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Faith

Science and faith discussion evolving to a place of harmony

Can faith, scientific progress coexist? They can

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  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 5, 2011 2:55 p.m.

    Jeff...let me help connect the grammatical disconnect.

    Contrary to your assertion, God's existence IS NOT a fact independent of his character and attributes according to LDS theology...it's precisely what defines his existence through the process of eternal progression...the idea that as man is, God once was.

    So it does indeed make sense that God's existence is "dependent on His behavior" based upon the specific LDS behavioral requirements for exaltation. I'm calling you on your equally absurd attempt at this disconnect through my parroting.

    Furthermore, your claim to "know" that God exists through personal evidence does not authenticate his existence. I also understand that you believe that it "should," but it has not. To "know" something implies fact. Without the ability for others to test your personal evidence makes your evidence unreliable and perpetuates a myth.

    Finally, your are indeed "bound" by supernatural evidence when you claim "spiritual" evidence as a source for truth. Spiritual evidence IS supernatural on its face.

    There is simply no direct objective, "non-spiritual" sources of evidence confirming the existence of God. Faith serves as the basis for the existence of God, which is fine. But faith is not fact.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 5, 2011 1:56 p.m.

    We do not have agreement with the details of God from people claiming to experience god directly. In fact, we have tons of people all over the planet giving contradictory accounts of God's contact with them. They cannot all be right. In fact, if the Mormon version of God is the one true God, then all the rest, the vast majority, must be wrong. So if the vast majority are wrong about hearing gods voice or experiencing God's presence affirming their beliefs, what keeps me from lumping the Mormons in with them? In the sense of personal witness, yes, it is evidence, but it must be tempered to ensure reliability. I would argue that all believers in god relying on the defense of personal experience or witness have failed to ensure reliability as well as certainty. There are lots of different kinds of evidences. I simply go with the most reliable and that tends to mostly lean toward science. An evidence of god that would satisfy all would be if every human being on the planet got the same message and there was consistent certainty as to the message and the messengers identity. Personal witness can be explained in_terms_other_than_being_God.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Oct. 5, 2011 12:42 p.m.

    @ Weber State Graduate: Your logic is not clear. Since I separate the behavior of God from His existence (and you don't), it makes sense that God's existence is not dependent on His behavior, just as your existence and your behavior are separate things. You will have to explain your conclusions more carefully for me; parroting my statement isn't working.

    Your second statement is both illogical and misstated. I never used the word "supernatural," though you imply that I did. I do not claim to be "bound" by any classification of evidence; I am willing to accept evidence from both spiritual and non-spiritual sources. I have said before that I do not necessarily consider the Spirit to be supernatural in the usual meaning of that word. I think it is common and perfectly natural that God should speak to His children.

    In your efforts to parallel what I wrote, you make a bizarre grammatical disconnect. You say that the existence of God "should" depend entirely on "'objective' evidence and always has." I understand that you believe that it "should," but it has not. Feel free to point out a time in history when God's existence was not a personal witness.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 5, 2011 7:00 a.m.

    Conversely...

    It's absurd to suggest that there is a God because He does or does not behave according to a particular standard of expected behavior.

    Its also astounding that someone who claims to be bound by "supernatural" evidence will declare that there is a God. To know or not know the existence of God should depend entirely on "objective" evidence and always has.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Oct. 4, 2011 8:30 p.m.

    It is absurd to suggest that there is no God because He does or does not behave according to a particular standard of expected behavior. God's existence or non-existence is a fact independent of what His character and attributes may or may not be.

    For me, the existence of God is an established fact--not because it has been established by any outside evidence, but because I have had personal contact with Him. His love for me is also an established fact. What He looks like and how He acts outside my personal experience are a matter of faith, but I find His interactions with me to be consistent with scripture and the publicly declared experiences of others who know Him personally.

    I am astounded that someone who claims to be bound by empirical evidence will declare that there is no God. To know or not know the existence of God depends entirely on personal evidence and always has.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Oct. 4, 2011 2:30 p.m.

    Jim987, if your belief in a designer is akin to that of Antony Flew's Deism, then I would recognize that as an eminently reasonable position, in light of the conclusions of Natural Theology. In this respect, I would also recognize the three Abrahamic faiths as rational. These are the only "rational" options. I even have some amount of respect for the truly "soft" agnostics-- those who honestly really don't know and don't have a strong opinion either way, but would like to know more. Those who reject the conclusions of Natural Theology (i.e., Mormons, "Hard" Agnostics/Atheists, etc.) I would consider outside the bounds of reasonable debate.

    What I mean by "God's terms" is that he selectively seeks us out in whatever way he sees fit (John 3:27; 6:44-45, 65; 8:47; 10:26). Indeed, people are meeting with God for the first time every day. And this is the only way, for if God is transcendent, science can never find him. A spiritual being must be met in a spiritual way (John 4:23). If you would like to converse more, write my gmail account, brokenclay47.

