Your Friday Firestorm #2

It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth, and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declares that Adam was “the first man of all men” (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race. It was shown to the brother of Jared that all men were created in the beginning after the image of God; and whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion: Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our heavenly Father.

“The Origin of Man,” a declaration by the First Presidency, 1909. [1]

Discuss. [2]

[3]
————————-
[1] Improvement Era, Vol. XIII, No. 1, pp. 75-81, November 1909.
[2] Shout-out to NBDF Gary.
[3] This footnote for Stapley purposes.

Comments

  1. Not to be overly simplistic, Steve, but what’s to discuss? (Is this one of those times when I drive you crazy?)

  2. Steve Evans says:

    Ray, the fact that you find nothing interesting, provocative or worthy of discussion in that excerpt is in itself meaningful.

  3. Yes, it is.

    I read it and don’t see a denial of evolution – nor a support for Intelligent Design – nor a claim that the Bible and its time tables are exact – nor any other specific belief. All it says is that, at some point and in some way, man came into being – and that the first of this new species was called Adam. I see it as a brilliant political statement addressing one specific idea – that man is nothing more than a smart ape. I don’t see anything else in it at all.

  4. Friday wet match is more like it, Steve-O.

  5. “…and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race”

    Our membership in Christ’s church binds us with a duty to believe certain things, whatever the popular theories of the day. Cool.

  6. Steve Evans says:

    et tu, Dorito?

    I’m one of those who tends to think that when given this was largely regarded as a statement against the theories of human evolution then understood.

  7. Costanza says:

    Steve,
    I may be jumping into oblivion here, but I agree with you. It seems difficult to read this document in any way that would support the theories of evolution as they existed in the first part of the 20th century.

  8. Steve,
    I have to say, it doesn’t bother me, but, to the extent it says that humans didn’t evolve, I disagree with it. That’s fine with me; even if the Church leadership of 1909 is wrong about science (and even if some of the leadership today were), they’re still inspired leaders chosen of God to help me return to His presence, and I support and sustain them as such.

    If it were to turn out I was wrong and YECs are right, no big deal. I don’t feel any moral obligation to the idea of evolution. Other than the fact that it happened.

  9. The upcoming bicentennial celebration of Darwin’s 1909 birth represents an excellent opportunity for the First Presidency to release a new declaration on “the origin of man” and clear up questions about the church’s stance on evolution.

  10. Why clarify your stance when it’s much easier to say nothing and appease both sides?

  11. Eric Russell says:

    The only reason this discussion continues, it seems, is so that people can forward their personal ideologies. Traditionalists shake their heads at the apostates who refuse to accept vaguely stated doctrines and progressivists look down their nose at those who are so backwards they refuse to accept updated scientific theories.

    No one remembers the creation of the world. No one knows how it happened. Who cares.

  12. Steve Evans says:

    Eric, if your stance is “who cares,” why post a comment at all?

  13. Maria Victoria says:

    This is one area I would love to know more about.

    Upon what proof do evolutionists base their arguments? Where are the studies/data/evidence of evolution?

  14. Bizarro Kevin (aka kevinf) says:

    TO the extent that the timing was the 100th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, and knowing something of the history of what was going at the time in the church, I would agree with Steve that it was meant to be a denial of human evolution as they understood it.

    In one sense, I agree totally with the comment that Adam was the first “man of all men”, but that still doesn’t tell us how that transpired. I have no problem with seeing how evolution could have been the tool by which God fostered life on the earth, and prepared it as a place for us to work out our salvation. I also am not ruling out other possibilities as well.

    As to the general subject of organic evolution, National Geographic in the last year or two did a pretty good survey for the lay reader of the evidence pointing to evolution. Beyond that, my Bizarro tights don’t qualify me to speak for the scientists.

  15. Julie M. Smith says:

    I’d like to dump a little fuel on the fire:

    http://www.reuters.com/articlePrint?articleId=UKFLE15338920070611

    REUTERS: Do you believe in Evolution?

    CHRISTOFFERSON: I don’t know. That’s a very intriguing
    question. I can’t think of a doctrinal statement by
    the church on evolution. We do believe certainly in a
    divine hand in creation. And one of our scriptures
    says there is a lot yet to be revealed.There’s not
    much that’s frankly been revealed on the religious
    side regarding it. You’ve got a basic account of
    creation over different periods – we’re not talking
    necessarily about 24 hour days but periods in which
    God directed creation. The hows, the details, I don’t
    know, to be honest with you. We don’t claim to know.

    We do believe that more is to be revealed. One of our
    articles of faith is that we believe all that God has
    revealed, all that is now revealed and all that is yet
    to be revealed.

    I think it’s important to admit on the scientific side
    there are limits to what we know and on the religious
    side there are limits to what we know.

    REUTERS: Does the church believe Intelligent Design
    should be taught in schools.

    CHRISTOFFERSON: Not necessarily. We teach in the
    church as our doctrine as our scriptures teach that
    the creation was directed by God, that we are his
    children, not just creatures of happenstance. But we
    teach whatever science has discovered at this point in
    school at Brigham Young University and anywhere else.
    You’ll find discussion of what we know that goes under
    the rubric of evolution, science classes, biology
    classes at BYU as you would just at any other
    university

    We’re not pushing that schools teach Intelligent
    Design but rather that they teach honest science and
    at church we teach what we know. Eventually they will
    come together.

  16. Steve Evans says:

    Julie, I love that quote and I love you for posting it. Just platonic though.

  17. Naismith says:

    I’m wondering if anyone else still celebrates Chucky Wucky Abey Baby day like they did at BYU?

    Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the exact same date. In the then-BYU dept. of Biology, every February Dr. Jefferey had a big cake and balloons to celebrate.

    With children, we’re always glad for another holiday to celebrate.

  18. Maria Victoria–I’d suggest starting with the wikipedia entry on evolution if you’re interested in learning the basics. What it boils down to is that we see evidence from fossils and from genetics that suggests first, that species change and diversify over time, and second, that we all share a common ancestor.

    All organisms extant today use DNA to encode the genetic instructions that determine how our cells and, for multicellular organisms, how our tissues and bodies develop. This suggests the existence of a single common ancestor for all living things.

    DNA is highly conserved–meaning the sequence of nucleotides that make up DNA tends to be pretty much constant from parent to child. I don’t remember off the top of my head how many unique differences there are between a parent and child, but it’s something like less than 10, and the mutations that get passed along tend to be in non-critical regions of DNA or tend to be substitutions that don’t change the structure of the protein coded for by the DNA appreciably. If the mutation happens in a critical region, individuals will end up producing non-functional proteins and will have diseases like cystic fibrosis or tay-sachs, or sickle cell anemia.

    Organisms with harmful mutations generally die without leaving offspring, which is much of what explains the highly conserved nature of DNA. The mutations in less critical regions, and mutations that don’t create deleterious consequences are preserved in future generations and are responsible for the diversity we see in species. Human skin, hair, and eye color are great examples of non-deleterious mutations that create diversity within a population. If there is some selective pressure, like low light levels in winter, a mutation that helps counteract the effect of that situation, like pale skin, will provide selective advantage to those possessing that trait and they will, on average, produce more surviving offspring than their neighbors.

    Evolutionary biologists use mutations to produce phylogenetic trees, which give us insight into relatedness in a way that is in many ways superior to that gained by observing structural similarities, though the trees created from genetics agree pretty well. The one thing genetic phylogenies show us that we didn’t realize from simple observations is that unicellular organisms (actually, all organisms) should be divided into three groups–Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukaryotes. The cool thing about Eukaryotes is that they (or we, since we are Eukaryotes) possess some of the traits of bacteria (like the structure of our cell walls) and other traits of archaea (our transcription mechanism, which translates DNA into proteins is very similar). Evidently early life “shared” DNA promiscuously.

    I’ve probably rambled on enough here–I just want to state that evolution is actually really cool, and it’s the foundation of modern biology and rather integral to geology as well. I for one would be sorely dissapointed to find out we were created ex nihlo.

  19. I’m just glad we don’t believe protons are evil.

  20. I had to leave right after my last comment, so here goes:

    #6 & #7 – While the statement definitely was directed at the prevailing theory of evolution at the time, it was directed ONLY at one specific interpretation of that theory – what the Brethren called “godless evolution”. That is VERY different than evolution without any qualifier. To read it in any other way, given the words themselves, is blatantly unfair to the authors. We get our undies in a bunch whenever those who attack Mormonism misinterpret our statements simply because they don’t believe we REALLY mean what our words clearly say. I’m not about to do that to the Brethren who published “The Origin of Man”.

    So, what do the words clearly say? NOTHING AT ALL relative to the “how” of man’s creation. Later in the statement, they added this – which, IMHO, is truly remarkable given the time and prevailing religious perceptions:

    “True it is that the body of man enters upon its career as a tiny germ embryo, which becomes an infant, quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is, and the child, after being born, develops into a man. There is nothing in this, however, to indicate that the original man, the first of our race, began life as anything less than a man, or less than the human germ or embryo that becomes a man.

    The statement is NOT anti-evolutionary, but rather opposes the idea that God did not have a hand in the creation of man. The words of individual GA’s aside, this still represents the official position of the Church – and I see no need to update it. Compare it to statements by other religions of the time. I read it and am amazed at both what it says and does not say – which helps me believe it truly was inspired.

  21. Steve Evans says:

    I know when Ray breaks out the ALL CAPS that it’s time to take him seriously.

  22. Sorry; forgot to add this after the first paragraph:

    Remember, that at this time endowed members of the Church were taught very clearly that the creation of the man and the woman was presented figuratively.

  23. It’s a habit from my teaching days that is embedded so deeply I don’t know if I could change it if I tried. I figure it’s covered by grace.

  24. kristine N says:

    Ray–I’m going to have to disagree with you. This statement is pretty blatantly against the idea that there were men before Adam. I can’t think of a way to make this statement converge with the evolutionary idea that men are primates and evolved from a common ancestor to today’s great apes. Want to clue me in?

  25. Kristine,

    1) “Homo sapien” is not found anywhere in the statement, not is any other derivative. Neither is “evolution” – except in the introduction on the Church’s website.

    2) How is Adam being the first “man” opposed to evolution – when the definition given in the statement for “man” is narrowed to include only those primates who are a combination of physical body and pre-existent spirit children of Heavenly Father? The statement explicitly includes the possibility that Adam began his life as in embryo. That was so completely revolutionary at the time that it’s difficult to fathom and easily overlooked or devalued. I easily can fit that statement into contemporary evolutionary ideas. I don’t have to stretch myself intellectually at all.

  26. Steve Evans says:

    Ray, and you thought there was nothing to discuss.

    Embryonics was not revolutionary in 1909, btw, and has little to do with general evolutionary theory absent a theory of genetics (which probably would not have been known or considered by the FP in 1909)

  27. kristine N says:

    …the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men.

    So, this part of the statement to me pretty explicitly denies the hypothesis that men, including Adam, descended from non-men, i.e.–“lower orders of the animal creation.”

