solar system.  "The diameter of our solar system can be measured in two ways.  It is nine billion miles from one side of the Oort Cloud to the other.  Its diameter can also be measured as 13 hours – the time light requires to travel this distance."  

    I'm not proposing anything here, but "oldpastor" called for a discussion of  the fourth day of creation.  So, would it be possible that our solar system was created on the 4th day since light could have traveled across it in 13 hours and been visible on the same day it was created?  That still leaves the question of the meaning of the 2nd day firmament, but maybe Moses' understanding of the structure of the firmament was not as we understand it.  

  7. Joe Erwin
    05 January 2013 @ 1:43 am

    Why is it so difficult to accept that the creation story is just a story? That it is just an explanation of how things began? Why does it have to made into something it just is not?

    Over and over we see assertions that something is true because one believes it is true, not because it is consistent with actual evidence. How can we conscientiously teach our children such a cognitive style?

  8. Darrel Lindensmith
    05 January 2013 @ 1:57 am

    Dear Oldpastor, as I read the story, the location of observation it seems is from the Earth.  So the appearance of the sun and stars are observed from the surface as the story is told.  It would seem that the waters above' or upper atmosphere cleared up to make the great lights viewable distinctly.  Whereas before sun's light would have been broadly diffused as on a very cloudy day.  That the sun and stars were created before, is clear from the first day "let there be ought' probably referring to the Big Bang radiation event itself.

  9. Serge Agafonoff
    05 January 2013 @ 4:09 am

    Our modern cosmology simply doesn't fit with that of Moses.  We simply cannot interpolate from modern times back into an ancient mindset.  Assuming that Moses wrote the account of Genesis 1, there may be a clue as to his 'mindset' in Acts 7.  Keep in mind, this is the final speech of a dying man.  Stephen must have chosen his words very carefuly.  So why on earth did he say this?  
    Ac 7:22  And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians…

    The Egyptians are siad by SDAs who try to interpret Rev 11 as being 'atheists.'  I think Ellen says the same. Nothing could be further from the truth.  They were the original theocracy.  The whole society was organised along religious lines.  Anyway, Their cosmology fits a lot better with Gen 1 than any other, of which I am aware.  The 'waters above' were that which enabled Horus, the son of god, to traverse the 'heavens' in his boat!  For whatever reason, not obviously apparent, Moses seems to have carried this teaching (existence of a 'firmament') across into his cosmology of Gen 1.

    • Stephen Ferguson
      05 January 2013 @ 6:38 am

      Extremely interesting Serge – never heard that about the Moses – Egyptian connection.  Moses (or the ones who wrote Genesis) obviously was influenced by the societies around him, as evidenced by the fact that they are so similar to ancient accounts such as Enuma Elish, Atrehasis' story and the Epic of Gilgamesh – but with very different theological twists.  

      Whilst the visions were from God, Moses obviously chose to use terms and concepts that he knew, which Serge has helpfully pointed out that the Bible itself notes derives from Egyptian education. I guess another policy analogy are modern hymns.  Weren't they originally secular songs, then superimposed with Christian lyrics.

      Much thanks Serge for the interesting thought. 

      • Ella M
        05 January 2013 @ 11:19 pm

        Stephan,   I still wonder why we seem to credit Moses' environment and especially Babylon with much of the biblical stories, theories, ideas, and even the calendar.  It would seem they ALL came from an original source that was passed down for generations, maybe thousands of years.  Of course, Moses was not present at creation or the flood, so he didn't experience these things and neither did the Babylonians or Egyptians.  They came from an original source, and we have no record of that original source. 

        If we give any credance to EGW and other Christian scholars, the early humans did not need writing and passed on information by word of mouth and had incredible memories.  But even without that, stories were passed down to many cultures and that is why they are similar–they had one source.

  10. Kendra Perry
    05 January 2013 @ 4:24 am

    I would be interested to know not only points on which you disagree with the quarterly, but also points on which you find commonality, particularly in the application sections.  

    The emphasis of the first lesson at least seems to attempt to draw some practical life lessons out of the whole topic, which is admirable and will no doubt be an uphill battle in many Sabbath School classes.  Could you comment on practical life lessons of your view as well?

    Thanks in advance for considering these ideas.  I look foward to your comments on the quarterly.

    • Ella M
      05 January 2013 @ 11:55 pm

        In presenting creation as a miracle (an action we can't explain by known laws), the writer points out how precisely everything comes together for life.  He compares the miracles done by Jesus (the loaves and fishes) by means, mysterious to us, that changed physical matter.  He was a Creator while among us as well as at the beginning.  We can trust such a Creator who is far more intelligent than we.
             The teachers' section points out that Creatorship is a mark of deity.  The Creator has no beginning–He is the Unmade Maker.  Creation shows God to be God–the only One who can bring matter out of nothing and be able to say "it is good."
              Unfortunately most classes will spend time discussing the when and how of creation rather than what it means and why life was created and about the Love that brought it into being.  They will have much debate, yet miss the whole point. 

  11. Darrel Lindensmith
    05 January 2013 @ 4:28 am

    Most scholars Gen 1 and 2 as a polemic against pagan cosmologies-myth busting if you will!  So I think you are right that there is a connection.

  12. Jack Hoehn
    05 January 2013 @ 6:18 am

    Kendra, for many years I have been teaching a Sabbath-school class that uses the SDA Lesson Quarterlies for our discussions.  I am not opposed to this hoary SDA system.  We do not spend our hour of time reading and answering the Quarterly Questions of course, as I hear from elderly teachers in dying churches I visit from time to time.  We read the texts being discussed in our class, and ask our own questions and share our own responses to the Bible texts.  But for at least the last 25 years I have studied these  weekly GC sponsored lessons. 


    I do not always agree with the authors,  and my classmates do not always agree with me, but we always find something useful and spirtually nourishing since the lessons in the past are largely based on the Bible, our main source of our spiritual nourishment. 

    These Origin lessons are different.  They are not just studying how "accepting God as creator" is important to the Christian and a blessing to all of us, they are trying to enforce how a particular (and in my opinion some what strained) extra-biblical chronology of creation (a 17th century opinion, supported by our 19th century prophetess) is the only acceptable one.  Namely that unless you accept that this happened in 6 x 24 hour days (6 x 24=144 hours for the 144,000?) you are a Darwinist, a godless evolutionist, or half way there.  The editor of this lesson has expressed elsewhere that if you want to disagree with this chronology of creation, you might as well leave the church.  He tars all who disagree with his science as "Darwinist Adventists". 

    So in the limited space and time I have in this blog I am trying to defend Creationism against the shrinking world of the Young Earth Creationist.  I am trying to defend against one narrow and blinkered interpretation of the Bible.  I am not demanding that all Adventists accept the evidence I see, I am asking them to let me be an Adventist who sees a reality demanding that my understanding of the Bible grow up and enlarge.

    The beauty of this is that it permits me to once again let the Bible be big enough for everyone, from Lesotho to London, and from Kindergarden to MIT, to belong to my church, to discover the blessing of Sabbatizing.  If our chronology of Creation appears (to those who know) impossible, then there is zero chance they will listen to our prophecies of Redemption. 

    I want Adventism to remain the religion of the world, instead of a sect lost in the sands of dogma.  I want everyone to know that Adventists are firm Creationists, but that this does not mean they are required to believe in a short term chronology, an impossible geology, and a dishonest paleontology.  That God is the Creator is not negotiable.  How God created and when is an exciting and incredibly rich new territory for exploration.  

    My prediction is that a forward moving Adventism will leave Darwinism and naturalistic or even theistic evolution far behind.  Calvanist Pastor/Astronomer Hugh Ross has opened this path to us by at least 50%.  Ellen White's insights into the Great Controversy seen in the record of creation from Day 1, can supply the missing 50%.  If we follow the evidence of good science, we can become allies with the Intelligent Design movement.   Adventism theologians unfettered should be able to offer insights into who the Designer is and why He is designing, that our allies could highly value. 

    .

  13. Stephen Ferguson
    05 January 2013 @ 6:44 am

    I was actually suprised that the lesson, which was more focused on the origins of the universe as distinct from the origins of life on earth, did seem to support the notion of the Big Bang.

    Given the whole Great Controversy and war in heaven occured before the six days of creation, and supported by the BRI and GRI, the six days of creation in Gen 1:3 onwards say nothing about how much time elapsed before that point.  As we discussed in our Sabbath school, we really don't know how much time elapsed for the purposes of Gen 1:1, and it really could have been millions or billions of years.  And the Bible itself suggests in Gen 1:2 that the world was in some sort of existence, albeit 'without form' before the creation week even started, so again that could have been millions or billions of years.

    The point is, it is important to see what we all can agree on, even the Clifford Goldsteins and other YECs, before we start arguing over the differences.  To that end, it appears the GRI and Mr Goldstein are at least willing to accept scientific proof for the Big Bang and a possibly deep time in Gen 1:1-2 before the clock officially started on eart in Gen 1:3.

    • Elaine Nelson
      05 January 2013 @ 7:52 pm

      Much is made about a war in heaven and the expulsion of Lucifer.  This is entirely in the highly imaginative vision of John in the Revelation but none of his many caricatures were ever meant to be literal, but a metaphorical illustration of the new religion just emerging at that time. 

       

      Accepting it as historically literal events shows a poor understanding of literary metaphors when read by believers in literal innerancy as well as infallibility.  A little humility with such certitude is recommended.

      • Stephen Ferguson
        06 January 2013 @ 2:39 am

        But Elaine you don't seem believe in the Bible.

        The Great Controversy theme is certainly found in Revelation.  As to whether it is a metaphor is another question, as is whether John really did send letters to 7 Churches, or whether there will be a literal New Heaven and New Earth following a literal eschatological event.

        The Geat Controversy theme is found throughout the rest of the Bible as well, from Job, to Isaih, to Ezekiel to the Gospels, although indeed it is most developed in Revelation.  The Great Controversy theme is not uniquely Adventist, although we emphasise more than most denominations.  It also seems to be the basis for the classical theory of atonement theory, which predated the penal substitution theory by about 1,000 years – so it is hardly brand new to Adventism.

        But I agree it is dangerous in being so dogmatic when reading such complex and ambiguous passages.   

  14. William Noel
    05 January 2013 @ 2:55 pm

    Jack,

    With this continuing and obsessive focus you have on creation, what has happened to the rest of the Gospel in your life?  Our need to know God personally and be living in a growing relationship with Him is great and the evidences that will nurture a relationship with God are everywhere.  Still, there are a considerable number who are addicted to just knowing and debating about God and I fear that your obsession with proving the creation story is just feeding that addiction instead of helping them grow where they need to be growing. 

    • Stephen Ferguson
      05 January 2013 @ 3:13 pm

      Isn't it also the obsession of Ted Wilson, Clifford Goldstein, and the whole Department of the Church, the Geoscience Research Institute, full of people paid to be obsessed with the issue?  

      However, if you are saying creation, whether a 24×6 hr period or some other time, is perhaps is not a salvation issue, and perhaps something that we should not be scientifically dogmatic, I would wholly agree with you.  I suspect Jack might even agree with you on that point.  

      The problem is William, the leadership of the SDA Church do make it a salvation issue.  In Goldstein's SS lesson, mirroring some of his statements in other Adventist publications, is the statement that one cannot be a Seventh-day Adventist whilst believing anything other than a 144-hour YEC creation model.

      • William Noel
        05 January 2013 @ 8:34 pm

        Agreed. 

      • Ella M
        06 January 2013 @ 12:25 am

        Stephen,  Could you direct me to the quote that you say Cliff makes about membership and creation?  I know he has said that teachers should not be taking paychecks from the church while teaching what the church does not believe, and I can understand that, but don't know that he tells people they can't be SDA if they don't totally agree.  Cliff maybe seen as the adminstration bulldog, but he is also highly intelligent, well-read and educated, and has studied all these subjects for himself.  He is no slouch.  On the other hand he can be intimidating, insulting, and outspoken, saying exactly what he thinks.  I find the latter an admirable quality, and he is a good man.  He is hated and loved, but not boring.  He will be exhalted by the VIPs as long as he agrees with them.

    • Stephen Ferguson
      05 January 2013 @ 3:14 pm

      And by that I am not saying I am convinced either way re the origins of the earth.  I am merely agreeing that it shouldn't be turned into a salvation issue.

    • Jack Hoehn
      05 January 2013 @ 7:11 pm

      Not an obsession, even though Dr. William has given me this diagnosis before!  My area of interest and perhaps some competence to present an important topic in our dear church family.  I have many other areas of interest in life.  I live up to my name as a Jack of all trades.  But God has asked me to speak the truth in love and I am struggling to haltingly and surely obey

      • William Noel
        05 January 2013 @ 8:40 pm

        Jack,

        I apologize for the repeat.  It would be a blessing to me to hear about how God is working in your life in those other ways. 

  15. Joe Erwin
    05 January 2013 @ 3:38 pm

    That one cannot be an SDA while believing anything other than a 144-hour YEC is the dogma that drove me away from the church. 

  16. Joe Erwin
    05 January 2013 @ 3:48 pm

    Being demonstrably wrong on this issue, while dogmatically claiming to be right, leads one to wonder what is RIGHT about the church. This wedge leads to all sorts of denial of reality and rejection of science and rationality. Ultimately, one can only see a few constructive aspects of the church, such as an emphasis on healthy living. Even that, along with an educational system that teaches error as truth and promotes an inaccurate characterization of scientific epistemology, is compromised. Still, if all this leads to love and respect for others, fine, but one wonders whether even that is true.

    • Ella M
      06 January 2013 @ 1:20 am

      Joe,  Hope you had a great holiday.  I am sorry you feel your ideas "drove"  you out of the church.  I believe there is room for everyone.  Of course, if you were to insist on teaching a SS and promoted anti-creationism, they would ask you to step down; or if you became an evangelistic evolutionist, people might start walking away from conversations with you!  However, to me these things are materialistic when God is spiritual.   Would it help you to grow in your spirituality if you used the creation story as a metaphor and studied its meanings rather than scientific accuracy?   I think God wants us to know Him first and foremost and set aside what you see as truth on a materialistic level.  More important is the Truth of Jesus and how He influences your life and faith and what He stood for and His message for living.    I believe none of us can know truth in this life, for our understanding of it changes with time and is limited.  Think of the size of the cosmos and how small we are in it.  It's dangerous to claim truth for it is subjective.  The only trusting truth is the Truth of Jesus and how we relate to Him.  I want to focus on that.

  17. Bea
    05 January 2013 @ 7:50 pm

    It seems the rationale is “even though this FB is no longer believed, and that FB is no longer relevant, there are “things that are good about the church”, we should turn a blind eye. But we can’t tell the truth and embrace clarification we must stay in the church, because we are the remnant and if we turn away that means we are “LOST TWICE”. It is a threat filled with guilt and shame. If a sincere comment is sent, there is a huge slamming filled with condemnation (i.e. you have problems and need to come back to the Lord, or you sound like a miserable person – insinuating – you have lost your way.) I object. We need earnest debate without recriminations. For those who have the attitude of “get off AT” indicating those who have been SDA’s our whole life (or 7 generations) have no business having an intellectual conversation with other thinkers.