    Scientific positivists, expand your epistemology.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 4, 2011 11:26 a.m.

    @brokenclay

    It's presumptuous for you to assume that any person is simply not up-to-date in his reading of relevant literature since the same could be said of you. I imagine many people can recommend relevent literature as well. You can't assume people have not thoroughly investigated many sources before coming to a conclusion.

    When people make the argument that science and faith are incompatible, they are referring to those who ignore scientific fact and replace it with religious belief. We should be interested in what is correct and incorrect, and the arguments for either side, not the particular beliefs of certain individuals. The reason why science and religion are actually incompatible is that, in the real world, they reach incompatible conclusions. Different religions make very different claims, but they typically end up saying things that are impossible in the natural world. And science says: none of that is true. So there you go, incompatibility. The favored method of those who would claim that science and religion are compatible really, the only method available is to twist the definition of either science or religion well out of the form in which most people would recognize it.

  • Jim987 West Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 3, 2011 11:54 p.m.

    @ brokenclay,

    I tried to find God on "His" terms. But what is you definition of "God's terms" anyways? I read my scriptures, prayed, and all that good stuff they tell you to do in Sunday school. Anyways I left my religion of youth because I have not "met the transcended God" like you have. Afterall I have gone through, in all the books I have read, all the prayers I have said I have come to one conclusion.
    That is if God exists and has an improtant message to share with us it wont be found in a book. God did't write any books. God would tell us through our hearts and life experiences. Why should I have to turn to Literature or a Website to find God. That sounds silly and I guess that is what you are calling finding God on His terms. BTW- I don't disbelieve in something Greater than us, maybe a intelligent designer or life force. But I think if there is such a being. It will be a lot different than what we've imagined .

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Oct. 3, 2011 8:26 p.m.

    Anyone who claims that there is no good scientific evidence in favor of God's existence is simply not up-to-date in his reading in the relevant literature. I would recommend starting with the writings of William Lane Craig, and then branching out from there. He also has a website called "Reasonable Faith." The conclusions of Natural Theology even caused the most brilliant atheist of the 20th century, Antony Flew, to become a Deist. Now of course, Natural Theology does not prove specifically Christian theism, but it does eliminate almost all other options (except Judaism, Islam, and Deism).

    But the bottom line is that you can't stick your head in the scientific sand and still claim to be genuinely interested in settling "the God question." The issue should at the very least be a joint-venture between all kinds of science AND theology. If God does indeed reveal himself to men and meet with men, then we should take that with utmost seriousness, even if he doesn't do so in a way scientists approve of. Understand this well: If you want to meet with the transcendent God, you will do so on his terms, not your own.

  • Jim987 West Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 3, 2011 7:25 p.m.

    "...Someone told me that love would all save us.
    But how can that be?
    Look what love gave us.
    A world full of killing, and blood-spilling, that
    world never came.

    And they say that a hero can save us.
    I'm not gonna stand here and wait..."
    Chad Kroeger lyrics

    I hope that there is a God (hero) and everything will turn out in life.
    "But I'm not gonna stand here and wait when I can take action."

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Oct. 3, 2011 6:55 p.m.

    "If God has any real significance, God must be at least in part outside of nature. . . . Science, including the science of evolution, is limited to exploring and understanding the natural world. Therefore, to apply scientific arguments to the question of God's existence, as if this were somehow a showstopper, is committing a category error." -Francis Collins

    This argument, which I have also formulated myself independently, must be faced by the scientific positivist. If one is sincerely interested in deciding the issue of whether God exists and is knowable, he must abandon his narrow epistemology. Naturalistic science, by definition, cannot observe a transcendent God-- and if God exists, he is indeed transcendent and spiritual (the physical and temporal Mormon god is an impossibility). Nevertheless, there is good teleological and cosmological science pointing to God's existence. ID and natural theology are potent forces to be dealt with. But God cannot be known personally this way, just about.

    Collins is one of the top scientists in the world. He believes in BioLogos (explained in the article), that evangelical Christianity and evolutionary theory are completely compatible. I'm more inclined to take his word on the issue over an anonymous newspaper commenter. . . .

  • sefton draper, UT
    Oct. 3, 2011 6:48 p.m.

    In recent weeks we've seen two core scientific theories come under question
    1. Existence of Higgs Boson or "God Particle" see
    2. Neutrino particles seem to travel at faster than speed of light.