  28. Steve, AARGH!!

    I didn’t say embryonics was revolutionary; I said that for Christian leaders to say that Adam might have begun his life as an embryo was revolutionary. Think about it people: If Adam began his life as an embryo, what are the implications?

  29. Kristine, My mother was an English Nazi. The part you quote is preceded by an “and” – combining the idea that “Adam was not the first man” AND that he was developed “from lower orders of the animal creation”. It then is followed immediately by the statement that Adam could have begun as an embryo. You can’t separate the two concepts and analyze only one. Tell me how the embryo concept does NOT imply evolution (or at least admit its possibility), and I have no argument.

  30. Steve Evans says:

    Ray, are you trying to say that this 1909 FP statement establishes that life begins at an embryonic stage? If so I think you’re stretching.

    And again, you thought there was nothing to discuss. Now do you admit the error of your ways?

  31. Steve Evans says:

    English Nazi? WTF was the Blitz all about??

  32. Steve, I’m getting a headache. I’m not saying that it “establishes” that Adam began his life as an embryo. I’m saying it explicitly states that as a possibility. I’m also saying that the Brethren did not hold a consensus on the topic, having no revelation on the topic, so they explicitly left it open as a possibility. All it says is that there was no “man” prior to Adam, with an incredibly narrow definition of that term. I’m asking people to stop assuming what it says based on what everyone else was saying at the time (including individual GA’s) and analyze what it actually says.

    I don’t know Science as well as most here, but I do know English. It clearly and unequivocally leaves evolution open as a possible explanation for the “how” of creation. The “Adam might have begun life as an embryo” statement couldn’t be any clearer.

  33. kristine N says:

    So, if Adam began as an embryo, he was necessarily descended of his parents, who, since Adam was the first man, could not have been men. Unless you’re going to claim Adam descended from higher orders of animals.

    Your embryo idea does admit the possibility of evolution, but I don’t think it’s compatible with the FP statement.

  34. Kristine, I won’t put this in ALL CAPS, because I don’t want to give Steve a heart attack, but it’s not my idea. It’s in the statement!!

    I’m going to say this very carefully, because it’s my turn to be arrogant, condescending and fuddy-duddyish: What was the point of your previous post? (OK, not so carefully.) You are so much more knowledgeable about science than I am that I couldn’t lace your sandals – and I mean that in all seriousness. However, I’m the son of an English Nazi, as I’ve said already. I also make a side living editing documents and writing official communications for companies and school districts. (Anybody looking for an independent contractor to do this?) I know what words mean when I read them.

    I don’t know how I can say it any more plainly than this: The FP in 1909 produced an official statement that very clearly and explicitly stated that Adam might have begun his life as an embryo – with all its implications. When you analyze the statement strictly as an English teacher and not as a scientist with preconceived notions, that’s the conclusion.

  35. Sorry, Kristine. I just realized that you aren’t that Kristine. My bad.

  36. Steve, as to #30: I bow to your superior insight. That’s why you are a contributor and administrator almighty, and I am only a poor commenter.

  37. Ray, the fact that the 1909 statement leaves open a possibility that life begins at embryo stage is nothing revolutionary or exciting. That possibility was open before and has been open ever since. As Eric Russell might say, “who cares.” It only becomes interesting when some members interpret a possibility as a some sort of probability, as you seem to do. For someone who knows English so well, you should know better than to make such a leap. The embryo thing in the text is either a mere possibility — and therefore meaningless, so who cares about the implications — or a probability, so let’s get all excited about it. You can’t have it both ways.

    As a side note — remember, you’re in the Bloggernacle, which was founded by and is infested with lawyers, among them myself. Do you really want to engage in a pissing match over who knows English the best? Come now.

  38. kristine N says:

    The point of my previous post was to educate someone who asked what evidence there is for evolution (a subject I happen to find fascinating, so I do tend to get excited and go on and on). I understand that you’re trying to find a way to make the FP statement compatible with hominid evolution, and I think it’s an admirable goal; I just don’t think it’s possible. The main problem I have with the idea you’re putting forward that it’s somehow okay for Adam to be a man while his mother (in whose womb he developed from an embryo to a fetus) was not. If Adam developed in a womb, half of his genes came from his mother and half from his father, probably with a few random mutations that were not common with either parent. To say that those few mutations are enough to categorize him as human, or somehow make him worthy of a true human spirit while his parents weren’t doesn’t make sense to me and is distasteful to me.

  39. kristine N says:

    yes, I am the other Kristine. Perhaps I should become bizarro Kristine (Krizarro?) to demarcate the difference.

  40. Steve and Kristine,

    1) In this particular discussion, I am NOT positing a probability – merely a possibility, and I am doing so based on the words the FP chose to publish.

    2) No, I don’t want to get into a pissing contest over who knows English best. I do want, however, to get away from interpretations of what the FP “probably” meant based on the attitudes and prevailing evolutionary theory at the time. I want to focus solely on what they actually said. I’m trying to do so as dispassionately as possible, despite my frustration.

    3) In my second statement, I said that the only theory that the statement refutes is that “man is nothing more than a smart ape”. Those were my exact words. A pre-existent spirit entering a physical body refutes that – no matter how or when it happened.

    3) As to “to say that those few mutations are enough to categorize him as human, or somehow make him worthy of a true human spirit while his parents weren’t doesn’t make sense to me and is distasteful to me” – How the hell did “worthy” enter into this conversation? That’s the problem I’m having. We jumped from a discussion of a possible explanation of man’s creation that includes evolution to a broadside focusing on issues of worth? I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. First, the FP is wrong if it denies evolution (which it didn’t); then they are nonsensical and distasteful if they allow for its possibility? You tell me how the first man came to be, with a definition of man that combines a physical body and a spirit, without denying either the hand of God or evolution in the process. I’ll withhold further comment until you do that.