    • Stephen Ferguson
      06 January 2013 @ 2:32 am

      Sorry where are the ones saying "get off AT"?   Aren't we discussing Goldstein and the GC leadership telling Adventists to "get out the Church" if they disagree with YEC of a 144-hour creation model?  Am I missing something?

  18. Ella M
    06 January 2013 @ 12:50 am

            I am sorry if anyone has given you this imperssion on AT as it stands out as a place where ALL people can debate details as they wish.  I think we have all been insulted by someone at one time or another, and that is part of debate (which should be avoided).  We have had some nasty ultraconservatives at times (and I will bet a few nasty liberals).  However, think of what percentage they have been–is it all of us or even half of us or a third, or just one or two?   It's unfair to paint everyone here and all Adventists with the same brush.  I will bet you have met some nice people who did not condemn, why spend time on the few who did?  I will bet they are not the majority.  I reject the "remnant" mentality in an organization, and no one has called me on it yet; and frankly I wouldn't care if they did.  Remember we are subject to Christ and not the GC president.
            Most SDAs will not find the when of creation to be a salvation issue. ( Now if you get them in an argument they might sound like it.)   The point of Creation is far from what is being discussed in this forum–it is not about when or how, but why and by Whom and the character of that Creator and can we relate to Him/Her/It.

  19. earl calahan
    06 January 2013 @ 2:26 am

    Ella, AMEN-N-N

  20. Stephen Ferguson
    06 January 2013 @ 2:28 am

    Ella: "Stephen, could you direct me to the quote that you say Cliff makes about membership and creation?"
     
    Ervin and Jack have referred to Goldstein’s quotes from time-to-time, but the ones I could immediately find include:
     
    “Our name, Seventh-day Adventist, itself bears direct witness to a six-day Creation.   Though some voices may urge us to incorporate evolution into our theology, Seventh-day Adventistism and Darwinism are inherently contradictory. Logically, one cannot hold both views at the same time.
     
    …As we go through this quarter, we’ll see even more reasons why a literal six-day Creation is essential to all that we believe and why to compromise on Creation is to undermine the basis of the gospel and the teachings that make us what we are.” 
     

    [As already quoted by Jack above from the contents of the SS contents page, written by another but with Goldstein as editor.  And I never used the word ‘membership’ as you have, although the passage talks about ‘Seventh-day Adventism’, which is an implication of the same] 
     
    http://absg.adventist.org/2013/1Q/SE/PDFs/EAQ113_00.pdf
     
    “What amazes me isn't so much that people can believe in evolution (after all, I used to), but that those who do still want to be Seventh-day Adventists. I can respect someone who, believing in evolutionary theory, rejects the Adventist Church entirely. I have no respect for those who think they can meld the two.”
     

    [Adventist Review 2003, where this is a suggestion of SDA membership, although he then later specifically talks to SDA Church employees who believe in evolution]
     
    http://www.adventistreview.org/2003-1530/story4.html
     
    Physics and Cosmology powerfully reinforces what I’ve been saying for years: Seventh-day Darwinism isn’t about “academic freedom” or “tolerance” of divergent views, but is a full-frontal assault on Adventist beliefs and should be treated as such.” 
     

    [Adventist Review 2010, where whilst there is no mention of SDA memberships, it does suggestion YEC is a ‘salvation issue’, where no tolerance towards divergent views re origins should be allowed]
     
    http://www.adventistreview.org/article/3381/archives/issue-2010-1516/seventh-day-darwinians-redux
     

    There may be other such statements, and I haven’t read the whole SS quarterly yet – obviously.  Again, my issue isn’t Goldstein’s affirmation of YEC Origins, which I am willing to accept by faith (although I have personal serious doubts and more an agnostic on origins), but any suggestion origins is a ‘salvation issue’ whereby one can’t call themselves a Seventh-day Adventist if they reject a 144-hour model of creation. 

  21. Serge Agafonoff
    06 January 2013 @ 2:34 am

    Strikes me as quite odd, this 'age of the earth' debate. It is like a group of people trapped in a burning building debating the question of how long it took to build it, and the answer presumably containing the key to rescue.  Its farcical.  
    But in the context of the 'literal-minded' debating the literal (and utterly unknowable) age of earth, duration of creation question, in support of a literal sabbath, well, its logical, but pointless.

  22. Ella M
    06 January 2013 @ 2:52 am

           Thank you for taking the trouble of getting these.  I will save them. 
    I am not sure what he means by some of these–what is that about physics and cosmology?  Is he questioning them as well and it what way?  Physics seems like the most promising area for believers to find evidence for God.  Is he comparing that to Darwinism?  Is science even using the term "Darwinism" now?   We certainly can't deny microevolution–that is God's adaptation.
        I do see problems with the Gospel and macroevolution; and it could undermine the Gospel if it means sin and death existed before the "fall."  However, I have known at least one scientist well who held both ideas and was still a spiritual Gospel believer; I am sure there are many in the church. 
        Nevertheless, I don't see this as a salvation determinant.  I understand that the only means of salvation is the blood of Christ over our ignorance and misunderstandings. Can we be saved or lost by our knowledge or lack of it any more than by our works?
       

  23. Ella M
    06 January 2013 @ 3:09 am

    Serge,
       I agree with what I think you are saying–it's the spiritual meaning that is most important–God personally created us for relationship with Him. Without Him, we are lost in the burning building. That's it!

    I think it's important to many because they feel the biblical creation needs a literal timeframe they can relate to in today's terms and thus gives more reality to a  soon and literal re-creation.  God did create matter, and said "it is good."  The literal resurrection of Christ must happen to insure the resurrection of His people.

  24. Ervin Taylor
    06 January 2013 @ 4:32 am

    I'd like to thank Jack and others on this thread for drawing our attrention to the current SS quarterly.  I and most people I know, including the SS I attend, ignore the lesson quarterly and have done so for decades. I just had a brief look at the beginning of it and (somebody correct me) it continues the tradition of church ideologues  continuing to support both bad theology and worse science.in the name of keeping Adventist traditions (read EGW's authority) viable. I will look forward to analyses and interpretaions of why these SS lessons attempt to keep a dead theological horse alive. 

    I would suggest that the best course would be to let traditional Adventist Creationism die a natural death by neglect — just as we did the Shut Door and Investigative Judgment.  But our conservative co-religionists insist in keeping official Adventism cult-like in its teachings.  I guess these things take a long time to work themselves out.  Rather than taking decades, some religious systems take centuries to mature. 

    • Stephen Ferguson
      06 January 2013 @ 5:17 am

      Perhaps a less confrontational way of saying this is that the notions of present truth, progressive revelation, and ongoing reformation did not stop with the Adventist pioneers, any more than it stopped with John Wesley before them, Martin Luther Knox and Calvin before them, Clement, Augustine and Tertullian before them, Paul, Peter and John before them, Daniel, Isaiah and Jerimiah before them, Moses, Joshua and Samuel before them, or Abraham, Isaac and Jacob before them.  

      The problem is not religions failing to 'mature' but the opposite – religions ossifying into bastions of sacred tradition, 'orthodoxy' and creedlism. These were all things that the SDA pioneers hated.  Whilst historic-conservative Adventists claim to be upholding the pioneers ideals, they are arguably in fact betraying them.

      If the SDA leadership, with strong support, wants to stop the process of present truth, progressive revelation and ongoing reformation, then God will raise up other stones in their place – He always has.

  25. Ervin Taylor
    06 January 2013 @ 6:14 am

    I very much stand corrected by Mr. Ferguson:. I agree "Present truth, progresssive revelation and ongoing reformation" sound much better.  First class.  Regretfully, our "leaders" do not respond to nice words.  Both Luther and Erasmus are needed to effect reformations.  But rarely do their personality types get along.  

  26. geosaxon
    06 January 2013 @ 1:09 pm

    Thanks to Jack Hoehn for his for his work.

  27. Bea
    06 January 2013 @ 9:27 pm

    How can one assume traditional Adventist Creationism will die a natural death as the Shut Door and IJ did? The IJ is still one of the 28 FB’s. I don’t believe Ervin stands corrected – Stephen just used more “flowery/professionally polished words that are saying the same thing – that may sound more acceptible to a wider array of people. As far as stone throwing is concerned – the same stones are being thrown by scholars since the days of EGW? These people have been cast aside/ the IJ stone is alive and well as is traditional creationism with the currect GC holding up that stone.

    • Stephen Ferguson
      07 January 2013 @ 12:47 am

      "I don't believe Ervin stands corrected – Stephen just used more "flowery/professionally polished words that are saying the same thing – that may sound more acceptible to a wider array of people."

      Bea my point was only limited to the notion that conservatives believe they are the "true" Seventh-day Adventists because they are upholding what the SDA Pioneers believed.  That is why they like to describe themselves as 'historic' Adventists.  My point is simply that liberal-progressive Adventists are just as "true" Seventh-day Adventists, if not more, even where we might disagree with some of the beliefs and practices of the SDA Pioneers.  We instead are committed to the Pioneers' intent, which was to continue the Reformation.  In that sense, where SDA Pioneers claimed to be the true heirs of Luther and the Reformers, even though they introduced a set of new beliefs and practices the Reformers didn't personally adhere to, so liberal-progressive Adventists can claim the same.  

      To greatest truth is those little bands young Christian people wear on their wrists – WWJD – What Would Jesus Do?  Note it isn't what Jesus "did" but what Jesus "would do" today.  We might apply the same to the SDA Pioneers, and various generations going all the way back to Moses.  

      "How can one assume traditional Adventist Creationism will die a natural death as the Shut Door and IJ did? The IJ is still one of the 28 FB's."

      I think the two beliefs, shut door and IJ, provide an interesting comparison.  The first was done away with by the Pioneers when they realised it was wrong, or it was no longer present truth needed for them at that time.  The latter is enforced with Inquisitional fever, as Dr Ford well discovered.

      Despite continued criticism of the SDA Pioneers and Ellen White, we do have to give them credit for a level of openness to new ideas, new beliefs and new practices, that we could only dream of today amongst our own Church leaders.  Instead, todays leadership seems intent in formulating and then enforcing with the sword (metaphorically speaking) an orthodoxy built on sacred tradition.  

      Today, despite have a preamble to our FBs that make clear that it isn't intended as a creed, we don't seem to do new light very well these days.  Again, examining claims of new light in a less than hesteric manner is something I wish we could learn from our SDA Pioneers.

      "These people have been cast aside/ the IJ stone is alive and well as is traditional creationism with the currect GC holding up that stone."

      The only thing I would personally say, or believe, is we need to more clearly define what we are talking about.  For example, the IJ doctrine actually encompasses many aspects.  The primary aspects, that we have a mediator in the person of Jesus Christ in heaven, or that God's judgment includes phases, are concept well held through Christendom.  In Roman Catholic theology, the investigative judment of each judgment is known as the Particular Judgment, which is both investigative and pre-Advent, to be distinguished from the General Judgment, being the Second Coming of Christ.

      It would seem that the aspect of the IJ that both conservative adherents and liberal critics are both so obsessed with is the date of 1844.  However, to my own mind, when the pre-advent, investigative judgment (or we can call it Particular Judgment if one wants) starts, and whether it starts in 33 CE or 1844 CE, hardly really matters that much, and surely isn't a salvation issue.  

      Thus, I am equally concerned with liberal when they too make general statements suggesting we should through the baby out with the bath water.

      • Rudy Good
        07 January 2013 @ 2:27 am

        Stephen, despite any relatively meaningless similarity of the IJ to some other pre-advent judgment ideas, Adventists take a questionable concept and wrap it with several obviously unbiblical ideas that are spiritual handicaps and cling to them at the loss of the church's integrity and misleading some of its loyal members. I think worry about the baby in the bath water is a serious misrepresentation.

        Also, I think the pioneers may have been willing to depart from some traditional beliefs for what they  believed to be new truth, but managed to lose some of the advances of the reformation and produce a virulent case of legalism. It might have had the potential to be a one step backward and two steps forward, but at some point legalism prevented the two steps forward.

  28. Stephen Ferguson
    07 January 2013 @ 11:17 am

    Rudy: "…despite any relatively meaningless similarity of the IJ to some other pre-advent judgment ideas, Adventists take a questionable concept and wrap it with several obviously unbiblical ideas that are spiritual handicaps and cling to them at the loss of the church's integrity and misleading some of its loyal members. I think worry about the baby in the bath water is a serious misrepresentation."
     
    Rudy, could you please clarify what aspects of the SDA FB#24 on Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary that you do and do not agree with as biblical or unbiblical?  Is it:
     

    • The notion of a sanctuary in heaven (although what that means exactly is open to a lot of interpretation)?
    • Christ is our High Priest acting as a mediator?
    • That Christ began this intercessory work in 1844 (as opposed to when He immediately went to heaven in 33 CE, or even some time before?)
    • That God’s Judgment involves various phases, including investigative and executive phases?
    • That there is a pre-Advent Investigative Judgment (i.e. aka Particular Judgment in Catholic, Anglican and Eastern Orthodox terminology), that occurs before the Second Coming of Jesus (i.e. the General Judgment)?
    • The Investigative Judgment will vindicate God, and thus is as much for the heavenly host as for God Himself?

    I would be interested to know if you (and others) believe all of those concept, many of which are held across Christendom and certainly not limited to Adventism, should be thrown out?  If so, why?

    • Rudy Good
      07 January 2013 @ 10:29 pm

      Stephen,

      My concern with doctrine is the impact it has on the body of Christ and those the Spirit is drawing into that fellowship. Consequently, I am much more concerned about the way people experience an Adventist doctrine, and much less about whether I can find a way to read the highly politically influenced  word crafted FBs to be in synch with them.

      But, I’ll try to answer your question as it was asked.

      • The notion of a sanctuary in heaven (although what that means exactly is open to a lot of interpretation)?

      Sanctuary: A sacred place or the holiest part of a scared place.
      Yes, I believe that where God dwells (heaven) is a very sacred and holy place. The earthly sanctuary was given to establish this idea in human minds, but this man made tabernacle (or the temples) were not the “true” Sanctuary. Physical images are sometimes needed for simpler minds to grasp what can only be abstractions of reality.

      • Christ is our High Priest acting as a mediator?

      Yes, Christ is the mediator of a new covenant.

      • That Christ began this intercessory work in 1844 (as opposed to when He immediately went to heaven in 33 CE, or even some time before?)

      Christ began his role as High Priest, Mediator, Intercessor immediately following the Resurrection.

      • That God’s Judgment involves various phases, including investigative and executive phases?