    Both of these theories are at the very core of particle and quantum physics .
    Science changes. My biggest question on evolution is simply why? why would an all powerful God, if that's what you believe in, need evolution? Just to see what happens? I just can't get my head around that.
    Also answer this. When Jesus fed the thousands with a few loaves and fishes, where did the fish come from? Did he have to evolve them? Did he just create them then and there? if you believe they just came into existence then you would also have to believe that he could create the body of a man as well without evolution. Well you could say the fish had already gone through their evolutionary process a million generations ago, but that still doesn't answer where they came from on that day. They still just appeared, is that any easier than making the body of Adam and Eve appear?

  • Jim987 West Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 3, 2011 6:37 p.m.

    Where does the thought "Athiests have no scientific evidence to support their beliefs" come from?
    I have walked both sides of the fence.
    Maybe an athiest becomes athiest because he/she spent many years praying to God and never recieves an answer. Maybe one becomes athiest after getting cancer and prays to get better and doesn't. Maybe they go see a doctor that can heal them. Is it the medicine that heals or God that heals? How many of you who are religous will wait home all day praying to get healed of a sickness before they give up and go to the doctor. This it what atheist have done (acted out of knowledge, science, study.). So quit saying athiests do not have any evidence to support their beliefs.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Oct. 3, 2011 5:17 p.m.

    "good science and good religion are very much compatible"

    I think I would disagree unless we knew clearly what we were talking about when we qualified something as "good religion". If good religion entails anything that is true - and nothing that is false (reasonably here), and science entails only things that are true, then yes. Obviously two systems of truth would be compatible. So far however, we have yet to be introduced to a religion that provides any solid basis for demonstrating itself as a truth of anything.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 3, 2011 11:12 a.m.

    @brokenclay

    Atheistic scientists may place a priority on a narrowly defined form of empiricism and rather than look up on a starry night and be unable to "observe" the handiwork of God....they look up and see that "other explanations" other than God are very possible....and that "God" is only one explanation and may not be the correct explanations. I can look at a a starry night and understand why people think it is the "handiwork" God, but on the otherhand I can also see that explanation as a human attempt to fill in the gaps of in knowledge rather than it being proveably true. Presenting scriptures based on ancient assumptions proves nothing in comparison to modern empiricism that seeks new knowledge and is is ultimately self-correcting as new knowledge about our Universe is aquired. We know our Universe exists so perhaps the Universe is God rather than the one portrayed by unknowledgible humans from our past.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Oct. 3, 2011 10:52 a.m.

    This was a worthwhile article. I enjoyed it very much. To me, it seems that the jury is still out on many of these things, but in any event, good science and good religion are very much compatible.

    Atheistic scientists place such a priority on a narrowly defined form of empiricism, yet they still are unable to look up on a starry night and "observe" the handiwork of God.

    "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (Romans 1:19)

    "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. . . . Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." (Psalm 19:1, 4a)

    "[T]hat they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our being.'" (Acts 17:27-28)

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 5:44 p.m.

    Religion seeks to fill in the gaps in knowledge with unsupported and untestable assertions and conclusions rather than recognize our knowledge is limited and incomplete. Religion tends to make unproveable assumptions! Science seeks to fill the gaps with observable and rigorously testable evidence and recognizes our knowledge is an ongoing endeavor in which knowledge is incomplete. Science generally welcomes change. It is ultimately self-correcting. Religion is often inflexible and unchanging even when new knowledge is evidenced. Religious beliefs, particularly those based on a sacred text, change much more slowly. In fact, many faith groups stress the unchangeable nature of their beliefs. There are still many points of major conflict between science and religion. In each case, only one will eventually win public support. The historical record indicates that religion wins very few of these disputes.

    Change eventually happens. Most people no longer believe that:

    The earth is flat.
    The sun goes around the earth.
    Lightning and thunder are caused by Satan and his demons.
    Mental illness is caused by demonic possession.

  • BYUSTER Provo, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 3:17 p.m.

    Filo, Going to the Bible, Book of Mormon, or the Koran for answers proving that god exists is like proving the existence of the elves by quoting The Lord of the Rings.

    Sure it supports you assertion, but there's no observable, rigorously testable evidence outside of the "magic book". The Bible, BOM & Koran all say that god created one man and one woman, de novo, and that we are all their descendants. This assertion is not only wrong, but also impossible given the problems that inbreeding presents. People will defend their pet magic books and gods by saying "it's just allegorical" but then speak with certainty about "god's laws" and "god's will".

    Outside of the Bible, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine & Covenants where there any observable, rigorously testable evidence to substantiate any of the following claims:

    Pre-Mortal Existence
    Post-Mortal Existence
    Terrestrial Kingdoms
    Celestial Kingdoms
    Eternal Marriage/Sealing
    Resurrection

  • Richard Hitchens Layton, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 2:54 p.m.