  41. Kevin Barney says:

    Given that Adam is the Hebrew generic term for “human being,” I fully agree that the first man was ‘adam. QED.

  42. Kevin, good point. But what might we want to call Adam’s parents? Pseudo-Adam and pseudo-Eve? Ante-Adam and ante-Eve? Bizarro-Adam and bizarro-Eve?

  43. Kristine says:

    Kristine N, we can just call you “the smart Kristine.” :)

  44. It seems clear that if the human species evolved from non-human ancestors, then at some point, a human child was born to non-human parents. That’s why I don’t understand what Kristine finds exceptional in Ray’s statement. The line between fully human and hominid ancestor might be somewhat arbitrary but there’s no question that at some point it must have been crossed. If there’s a possibility that Adam was an embryo, and he was the first fully human creature, then his mother must have been non-human. In other words, it must have been evolution, rather than … you know… dust and godspit and stuff…. that literally produced Adam’s body.

    Is that not the implication you draw from that statement?

    (To clarify, I believe the evidence that evolution occurred is overwhelming. The idea informs and clarifies every aspect of biology. It’s as sure as the theory of gravity. I would have no doubts about evolution regardless of what any GA might say past or future. But it is interesting that this quote from a GA seems to acknowledge that fact, I think.)

  45. Christopher Smith says:

    Tatiana,

    Have you ever heard of Sorites Paradox?

    From Wikipedia (yes, I am quoting from Wikipedia. Get over it.):

    ———

    Consider a heap of sand from which grains are individually removed. One might construct the argument, using premises, as follows:

    A heap of sand is comprised of a large collection of grains. (Premise 1)
    A heap of sand minus one grain is still a heap. (Premise 2)
    Repeated applications of Premise 2 (each time starting with one less number of grains), eventually forces one to accept the conclusion that a heap may be composed of just one grain of sand.

    ——–

    The problem, of course, is one of language: “heap” is an arbitrary human category. There is no clear line between a heap and a non-heap. Nor is there a clear line between a human and a pre-human hominid; when you take it in small steps, the distinction is much less meaningful. And since small steps is the way evolution works, it’s not clear to me at all that we can really speak of a “first human”.

  46. Christopher, Unless we accept that a human has a pre-existent spirit as part of its unique composition. Take away that foundation, and we might as well close this thread and start a new one focused solely on biological evolution. (Would it be begging too much to plead with all the capacity of my physical and spiritual being for that not to happen?)

  47. Christopher Smith says:

    Ray,

    Does one need a spirit to be able to create earth mother goddess statues like the Neanderthals did? If not, what particular advantage does a spirit impart to its possessor?

    Blurring the lines,

    -Chris

  48. I have studied the issue, Chris, and I would argue with you, but this is not the forum. Suffice it to say that I agree with a British Archaeology article from a few years ago that concluded that the Neanderthal / goddess statue idea is an anachronism. No lines blurred here.

    Also, I am not going to argue about pre-existent spirits. It’s a core belief. That’s enough. No lines blurred there, either.

    That’s all I have to say about that.

  49. Let me throw out another interpretive wrinkle. Adam was named Adam not because he was the ultimate first man, but because he was given the name of a previously existing “first man”. I first encountered this thought while pondering some remarks Brigham Young made in Nauvoo. If you caught my M* post on Rev. 2:17 about receiving a white stone with a new name, you may have picked up on this possibility. The idea behind receiving a name is that you try to capture and internalize the essence of the namesake who has gone before. Think about what it means, for example, to take upon the name of Christ. What would it mean to take upon the name of Adam? Every man becomes an Adam, or first man, in a limited sense to his descendants.

    Or to put it more shortly–what Kevin Barney said.

  50. Latter-day Guy says:

    On a related note, does anyone have access to an UNSANITIZED copy of Nibley’s “The Pre-Adamites”? I think I know someone, but it will be hard to pry it away from him.

  51. a random John says:

    This statement suffers from the same problems (its a feature not a bug!) that Elder Nelson’s statement from a few weeks ago does, in that it really says as little as possible if you read it carefully. Man is man.

  52. RE: #15

    Elder Christofferson told Reuters:

    But we teach whatever science has discovered at this point in school at Brigham Young University and anywhere else. You’ll find discussion of what we know that goes under the rubric of evolution, science classes, biology classes at BYU as you would just at any other university.

    Maybe next they’ll start to teach the documentary hypothesis.

  53. But in all seriousness . . .

    It’s tempting to parse words in an attempt to make old statements conform with our current understanding. But I think you have to view the 1909 statement in the light that its authors and audience probably understood it at the time. It appears to have been a measured statement against the concept of human evolution.

    I’m left to conclude that I don’t agree with parts of the statement. Is that any worse than redefining it beyond recognition, and then agreeing with your own redefinition?

    I have a hard time imagining that President Smith wrote this thinking, “Hah, I’ll say ‘Man began life as a human being’ just to appease the anti-intellectual crowd, but I’m really referring to homo sapiens, and I’m using the term ‘Adam’ merely to represent ‘mankind.'”

  54. Ray, the preexistent spirit argument actually doesn’t distinguish humanity from precursors. Since all animals whatsoever are, in Mormon thought, created spiritually before they are created physically, and they all have spirits, then they all have preexistent spirits. So the “first human’s” mother and father would also have had preexistent spirits, just like us and geckos.

  55. CE, We agree and disagree.

    Agree = I’ve already said that it definitely was a “measured statement against the concept of human evolution” – at least the interpretation being advanced by many at the time that denied the hand of God in the creation of man and the lack of a spirit within man. I don’t think any rational person can believe otherwise.

