At a time when an Adventist lawyer from California is creating buzz over his book on "the Seventh-day Adventist angle on Dinosaurs" (Spoiler alert: Ellen White reveals the origin of dinosaurs in a "cryptic" comment on amalgamations between man and beast, i.e. genetic engineering), the unveiling of a new primate fossil in New York's American Museum of Natural History, invites us to think on several pressing questions.
The fossilized remains of a female juvenile Darwinius masillae, nicknamed Ida, is the most complete primate fossil discovered to date. The remains even include a fur outline and bits of her last meal (she was vegetarian). The fossil comes from a pit near Frankfurt, Germany. Radiometric dating puts the fossil at 47 million years old. This discovery is considered another important piece of the fossil record.
Here are some of the questions that Ida the female primate poses for us:
- Are we serious about pursuing truth wherever it leads us or are we best served by adopting a "thus far and no further" approach? Why?
- As the fossil record gradually fills in, and relieves us of our objections, how should we respond? Why?
- The Wesleyan Quadrilateral includes, in addition to Scripture and Tradition, Reason and Experience as ways of forming theological conclusions. If Tradition and Scripture continually fail to correspond with Reason and Experience, should we discard Reason and/or Experience? Why/Why not?
- When Galileo, a scientist, was condemned by the Church for challenging a theological truth claim based on his scientific understanding, was the condemnation appropriate at that time? Why/Why not?
- What should scientists employed by the Adventist church do if their findings cease to run parallel with traditional Adventist teachings? Why?
- If Ida turns out to be as old as she appears, can Adventist teachings survive? Why/Why not?
- Will the Adventist church be better off if its "Seventh-day Darwinian" members (to borrow a phrase from Cliff Goldstein) leave the fold (to borrow a recommendation from Cliff Goldstein)? Why/Why not?
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/1644