    @Grace
    "Neither atheist nor evolutionist can disprove God's existence or methods."
    Consider replacing the word God in that statement.
    "Neither atheist nor evolutionist can disprove the flying spaghetti monsters' existence or methods." It's a true statement, but it doesn't matter. You can't disprove the existence of countless Gods that have been worshipped. It's not a reason to believe they exist.
    "The injunction and reward of faith is in chapters 4 and 11 of Hebrews. Pray on them" Why does God require us to take his existence on faith? How do you know that he exists? Because of a feeling? How many people have lived and died convinced that their religion was the correct one. What makes you any different from them?

  • Richard Hitchens Layton, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 2:37 p.m.

    @Filo Doughboy
    "Evolution will never tell you the ultimate essential: Where did it all come from? Who put the primordial ooze there?" You are speaking of abiogenesis. Whether the process of evolution was started by God, extraterrestrials, or through a primordial ooze it doesn't disprove evolution. Consider the leap that intelligent design makes. It's going from "I can't explain how we got here" to "God did it."

    As for scientific discoveries that disprove evolution, I'd be interested in seeing them.

    "To travel through the cosmos and come upon only one magnificent system that supports human life is exactly what The Creator said in His Book" I'd like to see the scriptural reference for that.

  • Bside MONUMENT, CO
    Oct. 2, 2011 2:09 p.m.

    Regarding the earlier comment that "religion teaches people to be satisfied in not understanding the world around them." When Jesus calmed the storm, healed the sick, and raised the dead he established a precedent that struggling against nature, illness, and death was both God's will and viable human endeavor. He established a foundation for scientific progress and inquiry. Religion does not stifle understanding.

  • Bside MONUMENT, CO
    Oct. 2, 2011 1:59 p.m.

    When Jesus calmed the sea, healed the sick, and raised the dead he challenged prevailing religious thought on accommodating the status quo and established precedent for scientific progress and inquiry. The idea that religions prevent challenging the status quo is wrong.

  • Filo Doughboy Bakersfield, CA
    Oct. 2, 2011 1:16 p.m.

    Byuster,
    I agree that religion has messed up badly. But man left to himself hasn't solved any of his problems conclusively either, right? Is it possible that the Bible is correct in claiming that evil men seek to deceive and destroy? God says He created this world for His purpose, and He'll complete it.

    Religion, by definition, is not a relationship. The Biblical God seeks a relationship with man, a cosmic love affair. Don't miss His message just because men without Him continue to misconstrue it and add their own requirements.

    You really haven't exhausted your research however, until you have studied the claims in each religion. The Holy One of Israel promises that all who seek Him will find Him. I was a happy religionist, for the first half of my life. Wonderful family and community, religious activity and legalism. But just like the apostle Paul says in Romans 10 and 11, the religious zeal of his people did not bring them closer to the true God. Rather it was zeal in ignorance of truth. I found the Christ "who is the end of the law", (Romans 10:4).

    Seek Truth. It's eternal, amazing and completely fulfilling.

  • Grace Bakersfield, CA
    Oct. 2, 2011 12:04 p.m.

    Make my previous statement about spouting unprovable "dribble", to be unprovable "drivel". That is what presumptuous persons do with God's Word when they claim omniscience in their proud, haughty hearts. Instead of seeking knowledge in the realm about which they neither understand nor can prove their hypotheses concerning, their hypocrisy is exposed:

    While they will wait patiently for the results of the petri dish or catalogue years of research, they rush to claim their omniscience re: the absence of any God, Higher Power, or Intelligent Designer through out the entire universe. What fool believes that an atheist has suffuciently explored the cosmos... except other presumptuous fools?
    "The fool says in his heart, 'there is no God'." (Psalm 14:1)

    I really enjoyed this excellent article for its objective and honest presentation of scientists who find no conflict with their research and their personal beliefs. Holder's final quote shows that he is a true scientist. He will wait for the beauty and information to be revealed, as he sits in awe of what has been discovered.. He will never be on the receiving end of God's famous demand of Job- "Where were you when...?" (Job 38-42)

  • Grace Bakersfield, CA
    Oct. 2, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    Some things can be disproven for the honest, objective observer, right? If little green men exist, then we've just not found them yet. Our non-discovery doesn't disprove their existence. But if men claim that they cover the moon's surface, and our lunar explorations disprove that, how long will you still feed at their trough of ignorance?

    The Bible warns that 'prophets' can only be exposed as false after they make false claims. Uttering unprovable dribble will not reveal the counterfeit. (Deutetonomy 18). So, would you seriously listen to teachers who claimed that the moon is inhabited by 8 foot tall Quakers, after years of exploration now disprove their existence? The Bible assumes a modicum of rational, discernable investigation in verses 18-22.

    Darwin himself asserted that his hypothesizing was just that ultimately. The Genesis creation account gave the animal chronolgy centuries before. To have discovered a piece of the pie and some of its ingredients doesn't give you permission to claim omniscience about its baker and his genesis, does it?

    Neither atheist nor evolutionist can disprove God's existence or methods.