    Disagree = I have never said or even implied your last parpagraph. When you boil it all down, knowing that there were very different personal beliefs regarding evolution and creation within the FP and 12 at the time, Kevin Barney and random John sum it up well: Man is man, and Adam was the first man. Hence my very first posts – #1 & #3.

    I find it interesting that some people who want it to deny evolution are convinced that it does (either because they also deny evolution or because they simply are convinced that those less enlightened people from 100 years ago just had to deny it – cause it’s just not conceivable that they wouldn’t), while those who want it to accept evolution are convinced that it does (either because they believe in evolution and/or because they want prophets to believe in it, too). My slant, in trying to read only the words and what they actually say (“parsing” be damned), is that it is a brilliant compromise for the leadership. The only thing it states clearly is that Adam was the first man, and that anyone who says otherwise is just espousing the teachings of man. IOW, it is the entering of a pre-existent spirit into a physical body that constitutes man – and that happened at some point in some way – including, perhaps during the embryonic state. Such a statement essentially says, “We don’t know how God created man, but we know He did – and the first man God created was called Adam.”

    Frankly, if I am parsing, others are extrapolating. In this case, I prefer to parse happily away.

  56. Yes, JNS, but I didn’t think I had to type out “pre-existent spirit children of our Heavenly Father”. I thought the shorthand would be accepted and understood in its lazy form.

  57. Going way back to ronito, #10: Again, all I want is consistency. GA’s get lambasted all the time when they make public statements of opinion on topics where revelation has not been given. In this forum and innumerable others, members (correctly, IMO) bemoan such statements.

    Isn’t it more than a little ironic that when the FP releases a public statement that addresses only one very narrow point (the concept of a spiritless smart ape), while leaving the door wide open for just about any other possibility, they get criticized for that? I repeat, given the prevailing ideas among the Christian religions of the time, isn’t a statement that allows specifically for an evolutionary development of the physical body about all that we could hope for?

  58. Christopher Smith says:

    JNS, that’s rather what I was getting at.

  59. RE: #55

    Ray, I didn’t mention you by name in my post #53 [I don't know how to insert a smiley face emoticon, but I would here if I could].

    My last paragraph was a direct ripoff of a similar comment from the Elder Nelson/evolution thread last month (comment #91).

  60. Speciation doesn’t so much work on an individual level as it does on a population level so, according to evolutionary theory, there really wasn’t a “first man” you could point to. There was a population of Homo erectus that for some reason (probably geographic isolation) stopped breeding with other Homo erectus individuals. This isolated population, while initially indistinguishable from other H. erectus populations, acquired new traits (notably, a larger brain and more sophisticated tool use) that isolated the population sexually–no longer would the isolated populations be willing to breed with their parent population. At that point, which would be extraordinarily difficult to pinpoint historically, you could say the Homo sapiens had evolved; however, we’d be talking about a population of H. sapiens, not an individual. This population could conceivably have been visually and in most was we could think of looking, measurably identical to the parent population–and yet it would be a distinct population that did not interbreed with the H. erectus population. When you have two populations living in the same area that don’t interbreed for a non-obvious reason it’s called cryptic speciation. Sexual selection is largely what drives this sort of speciation, though to be honest, sexual selection probably drives a lot of evolutionary change, and is likely behind many of the traits we consider most important for describing ourselves as human.

  61. CE, Sorry for the assumption. That’s one of the pitfalls of internet blogging at the pace that occurred yesterday.

    Being the liberal applier of smiley faces and the example of both correct and incorrect usage of said emoticon, and in order to drive Steve crazy: [evil emoticons deleted]

  62. Stephanie says:

    I think if you say that Adam was the first MAN that could just mean that he was the first with our current DNA configuration. When we say that God created man in his own image, that says nothing about HOW he created man, so he very well could have “grown” men by means of evolution. I don’t think this far out or blasphemous, because we know nothing about how creation came about, and I think most of us are smart enough to know that he didn’t just wave his hands and *poof*.

  63. I thought Adam devolved rather than evolved. If God created a man that couldn’t die until he fell, then we are talking apples and oranges or the fruit of the tree or something…

  64. John Williams says:

    Kristine N / Krizarro,

    Thank you for your insights. As the in-house biology expert, what is your opinion of the Genesis narrative? (very curious)

  65. I posted this on another blog, but since we’re back on the topic of evolution, I’ll risk being beaten with a redundancy stick and repeat it here:

    The ambiguity, lack of revelation, and the ubiquitous “we don’t know” (with its implicit and rather maddening “nor will we ever know until the Savior reveals it to us”) are the ONLY positions available to the brethren on the subject of evolution, because, what folks continue to fail to admit is that evolution and fundamental church doctrine simply cannot be reconciled**. The doctrine that I refer to is known in the church as one of the 3 pillars of eternity (Bruce M.) or one of the 3 pillars of the Plan of Salvation (Russell N.); the doctrine of The Fall.

    The Fall simply cannot be reconciled to evolution by definition; it tells us (wo)men were created with immortal bodies.

    Evolution completely contradicts this idea. One glance at the fossil record is all you need for starters.

    This conundrum is further exacerbated by the fact that the Book of Mormon, the “most correct book” on the planet (as we are often reminded), also cannot be reconciled to evolution, as it supports this notion of The Fall:

    2 Nephi 2:
    22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And 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.
    23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

    You simply cannot get around this without coming to the conclusion that:
    1. Humans could not possibly have evolved
    or
    2. The Book of Mormon contains errors, and the brethren have profoundly misunderstood the doctrine of The Fall from the beginning.

