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As I sat in on an institute class with my future wife I remember the instructor passing out colored photocopies of quotes and fun little insights. One of the “insights” was a listing of the elements found in the earth next to a listing of the elements found in the human body. The point, I imagine, was to show that we are created from the dust of the earth, as suggested in the second creation narrative found in Genesis 2. Of course we are made of this earth. Did the instructor hope to assuage our fears that we are actually made from the dust of Mars? It is strange I think, the ways we try to prove our scriptures with “science,” or at least with sciencish babble of some form, while simultaneously bristling at discussions of the big bang, an earth billions of years old, and biological evolution.
In continuing our discussions with Mormon Scientists we talk with Steve Peck, our favorite evolutionary biologist from BYU (or anywhere). Hopefully this discussion can help us bristle a bit less. In our conversation Steve and Ben mention several books and blog posts, look in the links below for those references.
“Your Inner Fish” Mini-Series (it is available on Netflix as of January/February 2015)
“Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History” Book
“No definitive LDS stance on evolution, study finds” Deseret News Article
Dialogue Articles on Evolution
I almost forgot the mention. On the colored handouts this LDS Institute instructor misspelled the word evolution. For some reason he wrote it out like this, “EVIL”ution. Not sure what he was trying to say.
Perhaps he was trying to remind you that Evolution is pagan in it’s roots and evil in it’s fruits. This is a very large, complicated and highly nuanced subject. There is a huge difference between “intra-kind” evolution which no one doubts and abiogenesis which is silly nonsense. “Aristotelian ideal types”, teleology and the role of Divine will in Evolution make interesting discussions.
My real concerns for LDS Evolutions are three: Do they know that Adam is a historical person? (I have no idea when he lived.) Do they know who is Father is? (The capital “F” might give them a clue.) Do they know who our common Ancestor is? (The capital “A” might give them a clue.) If they do not they are certainly missing a very important plan and precious truth from the restored gospel.
I think your questions show a lack of understanding of biological sciences. For example, Abiogenesis is the origination of not, not how life reacts to its environment-which is evolution. Evolution is the basics of our understanding of biology; theology has no place in it. To quote the geology professed from last time “scripture doesn’t have to be taken literally to have meaning”. Now Please go praying and let the grown ups talk.
“Biology” comes from two Greek words, “Bios” and Logos”. It is the truth about life. Theology is the truth about God. These two subjects are not irrelevant to each other. I agree that all scripture was not meant literally. just as I have more to learn about biological sciences, others might be able to learn more about theological sciences. It sounds as if someone might be confusing the religion of Evolution with the science of Evolution. In every event, I am sorry if I gave offense. I hope that you did not mean to demean prayer either as an activity or as a means of gaining information. Payer is a very grown up and scientific activity. Newton and Galileo did a great deal of it. I hope that adults can learn from each other and keep and open mind.
“Biology” comes from two Greek words, “bios” and “Logos”, meaning the truth about life. Theology is the truth about God. These subjects are related to each other. I agree that all scripture isn’t to be taken literally. Just as I have more to learn about biology others might have more to learn about theology. It is important to distinguish the science of Evolution with the unscientific way some pagans misuse Evolution to worship nature.
I hope that you did not mean to demean prayer either as an activity or as a means of obtaining information. Payer is a very adult and scientific endeavor. Newton and Galileo prayed a great deal with world changing results.
In every event I hope that we can learn from each other through a respectful conversation.
Wait a minute…who is bristling?
This is just my general experience with these topics among members, in particular CES instructors. Obviously not all LDS feel threatened or irritated by the ideas I listed (in particular the scientists that I have interviewed for this little series) but many LDS do as the statistics Ben shared appear bear out