      Do not believe God needs to investigate. He is omniscient. I suspect there are phases to make the pronouncement or revelation. Which may be different for saved vs. unsaved.

      • That there is a pre-Advent Investigative Judgment (i.e. aka Particular Judgment in Catholic, Anglican and Eastern Orthodox terminology), that occurs before the Second Coming of Jesus (i.e. the General Judgment)?

      I believe that the Biblical pictures or concepts of judgment are meant to convey an ultimate accountability before the creator that will be plain to all after the end and not some judicial process that follows a protocol of progressive steps and chronology.  That accountability is for every “particular” individual and is sealed for all of us when life in this physical natural universe concludes.

      • The Investigative Judgment will vindicate God, and thus is as much for the heavenly host as for God Himself?

      I believe that God was vindicated when Jesus was obedient unto death displaying His true character.  I’m not sure about un-fallen or redeemed beings needing to comb records to see if people really accepted Christ. Besides, isn’t the IJ about God doing the investigative judging? I thought Adventists believed God’s judgment would be reviewed during the millennium. Are you now suggesting that process starts before the end of the age?

      Spend some time studying the many ways in which the IJ doctrine has morphed because so many leading Adventists have discovered some idea attached to it did not align with other Biblical ideas or the character of God that emerges from His Word. Also, spend some time considering the origin of the IJ as a fulfillment of William Miller’s time line. What reason should anyone have to trust this doctrinal packaging of various Biblical concepts to fit meaningfully into Miller’s flawed timeline?

      Yes, some of the ideas and concepts associated with the IJ are truth and hopefully that means they will be embraced by more than just Adventists. But, the IJ clutters those truths with distorted notions that grew out of a face saving interpretation of William Miller’s prophetic time line.

      I also don’t know the value of finding pieces of the IJ that are believed by other Christians. I doubt you will find many that would have anything to do with the IJ packaging of those ideas. And it appears to me that most of what is adding by the IJ packaging is exactly what aligns poorly with prudent interpretation of scripture.

      • Stephen Ferguson
        08 January 2013 @ 12:35 am

        Rudy, it would appear from reading your responses above that apart from the 1844 start date, and perhaps the notion that God needs to be vindicated by the heavenly host, that you are actually more comfortable with the IJ FB than you actually first indicated – at least that is how I read it.  

        Yes, Christ is the mediator of a new covenant.

        Agreed.

        Christ began his role as High Priest, Mediator, Intercessor immediately following the Resurrection.

        I would be more inclined to agree, although I think the start date for any judgment hardly matters.

        Do not believe God needs to investigate. He is omniscient. I suspect there are phases to make the pronouncement or revelation. Which may be different for saved vs. unsaved.

        It isn't that God needs to investigate, but that God's decision to save some and not others needs to be vindicated.  At least that is how I read it in texts such as Rev 16:5, where the angels cry aloud how just God's judgments are as they are about to unleash their plagues.

        I believe that the Biblical pictures or concepts of judgment are meant to convey an ultimate accountability before the creator that will be plain to all after the end and not some judicial process that follows a protocol of progressive steps and chronology.  That accountability is for every “particular” individual and is sealed for all of us when life in this physical natural universe concludes.

        It is impossible for us here on earth to know how exactly it all works.  I think you will find many throughout Christendom believe in an actual court-like scene that awaits them immediately following death, which is the traditional RC-Anglican-Orthodox view.  The Adventist view is actually a bit toned down from that.  No one is saying that there is a literal Court room.  The only point is that the largely invisible judgment of individuals (i.e. Particular Judgment or IJ in SDA terminology) must obviously occur before God's Second Coming, which is also part of judgment (i.e. General Judgment or Second Advent).

        The other point to make is that the term 'judgment' actually covers a whole range of events, where God finally removes sin from earth.  To that extent, it does actually include chronological events, unless of course you deny a physical, literal resurrection and Second Coming?

        I believe that God was vindicated when Jesus was obedient unto death displaying His true character.  I’m not sure about un-fallen or redeemed beings needing to comb records to see if people really accepted Christ. 

        You seem to be promoting a more Penal Substitution concept of atonement theory here.  Whilst that is a traditional Protestant concept, it should be remembered it is only 1,000 years-old or so, and is probably a 'harsher' view of God, as if God is the one who needs to be vindicated.  I personally much prefer the Classical view of atonement theory, where it is actually Satan who needs to be satisfied, and Satan indeed does need an audience.  It the sort of scence one finds in Job 1.

        Besides, isn’t the IJ about God doing the investigative judging? I thought Adventists believed God’s judgment would be reviewed during the millennium. Are you now suggesting that process starts before the end of the age?

        Not sure if I understand your question. I thought the person of the IJ here on earth is for other heavenly hosts to be satisfied of God's decision to save some and not others (because as you rightly point out God already knows who is saved), thus being the judgment of those who are saved.  In heaven, we in turn will judge those who don't make it, including even the fallen angels (as it says we will also judge angels),  so we in turn will vindicate God as to His decision about who was not saved.

        The major point and strength of the IJ is the notion that it isn't just about vindicating God per the Penal Substitution atonement theory, which actually paints God as quite a nasty character of a strict school principal.  Rather, it is actually a judgment of God, of God's own choices and actions, and of God's vindication to Satan's original claims against the most High, per the Classical theory of Christianity.  Thus, I don't think the IJ warps one's view of God – I think actually other Protestant views of atonement theory do.  

        • Rudy Good
          08 January 2013 @ 2:14 am

          Stephen,
           
          You seem to be a little more focused on winning a debate than discussing. You are still trying to convince me I am not far from the FB. You missed the point of my introductory comments about being more interested in what people experience regading a doctrine. Those who are the most notable proponents of the IJ typically add things not in the 24th FB.

          Also, you missed the point that it is specifically the aspects that make the IJ a unique Adventist doctrine that I find objectionable. So, of what value is it to me to encumber my beliefs with things I believe to be errant so that I can say my beliefs can be aligned with the IJ. 

          You are confusing the vindication and investigation issue. The traditional IJ interpretation is God investigating professed believers. How is he vindicated by that. Perhaps someone could claim it serves as a vindication if someone besides God is doing the investigating to determine if God judged correctly. But, that would just be another morph of the IJ and to what end.

          I don't think I said anything that should be interpreted as favoring in particular definition of atonement. I think God was validated by the love displayed in the obedience of Jesus unto death. You do agree he died because of His obedience don't you. 

          I was also trying to point out that the only way IJ as investigation could be vindicating is if other beings are validating that the saved really did accept Christ. I have heard this twist on the IJ before. But, don't really take it serious. Adventists already claim God seg aside 1000 years for God's judgements to be reviewed. Why does this notion get drug into the IJ?

          So far I have only reacted to the FB IJ. What about all the other junk that has often been attached. Like the idea your probation might close because your name came up in the IJ? There are lots of things of that nature that are part of the IJ as experienced by Adventists.

          You see the FB wording as giving you room for your beliefs. I see the FB wording as evidence we cannot get a majority to publish the more narrow minded versions that are typically promoted by conservative leadership who brow beats the general membership with more conservative views of the FBs. There is no intention or leadership commitment to using the FBs to create the big tent.

  29. Bea
    07 January 2013 @ 4:15 pm

    CHRIST DIED ON THE CROSS FOR OUR SIN. We have watered down the impact of the cross. “Christ began this intercessory work…” – that whole concept is unbiblical and waters down the impact of Christ dying on the cross. To think His dying was not good enough or complete enough, that the investigative judgement idea was conjured up and clung to so desperately is unthinkable.

  30. Darrel Lindensmith
    07 January 2013 @ 10:49 pm

    As Rudy has stated there is an investigative judgement in Scripture as other denominations see it as well.  The problem with our's was that it was based on works and perfection.  The idea that Jesus' mediation would stop for us at an unknown date, and that if by said time one was not, basically, without sin, then you would be lost.   You were expected to "stand without a mediator" and expected to pass without grace.  Grace was to get you by until you could stand on your own.   GC 425

    Scripture of course teaches that Christ  "is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."  Heb. 7:25

  31. Ella M
    07 January 2013 @ 11:22 pm

    Darrel,
      Your's is a strange interpretation.  I was taught that after all our destinies have been decided, there is no need for an intercessor.  Christ's blood is over the saved from all places and times and the end is here. What you are saying would indicate that we needed an intercessor throughout eternity for our sins.  Under Christ we are always without sin–we have perfection in Him at any time because he owns us as His children.  We are always "in Christ."
      Any one taught your version was a false teacher and unaware of the truth of Jesus.  Undoubtedly this may have been done by some, but that does not make it true nor a church teaching.  By passing this on, one becomes a false witness.  I find it hard to believe it is being widely taught now. 

    • Stephen Ferguson
      08 January 2013 @ 12:45 am

      "Your's is a strange interpretation.  I was taught that after all our destinies have been decided, there is no need for an intercessor."

      Ella are you saying your were taught Calvinist predestination?  That is not Adventism, as we fall well within the Arminian camp (along with RCs, Anglicans and Methodists).  We are so Arminian that we have scholars such as Rice promoting Open Theism.

      "Christ's blood is over the saved from all places and times and the end is here."

      Yes and no.  First of all, most mainstream Christian groups actually deny Christ died once and for all.  One might compare Adventist views with the doctrines of Transubstantiation (Roman Catholics) or Sacramental Union (Lutherans), which arguably teach Christ re-dies daily in the Eucharist.  Therefore, these other ‘mainstream’ Christian groups arguably deny Jesus only offered His body once”.

      One might also cite doctrines such as Limited Atonement (Calvinists) and Blood Atonement (Fundamentalist Mormons), which arguably teach the Cross does not cover all sins for all people.  Therefore, these groups also arguably deny Jesus offered His body for all”.

      As a simple point of logic, if the entire atonement process or plan of salvation was completed at the Cross, why did Jesus have to return to heaven at all and not simply usher in the new Triumphant Kingdom in 33 AD – what was left for Him to do?  In the Earthly Sanctuary, which is a pattern of the Heavenly Sanctuary and shadow of God’s plan of salvation, the death of the sacrificial animal is not the end but the beginning of the atonement process. 

      "Under Christ we are always without sin–we have perfection in Him at any time because he owns us as His children. We are always "in Christ."'

      That sounds like scary Holy Flesh, Deliverance Ministries, perfectionism to me?  And people criticise conservative Adventists (and I do too) for Last Generation Theology.  

      Yes, we are always justified in Christ, but sanctification is the work of a lifetime.  Moreover, unless you believe in once saved always saved (and clarify if you do), we always have a choice to turn away from that free gift of eternal life.  

      We are Church Militant, but that doesn't mean we are yet Church Triumphant.

      "Any one taught your version was a false teacher and unaware of the truth of Jesus."

      Says who?  I still haven't quite worked out what aspects of the IJ doctrine you say is false (apart from the obvious 1844 date, which appears to be the obsession of both critics and defenders)?  Do you or not accept the Bible's teachings that:

      • The Old Testament Sanctuary (Tent and Temple) was a mere copy of the true Tabernacle in heaven (Heb 8:1-5);
      • The Jewish sacrificial system, which required the sacrifice of goats and calves, was a mere shadow of Christ’s perfect sacrifice as the Lamb of God on earth (Jhn 1:29, Heb 9, Heb 10:1-3);
      • The Jewish Priesthood was a mere shadow of Christ’s role in heaven as our perfect High Priest (Heb 4:14-16); and
      • Christ’s role as High Priest includes acting as a mediator before God (Heb 9:15).

  32. Serge Agafonoff
    07 January 2013 @ 11:55 pm

    Not strange at all Ella.  Darrel is spot on with his statment of the teaching of EGW/SDA.  I recall being told such things as a kid in SS.  It was designed to frighten us into baptism, as I recall.  It is a fairly logical, albeit false, outcome of the literalistic Heavenly sanctuary priestly work of a material Christ who has to move from chamber to chamber, then to heavenly clouds to begin the journey to Earth to redeem the 'saved.'  I presume it is in that period of transition out of MHP and prior to reaching earth that the believer 'stands' alone.It is also a 'strange' doctrine in that it is not scriptural.  

    Your version of how we remain 'in Christ' is closer.  Paul's version, mostly in Romans 6,7 is that since the wages of sin is death, we die.  A death like his.  Spiritually.  A death more real than a physical one alone.  Reborn in us is Christ, the hope of glory.   Transformed into His image, Father Son and Holy Spirit make their dwelling with us and in us.  We pass from death to Life, (John 14), and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Amen.

    • Ella M
      09 January 2013 @ 1:09 am

       
      Darrel and Serge:
          I didn't grow up in the church and church school.  My religion classes (as I remember in college) did not hold a lot of interest for me.  If I heard such things, it didn't register.  My first memorable religion class on this subject was at LLU with a retired seminary teacher who taught the version I believe.  After that I became very interested in theology and would have gone on to teach it, but my husband's work came first.
        I don't question your experience, however, since it isn't the first time I have heard it.  Thankfully the church has grown since those days.  Maybe too many people on here are living in the past.  Even God winks at our ignorance.
        I do remember a class based on "Messages to Young People" where all the negative 19th-century thinking on youth quotes of EGW had been compiled into one book.  I did not like that class and didn't take it seriously.  We can all think for ourselves, you know.

  33. Darrel Lindensmith
    08 January 2013 @ 12:45 am

    Ella, please don't call it 'my version' for it is not now AT ALL.
    When I became an Adventist Christian this was the 'received version,' in 
    the understanding of many in my new church.

  34. earl calahan
    08 January 2013 @ 8:02 am

    Choke on a gnat, swallow a camel. Do you believe the quotes by Jesus in the NT?
    John 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him who sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 3:16 & 18  Who soever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life; He that believeth on Him is not condemned.

    i believe the gospel message is simple, for all us simple folk. By the grace of God, there is no judgement of those who believe in and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord & Saviour. With confidence we approach the throne of grace. No doubts, no fears. Saved in the blood of God. God is the Almighty. He does not require His Creation to vindicate Him.

  35. Stephen Ferguson
    08 January 2013 @ 1:59 pm

    Rudy: “You seem to be a little more focused on winning a debate than discussing. You are still trying to convince me I am not far from the FB. You missed the point of my introductory comments about being more interested in what people experience regarding a doctrine. Those who are the most notable proponents of the IJ typically add things not in the 24th FB.”
     
    A guess that is indeed a key problem then, which you helpfully identify.  There is the somewhat ambiguous FB and what it says, and then I guess there are the range of beliefs and practices (and there are a range within the broad tent of Adventism) of how people further interpret that FB for themselves. 
     
    How people experience the FB is not so easy to quantify, especially as there are no doubt a range of experiences as there are a range of specific applications of what you seem to think is an ambiguous FB.  To that end, it would perhaps be helpful to distinguish the FB as worded, which provides the lines of the picture, from the various ways people choose to color the picture.
     