    But instead I see a great deal of tap dancing around this conundrum, with nobody admitting that it’s a HUGE doctrinal hurdle that NOBODY seems willing to tackle. And so we attempt to punt by saying “well, we just don’t know”, as if that were some kind of satisfactory answer (it isn’t), because the evidence FOR evolution is so overwhelming, and the doctrine of The Fall is as old a doctrine in Judeo-Christendom as it gets, and if you start messing with it you are in danger of hellfire.

    When Elder Nelson says it’s incomprehensible, it’s easy to understand — a child that has never mastered basic arithmetic or algebra will find calculus incomprehensible for the very same reason.

    When Elder Christofferson says we just don’t know, what he may in fact be really saying is “this conundrum is too difficult for me to even begin to tackle, so I won’t go there at all”, a seemingly safe retreat, but ultimately terribly unsatisfying to inquiring minds.

    If you say you just don’t care, to me that’s just another way of admitting cowardice confronting a sticky issue. Where is the truth? You don’t care about truth?

    Actually, Bruce McConkie did realize the conundrum, and waxed pretty dogmatic about it:

    There is no salvation in a system of religion that rejects the doctrine of the Fall or that assumes man is the end product of evolution and so was not subject to a fall.

    True believers know that this earth and man and all forms of life were created in an Edenic, or paradisiacal, state in which there was no mortality, no procreation, no death.

    While I know of no other GA that has since contradicted brother McConkie (do they ever?), I also do not know of any that have reiterated and elevated these rather bold (rash?) statements to the level of “official doctrine” status. What say ye?

    ** I have found reconciliation but it borders on heresy so I’ll keep it to myself for now. Suffice it to say that Bro. McConkie considers me without salvation, and not a “true believer”.

  66. (breaks out redundancy stick)

    Funny answers, Rich. Bro. McConkie considered a lot of people to be without salvation.

  67. I don’t know whether I would go as far as Rich has, but he definitely makes a good point. Can somebody here summarize for me, or point me toward a good summary of a reconciliation of evolution with our religious doctrine? Because I can’t make sense of it either. I know a great many faithful members accept evolution. I do too. But I don’t know how to make sense of the what are taught in the scriptures and in the Temple about the Fall if I assume that Adam and Eve were two people who lived tens of thousands of years ago, and who were somehow special children of God even though they were the product of evolution. Did their descendants mate with non-humans? Must we abandon the idea of a literal Garden of Eden on this continent? What does the Fall of Adam mean if Adam was a mortal product of evolution to begin with? If it is all symbolic, what does it symbolize? Surely somebody had developed a thoughtful reconciliation.

  68. Brad Kramer says:

    I for one would be sorely dissapointed to find out we were created ex nihlo.

    I think the hesitation on the part of many Church members to fully commit to evolutionary theory is closely connected with what are probably equally common anti-intellectualism tendencies in Mormon culture. But not in the sense that people don’t like the theory because it is the product of intellectualism. It’s more a Smith/McKonkie-incuded reaction against Talmage’s scientistic vision of miracles.
    I just think most LDS spurn the idea that God was able to create us because he is a sufficiently-trained, sufficiently-brilliant scientist. The Neo-Orthodox, dualistic notion of miracles seems to me to be intrinsically anti-scientistic. Miracles are miracles precisely because they operate outside of the realm of the scientifically discernible and empirically explainable.
    For Mormons this PoV is especially interesting given our belief that we will someday enjoy an existence qualitatively like God’s and, therefore, will participate in creative miracles. We want to believe that there’s something more to the process than just millennia of science classes.
    Personally, I can think of nothing more miraculous than the notion of an intelligent, powerful (but not all-powerful in the sense of being capable of abrogating the laws of nature) being receiving the assignment of organizing chaos into a stable, life-conducing system, and having to work strictly within the bounds of the laws of the universe–including the law of natural selection–and producing a final product of intelligent, self-aware beings that are physically in His own image. Not a single one of us could fathom the difficulty of that task. No short-cuts, no magic tricks, no creation ex nihilo on any level.
    Talk about miracles. And the more you learn about the genetic, developmental, ecological, and socio-biological processes involved, the more you realize the vastness of the task. Far more impressive than simply willing or speaking the universe, the earth, the sun, the moon, the animals, and the earthlings into existence.
    Incomprehensibly more impressive, worlds without end.

  69. Brad Kramer says:

    As for reconciliation of evolution with the doctrine that the fall brought death:
    Death in the “Great Plan,” “Three Grand Pillars” sense is defined not simply as the biological deterioration or decay of organisms but the separation of body and spirit. If Adam was the first biological organism into which God placed a Spirit, and if that process initially rendered him immortal in the sense that his spirit could not be separated from his body, then the fall could certainly have brought death upon mankind in the grander sense. I know that the NDBF crowd like to extrapolate from the Fall-caused-death doctrine the notion that there was no death for any organisms on any level (hair and fingernails must have been comprised of living cells and the fruit God allowed Adam and Eve to freely eat must have somehow “survived” their own consumption, digestion, and discharge), but that is far more speculative (not that Elder McKonkie was ever prone to speculation!) than the basic doctrine that Adam’s transgression subjected his body and spirit to separation beyond his control, the overcoming of which would require a Savior.

  70. Thomas Parkin says:

    Only if the Fall – I mean Adam’s Fall – is an historical event. It has traditionally been thought of as completely historical – but that is why we learn, because the thing we used to think was not quite right.

