Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: Reading the books of scripture and science together’

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Published: Thursday, Sept. 12 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Louisville, KY

Exactly. The "conflicts" between religion and science are often more imagined than real. Those of us who are religious need to embrace science. It is not a competitor but a help, a useful tool to living our lives.

Buena Vista, VA

I hope a transcript is made of both events, since I'm a bit too far away to attend; but as an active Latter-day Saint, with a Phd in biology (and I teach an evolution class) I'm interested in the interplay between science and religion.

Unwieldy Toaster
Bluffdale, UT

It makes sense that religion would want to co-opt science. If you believe in an all knowing Creator it's reasonable that he/she/it could inspire all the discoveries made by science. However, in religion's sacred books is God making scientific discoveries through his prophets? The way things went over with intelligent design also comes to mind.

I think it would go a long way if the Creator of the Universe was a guest speaker at these lectures.

Dave M
Louisville, KY

Unwieldy Toaster

"And worlds without number have I created"

"God had materials to organize the world out of chaos—chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time he had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and re-organized, but never destroyed. They had no beginning and can have no end."

Phoenix, AZ

It should be interesting hearing Dr. Peterson's common sense side to understanding of god is nature, and nature is God. An appreciation of Paganism always helps for a better understanding of the world and God's work.

1.96 Standard Deviations

The wonder of God's creations, temporal and spiritual, in one way or another bear record of him. This article reminds me of the scripture in Moses 6:63:

"And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me."

Chandler, AZ

I would also be interested in transcripts of this conference. I'd like to see the topic of the Big Bang addressed by LDS scientists. I know many of them take this evidence very seriously and they also realize that current LDS theology is not compatible with it (indeed, the Big Bang has caused no end of consternation for all materialists in the last century, LDS and atheist alike). In this case, it might be advisable to have an LDS prophet on hand, as well. Perhaps he could abrogate some previous teachings on cosmology in order to bring the LDS Church more in line with traditional Christianity and mainstream science in this respect.

Phoenix, AZ


While most churches believe in a transcendent god, Mormons believe in an immanent god and therefore, if one accepts the concept of multiverses rather than one universe, Mormonism actually can support the big bang theory for the creation of our universe. I am not sure that will do much for the price of rice in China,...but whatever.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Wow! Dr. Peterson and Spinoza on the same page… who would have thought.

But fundamentally I agree with Semi-Strong (and Spinoza). The conflicts between religion and science are simply due to our lack of understanding and are rarely conflicts at all… except when they are, and then science wins time and time again.

As our scientific understanding grows it forces our conceptions of God, religion, sacred books, etc. to either adapt or follow most of the other religions (humans have practiced throughout history) down the road of irrelevance and extinction.

And if modern science is only 400 years old (in its relative infancy) imagine how much more our conceptions of religion will be forced to change in the future.

Sensible Scientist
Rexburg, ID

I find that when science is accurately understood (which it often is not) and Mormon doctrine is accurately understood (which it often is not), conflicts largely go away. As a Mormon and as a scientist, I find this truly remarkable.


Most problems arise when the goal is to prove the other side wrong rather than to find truth.

As an engineer and devout believer in God, I'm amused at how easily the Second Law of Thermodynamics is rejected by those who claim to be devout followers of science. If you're wandering down a mountain trail and find a random rock, it's pretty easy to conclude, "The shape content of this rock was determined by natural, random processes." Find an iPhone, and the response is, "Look - this was obviously created by humans." But find something significantly more complex than an iPhone, such as perhaps a grizzly bear, and the response is, "Run for your life!" Er, no, what I meant to say was , "This is obviously the result of random, natural processes." In other words, there's a narrow range of complexity that requires intelligence, but anything below or above that range doesn't require intelligence. Go figure.

The Big Bang depends on a particular interpretation of red shift. If that interpretation is wrong, so is the Big Bang. I wouldn't take it to the bank just yet.

American Fork, UT

Science has to work hard to bring a theory to proof, and even then doubt persists. Religion just has to say, when proven incorrect, "oh, yeah, earth around the sun. God did that."

Orem, UT

Just a bit of advice to those who're thinking of coming to Prof. Peterson's lecture: The Joseph Smith Building is at the southern edge of BYU's campus, and there's very little parking around it. So people should allow time to stroll from their cars to the auditorium.