    I don’t deny that some people choose dark color, but I am not sure if that is so in every case, or something you can blame the lines of the picture.
     
    “Also, you missed the point that it is specifically the aspects that make the IJ a unique Adventist doctrine that I find objectionable. So, of what value is it to me to encumber my beliefs with things I believe to be errant so that I can say my beliefs can be aligned with the IJ.”
     
     And what aspects of the IJ do you say are unique and find so objectionable?  Moreover, what do you mean by the IJ, if you don’t mean it by reference to the FB as worded but by reference to some of its specific applications?   Finally, which applications are you referring to then?
     
    “You are confusing the vindication and investigation issue. The traditional IJ interpretation is God investigating professed believers. How is he vindicated by that. Perhaps someone could claim it serves as a vindication if someone besides God is doing the investigating to determine if God judged correctly. But, that would just be another morph of the IJ and to what end.”
     
    Why do you say that is the ‘traditional’ IJ interpretation?  On what evidence?
     
    It has always been my understanding that God is as much being judged in the investigative judgment as God doing any specific investigating Himself.   It has also been my understanding that the principle investigators are the heavenly host, not God Himself, as God obviously already knows who is His and who are not.   This is made clear in the FB itself:
     
    “…The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection…This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus.”
     
    If the heavenly host, as opposed to God, are doing the investigation of God’s judgment, then of course that vindicates God.  If other Adventists don’t believe or teach that concept, that is hardly the fault of all Adventists, especially given what is set out in the FB itself.
     
    “I don't think I said anything that should be interpreted as favoring in particular definition of atonement. I think God was validated by the love displayed in the obedience of Jesus unto death. You do agree he died because of His obedience don't you.” 
     
    Yes I agree.
     
    “I was also trying to point out that the only way IJ as investigation could be vindicating is if other beings are validating that the saved really did accept Christ. I have heard this twist on the IJ before. But, don't really take it serious. Adventists already claim God set aside 1000 years for God's judgments to be reviewed. Why does this notion get drug into the IJ?”
     
    But God isn’t doing the investigating – it is primarily the heavenly host doing the investigation and judgment of God’s decision, as the FB itself makes clear as quoted above. 
     
    As to the 1,000 years, my understanding is the purpose is for the redeemed humans to investigate and judge God also.  Otherwise, there may be lingering doubts as to why God chose to redeem some people and not others, especially given how good people can look on the surface and wicked in their hearts – and vica versa.  What is so horrible about that concept – that sounds entirely reasonable and just to me. 
     
    As to why it gets dragged into the IJ doctrine, I suspect it is based on certain scriptural texts, some of which I have already quoted before.
     
    “So far I have only reacted to the FB IJ. What about all the other junk that has often been attached. Like the idea your probation might close because your name came up in the IJ? There are lots of things of that nature that are part of the IJ as experienced by Adventists.”
     
    Great point and we seem to be getting more to the issue.  My original concern was that people complain about the IJ doctrine, but what they are really complaining about is the range of specific applications of that concept (and again there are a range of them), rather than the belief as set out in the FB itself.  Adventists do that themselves when they point fingers and claim certain brothers aren’t upholding ‘the truth’ and aren’t ‘real Adventists’, when what they really mean is though own narrow view and certainly not the ‘official’ view as found in the FB itself.
     
    Moreover, what I am trying to understand is what ‘other junk’ you and others like you are specifically referring to?  You seem to have a problem with a range of beliefs that seem consistent with Last Generation Theology.  You should know, and no doubt do know, that LGT hardly represents the views of all Adventists, but merely a slither of conservatives.
     
    “You see the FB wording as giving you room for your beliefs. I see the FB wording as evidence we cannot get a majority to publish the more narrow minded versions that are typically promoted by conservative leadership who brow beats the general membership with more conservative views of the FBs. There is no intention or leadership commitment to using the FBs to create the big tent.”
     
    Yes that pretty much sums it up.  I praise the drafters of the FB, that many of them are written in a broad enough manner.  I do indeed worry about attempts by conservatives and others to amend the FBs, to replace the current broad meaning with their own very narrow meanings.
     
    I totally agree that the current leadership seems to have no commitment to using the FBs to create a big tent for Adventism.  In fact, they seem to be doing the opposite.  The moves by Pres Wilson to amend the broad statement in FB6, so it more specifically requires YEC in the evolution-debate, is a good example of a broad-tent FB in danger of being hijacked by conservative elements of the Church, including its conservative-dominated leadership.
     
    But one can only hope and prayer that cooler heads will prevail and the FBs will remain untouched as broad statements that allow a big tent for Adventism. 
     
    I would only ask that when people criticise ‘Adventist beliefs’, such as the IJ doctrine, they distinguish between the broad official statements, which I personally adhere to, as compared with the narrow ‘junk’ many other people apply, which I don’t believe in.  No one likes overgeneralisations, and ex-Adventists (or diaspora Adventists) should know the difference. 
     
    If they don’t like the IJ doctrine, it would be helpful that they clarify what exactly they do and do not like.  I would submit that in many cases what people really reject is the 1844 prophecy, plus legalistic notions consistent with LGT.  By contrast, most people who say they reject the IJ would be happy to admit notions of a heaven being the true fulfilment of the earthly tabernacle, that Christ is our High Priest mediator, that the Israelite sacrificial system was merely a type for the Hebrews pointing them to Christ’s future sacrifice, and that there is actually a phased judgment – with most of these beliefs actually held by many denominations across Christendom.
     
    Please don’t tarnish us all with the same brush by overgeneralisations. 

  36. Rudy Good
    08 January 2013 @ 9:55 pm

    Stephen,

    Do you agree with any of Des Ford's objections to the IJ theology?

  37. Stephen Ferguson
    09 January 2013 @ 10:46 am

    Rudy: “Do you agree with any of Des Ford's objections to the IJ theology?”
     
    Rudy, that is not an easy question that one can respond to with a short answer – but here goes. Please keep in mind, I am a bit young to have a good understanding of all of Desmond Ford’s objections to the IJ theology – I was only born in 1979 and Glacier View occurred in 1980!
     
    Perhaps you can articulate Ford’s objections more succinctly, to the extent that I have the wrong idea – happy to be corrected.  Otherwise, my basic understanding is from Wikipedia (which of course is suspect) and the GC Biblical Research Institute’s articles on the subject (which is no doubt biased) includes the following.  The references I used included:
     
    https://adventistbiblicalresearch.org/sites/default/files/pdf/desmondfordtheology.pdf
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investigative_judgment
     
    From what I can understand of the matter, I do in fact agree with quite a lot of what Dr Ford taught, especially his advocating of the apotelesmatic principle (i.e. that there can be multiple fulfilments of the same text or prophecy):
     

    • The year-for-a-day principle is incorrect:  Probably don’t agree (but honestly uncertain).  However, don’t tell the YEC Creationists, because they don’t want anyone to believe ‘day’ can mean anything other than a 24-hour period – at least in Genesis.  Perhaps conservative Adventists have different rules for different subjects perhaps? I am just as confused about the meaning of ‘day’ in Daniel as I am about its meaning in Genesis.

     

    • The prophecy in Daniel 8:13 re the abomination of desolation refers to Seleucian-Greek-Syrian King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who set up an idol to Zeus and sacrificed swine in the Jewish Temple c.167 BCE (or perhaps Roman Emperor Titus following the same in 70 CE); therefore, it cannot not refer to some other future event:  Partly agree.  Personally, I think it could refer to both Antiochus (or Caesar Titus) and to a future person or event.  This is much the same way as Jesus’ description of the end of the world in Matt 24 related to both the localised Jewish apocalypse, being the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, but also to the eventual Second Advent. 

     
    Another example would be the seven letters to the Churches in Revelation, which represent both seven actual churches in Asia Minor, and much broader Christendom throughout the ages.  If the abomination of desolation in Dan 8 only referred to Antiochus Epiphanes, why did Jesus refer to abomination of desolation Himself in Matt 24:15, Mark 13:14 and Luke 21:20-21?   Jesus approach in these passages seems to support the apotelesmatic principle as far as I can tell.
     

    • The cleansing of the Sanctuary in Daniel 8:14 refers to the Maccabees revolt (or later Bar Kockba revolt) to remove Zeus’ idol – not some future event:  Partly agree.  Again, why can’t it be both utilising the apotelesmatic principle?  Again, if it only meant the Maccabees revolt, what was the point of Jesus’ statements in Matt 24:15, Mark 13:14 and Luke 21:20-21? 

     

    • The epistle to the Hebrews teaches that the Day of Atonement was fulfilled by the death of Jesus at the cross: Partly agree. Yes and no, because it depends on what one means by the word ‘atonement’.  The word occurs in the New Testament only once (Rom. 5:11), where it is the translation of katallage, a word meaning "reconciliation," or a "reconciling," and is elsewhere so translated (Rom. 11:15; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19).

     
    I do of course believe "We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10).  However, because the word ‘atonement’ is really just Christian jargon, most Christians use the word narrowly to mean Christ’s full and final death on the Cross; whereas, Adventists have traditionally applied the term in a broader sense to mean the entire plan of salvation, including not just Jesus’ death but also the final eradication of sin and death at the General Judgment.  Obviously, God’s plan of salvation is not yet complete, in the sense that Satan and death have not yet been completely destroyed, and as Paul observes nature itself still groans in anticipation, and Peter tells us to be patient, being something still to occur in the future.
     

    • There is no judgment of the righteous – judgment only occurs for the wicked:  Disagree. In that aspect, Dr Ford was not merely refuting Adventist teachings, but the teachings re Particular Judgment held for thousands of years throughout Christendom.  However, I may not accurately understand Dr For’s teachings here.

     
    That is not to say that I am dogmatic about what form or ceremony the Particular Judgment takes – i.e. I don’t necessarily believe in a formal courtroom etc., as many Adventists no doubt (perhaps simplistically) do.  That would be superimpose limited human concepts into heaven, which the Bible makes clear is a place beyond human understanding. Similarly, attempts to refute the IJ by mathematical calculations of how long judgment would take (as has occurred per articles in Spectrum) are just as ridiculous for the same reasons. 
     
    If the Bible texts talk about Jesus bringing his ‘reward’ or designating His ‘elect’ (Matt 16:27; Matt 24:31), it suggests some sort of pre-Advent judgment or election has occurred.  I am open to suggestions that Particular Judgment is near instantaneous, as Augustine taught. Adventists are arguably less ‘strict’ in their views of Particular Judgment, as we don’t believe saved individual need to experience ongoing self-judgment further through the purification process of purgatory (i.e. per Luke 16:19-31). 
     
    The passages in Heb 9:27, Rom 2:5-7,16 and Ecc 12:14 are also helpful, which suggests that Particular Judgment awaits us all after death, including the righteous – not just the wicked as Dr Ford is purportedly said to teach.  However, we need not fear that judgment, if we have Christ.
     

    • Hebrews 6:19, 9:12 and 10:19-20 teach that Jesus entered into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary immediately after his ascension, not 1800 years later:  Generally agree (but honestly uncertain).  However, and again, it is hardly a salvation issue.  To be honest, given the Sanctuary on earth was just a pattern in heaven, not made by human hands, and given the Bible makes clear heaven is beyond human comprehension (1 Cor 2:9), who can really say what the Sanctuary in heaven actually is exactly? I would certainly doubt it is a physical building in the way human engineers would ordinarily understand it.  It doesn’t matter to the dead when the Particular Judgment began. 

     

    • One should apply the apotelesmatic principle (i.e. that there can be multiple fulfilments of the same text or prophecy):  Strongly agree with Dr Ford on that point, as I noted above.  Traditional Adventists don’t like it because it somehow might undermine the historicist method of interpretation.  However, I don’t know how one can deny it, especially in light of say Jesus’ own discussion of the fall of Jerusalem but simultaneously the Eschaton in Matt 24.  It would appear the Bible is full of these cryptic, double-meaning statements.

     

    • Ellen White supported the apotelesmatic principle and Ellen White’s authority is primary pastoral; not doctrinal: Generally agree.   Ellen White can’t be the last word in interpreting the scriptures any more than say Luther or Wesley can – and any attempt to suggest as such is the end of the ongoing Reformation.

     
    Perhaps, as has been noted by others, the real reason for the adverse reaction to Dr Ford is the Church leadership saw him as a threat to the historicist method, which I believe is an accusation that Dr Ford refuted himself.  To that extent, I think Dr Ford was wrongly punished.  Just looking at how John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy re the coming of Elijah, we shouldn’t be overly dogmatic and sure of ourselves when it comes to matters of prophecy. 
     
    However, as to the IJ doctrine more specifically, as opposed to the wider issue of the apotelesmatic principle, most of the issues seemed to concern Dan 8 and whether there was some sort of eschatological event in heaven as occurring from 1844 onwards.  Again, that issue was obviously important to the pioneers (to justify their duping in the Great Disappointment), and it appears to be the fixation of both critics and conservative Adventists alike. 
     
    The key point though, is in my mind, Dr Ford’s teachings, much of which I do agree with, only addresses certain aspects of the FB#24 – it does not do away with the IJ entirely.  Thus, I think a big Adventist tent can remain – provided conservative elements of the Church don’t succeed in amending the FB#24 in a more narrow fashion as they are suggesting for the FB#6 on creation. 

    • Rudy Good
      09 January 2013 @ 2:23 pm

      Stephen,

      Appreciate the very thorough answer and I think our differences relate in large part to our age differnce (I was born in 1950). Ford had a very great impact on how Adventists experience the IJ. When I was a youth it was customary to be indoctrinated with a fairly narrow view of the IJ and it was presented as if there no room for doubts. This was true for other Adventist distinctive interpreations and doctrines. The consequence of that was the FBs were overshadowed by the orthodoxy implied by sermons, classroom, and SS presentations of the Adventist beliefs.

      Ford and others in the 70's (ie. Morris Venden) challenged in different ways the ideas that were part of the Adventist indoctrination. Since that time there has been conflict between those who see the indoctination ideas as the Adventist non-negotiable truth and those who see a need for substantial reform. I see this as progress, but also believe that not enough changed to make the big tent a meaningful reality.

      You seem to entertain some doubts about IJ elements that do not seem compatible with the FB. It does not seem to me that the FB leaves any option to doubt the Daniel 8:13-14 prophecy ending in 1844. Nor is there room to doubt that what occurs at that time is the antitypical fulfillment of the Day Atonement. I think there are sufficient challenges to these ideas that they should not be presented as part of an FB that supports a belief in a pre-Advent judgment.

      I know many Adventists who still suffer from the spiritual scars and trauma of the indoctrination. Certain personalities are less impacted. But, a large percentage end up with questions about truth and God's plans that have made it difficult to trust in God's love. As their knowlege and exprience expanded they were forced to abandoned ideas that they had been taught and conditioned to believe was absolute truth. This expereince has left many with great difficulty in trusting even their own convictions.