    The injunction and reward of faith is in chapters 4 and 11 of Hebrews. Pray on them.

  • Filo Doughboy Bakersfield, CA
    Oct. 2, 2011 10:00 a.m.

    The THEORY of Evolution is still erroneously taught as science today, when the majority of scientific discovery has exposed its flaws long ago. For those unfamilar with the so-called academic freedom on university campuses today, take a class, go on-line or watch Ben Stein's accurate portrayal of the blistering closed-minded hypocrisy of the upper crust curmudgeons who cling to out-dated theories:

    Evolution will never tell you the ultimate essential: Where did it all come from? Who put the primordial ooze there? It is now more "scientific" to suggest Intelligent Design, given the advancements of cellular biology and genetics alone. The 'swiss watch discovered on the deserted island' analogy is still valid with observations from human physiology to cosmology and molecular physics. That Steve Hawkiing and Richard Dawkins believe earth was seeded by Martians should jade even the die-hard atheist: They don't have the answer to the Genesis or the Designer. We've only recently discovered that every galaxy has a central black hole...

    To travel through the cosmos and come upon only one magnificent system that supports human life is exactly what The Creator said in His Book. And nothing has disproven that yet.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Oct. 2, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    "The "war" is not between science and religion but between science and certain interpretations of scripture by religions."

    Perfect! Now we're getting somewhere. Science represents the body of knowledge we acquire through observation and testing, and religion represents that body of thought that must change everything the scientific body of knowledge grows.

  • BYUSTER Provo, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 10:24 p.m.

    "If there is a war between science and religion, it's gone on long enough and for what purpose?" asked religious scholar and BYU law professor John Welch during a recent lecture discussing faith and science.

    "The purpose of this certainly cannot be to annihilate the opponent. They both have need of the other," Welch said.

    No, they don't 'need' each other and Yes, bad ideas (like religion) exist to be destroyed.

  • BYUSTER Provo, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 10:20 p.m.

    "Evolution is how God did it" is a crock. The bible & the Book of Mormon are explicit - man was created, de novo, by god. Ok, fine, god used 'evolution' as his method but the fact remains that we all cannot be descended from one human couple. The inbreeding & genetic malformations that accompany it would have doomed our species from the first generations.

    This is clearly testable through DNA analysis - we are NOT al descended from a single human mother & father. The evidence clearly shows that the Bible, Koran, & Book of Mormon cannot possibly be correct. "Oh it's just a metaphor" is used as an excuse, but then Mormons will speak with authority on all sorts of imaginary constructs & baseless assertions.

    Besides blindly quoting the BOM or D&C's, please provide a single, observable, testable shred of evidence for these fairy tales:

    Pre-Mortal Existence
    Terrestrial Kingdom
    Celestial Kingdom
    Eternal Marriage
    Resurrection
    Sanctification

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Oct. 1, 2011 5:24 p.m.

    The LDS Church has been very circumspect about pronouncements about evolution, though some individual Church leaders, speaking for themselves, have expressed opinions on both sides of the question. The Church's only statement that I'm aware of that definitively says anything is the First Presidency statement that we are created in the image of God.

    There are traditional readings of the scriptures that might preclude the LDS acceptance of some scientific ideas, but Latter-day Saints must be careful that tradition clouds our interpretation of the facts. Remember that Christ's disciples were very confused about what to expect from Him because they could not (without His post-mortal help) understand the true meaning of the scriptures.

    The scriptures leave much room for a variety of understandings about HOW the creation was executed, because they only focus on the fact that it WAS executed by God. Remember also, that the history of Man after the creation is limited to what happened or did not happen in the Garden of Eden, not elsewhere on earth.

    What we should be interested in is the truth; both religious and non- get burned when they jump to unsupported conclusions.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 4:32 p.m.

    RE: Jasonp

    Those scriptures apply only to the state of earth as "created" (organized by God)

    From the advent of the "organization" there was no death,

    materially earth existed long before, and has nothing to do with us,

    ergo, man a did not evolve.

    A perfect, all powerful, all knowing Supreme being would NEVER need to tinker via nonsensical and rediculous evolution.

    It is silly to try and reconcile the silliness of evolution with religion.

    This is just another attack on religion, to destroy it bit by bit, principle by principle,

    there's a God, there was a literal Adam and Eve,

    anything else is to get you to believe in things that move you away from truth.

    Science isn't some bastion of truth, and all should kneel before its theories and never question them.

    But that is the attitude of athiests and those trying to dimininish religion.

    God created all the creatures of current state of earth, and Man, and commanded them to muttiple after their own kind,

    not even remotely like evolution, which is built on assumption and supposition and imaginings.

    while creatures may adapt, this is what science observes, they only do so within thier own sphere.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Oct. 1, 2011 3:37 p.m.

