Thursday, August 16, 2007

Evolution and God: Why can't they get along?

Although the main focus of this blog is regarding Mormonism, I thought I would broaden the topic to the whole idea of God in general.

Let me first point out that I believe in evolution. There is so much overwhelming evidence that evolution isn't a debate in the scientific community anymore. Darwin's theory of evolution has been verified by fossil records, carbon dating and DNA. To deny that evolution exists today with how much evidence exists is like denying that the Earth revolves around the sun.

Let me also say that I believe in God. What I don't understand is why it is supposed to be either or. Why can't it be both? Why not? Perhaps God created evolution so that life can adapt to the ever changing environment here on Earth. I don't see how the concept of evolution diminishes the existence of God in any way.

However, I do have one problem and that is the origin of life. Scientists can explain how a single celled organism evolved to what we can see today, however how that single-celled organism is still a mystery. According to the theory of spontaneous generation, somehow life arose from non-living matter. The problem with this theory is that it isn't science. Nobody has been able to explain or reproduce how non-living matter becomes living matter.

Scientists have been able to take inert matter and make amino acids, the building blocks for proteins which construct cells. However, they have not been able to take those amino acids and construct proteins in order to construct living cells. To believe in spontaneous generation, one must have "faith" to believe it since there is no evidence or data that supports it.

Don't get me wrong, scientist have been able to explain a lot more about life than any religion has. However, the exact origins of life still remain a mystery. To add more insult, we now know that even a single celled organism still has amazingly complicated DNA strands. To look at the odds of how an organism came into existence without any assistance from some kind of outside source seems pretty irrational to me when I look at the scale and the laws of probability.

It is like when I look at a Rubik's cube. There are over 43 quintillion possible combinations in a Rubik's cube, but only one of those combinations is the correct solution. The odds of a blind person solving a scrambled Rubik's cube are so astronomical that even if this blind person moved it one move at at time every second of every day statistically, you would need over a billion years until that person would solve it realistically. The fact that people can solve a Rubik's cube in 20 seconds repeatedly tells me that there is some intelligence behind it, and it isn't just random chance. And we are talking about a Rubik's cube. Life is much more complex than that.

I look at the sun that seems to be the right temperature, size and distance to support life on Earth, it is amazing enough. Then I see a moon that is in a position to keep the Earth anchored on its tilted 23.5 degree axis to prevent wild swings and extreme weather and I can't help but be struck in awe. I see Jupiter that is so massive in size that its gravitational pull deflects meteorites that could potentially destroy Earth like big brother out there. Then I look at a strand of DNA, which is complicated instructions found within each cell of every living organism. I can't understand how all this can come about without some kind of creator behind it, at least in the time frame we are talking about.

Perhaps if the Earth was around for octillions of years before life came into the picture it might be more plausible, but the Earth is only 4.5 billion years old. The first microorganisms are believed to have existed between 3-4 billion years ago. It is truly amazing how the Earth is created and suddenly life is spawned from non-life within such a relatively short time frame, when you are talking about the odds it would take to create said living cells by random chance.

However, once the cell is created, scientists have been able to demonstrate how life evolved to more complex organisms. I just don't see how any of it disproves the existence of God in any way. My question is why don't religions in general accept evolution? Why does it have to be either or?

Disillusioned Mormon
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Saturday, August 4, 2007

"It Is Impossible For A Man To Be Saved In Ignorance" D&C 131:6

I would like to bring up the topic once again of intellectualism in the LDS church. In a previous post, I talked about how LDS church leaders have made recent statements discouraging intellectualism and scholarly thought, particularly topics, issues and facts that might not be "faith promoting". I compared it to the story of Adam and Eve, where in Mormonism, it was necessary for Adam and Eve to obtain knowledge of good and evil, even in disobedience to God. Yet, here are our church leaders telling us not to partake of the tree of intellectualism because it is a danger to the church.

If members of the church think they can ignore troubling facts surrounding church history and the veracity of the Book of Mormon and just slip into the Celestial Kingdom, they are mistaken.

D&C 131:6 says "It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance".

It appears the LDS church is doing a disservice to its members when it hides facts in ensign publications as well as priesthood and lesson manuals. According to the Doctrine and Covenants, at some point, church members will have to tackle these tough issues. When Dallin H. Oaks says "intellectualism is a danger to the church" that may be true, but discouraging intellectualism is a danger to the salvation of the church member according to our scriptures.

Disillusioned Mormon
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