      In a bit more subtle way some of those old indoctrination ideas have been making their way back into the SS lessons. As far as I can tell the FBs have little influence on what most Adventists are taught as truth. They are crafted to avoid the dogmatic positions (which are difficult to justify), but provide no challenge to those who want to perpetuate of reinstitute the dogma's of the 1960's.

      • Stephen Ferguson
        09 January 2013 @ 2:51 pm

        Thanks Rudy, very much agree with most of what you said.  I also don't think the IJ is a 'salvation issue' that belongs as a FB.  I think there really are 7 or 8 'real' FBs that in practice most Adventists treat as non-negotiable essential teachings and a the rest probably belong with teachings re Michael the Archangel – interesting academic discussions, but not essential.  I do doubt the 1844-part especially, but try to stay focused on some of the broader components of a pre-Advent, Investigative Judgment.

        A guess Dr Ford's legacy, apart from losing his job and taking a third of Australia's ministers, is a willingness to challenge presumptions of indocrination.  I know some may disagree, but I believe some argue the Adventist pioneers were not quite the fundamentalists we might think – and the 'historic' conservative Adventists claim.  It was actually after the 1919 Bible Conference that Adventism entered a real fundamentalist phase, which the likes of Dr Ford tried to break.  Thus, I would question any claims by historic Adventists to be the 'real' and 'true' Adventists.  The question is – is fundamentalism waning or is it on the rise again with the likes of Goldstein and Wilson?  

  38. Ed Dickerson
    11 January 2013 @ 2:07 am

    Interesting. So . . .

    Genesis can be interpreted many ways; scientific data can only be interpreted in one way.

    And it's the theologians who are being rigid. Hmmm.

  39. Anonymous
    11 January 2013 @ 2:26 am

    I'm always a bit puzzled when I read of scars and trauma inflicted by Adventists of "the greatest generation" on baby boomers and their progeny; or when I read that members and young people are, or will be, leaving the Church in droves because it refuses to jettison obscurantist beliefs and gospeldygook from its official statements of belief. Where are the studies showing that rational beliefs are the key to growing, healthy churches? Where is the maturity to recognize that our parents did what they thought was in our best interests, just like we have done what we thought was in our often screwed-up kids' best interests? When are we going to individuate, and suggest that the "victims" of Adventism also grow up? Can't we accept responsibility for ourselves, and love the Church we choose to be a part of, even if we find reasons to criticize?

    Mind you, I'm not against reason; and I certainly do not subscribe to many of the 28 F.B.s or their Biblical provenance – e.g., Remnancy, The IJ, Creationism as science. I abstain from alcohol and unclean meat for religious reasons, but I do not believe that these are Biblical issues.  I applaud what Jack is doing here, and I think it is most unfortunate that the Church insists that the truth of God's character, the nature of man, the sacredness of the Sabbath, and the integrity of scripture, all hang on a literal 24 hour, 6 day creation. But I do not see why all of these issues, important as they are, threaten the ability of the various faith communities within Adventism to know Christ and discern His will for their lives.

    The problem with the SDA Church is not its beliefs, but its passion for Christ, as reflected in communities of loving faith. In her remarkably insightful book, Practicing Passion – Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church, Kenda Creasy Dean makes the trenchant observation that young people aren't so much looking for accurate theology as they are looking for a cause to be passionate about. They are seeking, she argues, a Christ that is worth living for. And a Christ that is not worth dying for is a Christ that is not worth living for either. Few people join any organization because of its theoretical beliefs and commitments. They join because they find in the realtionships formed by and within the group something that makes them want to stay.

    Conservative Adventists seem to think that unity of belief is the key characteristic which the Church must retain. Liberals think that rationally defensible beliefs are the Church's salvation. Could it be that both wrongly rest the Church's future on what Leonard Sweet calls propositional impotence? Maybe that's why folks leave the Adventist Church…

  40. Ella M
    11 January 2013 @ 3:44 am

    Stephen,
       Just getting in the conversation between you and Rudy to let you know that I appreciate the long piece you wrote above and I agree.  It is well-explained and honest.  Like you, I never read the material by Des Ford–someone said it was quite thick–and don't remember the fall-out.  My later impression was that he was pressuring others to believe the same way he did. 
        About the parallels, I didn't know he came up with that or what it was called.  However, I came to that conclusion through personal Bible study on my own. 
        I hope you don't mind I plan to save your answers on my computer for future reference.

    • Stephen Ferguson
      11 January 2013 @ 11:41 am

      No worries.  

      The thing that struck me from the official GC BRI article on Dr Ford's theology was the amount of space dedicated to attacking apotelesmatic principle (i.e. that there can be multiple fulfilments of the same text or prophecy).  I also always thought that the apotelesmatic principle was true, although I had never heard that term before, and I swear I had been taught that principle many times from many pastors over the years – especially in relation to Matt 24.  The idea that prophecies can have multiple fulfillments seems totally obvious to me.

      I think Earl actually said it previously on another blog that the real fear of the SDA leadership at the time was not just about IJ per se, but fears that he was challenging the wider notion of the historic method of prophetic interpretation.  The amount of time spent in the GC article devoted to denouncing the apotelesmatic principle leads me to believe Earl was probably correct.  

      After actually looking at the stuff in detail, funny thing is, I don't think Ford's ideas were as raddical as I perhaps thought from all the hype.  To me, the GC's reaction to Ford was a total overreaction – even if one did disagree with his theology.

      I recommend people check it out the GC article on Ford themselves:

      https://adventistbiblicalresearch.org/sites/default/files/pdf/desmondfordtheology.pdf

  41. Stephen Ferguson
    11 January 2013 @ 11:46 am

    Getting back to Jack's article, I wonder if we are seeing a similar overreaction by the conservative-dominated leadership – even if we do disagree with 'liberal' positions on a range of issues.  It's really all about proportionality.

    To that end, I do note the planned SS lesson for the next couple of years includes creation (now combating YEC); sanctuary; role of women; marriage and lifetsyle.  Could one think that these topics represent a conservative-dominated agenda within SS for the next couple of years?  

    If it were on the other foot, with liberals controlling the GC, no doubt there would be claims of a Jesuit conspiracy – as I grew up hearing within conservative and independent ministries of Adventism.  Perhaps there really are Jesuits, and they are trying to prevent the ongoing Reformation of the SDA Church – aren't Jesuits the shock troops of Counter-Reformation?  

  42. Rudy Good
    11 January 2013 @ 5:15 pm

    Stephen,

    Check out this link: http://www.dennispriebe.com/new/node/50

  43. Rudy Good
    12 January 2013 @ 12:41 am

    HONEST followers of Christ recognize the danger of becoming so sure of your religious beliefs that you do not understand the weightier matters of the law.

  44. Stephen Ferguson
    12 January 2013 @ 1:08 am

    One person's apostasy is another reformation.  And President Wilson is asking for revival and reformation – but what does that mean exactly?  It doesn't mean simply doing the same thing, and upholding tradition. Rather, it means combating preconceived ideas of the institutional religious orthodoxy, as we see throughout the history of Judeo-Christianity.  So it would seem to me that President Wilson's prayers are being answered – just not in a way he suspected.

  45. Stephen Ferguson
    12 January 2013 @ 1:24 am

    And Gailon, what do you mean by 'HONEST SDAs'?  I would have thought the honest SDAs were the ones who checked for themselves, and then re-checked in each new generation, each FB as according to the scriptures, and then advocated changes as greater understanding and new light came available as part of a continual revival and reformation experience?  That is much what the Preamble to those FBs actually say if you take the time to read them.  

    Moreover, if one actually reads many of the FBs, they are quite widely worded – take FB#6 on creation for that matter.  That allows for a broad tent within Adventism.  Thus, when Adventists accuse others of not following the Bible, or Ellen White or a FB, what they really mean is they are not following their own particular, narrower interpretation of those things.  That would appear to be much of the 'junk' Rudy rightly was complaining about earlier.  

    Adventism can be a big tent, as long as people like you and President Wilson don't succeed in closing more doors to the Kingdom and heaping more burdens on the people.  I do recall there was a group of people in Jesus' day who were much inclined to do the same thing, who liked to bite off their noses to spite their faces.  

  46. Jack Hoehn
    12 January 2013 @ 3:14 am

    "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces." Matthew 23:12.  What kind of a WALL are your building to shut others out Mr. Joy?

  47. earl calahan
    12 January 2013 @ 4:15 am

    There should be joy in a Mighty 3 ring big-g-g-g tent. However dogmatism quickly reduces its size to a
    single ring tent. Judge not that you……

  48. Jack Hoehn
    12 January 2013 @ 4:31 pm

    Matthew 23:13!

  49. Edwin A. Schwisow
    12 January 2013 @ 11:25 pm

    I have found in discussing these things that there is a school of thought in Adventism that seriously and indefatigably defends the point of view that God revealed all truth in a distant past, and that since then there has been a constant eroding of that truth. This presupposition makes it very hard for some to agree to the possibility that (especially after the death of Ellen White) we might actually uncover present truth not explicitly (literally) referred to in the Bible or her writings.

    By contrast, a second position taken by some Adventists today  is that the patriarchs of Genesis, while possessed of great faith and insight, were given at best a simplified outline of God's ultimate truth, and that there will be an "unfolding" of new truth right down to the end of time, and beyond.

    To rephrase, some believe that any new light is by definition highly suspect and usually unworthy of deeper consideration—because the world and its inhabitants have been in steep physical, ethical, and inspirational decline since the fall of Adam and Eve. On the other hand, we find those who are eager to identify, polish, and promulgate new light that concurs with and better explains the broad truths we hold as Christians.

  50. Philip Law
    13 January 2013 @ 6:11 pm

    While communicating with our youth about evolution we need to be careful not to confuse facts from fiction disguised as science. Beware of faith statements such as given infinite time all things are possible.  Together with speculations such as Punctuated Equilibrium we risk substituting an even less credible story with the creation story we try to discredit.  Any conjecture that requires the reversal of entropy needs to wait until the Laws of Thermodynamics are proven wrong.  We need to learn from lessons in science not to declare prematurely the discoveries of Cold Fusion or particles that travel faster than the speed of light.

    • Tim
      14 January 2013 @ 1:17 am

      Any conjecture that requires the reversal of entropy needs to wait until the Laws of Thermodynamics are proven wrong.

      Hi Philip,

      Your comment quoted above is a common error that creationists tend to make — I hear it all the time. Entropy as you're referencing it here applies only to closed systems — our world is not a closed system.

       

      From there, a common but fallacious response is something along the lines of "well, like, the universe is a closed system, so what now?"

       

      However, as you pointed out the care we all must take in avoiding "faith statements," I don't expect you'd use that one. But just in case — we have no information concerning the opened or closed nature of the greater universe.

       

      Best,

      Tim

      • Philip Law
        14 January 2013 @ 2:35 am

        Tim,

        Keep my comment to any entropy reversal in a close system ….

      • Philip Law
        14 January 2013 @ 2:46 am

        Tim,

        On what basis and what do you mean that our world is not a closed (or isolated) system?  Do you buy in to the multiverse myth?

    • Jack Hoehn
      14 January 2013 @ 3:59 pm

      Philip, caution is always in order.  But a more positive view of your concerns is that although in Darwin's day science felt they had an infinite amount of time to use, they now know that they have a finite amount of time, a beginning and likely an ending, and there really isn't enough time for unguided evolution to do what it was proposed to do.  Science is definitely on the side of the Creationist regarding time.

      And Punctuated Equillibrium appears to Creationists as acknowledgement of intervention by an event very much like a sequential creation would show. 

      I'm afraid I'll have to let better minds discuss jargon beyond my abilities like, "reversal of entropy", although most of us understand that things tend to run down and decay unless they are infused with new energy and life from someplace?

      While I fear godless scientists who exclude the possibility of the divine from their world view, Adventists should embrace science in general, not fear it.  After all this is our Father's world…..

      • Elaine Nelson
        14 January 2013 @ 7:17 pm

        To label scientists as "godless" because they do not consider miraculous interventions of an unidentified cause, is to tar all scientists who limit themselves to observations.  Miracles can never be studied or explained.  Where are the limitations if supernatural events are allowed to be the explanation for everything we cannot now explain?

        Many of the events and observations that were unexplainable a few hundred years ago and were attributed to God or miracles, have since been given very reasonable and accepted explanations.  Why can't we withhold such accuations when science is a method for studying what is now unknown?

  51. Joe Erwin
    14 January 2013 @ 3:17 pm

    As one who has some understanding of science, but very little understanding of thermodynamics or entropy, I would be interested in knowing more about the expertise of those who invoke "Laws" regarding such as a basis for their beliefs. I could be wrong, but I have an impression that the arguments are made as references to absolute authority, on the one hand, and the fallibility of science and scientists on the other.

    It is my sense that there is frequently confusion between "science as a process" and "science as a body of knowledge." As a process, science is a very open-ended set of methods and procedures for obtaining, evaluating, and refining information. It involves intuition, hypothesis testing, deductive reasoning, inference, and probability and confidence assessment. It is essentially an open, dynamic, ever changing, progressive, and unending process

    While the concept of "science as a body of knowledge" has some validity, that reservoir of knowledge is not a fixed or static thing. It is constantly changing. The reservoir of scientific information includes proposals, concepts, constructs, speculation, and data ranging in quality from lousey to excellent. While there are some generalities–that is, general principles–that have received much support and have not been falsified by valid data, everything, including "Laws," is open to refinement and revision. I'm afraid some people tend to treat such things as if they were the immutable Laws of God (or Nature, or both).

    Application of general principles beyond the scope for which they are proposed or for which support exists, certainly opens the door to erroneous conclusions. Certainly, "our world" is not a "closed system," just as our solar system and galaxy are not independent of external influences. "Universe" is a slippery concept, because it is used to mean EVERYTHING, while it is also used to mean something that has limits–essentially, it simultaneously has and does not have edges, which does not make sense to me. I guess I am one of the people who "buys into" the notion of infinite space (not the that anyone can know what occupies space beyond what can be seen with the aid of the most sophisticated telescopic devices). 

    With all due respect to Laws (from Phillip to physical or universal), we just do not know what we do not know, but many people believe they know what is either not known or has been falsified by abundant evidence. People who insist on believing in concepts that are contrary to all available evidence sacrifice their credibility on other issues.   
        

  52. Anonymous
    14 January 2013 @ 8:27 pm

    "People who insist on believing in concepts that are contrary to all available evidence sacrifice their credibility on other issues."