Eldersburg, MD

I find no greater witness to the grandeur of God than the Universe around us and the infinite expansion of space and worlds that cannot be numbered unto man. Science has revealed many great truths and as another blogger commented, if you understand both Science and Mormon doctrine correctly, you will see much compatibility.

The views of man are myopic when compared to the majesty of God. Humanity has progressed with worldly understanding of the Universe but unfortunately, this sometimes has a self-limiting effect with minimizing the context and role of God in the creation of all things. The more human intelligence is glorified, the less God exists in the equation. There is absolutely a place for all intelligence, but for humans to believe they are in any degree masters of the universe or even the earth, is gross arrogance.

How grand and how wonderful are the infinite works of God. How fortunate we are as His children to be enlightened by knowledge as to witness Science progress according to God's will. I am amazed at the intricate organization of matter and dumbfounded by those who say it is all random. Such is like theoligions advocating ex-nihilo.

layton, UT

RE: 1.96 Standard Deviations, The wonder of God's creations, temporal and spiritual, in one way or another bear record of him.

Romans 1:20, For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. V. 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human beings…

John 4:24 God[is]spirit. Greek.=(*pneuma O theos).

RE: EternalPerspective, *Theologians advocating ex-nihilo.

Christians, and Jews believe that God created all that exists ex nihilo (out of nothing). Mormonism is quite different in its cosmology, claiming that God fashioned the universe out of preexisting material. God is eternal in some forms of LDS theology, but so is preexisting matter, including the material used by God to create human beings.

*Paul,”For in him we live and move and have our Being...(Acts 17:28)Creation is dependent on God for it’s very existence.

In(2Tim 1:9 & Titus 1:2) God existed before time, implying he created time. “


Good science and good religious doctrine is totally compatible. The problem is there is so much bad science
(science falsely so called) and so much bad religious doctrine.

I value the science that discovered useful things, that created our computers, radio and television transmitters and receivers, things which NO ONE believes were randomly or accidentally brought about, albeit human life and the universe are far more complex than are they.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

The word "science" simply means "knowledge" and "truth" (body of knowledge).

And religion has been shown by rational and empirical means to be severely lacking in knowledge, truth, and relevance.


@ "A Scientist"

What kind of a scientist are you? All I know is that you write very short, very arrogant, and not very helpful posts. Yes, we know that science means knowledge, but a great deal passes for "science" that is merely theoretical, and would not be called "science" by any one with much knowledge or any humility.

That is the question I would like to see you, and so many others, address. Contempt for those who have a different opinion and an attempt to reduce everything to a battle with "religion" portrayed as mere superstition is getting really old. What else have you got?

I would discuss specifics with you but, as usual, you and many others who adopt your approach, appear to have none.

"A scientist" is not a qualification (so what is your qualification?) that tells me much, and there are so many branches of science you would be hard pressed to present yourself convincingly as an all round repository of knowledge.

pleasant Grove, UT

It will be nice to hear sciences such as geology, archeology, and anthropology discussed as legitimate areas of GOSPEL knowledge and study. These are endeavors to explain our world, and they should be taken seriously by anyone who values the world as God’s creation. I hope people understand going in that, as these fields are (as are all sciences) open to change as new information surfaces, so must the fossilized ideas and expectations of their traditional theology be willing to bend. For those who see the biblical account of creation as a figurative representation of God’s use of all natural processes, including evolution, in order to form and people this planet, this will be easy. For those who have always seen it as literal and historical, leave your pitchforks in the barn and extinguish your torches; they won’t help. Try trading in your literal view for a literary view; it will help a lot, and you will see how scripture and science are not contradictory, but support each other quite naturally.


For the last hundred years, the biggest conflict between science and religion is in the details of creation. The conflict centers around whether a day in Genesis 1 is 24 hours or a period of time. Theologians decided that a “day” in Genesis 1 refers to 24 hours because whenever “day” is used in conjunction with a number (e.g. third) in other places in the Bible, then “day” obviously means 24 hours by context. Therefore, following this rule, a day in Genesis 1 must be 24 hours.

The ironic thing about this is that the theologians used a scientific method to decide what scripture means. Scientific method might tell us that the world is 4 billion years old, but I am not sure it can be applied to interpreting the Bible. The apostle Paul clearly teaches us that man’s ways are not God’s ways. Clearly, the wrong tool was used to interpret scripture. No wonder there has been conflict!

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