    One of the biggest problems in reading the scriptures is in knowing what to take literally and what figuratively. It seems to me that this problem puts special pressure on people whose sensibility inclines them to literal readings, as Elder McConkie’s did. Quite often, I find, there is an historical event that is, for us, mostly significant for the metaphor it creates. At other times, the metaphor is all that is needed. The Book of Job is every bit as relevent a story to our lives if there is no historical Job. The Atonement, contrarily, can’t be seen as only metaphor – it needs an historical agent outside ourselves, because we are ourselves not cabale of producing the benefits of the Atonement. We are, however, quite capable of falling on our own. And, in fact, we read that it is for our own sins, and not for Adam’s, that we die.

    In my view, the Fall only states that at some point we discover sin and lose our innocence, putting ourselves in a position to learn and develop in ways otherwise not possible. Since babies are born innocent, everyone must experience their own personal Fall – so that the doctrine is valid, even essential, even if there isn’t an historical Fall that brought _physical Death_ for the first time into the world. (A commentator on Cormac McCarthy’s fiction identitifes it as “gnostic”, because in it the Creation and the Fall are one event. I don’t know that we can have that, but I think we can have a Creation the nature of which guarantees a Fall for every creature born into it.)

    ~

  71. I’ll eventually take a stab at your question Jason (since you asked), but first I’d also like to point out how brother Nephi and brother McConkie insist that NOTHING could have evolved.

    I have to laugh whenever I hear people make the distinction between micro and macro evolution, as if there were any distinction! These terms, as far as I can tell, were fabricated by the Creationist/ID crowd to muddy the water, and those who use these terms are only showing their ignorance of what evolution actually is or means.

    I recall someone on an earlier thread here stating that there was no evidence for macro evolution. That is pure nonsense. Living and breathing examples are all around us. Ever heard of a mule? Or a liger? But that’s beside the point — whenever we observe mutations (and each of us has several in fact from our parental DNA) we observe evolution. When life evolves to the point of crossing a specieal (sp) boundary (like horses and donkeys) you have something new. There are hundreds of examples (perhaps thousands in the plant kingdom).

    A common objection to this idea is the teaching that everything was created in spirit form before it was created physically (whatever that really means). Okay, so what then does the spirit of a 4-legged duck look like? Or a two-headed snake? How about a child born with a cleft palate, or with a club foot, six fingers on each hand, or any other birth defect? How about a child born with both male and female sex organs? So maybe “created in spirit” means created in thought — an idea, a design that can be foreseen by an omnipotent creator, generically applied…? I’m uncomfortable with the notion of a rigorous blueprint, because everything here on planet earth is unique, and continually undergoing change. You could pluck every pine needle from every conifer and you won’t find any two exactly alike. Even identical twins are not truly identical. God apparently loves diversity, and in fact perhaps the only constant in the universe IS change…

    One other thought: 1909 might as well have been 1500. That’s about how many years Aristotle and Ptolemy’s ideas of an earth-centric universe held popular and doctrinal sway once upon a time, in and out of the church. It took a few brave souls (Copernicus, Galileo, etc.) to establish new truths in a stubbornly disbelieving world.

    To pretend that we haven’t learned anything since then is nothing short of madness. We live in a world where knowledge is literally exploding at an exponential rate. How can we (as a Church) afford to (willfully it seems) remain ignorant of what science is revealing on a daily basis?

    Heck, we still have about 1/3 of all Chiropractors today teaching that immunizations cannot prevent infectious disease! All I can say to that (as a child born in 1956) is I’m very glad Jonas Salk wasn’t paying any attention to them…

  72. #61 administrative action: Thanks, Steve (or whoever else deleted the evil emoticons). I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.

  73. I will not be more specific, but: My only addition to the whole evolution vs. Fall debate is to reiterate what others have said already and I have said previously – that the conflict can be reconciled without much effort if we view the Adam and Eve (man and woman) story of creation, Garden of Eden and fall as figurative (symbolic) and not literal – and to reiterate that such a perspective is perfectly in harmony with the temple presentation.

    With that perspective, the meaning of the 2 Nephi passage changes dramatically.

  74. Ray, just remember the purpose of this thread. It isn’t to discuss, but to ridicule. Basically, just one more thread to prove that the Church leadership is ignorant, anti-evolution/science fools. If you can prove the leadership didn’t leave the possibility of evolution open, you can prove they are not worth taking seriously. Just the usual religious nutjobs. And yes, I believe that all official (and not just individual) statements leave a huge opening for evolution. what it does do beyond that is declare “man” is more than the evolutionary process.

    I personally have come to believe that there was both Evolution and a literal Fall of Adam and Eve. Just like the new theories of The Book of Mormon from all of North America to a small geographical area, it seems to me a proper interpretation of the “Garden events” is a limited where it happened. They were taken out of “mortal time and place” and put into an immortal “bubble” where they interactated with Eternity. It is there they went from metaphorically “cro-mag” to “homo-sap” through Covenant.

    When the Fall happened, they were placed once again into the dreary world of death they had come from. As for Lehi’s understanding they were the first flesh to die? I believe that has to do with Spiritual rather than merely Physical death (although I will concede he might not have understood the difference, or that theologically the difference matters). They were the first mortals to be kicked out of the prescense of God. The atonement of Jesus Christ now allows us as humans to gain back Eternal Life lost in the Garden of Eden.

    One thing that many early LDS, and perhaps the ancients, seemed to understand is a combination of literal and metaphorical. Modern Western thought can’t handle the two together and make them a duality. It is either this or that. In this case it was either the literal Garden of Eden or Evolution. The more I read the Scriptures, and particularly later sermons of Joseph Smith and most of Brigham Young’s, the more it becomes clear there is no easy catagory to put the two ways of looking at things in neat boxes. It is great for labelling, but not for understanding.