    I agree with most of what you said above, Joe, particularly regarding the characteristics of scientific process and scientific information, which you helpfully remind us are not the same. But in concluding with the highlighted statement, it seems to me that you use a dubious generalization to set up a vague straw man, with the implicit intent of shutting down discussion. A great number of concepts believed by persons of high moral character and intelligence are contrary to "all available evidence" as defined by other persons of high moral character and intelligence. So your statement really doesn't contribute to a rational conversation about evidence or concepts. It amounts, in practice, to the following: "'Other people' believe in a concept that is contrary to all available evidence that I believe is relevant to X issue; therefore, 'other people' are not credible on other issues." "…all available evidence…" can be a very low standard of proof, and goes far beyond where I think you need or want to go in legitimately questioning the scientific credibility of those who regard the Biblical story of creation as scientifically provable fact. And I certainly think it is unreasonable and unfair to conclude that such individuals are in general lacking in credibility.

    If a creation literalist could come up with an experimental model to scientifically validate one or more of the assumptions underlying the concepts of YEC/YLC, then it would be difficult to challenge creationists' claim to a seat at the scientific table. Einstein isn't great because he came up with a theory that challenged the scientifically proven laws of Newtonian physics. He is remembered because quantum mechanics has conclusively falsified, through the scientific method, the universal claims of the laws of classical mechanics. Newton still has a seat at the scientific table, not because his laws of motion are true, but because his methods and conclusions were true to the scientific method. Without discovery of the realm of quantum mechanics, Newtonian laws of motion would still be scientifically true, even if they were in fact untrue. Why? Because, in thousands of different contexts, they would repeatedly have been demonstrated by the scientific method to be true; and no scientific discovery or process would have falsified them.

    IMHO, both creation theory and evolutionary theory, as grand unifying explanations for life on earth, are contrary to all available evidence. Each side is more credible when it challenges the other than when it tries to defend its own bulwark of closed-ended assumptions. Concepts are, by their very nature, usually subject to dispute by reasonable minds, because they are the product of selecting from "all available evidence" that evidence which the believer has assayed and found to be the most compelling. 

    It is wrong to suggest, because speculations supporting YEC/YLC might, in some post-quantum, post-string realm of science, as yet undiscernible, be proven true, that those concepts are therefore scientifically valid.  And it is also wrong to assert, because so many mysteries of life and existence have increasingly been demystified through the scientific method, that scientific speculations about those mysteries, which have not been falsified through the scientific process, are scientifically valid. We all believe in concepts which, in the minds of others, are contrary to all available evidence. When we draw general conclusions about the credibility of others based on the way we see the available evidence, we become insular, and close ourselves off to the possible implications of new evidence and the different ways that other intelligent, moral people sometimes view reality.

  53. Joe Erwin
    14 January 2013 @ 10:04 pm

    Credibility is built, in science, by accurate prediction (prophecy?).

    Credibility is lost, in science, by having one's hypotheses falsified by empirical evidence, and by repeatedly making assertions or proposing hypotheses that are untestable using the methods of science.

    I have no intentions or illusions that anything I write will (or should) put an end to discussion. I have no doubt that the discussion will go on, and on, and on.

    I have the impression that statements in science are always known to be (at least) not quite accurate, and that the scientific process is all about identifying the inaccuracies and finding ways of refining statements to make them increasingly accurate. I'm confident that not all scientists see it this way, but I imagine many do.

    My impression of religion is not quite like that. Often, statements are made or identified and asserted to be absolutely true and not open to discussion. I'm confident that not all religious people see it this way, but it is clear that some do. And, rather often, religious statemments are about things that cannot be verified, falsified, or even addressed using science.  

  54. Ella M
    15 January 2013 @ 3:16 am

    “I have the impression that statements in science are always known to be (at least) not quite accurate, and that the scientific process is all about identifying the inaccuracies and finding ways of refining statements to make them increasingly accurate. I’m confident that not all scientists see it this way, but I imagine many do.”

    This sounds like a good method for Bible study, theology, and refining doctrine. It would be called “progressive truth.” The difference is one is spiritual (with spiritual laws) the other physical/material with its laws.

  55. David
    19 January 2013 @ 11:19 pm

    The highest level of science is given when an event could be replicate over and over, example the gravity. Evolution is not based in experiments that could be replicated, is based in educated interpretations that what could occurred in the past.  Putting in simple words; the theory of evolution is based in a great deal of imagination and of course also a great deal of faith.  Sounds familiar? 

  56. Ervin Taylor
    20 January 2013 @ 4:40 am

    David's comment does sound familiar because it is wrong.  The mechanisms of biological evolution (mutation, natural selection, etc.) have been well studied and replicated on many levels by many scientists for many years. The fossil record has also been studied on many levels by many scientists for many years and the relationship of fossils in the rock sequences have been replicated over and over again.  The theory of evolution is based on a great deal of data.  If you disagree with its conclusions on religious grounds, just say so.  That is intellectually honest. But please do not reveal your profound misunderstandings of the massive amount of data that has been accmulated for more than a century dealing with the theory. .

    • Stephen Ferguson
      20 January 2013 @ 10:42 am

      And we see it before our very eyes, in say antibiotic-resistent bacteria.  This isn't evolution in the past but in the present.

      • Ervin Taylor
        20 January 2013 @ 10:34 pm

        May I ask Mr. Ferguson: So having biological evolution occuring "in the present" is ok, but somehow not in the past? 

        • Stephen Ferguson
          21 January 2013 @ 12:46 am

          No. I was refuting the YEC argument, 'if evolution were true why don't we still see it happening today?' My point is we see it in action. It isn't just in fossils.

      • David
        20 January 2013 @ 11:07 pm

        Stephen pardon to be so blunt but your statement has serious limitations.  Let me illustrate similar example but with different conclusion.
        When a tourist from Canada goes to Mexico may get diarrhea due to a microorganism, if that person decides to lives for several years in Mexico probable will became “immune” and not get sick.  Did he evolve? He decided to go back to Canada and live for 10 years, one day he gets tire of the cold weather and returns to Mexico.  Probably after his first meals and drinks he will develop diarrhea again, he “lost his immunity”! Did he “de-evolve”?
        There is a very intriguing work that may suggest that micro organisms that once developed resistance to a specific antibiotic may became susceptible again if the specific antibiotic is not been use for a long period of time. The microorganism “de- evolved?” 

  57. Joe Erwin
    20 January 2013 @ 12:38 pm

    A good point, Stephen, and one that illustrates why denial of the concept of evolution could be hazardous to our health. Erv is correct. That evolution has occurred and continues to occur is very well established. Many questions continue to be explored and generated about HOW evolution occurs and has occurred. These are among the most fascinating and productive areas of science. We should not ignore these advances in knowledge or teach others (especially our young people–including those in SDA schools) to deny reality. 

  58. David
    20 January 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    “The mechanisms of biological evolution (mutation, natural selection, etc.) have been well studied and replicated on many levels by many scientists for many years”
    Could you provide the evidence for replication? Meaning reproducible facts. If you are going to going to give the give the example of antibiotic resistance save you time.
    I disagree because interpretations are taking as facts.
    After 25 years of academics and first hand prospective research in biological sciences I learned few things.  After tremendous rigorous and many hours of work sometimes we may establish associations, correlations are even harder, causations almost impossible. I learned the hard way to be intellectually honest. 

    • Ervin Taylor
      20 January 2013 @ 7:46 pm

      Before we go through an elaborate discussion here–a question for David.  Do you think what is usually called microevolution has been completely demonstrated scientifically to be occuring and is a "fact" of nature?  Once we know his view on that, perhaps we can have an interesting exchange of views.

      • David
        21 January 2013 @ 12:07 am

        We could have a discussion any time. I’m still waiting for the “replicable evidence”.
        You could be satisfied with retrospective data and that is plenty for you.  For me that is not enough, if I will call science to the highest degree, needs to be reproducible.  For example: gravity, an E Coli comes from another E Coli, a human comes from other human. Retrospective data has serious limitations and there is the risk to believe in data that may not reflect accurately the facts.

  59. Joe Erwin
    20 January 2013 @ 5:10 pm

    There is no need to confuse tangible evidence with explanations about evidence. I agree that evolution as an explanatory principle is sometimes confused with the tangible evidence that requires some explanation. As I have suggested many times before, we need to read scientific papers carefully and not confuse the "Results" with the "Discussion" of the results, and we need to evaluate the "Conclusions" to see whether they really follow from the data in the Results.

    Science is a very large tent filled with many large tables. I like to encourage people to move or change the configuration of the tables from time-to-time. We all need to cross disciplinary boundaries sometimes.

  60. Kevin Seidel
    20 January 2013 @ 11:15 pm

    People have been practicing selective breeding of plants and animals for thousands of years.  The only difference between natural selection and selective breeding is whether the environment does the selecting or people do the selecting.  Arguing against evolution is basically the same as arguing against selective breeding.  They both work by the exact same mechanisms.  This is why evolution has been well studied and replicates. 

    Just like physics is not just about the big bang, evolution is not just about origin of life.  Physicists have not create new universes to test an prove the big bang, but they have replicated many of the conditions what the universe was like close to the big bang.  In the same way biologists haven't created a planet and let it evolve for a billion years to prove evolution, but they have replicated much of the early environment to exam how the chemistry works.  They have also watched how plants and animals adapte when their environment changes. 

    Is natural selection sufficient to explane the origine and diversity of the life we see today?  I don't know.  I suspect that there are some important facets that have not yet been discovered.  This does not disprove evolution in the same way that Einstin's relativy did not disprove Newton's laws of motion, but rather showed where they were valid and where they were not.

  61. Darrel Lindensmith
    20 January 2013 @ 11:50 pm

    “Before we go through an elaborate discussion here–a question for David. Do you think what is usually called microevolution has been completely demonstrated scientifically . . .” Great question! Better stated, what do we mean by evolution? Do you change over time? Everyone agrees!! Progression over time? Most agree! Progression over time by good mutations? Few agree! What are we being asked to believe??

    • David
      21 January 2013 @ 12:34 am

      Darrel here not such great question but.. go for
      When a tourist from Canada goes to Mexico may get diarrhea due to a microorganism, if that person decides to lives for several years in Mexico probable will became “immune” and not get sick.  Did he evolve? He decided to go back to Canada and live for 10 years, one day he gets tire of the cold weather and returns to Mexico.  Probably after his first meals and drinks he will develop diarrhea again, he “lost his immunity”! Did he “de-evolve”?
      There is a very intriguing work that may suggest that micro organisms that once developed resistance to a specific antibiotic may became susceptible again if the specific antibiotic is not been use for a long period of time. The microorganism “de- evolved?” 

      • Darrel Lindensmith
        21 January 2013 @ 1:14 am

        David, I would say not devolving or evolving bur re-volving.  I think we will see the epigenetic revolution will show that the computer program are made to derive feedback from the environment to 're-structure' accordingly.  You could call this a mutation, but the change is pre-structured but latent.   True mutations do happen and are establish by natural selection.  An example would be blind cave fish.  This would be a example of De-volution I believe.

  62. Darrel Lindensmith
    21 January 2013 @ 12:05 am

    If we go to the beginning of the supposed process of evolution it helps us define what we mean by Evolution.   Don Johnson, Ph.D. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in computer and information sciences, gives us a place to start, the only place we can start: genetics.   Bioinformatics: The Information in Life for the University of North Carolina Wilmington chapter of the Association for Computer Machinery, accessed from Dr. Johnson’s Web page.    Dr. Johnson spent 20 years teaching in universities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and Europe. Here’s an excerpt:
    “Each cell of an organism has millions of interacting computers reading and processing digital information using algorithmic digital programs and digital codes to communicate and translate information.”

    In “Information Systems In Life,” Dr. Johnson points out that:

    • the genetic system is a pre-existing operating system;
    • the specific genetic program (genome) is an application;
    • the native language has a codon-based encryption system;
    • the codes are read by enzyme computers with their own operating system;
    • each enzyme’s output is to another operating system in a ribosome;
    • codes are decrypted and output to tRNA computers;
    • each codon-specified amino acid is transported to a protein construction site; and
    • in each cell, there are multiple operating systems, multiple programming languages, encoding/decoding hardware and software, specialized communications systems, error detection/correction systems, specialized input/output for organelle control and feedback, and a variety of specialized “devices” to accomplish the tasks of life.   

    These programs must be up and running for a mutation /selection theory to even get going.  So, the origin of the organic computer software and the hardware is the real Origins Question!

    • earl calahan
      21 January 2013 @ 3:39 am

      Darrel. If Don Johnson's data is accurate re: "each cell has millions of computers, algorithmic digital programs/codes, operating systems per cell etc" is this not concrete evidence for a surety of ID?

      • Darrel Lindensmith
        21 January 2013 @ 3:45 am

        Of course, I agree!

  63. Ervin Taylor
    21 January 2013 @ 12:14 am

    Just a minor footnote might help the discussion (maybe not): Relatively  few scientists are working on the question of the "Origins of LIfe."  99.9% (ok, perhaps 99.8%) of evolutinary biology deals with the issue of once you have a living organism, how and why does it change through time. And remember, a scientific discussion can not use any non-naturalistic mechanisms.

    May I suggest that we not get sidetracked on the "Origins" topic.  (I know, I know, Darwin's project was entited "On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection."  I could be corrected here, but I can not recall anywhere in his work where he addressed the origin of life as such)   

  64. David
    21 January 2013 @ 12:16 am

    Timo more than one I had to change my view in a“fact” when it was demonstrated by reproducible experiments the fact was wrong.  Honesty is fundamental for the advance of real science.  

  65. Darrel Lindensmith
    21 January 2013 @ 12:28 am

    As Joe will point out, Darwin is dead.  We are discussing  the neo-darwinian theory of evolution.  You are right Ervin, 99.8% deal with "once you have a living organism."   If we want to pretend to explain "Origins" then this IS what must be explained.  The other is smoke and mirrors.

    • Ervin Taylor
      21 January 2013 @ 2:06 am

      I would appreciate it if Mr. Lindensmith could please expand on what exactly he is calling "smoke and mirrors."  May I suggest that to have a productive discussion, we need to take the "Origin of Life" discussion off the table.  It only confuses things.  Let's talk about Neo-Darwinian evolution once living organisms are present on the earth..

  66. Darrel Lindensmith
    21 January 2013 @ 12:37 am

    Ervin, in the Winter Issue of Adventists Today, Mailen Kootsey and yourself attempt to debunk Intelligent Design as “Not Science.” And you attempt to do this by doing what the 98.8% don’t do. You begin at the beginning which is logical. “Unfortunately for ID proponents, in recent decades it has become evident that there are natural mechanisms that can generate information and complexity.” I suspect you guys are using a very ‘special’ meaning for “information and complexity.” The two ‘studies,’ —Peter Corning, “Synergy and self-organization in the evolution of complex systems,” Systems Research, Vol. 12, 12 No. 2, 1995, pp. 89-121 and December 2011 issue of the journal Perspectives on Science and Christian, Faith, a special issue on Information, Intelligence, and Origins DO NOT DEMONSTRATE THE ORIGIN OF THE ONLY INFORMATION IMORTANT TO LIFE

    “Information and complexity” in life sciences is computer code and the nano-mechines that translate and execute the codes. What you guys mean by “information and complexity” I am not sure, crystals and stalagmites maybe,(Shannan Information) but in life sciences “information and complexity” means reams for code and millions molecular machines. Probably to no ones’ great surprise, no researcher has ‘discovered’ a natural mechanism that writes machine code.

