Monday, October 18, 2010


Let's get one thing straight here.
For years, people have been asking, "Do you believe in evolution?"

This is inherently a question which is impossible to answer.

To explain this, let me give you some definitions.

1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
3. confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.
4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.
1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.
You cannot, by definition, have "belief" in a "theory". (Evolution is a theory.)

Microevolution (as defined as small changes in a species, but not changes so significant as to change the species into a new species) has been proved in lab.

We've watched it happen.

So, at least in this small regard, we know that evolution can occur.
Now, let's really begin.

What is the public's real concern about evolution? It is, of course, that should man have come from monkeys (as in the popular vernacular), this leaves no room for God in the equation. In fact, it also speaks against the literal interpretation of the Bible which refers to the earth as having existed 6,000 years up to this point. 

Thus, this debate has become much more than a scientific discussion about a theory, an idea which describes and explains and connects a group of facts. It has become a religious divider - if one accepts evolution, then one has directly refuted the truthfulness of the Bible and thus denied God.

That's a serious accusation. I wonder if it's warranted.
Problem: Going back to our original question, one does not "believe" in a theory. One sees evidence for a theory, and then one evaluates whether the theory fits the facts or not.
Guess what.
So far it does. 

Here's how I see it. Right now we have a bunch of evidence for evolution. Evolution describes facts we've actually observed. Religious faith should be independent of scientific progress for that reason. Religious faith, if based in truth, should be constant. Scientific interpretation of natural phenomena changes.
Hopefully, all things testify of their creator, but it is certainly possible to use natural phenomena both as evidence for and evidence against a supernatural creator. Thus, I think it's hard to use existence as a logical, infallible argument for either side. 
But right now, evolution fits the facts. We may find a better theory later. Evolution may be the going theory until the 2nd Coming. I don't know. But whatever happens, now, in the past, in the future, it's important to realize that faith is "a hope for things which are not seen, which are true" (Alma 32:21). 

I've decided to not let my faith rest in scientific progress. (Being human, scientists are going to make mistakes. Regardless of your religious beliefs, it's not safe to rest perfect faith in science.) I'm rather going to let my faith stand strong with the scriptures and the testimonies of the living prophets, and in my own experience through prayer and following promptings and commandments given through the Holy Ghost. And I am all right with simultaneously accepting evolution as a significant theory which works for right now, but given evidence, could change rapidly. That's science. It's not faith. They coexist, and all is well in Zion.

Bonus points for those of you who can point out the flaw in the logic of this video.

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