    Allen:

    I don't think it matters how you spin it, but bear in mind that religion is (and always has been) at war! Those who preach it from the top do so with the intent of influencing the behaviors and perspective of society. Science is simply just a good system for learning by observation. It is not a contender for the religious position of "truth by authority", where the process for establishing "laws" is an unchallenged decree. However, there are many issues where religious authorities have decreed, only to later have the errors of their revelations defeated by observation. Mormonism has its share of specific battle scars here as well. Naturally if religion always reforms and conforms to the current understanding of the day, we can always say that religion and "science" are in harmony. Still, religion presents itself as superior means of knowledge - and this is particularly true of Mormonism. It doesn't look good when you claim to have Prophets who allegedly speak for God, and yet so frequently need to retreat from their words after careful observation.

    In short - There is a war, waged by religion, and it is losing on the battlefield of observation.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 2:16 p.m.

    @jasonp

    Keep in mind that the scriptural account of the creation states the earth didn't become mortal until after Adam & Eve partook of the fruit, that is, made their decision to become mortal. Since evolution pertains to mortality, evolution didn't come into play until after Adam & Eve became mortal. I discuss this in more detail in my blog on Science and Mormonism.

    We need to keep in mind that the scriptures say Adam was the first man, but they don't say in what way he was the first man. That he was the first man in mortality is an interpretation of the scriptures. He could have been the first man to make covenants with God. Science tells us that humanoids have been living for a million years. Yet, the Biblical record tells us Adam lived somewhere around 6000 years ago. The interpretation that Adam was the first man to make covenants with God fits very well into the scientific picture of the earth, while the interpretation of Adam being the first flesh doesn't fit with science at all. The "war" is not between science and religion but between science and certain interpretations of scripture by religions.

  • Petra Sanpete County, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    Jasonp,
    A literal Adam is not a difficult concept to me. If all beings are created with varying degrees of the same substance (which LDS call "intelligence" and other religious have different names for) the being that evolved into finally being capable of holding the highest amount of intelligence (and also of using it in positive ways, by choice), that first being with that capacity would be Adam.

    To me, God is the greatest scientist of all, and understand science is catching glimpses into the mind of God.

  • Ron Hilton Holladay, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:28 p.m.

    I would classify myself as an old earth, young biosphere creationist. Evolution within species is based on observable fact. Evolution as genesis is only a theory. As a Mormon I agree with JasonP, that genesis by natural selection is incompatible with LDS doctrine, because it requires successive generations of mortal life forms for such evolution to occur. There are well-trained scientists who have developed valid alternative explanations for the fossil record, including catastrophic geological events such as the flood of Noah and so forth. As for ultimate origins, neither religion nor science give very satisfactory answers at this point. Why does God exist? What was before the big bang? There are no answers at this point, only speculation.

  • UtahUte16 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:14 p.m.

    In my opinion, I think they are the same thing. After taking classes like Physics and Chemistry I realized how beautifully this world fits together. I live on the Science Channel/Discovery/Nat Geo and the more I learn about evolution/cosmology/psychology etc the more I believe that there has to be a divine creator. I understand the notion that this is all based on probability, but I don't buy it.

    Hopefully one day I will know the truth about it all. I can't think of a more satisfying reality than understanding the way nature functions and the true reality of our existence. My hope is that we are spiritual beings having a human experience in this world.

  • jasonp SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    It is difficult to reconcile evolution and Mormonism. Mormonism relies on a literal Adam and claims there was no death before the fall (see 2 Nephi 2:22, which states that if Adam had not transgressed, "all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end"). This is incompatible with current evolutionary theory, which states that organisms have been living and dying on Earth for billions of years. This las led some church leaders to claim that Mormonism and evolution are incompatible.

  • silas brill Heber, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 11:45 a.m.

    @BobP | 9:21 a.m. Oct. 1, 2011

    [ silas, if you leave out the subjective and emotion you create man as an automaton, and a life not worth living. ]

    Subjectivity is sometimes appropriate. Emotion is human. Religion, however, is a racket. Religion is not about subjectivity; it is about fantasy. Religion takes advantage of people's emotions and manipulates them. I stand against it.

  • gg Salt, U
    Oct. 1, 2011 11:38 a.m.

    I wish the author would have addressed the recent theological retreat from a literal Adam and Eve. Genetic evidence strongly suggests a literal Adam and Eve did not exist. And yet the core of Christian thought requires a literal Adam. Perhaps this would make for a great follow up article.

    Adam cannot be just brushed aside as symbolic of man, can he?

    Still, the methodology of science is opposite that of religion. You can't say you are religious and scientific at the same time. You must change hats. Go to the lab, put on the science hat. Got to church, put on the religion hat.

    To me, that seem like

    a) too much work and
    b)a bit hypocritical.