  67. Ervin Taylor
    21 January 2013 @ 2:08 am

    As I suggested above, let's not address the "origin . . .[of] life."  That is a major source of confusion when YEC/YLC address biological evolution.  Let's see if we can avoid this confuison.  

  68. Darrel Lindensmith
    21 January 2013 @ 2:19 am

    "May I suggest that to have a productive discussion, we need to take the "Origin of Life" discussion off the table.  It only confuses things.  Let's talk about Neo-Darwinian evolution once living organisms are present on the earth."  It only confuses things?  

  69. Ervin Taylor
    21 January 2013 @ 4:54 am

    Yes, it confuses things because the origin of life and development of live forms are different topics.  If you have a problem with that, then so be it.  In a conversation, you need to agree on what you are talking about.  

    • Darrel Lindensmith
      21 January 2013 @ 2:41 pm

      Ervin, this is what I mean by smoke and mirrors.  The "origin of life and development of life are different topics."  You know that is not true!  In fact your very approach to life sciences is to attempt to use the failed theory of mutation/ selection in explaining phyletic 'development' as a templet to explain Origin.   For example, you will assert, as Joe has below that it is a "misconception that intelligence has to be purposely inserted into chemicals (i.e., there must be active "coding" an external power as a "designer"), for life to begin."   Based on what?   Well, we have fossils!  Well, beaks and things change!  And we have millions of years for complicated thing to happen.  Therefore, don't worry much about the digital codes that run it all. ??????   You say in effect, 'once we explain the development part, the natural origin of the codes will explain itself.'  But then when the illogic of this is pointed out you say, let's not get confused with the origin of life question,' when that is, at least, the sub-text of ALL we are discussing, no?   

      • Ervin Taylor
        21 January 2013 @ 5:17 pm

        O well, we tried.  Mr. Lindensmith wants to confuse the issues.  I don't know why he does.  I cannot read minds. As Joe says "Live long and prosper."   

  70. Joe Erwin
    21 January 2013 @ 1:40 pm

    Yes, Darwin's book was "…Origin of Species…," not "…Origin of Life…." While it is fine to discuss both topics, and there are important and related chemical and biochemical processes that need to be considered in both, we do need to be careful to know which of these issues we are discussing.

    What we have in terms of actual physical evidence is an extraordinary amount of evidence for genetic/genomic coding and variation and patterns of inheritance and expression of genetic information and complex epigenetic developmental processes, and these are being studied in humans and many nonhuman organisms, including both natural and artificial populations, and even some extinct forms.

    In addition, we have many bones and fossils stretching back  tens and hundreds of millions of years. It's complicated. We are just scratching the surface as far as a deep and comprehensive understanding of all this. Working out exactly what happened when complex molecules began to act as templates for assembly of their mirror images is certainly a challenging task.

    Stories about the ultimate beginning of life have to be mostly fictional, but the more that can be learned about living individuals and populations, the more refined the guesses about what happened initially can be. Even so, from the perspective of science, the "best story" will be a description of what could have (or probably) happened, and, for science, the story will not (cannot) be a mystical or spiritual explanation.

    Now, for ID, there are no scientific constraints, because ID can tell the story any way it wishes to. It does not have to stick to scienfic explanations, it can resort to pretty much any assertion it wishes to make about origins of complexity and order and replication. The critical problem for ID, I think, is the misconception that  intelligence has to be purposely inserted into chemicals (i.e., there must be active "coding" an external power as a "designer"), for life to begin. A discussion can focus on that issue.

    But, as Erv has pointed out, understanding how inheritance and speciation occur is quite another issue. Progressive increases in understanding how genetic material functions in biological development, at the level of systems and individuals and groups and populations–how the codes work and how they change and how they function and survive–are all topics of explosive growth in science, currently, and across several decades. All this information makes sense regardless of how one thinks the "original" self-replicating molecules came into extistence.

    But there also are things that make absolutely no sense within the context of what is known. The notion of a "young earth" is simply not even slightly credible in the face of real world evidence. If one can believe in YEC, one can believe anything. If one believes that a "divine spark" created the original self-replicating molecules that led to life as it exists, okay, I have no wish to argue about that. Such a belief does not necessarily prevent someone from giving due consideration and attention to life as it works in the real world.

  71. Darrel Lindensmith
    21 January 2013 @ 2:49 pm

    Hi Joe, "The critical problem for ID, I think, is the misconception that intelligence has to be purposely inserted into chemicals (i.e., there must be active "coding" an external power as a "designer"), for life to begin."   Please demonstrate in the lab 'natural random processes' producing digital code and the nano-bot polymerases to read, edit and exicute the code.   Then we will all know the misconception of intelligence.

  72. Joe Erwin
    21 January 2013 @ 3:47 pm

    Hi Darrel, I appreciate that many people along the way have used the notion of "natural random processes" as the basis of the kind of chemical variation that enables natural or artificial selection to occur and refine the biochemical substrates of genetics and development. As I have suggested before, I think the use of the term "random" can be misleading, as it seems to mean many different things to different people.

    The term "random" seems to mean something on the order of total chaos or total lack of order or consistency to some people. To others, it may mean "unpredictable" or "unspecified" in origin or consequence. Yet, no chemical or chemical reaction or interaction can be without context in terms of percursors or enviroment. What exists at any point has some influence on what can exist next. In that sense, the presence of particular proteins and sequences determines the range of subsequent possibilities. The range of possibilities may be enormous or rather narrow, and some consequences are much more likely than others. That is not total chaos. That is not entirely "random." So, I keep claiming that people should not get hung up on the term "random," as if "chance mutation" (as in total "craps shoot") was the basis of biological variation. That gives a very unrealistic picture of the prospects of biological change across generations.

    So, in summary, I cannot tell you how molecules became organized and self-replicating, but it is clear that such molecules exist and have existed for a long time. There is a lot of evidence regarding ways in which replication errors (changes) occur, many of which are deliberately caused in laboratories around the world every day. Don't hold your breath, Darrel, waiting for ME to demonstrate "natural random processes" producing or reading digital code. I do not have a laboratory. : )

    Wishing you well. Live long and prosper. Keep thinking. Just don't try to make up the answers or place excessive faith in the concepts of others. Mine, or anyone else.   

  73. Darrel Lindensmith
    21 January 2013 @ 4:55 pm

    Hi Joe, I do not use the word ‘random’either. no chemical or chemical reaction or interaction can be without context in terms of percursors or enviroment. What exists at any point has some influence on what can exist next.”

    Joe, if I may, you are confusing ‘information’ with the rules of chemistry and physics. This would be like confusing the physics of light refraction and rules governing eletrons to explain what I am typing here. You might learn something about the medium, but not the meaning. You are confusing the rules of chemistry with the rules of communication. Keep thinking, but don’t try to make up the answers or place excessive faith in the concepts of others.

  74. David
    21 January 2013 @ 5:38 pm

    Looks the last interchange of messages are Deja vu in a much smaller scale of the conversation between Ben Stein and Dawkins.
    How live started? No body knows… and he goes so far that even to consider given the credit to very advance ET civilization except God 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlZtEjtlirc 

  75. Joe Erwin
    21 January 2013 @ 5:50 pm

    Hi Darrel, I think one of the problems is that you choose to believe that a genetic code is written with some anticipated function "in mind." And, you reason, that would require that there be "A Mind" that makes a Plan and writes A Code.

    I see that information exists within the genomes of all humans and other organisms, and that the information contained ("codes," if you will) results in production of proteins or alteration of such production (the "codes" are "read" and acted on). The function (e.g., production or modulation of proteins) may be "conserved" (essentially the same across many generations), or somewhat better or worse fit to current circumstances. If function is absent or poor, the organism might not survive. But for many codes, multiple forms are maintained within populations, allowing for varying function across various environmental challenges. It can be readily seen that some of the changes in genetic code that occur come from the insertion, deletion, or rearrangement within genomes (some of these pretty large events, such as insertion of information from retroviruses into host genomes). Many of the changes are small–such as in single nucleotide polymorphisms–so small that there is little or no effect on function. At least, initially.

    While I do not think these changes are "random," they do have causes. We can identify the causes in some cases. We can experimentally cause or select such changes and observe and/or measure the consequences.

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "rules of communication." What rules? Where did these "rules" come from?

  76. Darrel Lindensmith
    21 January 2013 @ 9:51 pm

    Hi Joe,  you believe that ID Creationists suffer the "misconception that intelligence has to be purposely inserted into chemicals," and I wish to point out the we are not talking about chemicals but the digital information that use base pair as the logic gates for MEANING.  One rule of communication is that communication (coded programming for the purpose of LIFE) only comes about through a Mind.

    • Joe Erwin
      21 January 2013 @ 11:27 pm

      So, it all comes from a "Rulemaker." As I said, a "Mind" who inserts "meaning." And the four proteins that form base pairs act as a modular digital coding device that provides intelligent messages from "The Mind."

      I think I understand the concept, I just don't see it as making any sense. It is kind of as if whenever you come to the point of trying to figure out how something actually works, you just proclaim "It's miracle!"

      Which is all you wanted to do to begin with.

  77. Darrel Lindensmith
    21 January 2013 @ 10:00 pm

    Below are two excellent studies examining what we are discussing:

    Stephen C. Meyer, “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, Vol. 117(2):213-239 (2004).

    A.C. McIntosh, “Information and Entropy — Top-Down or Bottom-Up Development in Living Systems?,” International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics, Vol. 4(4):351-385 (2009).

    • Joe Erwin
      22 January 2013 @ 12:01 am

      One can easily find these references with a quick google search. The first is an ID paper published in error without review and disavowed by the journal. The second is the usual tripe published in an ID "journal" full of fake scientific BS. If you are ever going to get any real insight into this issue, you will need to start reading real science in real journals instead of bogus tripe that supports your fantastic preconceptions. My apologies for being so direct. It just seems to me that you need a dose of reality. You are allowing your opinions to be formed by a bunch of nuts. You actually have your own brain. Use it.   

  78. cb25
    21 January 2013 @ 11:28 pm

    Hi Darrel,

    Your observations suggest the importance of rigorous and honest science. I would agree.

    But, pause to consider. Your comments on this thread all seem to chip away in the ID quarry from one angle or another. Let's say in your efforts you carve a glorious image to ID and we all fall at its feet in worship. What shape will the god be?

    If you have integrity to the science with which you began your pursuit it will not be the God you worship. It will barely be a god.

    This is Deja vu. We have been here before, but the ID topic becomes tiring in playing with words, and, it seems to me, inserting meanings into science based on an outcome/conclusion (God) that is completely unreachable by the scientific aproach one began with. This leaves one wondering what justifies such eager insertion in the first place.

    I guess my simple question, after all that is, what are you really trying to achieve by this constant return to ID?

  79. Darrel Lindensmith
    22 January 2013 @ 12:29 am

    This is Deja vu indeed. The same non-scientific doctrine that digital information can arise, emerge, by natural processes. I am simply interested in keeping magic out of science. I am also interested in keeping theology out of science. Both sides do this, “God would not have done it that way” arguement. Creationists use it to say the fossil record can be like that.
    Secularists use it to say “this thing {i.e. the eye) is poorly designed I think, God would not do it like this, must be mutations.”

    So Chris, I would say, one can not say alot about The Creator based on science.
    Our Epistomolgy is not limited to this one way of knowing things, but it is, as you would agree extremely important of rational thinking, and worth protecting.

  80. cb25
    22 January 2013 @ 12:41 am

    Well, I have to say I totally agree with Joe above, and if you realy want to keep magic and theology out of science stop reading the magicians you quoted above. I won't go as far as to call them theologians!

    Because this is so Deja stuff, I leave the rest…

  81. earl calahan
    22 January 2013 @ 2:28 am

    my my, around it goes and where it stops "no body knows". Where giants rule in study, expertise, & intellect, i fear to tread, however, i venture fourth to suggest the following as a common believer: Yes, Jesus said, we must learn from the children.
    Once, i heard a sermon in Toronto, Ont. from a visiting black pastor, so long ago i've forgotton his name, sorry about that, who prefaced his delivery by holding up in his hand, a long stemmed beautiful flower. He asked, where did this come from? What created its beauty, its symmetry, its complexity, its life? Was it created in a laboratory? Noooo. Was it created by a scientist? Noooo. Where did it come from? A seed? Yes. Where did the seed come from? God made it!!!
    i hear some say that "complex molecules act as templates for assembly of their mirror images". Isn't that
    cloning? Dependent on DNA from a living, or once living thing?
    Consider, the "best story of what could have happened"??? i can only consider what i think happened, not a million best stories of what could have happened.
    "For science, the story will not be a mystical or spiritual explanation". i love you guys, and appreciate your input re: OEC, but earnestfully pray that your inner being can be brought to accept the MYSTICAL & SPIRITUAL essence of GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON, and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT. amen 

  82. Elaine Nelson
    22 January 2013 @ 2:51 am

    "God said it, I believe it, that settles it."

    It's a waste of time to discuss this subject* because all the answers can be found in the pages of the Bible; there is no need to read other books when the Bible has all the answers.

    *Any subject which is addressed in the Bible.

  83. earl calahan
    22 January 2013 @ 2:57 am

    Re: DNA, it appears that like finger prints, no DNA specimens are perfectly identical. If we would consider ID as a possibility, that the original templates, were created by the Almighty, and that all life forms derive from the types, then factor in that all life influences, environmental, disease, family, work habits, suppression, depression, depravity, sin, sickness, beating, abuses both mental & physical, wars, fears, stresses from masses of habitation, hunger, thirst, filth, isolation, etc etc etc, then it appears logical that the variations in DNA could  have happened by these mutable factors. eh?

  84. Darrel Lindensmith
    22 January 2013 @ 3:13 am

    Chris, good to talk with you by the way. Just one more thing about Science. I am wondering how many reading this discussion would agree or disagree with the following. In the God Delusion, Dawkins says that “the presence or absence of a creative super-intelligence is unequivocally a scientific question” (2006) pgs. 58-59 What do you think?

  85. cb25
    22 January 2013 @ 3:57 am

    I agree.

    Science can point us in the direction of the presence or absence of a vast number of things. The conclusions, albeit tentative, that we may draw about any number of things are backed by the empirical data studied from a scientific approach.

    If science, properly done, pointed in the direction of a super – intelligence science would/should make the same tentative conclusions it does about other questions/realities/matter.

    However, please note: he provides equal weight to the possible outcomes of science re the question of a super – intelligence: Absence or Presence.

