Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Science, Religion, and Mormons

Science has always been important to me both for personal interests and for my career. One thing it has taught me is that assumptions frequently need to be revised in order to fit all the facts into a consistent theoretical framework. Paradigm shifts are essential for progress, though they can be painful.

Dealing with the scriptures often requires paradigm shifts. Many people used to read the Creation story as an exact account of the seven 24-hour days that were used to create the earth. Scientific discovery has challenged the assumptions behind that belief. A careful look at the text shows that the Hebrew word for "day" can also refer to a long period of time, similar to "era" or "age." A shift in our paradigm allows one to better understand the scriptures. It's not a cover-up or a retreat to admit that a previous assumption not required by the text now needs to be updated.

DNA and the Book of Mormon, evolution, the Flood, and many other matters involving the intersection of science and religion require a careful examination of our assumptions and of what revealed texts actually say and mean. As a scientist, I am absolutely convinced that God exists. I believe in the Bible and Book of Mormon, though I recognize that there are limitations in the scientific information we might try to derive from them.

To deal with some of the common challenges that LDS people face as they consider science and Mormon belief, I have written an essay, "Questions about Science and Mormon Views (Mormonism)," which I hope might be of some help. As with everything I write, I am expressing my own views, but have tried to be accurate and doctrinal. Let me know what you think.

5 comments:

Dave said...

Welcome to the Bloggernacle, Jeff. There aren't many LDS bloggers from the heartland, it's mostly East Coast, West Coast, and Utah. You obviously bring a lot of material along with you from the old site, which I'm sure will come out in bits and pieces in future blogs.

Daniel Carlson said...

Excellent work on the Science page Jeff. One thing: Will you ever be covering the Tower of Babel?

Mormanity said...

No plans at the moment - I'd love to write a lengthy and redundant essay on the topic, but feel somewhat constrained by my total ignorance on the subject. I know, I know: "It's never stopped you before."

Allen said...
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Allen said...

Hi Jeff,

I appreciated your comments about paradigm shifts. They are painful but necessary. I'm having a new book published that is called "One Mormon's View of the Science -- Religion Debate". The overall theme of the book is that truth can't contradict itself and that eventualy the scientific knowledge and the religious knowledge will converge. The book consists of essays that touch upon a number of conflicts between science and religion. My web page on the book gives more details about the essays.

http://www.leigh.org/sciencereligion/

I don't have an exact date yet, but the book will be available in August or September.