    Wearing the science hat, all the time: works, is easier, is more rewarding and key to living with philosophical integrity.

  • Richard Hitchens Layton, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 10:42 a.m.

    There is a difference between saying, "I know there is no God," and "I don't believe in God" The word atheist simply describes someone doesn't believe in God. It doesn't mean that person claims to know that there is no God. Atheists look at the available evidence and do not see a convincing reason to believe in God.
    For example, I don't believe in the flying spaghetti monster. But I don't claim to know that there isn't a flying spaghetti monster. There may be a flying spaghetti monster, but I see no evidence to convince me that he exists.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 10:30 a.m.

    We each choose how we will approach truth. I don't have the right to criticize others who seek truth differently than me. And, I believe, they don't have the right to criticize me in my search for truth. We're not in a war with each other. Let us seek common grounds for our relationships and not argue and fight over our differences. If others find fulfillment and joy through their search for truth, I'm happy for them, and I hope they are happy for me as I find joy and fulfillment in my search for truth.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Oct. 1, 2011 10:00 a.m.

    Allen:

    I would agree with your position if it humbly went both ways. In other words, stricts atheists, ie, those who assert definitively that there is no God, are making unsupported claims. Therefore their statements are irrational. Conversely, however, religionists must be placed in the same basket. If there is no evidence either way, then religious belief is also irrational.

    I would also argue that in this case, religion is more irrational. If there is no evidence, then the Atheist is declaring that they refuse to believe in that which they do not percieve. They are wrong in assuming that their lack of perception completely invalidates the reality of religion because they would then have to assume that everything which exists is within their ability to percieve. So Atheism is irrational, but they are at least correct in recognizing that they have not yet percieved a thing that they could not (because there is no evidence). Conversely, religionists would be arguing that they can detect that which is undetectable, ie, that which has no evidence. They are saying that there is a reality within their awareness, for which they have no proof. They fail to acknowledge their inability to percieve.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:51 a.m.

    Concerning truth, scientists study the laws that govern the Cosmos. Scientists don't claim they know everything about laws of nature, and they are continually gaining better understanding of the laws.

    Philosophers use logic and reason to understand how the world functions. They have a lot of structure to their thinking. Their conclusions, however, are restricted by assumptions or postulates they make to begin their thinking, as well as by the reasoning they follow.

    Religionists use belief and faith to understand how the world functions. They use history, culture, and acceptance of sacred writings as the basis of their beliefs. Their conclusions are restricted by the ambiguity of their sacred writings and their interpretations of history and culture.

    I think it is ridiculous for scientists, philosophers, and religionists to be at war with each other, because they approach truth differently. We are all different and choose how we will seek truth. I accept others and their searches for truth, and I hope they accept me and my search for truth. If others make mistakes in their search for truth, that is for them to learn. If I make mistakes in my search for truth, that is for me to learn.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    Religion has been wrong about things. But so has the scientific community.

    The biggest problems probably come when religion is wrong. If they brain wash people into believing that living a life devoid of fun and pleasure, it results in a life wasted in large part.

    I don't understand how a religion that got it wrong by insisting that the sun revolves around the earth, can convince people to spend an entire life without companionship of the opposite sex. Or convince people to not ever use bith control even when they are done having kids. Such a religion leaves people sexually frustrated and for what.

    Then there is an other religion that makes women wear full coverings. Denies them education. Doesn't let them drive.

    People should throw off the shackles and live life to the fullest. Religion in large part is a negative influence.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:24 a.m.

    @Pursuit

    I guess I'm an agnostic concerning pink unicorns. As you indicated, there is no evidence one way or the other. Reason and common sense say the probability of such unicorns is small, but reason and common sense are not scientific evidence.

    I agree with Screwdriver. I respect Agnostics because they recognize and admit there is no evidence one way or the other about god. I have less respect for atheists, because they make a decision that is not supported by scientific evidence.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    silas, if you leave out the subjective and emotion you create man as an automaton, and a life not worth living.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 8:57 a.m.

    bricha, well said.

    Socrates said that 'knowing is knowing that we know nothing'.

    We are not all-knowing, or omniscient. We stand in a dark room, and a circle of light around us represents what we've learned. The more this light grows, we realize that the room is bigger than previously thought. - The more we learn, we should recognize that there is so much we don't know. Without knowing everything, we could always be wrong.

    Atheism claims - Without proof, God's existence is impossible.

    Agnosticism claims 1 of 2 things

    a) Deity is possible, but unknown
    b) Deity is possible, but unknowable

    Atheism and Agnosticism(b) both deny possibility. This is an intentional decision to deny what could be in the rest of the room, without actually having explored it.

    The LDS church and a couple other small, highly unknown, and remote religions claim - "I know". Most religions claim - "I believe".