    Good science will not begin where you seem to begin: reading back from a theistic, biblical proportions God. It really seems to me that your ID lense is first created by, and then completely shaped by your prior determinations of the kind fo God you are looking for. You then seem to "cherry pick" science to back this up. Confirmation bias.

    Let me quote myself from above with regard to the god ID "may" point to if you chiseled the quarry long enough.  emphasis added:

    "If you have integrity to the science with which you began your pursuit it will not be the God you worship. It will barely be a god."

    If science can point to the presence of a super – intelligence, as science stands atm it will barely be a god. As science stands atm it is light years from the Biblical God.

  86. earl calahan
    22 January 2013 @ 7:44 am

    Chris, welcome. Try as i attempt it, i am unable to make the mental transition to your scientific mind set re: ID versus science, but i greatly admire your tolerance of us of ID persausion. Glad you're here. I've wanted to ask what you know of the 12,000k year Beech Tree in Aussie land?

  87. cb25
    22 January 2013 @ 8:15 am

    Earl, thanks for the note. Someone gave me a little prod recently about my absence here. That and that I was working on the "sin" blog I said I would do, pushed me to comment again/more.

    I've been reading only the last month or two. Got tired of certain things.

    I sent the blog to the editors last week.

    Re Beech trees. I don't know a lot about them, but a couple of years ago we spent a week on the Gold Coast area, southern Brisbane, and did a day trip out into the hinterland forrests. It was either the, or other very old Beech trees we saw as part of our trip. Most fascinating. If I recall one of the lookouts nearby the beech tree was technically the edge/rim of an extremely old volcano. We were looking south to the NSW border across this massive, but rough, valley which was presumeably old volcano floor.

    If you want a really interesting read on old trees check out the link below. As you read it, keep in mind that most of the Gulf of Mexico is underlain by tens of thousands of cubic kilometers of salt, (oil & gas associated of course). YEC proponents should pause to consider how to fit all that into a 4000 yr post flood history…

    But now I'm rambling.

    Here's the link: http://blog.al.com/live/2012/09/ancient_forest_lies_10_miles_o.html

  88. Anonymous
    22 January 2013 @ 7:39 pm

    "If science can point to the presence of a super-intelligence as science stands atm, it will barely be a god. As science stands atm, it is light years from the Biblical God."

    Agreed, Chris. But if that is the case, why don't scientists spend more time emphasizing the limitations of I.D theory, which I.D. theorists readily concede, instead of fearfully and angrily creating straw men to deny it intellectual respectability? Scientists who debunk and ridicule I.D., which is simply probability and statistics applied to complex systems, sound very much like creationists who deny the intellectual validity of evolutionary theory because they are afraid of what it will do to their faith claims.

    Most of the scientistic attacks on I.D. theory, as an intellectual pursuit, have little to do with physics, biology, or mathematics. Rather they consist of hand-wringing over the nefarious motives of I.D. theorists. They are rooted in fear that the light of  probability and statistics, allowed to penetrate cracks in the walls of the sacred temples of science, will cause the foundations of those edifices, erected as they are on the faith claims embedded in evolutionary theory, to begin crumbling.

    Few would dispute your observation, Chris, that the probability of a super-intelligence still keeps the likelihood of a Biblical God light years away from confirmation through the methods of science. Even die-hard creationists do not contend that the God, whose created order can be apprehended and understood through the scientific method, is Himself subject to discovery by such processes. But scientific and mathematical evidence tending toward the probability of I.D. or a "super-intelligence" would nonetheless have devastating consequences for the "god" of science and the closed-ended world view of philosophical naturalism on which the supremacy of its theories rest.

    Imperialistic science, to which classical science is now a captive, is, like ancient imperial Rome, fine with any gods that do not threaten its authority and power. But even the possibility of a "barely god" that threatens its supremacy will send the panjandrums of the scientific establishment scurrying to erect crosses along its Appian Ways.

    • Darrel Lindensmith
      22 January 2013 @ 8:42 pm

      Perfect points Nathan. I could have said the same, but not that well.  Love your prose.

      • cb25
        22 January 2013 @ 8:56 pm

        And I'm sitting here having just deleted the start of my reply to Nathan. I disagreed with so many points I gave up figuring where to start! 🙂

    • Ervin Taylor
      22 January 2013 @ 10:51 pm

      I share with cb25 his frustration with my good friend Nates recent posting.  It would take so much space to point out just a few of the obvious places where Nate goes off the rails conceptually.  But I guess that he tries to make up for that with his great rhtorical skills.
       
      But I can't resist commenting on "Imperialist science, to which classical science is now a captive . . ."   The "authority and power" of science comes from being able to describe the world in great detail, understand  how certain physical forces operatre in that world and use that understanding to further expand the areas of understanding to cover more and more parts of the physical world.

      I really wonder how many research active scientists Nate knows.  How many of them care about their "authority and power"?  What authority and power?  Most of them are content with working in their little areas of their expertise and would be amused to learn how much "authority and power" they have in the eyes of Nate.

      • Anonymous
        23 January 2013 @ 5:25 pm

        Erv –

        I know quite a few research active scientists with extremely impressive C.V.s. One of my very good friends is a geneticist with over 150 peer review publications, whose research interests in bioengineering have enabled him to confer between four and eight PhDs on graduate students every year for the past several years. It just so happens he is a Christian who believes in Intelligent Design.

        The fact that most scientists do not politicize science doesn't change the reality that scientists like Stephen Schneider, John Holdren, Steven Chu, Paul Erlich, Richard Dawkins, Michael Mann, James Hansen, Phil Jones, etc., etc., have captured the public imagination by audaciously and dishonestly using science to advance political/moral agendas. Do you really think, Erv, that scientists are immune from the temptation to abuse the power that comes with superior knowledge and understanding? Have you actually read IPCC reports or critiques of those reports? Surely you are aware of how scientists partnered with progressives and fascists in the 20th Century to give ideological purchase to political actions and policies that we find reprehensible. These were not isolated, rogue scientists. Eugenics was, and scientific social engineering is, a large tributary of Darwinian science and theory.

        The public sees science "leaders" at the forefront of the climate change debates, environmental debates, gender and sexual orientation debates, health care debates, and classroom curriculum debates (at least when it comes to I.D. as a subject of intellectual inquiry). You can pick any discipline you want, and you will find the vast majority of its practitioners just wanting to do a good job. Take teaching. Would anyone seriously argue, because most teachers just want to do a good job workiing in their area of expertise, that American education is not a captive of the teacher union.

        On reflection, however, I would have to agree with you, Erv, that my statement was too strong. It is unfair and overbroad to generalize that all, or even most, science is corrupted and controlled by the agenda of what I labelled "imperialistic science." What I meant was politicized science – that is, scientists who use their discipline, and allow themselves to be used, to advance political/moral agendas. I think it is fair and accurate to observe that science and so-called scientific research have tremendous political power, and the science that captures the public imagination has often, if not usually, been corrupted by political and economic agendas.

        • Ervin Taylor
          23 January 2013 @ 6:39 pm

          I appreciate Nate’s reformulation of his concerns about the nature of the contemporary scientific enterprise.  It is not “imperialistic science” that he fears since that does not exist, but “politicized science.”  
          I’m happy to agree with him that a few scientists, being human and possessing human tendencies to exploit their standing in society (surprise, surprise!), do and say things which exceed the scope of what well-established scientific data can confirm.  However, to focus on the obvious exceptions, as Nate seems to always want to do, seem to me to damage the case he wants to make.
           
          For example, even in his reformulation Nate says that “science that captures the public imagination has often, if not usually, been corrupted by political and economic agendas.”  But who does the corrupting?  It is rarely the scientists involved.  It is political and economic forces usually with a lot more money and thus influence which does the corrupting.

          I certainly agree that when scientific understandings are used in public policy debates, i.e. are “politicized,” they usually rapidly lose the original contexts within which the scientific data supporting them are expressed.  Also, there are clear examples, such as in the case of health issues around tobacco, where certain kinds of scientific data and the intellectual honesty of some scientists can be bought. 
            
          Fortunately, the modern scientific enterprise, unlike the theological landscape, has well understood mechanisms to determine which data and interpretations are correct.  Unfortunately, sometimes this takes a lot of time and money to accomplish.

          • Joe Erwin
            23 January 2013 @ 8:12 pm

            Not surprisingly, I have a strong preference for what I call "evidence-based public policy," and that implies consideration of, and reliance on, the most reliable and valid information that can be obtained. Using the best known methods of obtaining and evaluating evidence is criitically important.

            Does than mean subjecting the evidence to a set of ideologically based litmus tests? Doesn't it mean using best practices, including serious efforts at objectivity, to arrive at really valid conclusions?

            I'm not a big fan of "policy" development anyway, but it certainly is necessary sometimes. I fear that too often "policy" becomes a "one size fits all" excuse for not considering each case on its merits. Maybe a combination is best, in which public policy is set, but is sufficiently flexible to enable consideration of the merits of individual cases as needed.

            Anyway, I'd prefer to see more public policy informed by carefully obtained and validated information–not less. But, of course, evidence should not be uncritically or inaccurately generalized beyond its appropriate scope. Too often, the public version of scienfic research is filtered through journalism that may not accurately reflect the actual findings.

  89. David
    22 January 2013 @ 8:22 pm

    When a read the comments I wonder how many of  AT participants had any experience in prospective reproducible  biological research work 

    • Joe Erwin
      23 January 2013 @ 1:25 pm

      David, this is a fair question, and I would be pleased to be able to have a look at the lists of scientific publications by AT participants. Some use their full names, so it is possible to run searches for their CVs or to find their published work. Others have reasons for not using their full names. For me, one can check "PrimateLit" or "PubMed" and search using JM Erwin or J Erwin, and some of the pub refs will come up. Or, one can google "Erwin GWU" for a brief bio and link to a fairly current CV. The recent work most relevant to this discussion is collaborative work with colleagues, Patrick Hof, MD (Mt Sinai); Chet Sherwood, PhD (GWU); Maryann Raghanti, PhD (Kent State); and John Allman, PhD (CalTech). Much of this work has involved direct comparisons of human, nonhuman primate, and nonprimate mammal, neurobiology. 

  90. David
    22 January 2013 @ 9:21 pm

    Some people found particular similarities between the neurons of the some primates and humans and they associated to process of evolution. 
    Ten percent of very low premature infants had intracranial bleeds; we look for different animal models to try to understand the mechanisms for possible interventions.  Of all animals the model that is closer to this particular problem in the human premature brain is not a primate, is the beagle puppy. As far I know, no body associated this to an evolutionary process.
    We have to be very cautious how we interpret the data, certain parts of the human brain are similar to the primates and others are more to the dogs, and gets even more complicated when we found out that is age related.  

    • Joe Erwin
      22 January 2013 @ 10:10 pm

      Just to answer your concern, David, I have conducted a fair amount of research and published quite a few research reports in carefully refereed journals, and have also served as editor of multidisciplinary scientific journals. More soon.

  91. David
    22 January 2013 @ 9:23 pm

    Some people found particular similarities between the neurons of  some primates and humans and they associated to process of evolution. 
    Ten percent of very low premature infants had intracranial bleeds; we look for different animal models to try to understand the mechanisms for possible interventions.  Of all animals the model that is closer to this particular problem in the human premature brain is not a primate, is the beagle puppy. As far I know, no body associated this to an evolutionary process.
    We have to be very cautious how we interpret the data, certain parts of the human brain are similar to the primates and others are more to the dogs, and gets even more complicated when we found out that is age related.  
     

    • Joe Erwin
      23 January 2013 @ 12:45 am

      No one familiar with comparative anatomy, neurobiology, or genomics would seriously suggest that people are not primates or that dogs are more like people than chimpanzees are. Even so, there can be pathological situations in dogs that resemble human pathologies. This is well known. Conditions are more likely to be orthologous or homologous between humans and closely related nonhuman primates, and the more distantly related mammals are less likely to share causal details with humans–i.e., as "models" they are more likely to be analogous.

  92. Joe Erwin
    22 January 2013 @ 10:48 pm

    Fortunately, there are many scientists who study the brains of humans, other primates, other mammals, and even nonmammals. Of course, humans really are primates, and the brains of chimpanzees and bonobos are morphologically and physiologically more like human brains than are any other organisms. Dogs are not primates, but they are mammals, and many developmental and clinical problems that occur in humans occur in some other mammals–not necessarily the primates most closely related to humans.

    So, anyway, studying some conditions in dogs can be very informative, and beagles, in particular, are bred and raised for use in biomedical research as models of some disorders that affect humans. Like most domesticated dogs, research beagles are often selectively bred for traits or risk factors for conditions such as the one you describe. Because most primates, especially those most like humans, have mostly single births and long interbirth intervals, selective breeding of primates to exhibit specific disorders has seldom been tried.

    The most ambitious study I know of regarding the causes, consequences, and correlates of prematurity and low birth weight in nonhuman primates was the "Prematurity in Primates" project conducted at the University of Washington, beginning in the early 1970s. I did three years post-doctoral research (1974-1977) as part of that project. I do not recall any occurence of intracranial bleeding in the low birth weight babies, but I think the study design would have been quite different from what might have been done in a study involving dogs. There are many reasons why dogs might be a preferable model to primates for conditions such as this, not the least of which is availability, cost, multiple births, deliberate inbreeding, etc. In fact, it is doubtful that anyone would try (for ethical reasons) to do such research with any of the primate species most closely related to humans.

    May I ask which nonhuman primate species you tried to study, where you did the work, and what methods you used?

     

  93. Philip Law
    26 January 2013 @ 3:41 am

    After ET went home he became a resident expert on everything terrestrial. He joined the circuit lecturing on all subjects about planet Earth. In his recent lecture on wheeled transportation on earth he stated, “In the beginning there were unicycles that served humanity well for millenniums until the need of a more robust mode of transportation was needed and some venturesome folks set up contractions by tying two unicycles together to make a rudimentary bicycle which led to the development of the tandem bike.  It was desirable that each individual has his own vehicle so a set of paddles as well as a seat were removed and a bicycle evolved.   It served man well for another millennium until a more stable machine was needed and the tricycle evolved.  Things began to develop fast. Four wheels were better than three and the first four wheeled vehicle evolved.  Right after that multiple axle six wheelers, eight wheelers, up to eighteen wheelers were developed in such a short span that it was coined a Punctuated Vehicular Equilibrium.  And finally the apex of evolution was reached in the form of locomotives.  The longer the train the more advanced it was in the evolutionary tree. “  As to the question if intermediate contraptions from unicycles to bicycles to tricycles, etc. were ever found or reported, in a wave of hand, ET said given enough time those will certainly be found. One needs to have FAITH in his Theory of Terrestrial Vehicular Evolution.

  94. Joe Erwin
    26 January 2013 @ 12:59 pm

    How funny and revealing…!