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Reviewing the Review: Science Edition

March 25, 2010 – Vol. 187, No, 9


This issue has a great deal to commend it. However, that doesn’t mean that my “conversation” with Roy Adams about his editorial, PEOPLE WILL NOTICE, will result in a meeting of the minds. Drs. Landless and Handysides’s comments on CHILDHOOD OBESITY AND BEHAVIOR CHANGE might make some Republicans squirm, but it’s brilliant and a MUST READ. And Gary B. Swanson provides the inside information regarding THE ADVENTISTS, a PBS documentary to be seen nationally during Easter Week.


The infrastructure of the Adventist church in Chile was badly damaged. No Adventists have been reported dead or injured. ADRA is on the scene and has pledged $105,000 to assist the relief efforts, in addition to their usual relief efforts.

Adventists were active during the Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver, dispensing handmade scarves and hugs and visitor information, and Andrea Luxton is now the Provost of Andrew’s University.


READ THE MANUAL by Mark A. Kellner is a reminder that paying attention to the instructions in the Bible’s manual for life on this planet is a good idea.

PEOPLE ARE WATCHING by Roy Adams left me with a totally different “feel” from his editorial. This article is generous, inclusive, and friendly.

With their message of Creation, Seventh-day Adventists have the strongest incentive to work together to reach every culture, every people. A good Adventist sees every human being as a potential candidate for the kingdom of God. When we truly understand our message, we’d see it as the very opposite of narrow; the very opposite of insular; the very opposite of exclusive. It’s the good news that through the marvelous grace of our matchless Redeemer, millions and millions and millions—a multiethnic, multicultural, multiracial multitude—will stand together one day on that resplendent sea before the throne of God.

LANGUAGE LESSONS by Andrew McChesney is a reminder that:

If we talk with God only every once in a while, we’ll have trouble understanding His voice. His words will sound as foreign to our ears as my Russian sounded to [eight-year-old] Misha.

THE ADVENTISTS is a documentary that

will be premiering on PBS stations the first week of April to coincide with National Public Health Week, April 5-11. This one-hour program seeks to represent fairly the unique health message that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has advocated since the very earliest years of its organization. . .The film introduces and investigates a spiritual centrality of health that is being completely overlooked by both sides of the issue in the heat of recent political debate.

HOW THEN WILL THEY KNOW by Ellen G. White describes effective Christian witnessing this way. “All the followers of Christ are to be witnesses unto him. Every one who receives the precious treasure of truth is to impart of this blessing to others. But the truth is too often presented in such a manner that it does not have the influence it should. A controversial spirit is encouraged. Many dwell almost exclusively upon doctrinal subjects. . .”


“Changing personal or cultural behavior is a monumental challenge. Sometimes we feel that just by promoting an “Adventist lifestyle” we will change people’s behavior. This alone does not work. Education, of course, is important, but how many smokers are unaware of the dangers of cigarette smoking? Motivation and values are operative in behavior change.

There is a considerable body of evidence that shows values are transmitted through meaningful and trustworthy relationships. Values are learned almost intuitively and form the backbone of our cultures. Currently in North America and other regions of the world, a “toxic” culture exists that contributes to obesity. Trying to attack the problem of obesity on an individual case-by-case basis helps individuals see change; but as long as it remains individual, obesity will continue to be a problem in society as a whole. When will the greasy hamburger-and-fries “culture” come under serious question and be curbed? The change in smoking control came about when society addressed its problems and changed the environment by designating public areas as nonsmoking areas, prohibiting advertising, and attempting to make tobacco a regulated substance.

In HOW TOP CLAIM YOUR CAMPUS by Jimmy Phillips argues that Adventist churches close to secular universities and colleges need to find “ways to connect, integrate, and empower college students”. He suggests that a visit to, or a call to 800-328-0525 might get the ball rolling. For additional information, check out Adventist Christian Fellowship ( and The Adventist Center for College Faith (

I’LL SING YOUR SONG is Kortnye Hurst’s tribute to a beloved grandfather and a song his family heard him sing when his life was ebbing away.

I’ll praise Your name, Lord, and sing Your song

I’ll praise Your name, Lord, my whole life long

I’ll praise Your name, Lord, until I’m home

I’ll praise Your name, Lord, and sing Your song.