    Atheism and Agnosticism(b) only claim is that religions are wrong, denying possibility by "arguing from silence".

    Saying I'm right, or I don't know is free thought. Saying 'you're wrong' doesn't take any stance, except for attacking others without justified cause. This is unscientific and against free thought.

  • bricha lehi, ut
    Oct. 1, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    Here we are having the same debate talked about in the article. I would have to agree Gr8bald1 and Voice of Reason. First that we need to be extremely careful in our arguments to put emotions aside and point out common ground instead of differences. Second I would say that the two can and should help the other out. When I have come across something scientific that seems to defy what I believe from my religion I understand two things first we don't understand the world perfectly so science might not understand yet, or two I don't understand religion perfectly so I might not understand yet.

  • silas brill Heber, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 7:43 a.m.

    No, science and faith cannot coexist. I do recognize Mormons as probably the most scientifically literate among the religious. But I see no coexistence between science and the musing of one Joseph Smith.

    One doesn't need science to debunk religion.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Oct. 1, 2011 7:40 a.m.

    Proving a negative - eg. no God - is impossible.

    On the other hand proving there is a God(head) is not very difficult. It is based on observation and many subjective elements.

    Atheists seem to be all involved with getting a monopoly position for their puny intellects.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:29 a.m.

    Do you have any proof about the unicorns? People should have learned by now to keep an open mind.

  • Pursuit_of_Knowledge SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 30, 2011 11:55 p.m.

    @ Screwdriver: "A true scientist can't claim there is no god because there is no evidence one way or another. A strict scientist without faith should simply be agnostic."

    By your logic, it may also be said that people can not deny the existence of tiny, invisible, undetectable, pink unicorns sitting on everyone's shoulders. There is no evidence one way or another. Read about Bertrand Russell's Celestial Teapot for further exploration of this line of thought.

  • TheAtheist slc, u
    Sept. 30, 2011 11:35 p.m.

    @Voice of Reason

    If churches truly embraced science there would be no churches, no religion as every respective religion does not translate to what we it commonly accept as fact; I use the word fact sparingly. I see the battle for religion failing on every front. I suppose my issue is I would have to be ignorant to the world around me to believe what I have read in the bible, BoM or Quran. :)

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 30, 2011 11:07 p.m.

    The LDS Church and several other religions have openly embraced furthering scientific study and education. So while some religions have taken actions against empirical research; in the end those do not justify arguments against religions who support the pursuit of knowledge.

    Many scientists have openly embraced evolution theory, string theory, and other theories as definitively proven. With so many replacing scrutiny in the scientific method and reasoned evaluations, with assumptions and flat-out unreasonable rejections- it is no wonder that several religions today still resist scientific study. With historical context, it is really no wonder that either 'side' has ever felt threatened by the other.

    Inductive reason defines much of our scientific arguments and beliefs. Inductive is only ever probable, never provable.

    Deductive reason defines much of our religious arguments and beliefs. Deductive is provable, but relies on true premises.

    Neither can disprove the other, yet so many attack other beliefs while causing the damage they condemn of others. Attacking someone's views ultimately is an attempt to replace inquiry with fear.

    We would do better to always tolerate and protect free thought. We should always work to edify each other. Yet so many pretend superiority to justify their hatred.

  • Gr8bald1 San Diego, CA
    Sept. 30, 2011 9:43 p.m.

    This often becomes an emotional discussion very quickly. There is a tendency to want to immediately "pigeon-hole" or "frame" anothers perspective --- which we should avoid. It can shut off any beneficial rational exchange of common understanding -- and enlightenment through a broader edification of one anothers views.

    One must be very precise in the agreement of definitions before proceeding. Evolution, Darwinism, Intelligent Design, science, all have many variable definitions.

    In short --- engage with extreme caution.

  • TheAtheist slc, u
    Sept. 30, 2011 8:47 p.m.

    @Richard

    I think part of the issue is for the longest of times religion has stood in the way of science. I hope this comment is not censored, but religion teaches people to be satisfied in not understanding the world around them.

  • Richard Hitchens Layton, UT
    Sept. 30, 2011 8:11 p.m.

    I'm glad that many religious people concede that Evolution is real in light of so much evidence, but I fear that a lot of damage has already been done. Many scientists now believe that to secure the future of science they must eradicate or severely diminish religion. To be honest I can't really blame them. It's been a long road. In 1925 John Scopes was breaking the law when he taught evolution in Tennessee. Here we are all these years later, still having this discussion.
    I hope that next time the religious think twice before meddling in science.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Sept. 30, 2011 6:56 p.m.

    A true scientist can't claim there is no god because there is no evidence one way or another. A strict scientist without faith should simply be agnostic.

    The more I study physics the more I realize what we don't know at all. Quantum physics are truly strange and mysterious.

    It's all very humbling if one is honest with themselves.