© 1979 Singspiration Music

LIVING WITHOUT FEAR by Emily Felts Jones is a reminder that “Christians should look forward to Christ’s return with assurance. We should be able to say with the ancients, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation (Isa. 25:9).”


BLOSSER, Marylou M.

COY, Madeleine E.

FARLEY, Beulah L.


LIBBY, Vern Rowland

MILWARD, Arthur Amott


SMITH, Shirley M.

STILES, Helen L. Haauselt

In NEVER-ENDING LOVE by Dick Rentfro, he offers this reminder: “Even with grown children, parents need to continue a positive parenting role. When children no longer seek their parents’ advice, they still value their love and support. Let’s not neglect to supply them with this, because the need for a parent’s love never ends.”

Andy Nash writes about a donkey that smelled sweet in ANOINTED ONE. Can you guess why “this particular colt, at this particular Passover week, smelled like nard perfume?”


PEOPLE WILL NOTICE by Roy Adams is an editorial that requires a clarifying dialogue. Included here are three paragraphs that require the reviewer to ask a series of questions. (Questions are indicated by number placement.) What I would have said at that point in the conversation is referenced.

“The Sabbath and the Second Coming—these two tenets effectively define our identity as Adventist Christians, (1) and people expect we’d be alarmed—even just a tad—when either of them comes under attack. (2) The theory of evolution attacks them both—directly (the Sabbath) and indirectly (the Second Coming). (3) So why did important pockets of Adventists simply shrug the shoulder over the evolution events of 2009? (4)

“It was the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, with all kinds of scientific presentations and celebrations by evolution proponents—even by some Christian churches. And the issue is why so many of those Adventists best qualified (5) to respond to the avalanche of “scientific” propaganda (6) choose to maintain the deafening silence that we heard? (7)

“But even worse than the silence were the muffled noises from some quarters actually in support of the prevailing scientific status quo, (8) even questioning the fundamental biblical notion of a literal six-day Creation. (9) The small effort made by Adventist Review to counteract the tidal wave might have been strengthened considerably had many of those best qualified to speak felt convicted along the lines we took. (10)

“Observers are bound to notice that in so many areas of current biblical, scientific, and moral concerns and conflicts, Adventists are virtually silent; (11) and that it’s other folk, other Christians, who are carrying the ball, who are doing the heavy lifting, and who, as a consequence, are receiving the biting criticism and scorn.” (12)

Questions and Responses

(1) If these two tenets “effectively define our identity as Adventist Christians,” why are there 28 Fundamental Doctrines?

(2) To whom are you referring?

(3) How can that be? There is no way the scientific method can prove or disprove that God exists. On the other hand, religious beliefs are fundamentally unscientific, i.e. they cannot be arrived at using the methods of science. Consequently, it is rationally impossible to use science to validate religious belief, or religion to validate scientific theory.

(4) Define “important pockets”. What does it mean to “simply shrug the shoulder”?

(5) Who are the “Adventists best qualified to respond”?

(6) Your use of the word, “scientific” to describe propaganda, seems to imply that the science referred to is not science. Am I right?

(7) Who chose? Under what conditions might silence be “deafening”? To whom was it “deafening”?

(8) What is “the prevailing scientific status quo”?

(9) What about the other creation story in Genesis 2? Why do you suppose there are two? If the first is “literally” true, what is the status of the second?

(10) Again, who are “those best qualified to speak”?

(11) Which “areas of current biblical, scientific, and moral concerns and conflicts” are the ones “Adventists are virtually silent” about? And what does “virtually” mean when used to describe “silent”?

(12) Who are those “other Christians who are carrying the ball? “Ball” is a metaphor for something. What is it? Why are the folks with the ball “receiving the biting criticism and scorn”? Is that a good thing? Should Adventists feel left out?

You’ll have to fill in Roy’s responses to my answers for yourself. However, it’s too bad he wasn’t a little more specific. As it is, I’m concerned that just about anybody could jump to conclusions about which Adventists were “deafeningly silent” when they shouldn’t have been, and didn’t “carry the ball” when they should have.

Although I can only guess at this point, the following websites may provide the context for a real conversation with Roy:

Adventist Review


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