  75. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 65 Very well put, Rich. I tend to agree that the theological implications of what evolutionary theory is teaching us are much, much larger than what most are able to contemplate…including myself to a certain degree. Going to the posture of ‘the Fall was just symbolic’ etc, smacks of avoidance. If you read Hitchens, Dawkins, et. al. you will see that the “new atheists” have given this a lot more thought than most religious believers have. Increasingly, the things we can see in the world around us conflict with the ancient stories handed down to us in scripture and tradition.

    I have to wonder if perhaps the explosion of knowledge isn’t leading slowly and inexorably to the ascendancy of widespread secular agnosticism (think Sweden).

  76. We want to believe that there’s something more to the process than just millennia of science classes.

    Or hopefully something less. Given our anti-intellectualism, how many of us would want to spend millennia in science classes? That’s a lot of studying, oy.

  77. Jettboy,

    …just remember the purpose of this thread. It isn’t to discuss, but to ridicule.

    That is an interesting accusation. Can you point me to some evidence that would justify it? I’ve re-read the original post, and I see nothing there that encourages riducule or disdain for the Church or its leaders. I have no idea what you are talking about, and I don’t think you do either.

    You did get one thing right. The thread has brought out a few “ignorant…fools…and religious nutjobs”.

  78. Eric Russell says:

    It seems to me there is a simple solution everyone is overlooking. We just have to determine if humanity is gradually becoming more or less attractive. If we are becoming more attractive as generations pass, then six thousand years ago we would have been fairly ugly, which would suggest that we had indeed been evolving from apes. But if humanity is on the down slope, then six thousand years ago we would have been fairly attractive, which suggests that Adam and Eve must have been placed on the earth. Because we know that if Eve had been created in the image of deity, she must have been smokin’ hot.

  79. Eric–nice hypothesis! How ya gonna test it?

    John–Rich expressed the issues with reconciling evolution and the Genesis account far better than I would have. Most days I’m perfectly content in my intellectual laziness and just accept that there is a contradiction without putting too much thought into how to reconcile the contradictions, or if reconciliation is even possible.

    I am no theologian (in fact, I’m not a biologist either–I’m a geologist), but I’ve heard somewhere that the stories in the Torah, including Genesis, were stories that created sort of a community identity for Jews, and later for Christians. Taking that perspective, I don’t see a problem with considering Genesis to be allegorical.

    I have to wonder if perhaps the explosion of knowledge isn’t leading slowly and inexorably to the ascendancy of widespread secular agnosticism

    I suspect this is why certain individuals in Church Leadership say things like:

    Surely no one with reverence for God could believe that His children evolved from slime or from reptiles. (Although one can easily imagine that those who accept the theory of evolution don’t show much enthusiasm for genealogical research!)

    (thanks for aggregating all of those quotes in one place Jared*)

  80. Are we really ready for Man’s body being created in the image of the Earth,(Evolution to met it’s needs to live on Earth) If so, what does God’s body look like?

  81. Im glad Krizarro brought it up.
    I know it goes against what we have been taught but I see Adam and Eve in allegorical terms. Scientifically there was an Adam and there was an Eve that lived some 60,000 years ago. (Check out the Genographic Project on The National Geographic Website, its informative and very interactive)
    The Genesis story is an explanation of our relationship with God and our purpose in life but I dont beleive it has to be taken as a literal event. It is interesting to read church statments regarding evolution. I think it is difficult and unfortunate for current leaders to be overly positive when past leaders have been so negative towards it. I know that some might say Im on shaky ground by denying a literal prophet Adam but I think its important to say what you think and its always nice to do so in a safe environment!

  82. I wanted to post on Steve’s latest and tell him to, basically, chill out. Sadly, he didn’t allow comments.

    Anyone who blogs and leaves comments open to the great unwashed (we’re noe up to date like Kristine), opens himself up to fatuous blather like Jettboy’s. To then block comments on your “woe is me” rant is kind of pathetic.

    Steve – get a grip, man. I don’t think you’re apostate (usually).

  83. It seems to me that there is a confusion of language games being played in this discussion.

    I see at least three different categories being intermixed as if the words had the same sense in each category.

    1. Biblical Hebrew – ‘Adam,’ ‘man,’ ‘beginning.’
    2. FP language – ‘Adam,’ ‘man,’ ‘beginning.’
    3. Scientific language – ‘man,’ ‘beginning.’
    4. Religious truth language – ‘Adam,’ ‘man,’ ‘beginning.’ (by this I mean language that expresses gospel principles that do not necessarily depend on scientific or scriptural language)

    While each of these may share the same letters, sounds, and grammar, they mean very different things.

    To claim that the FP was using ‘Adam,’ ‘man,’ or ‘beginning’ in the ancient Hebraic sense seems terribly misguided, as I have not seen any discourse with which these words were used in these ways.

    To claim that the FP was using ‘man’ or ‘beginning’ in a strictly scientific sense also seems misguided (though that they were trying to conflate the two may be true).

    What I see in this statement is the FP misunderstanding and confusing both the scriptural language and the scientific language as they were hoping to express gospel principles.

  84. (Steve’s post – http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/06/jettboy/)

    No one owes anyone any apology on the Bloggernacle, any more than you’d require any “apology” on any other board.

  85. Steve Evans says:

    Queuno, I appreciate the comment. I closed comments on that thread because I don’t want to say anything about it more than I already said. Strangely, I don’t want to talk about Jettboy any more.

    You’re right of course — I probably needed to just chill and ignore it, but I didn’t. I just wanted to post my immediate feelings about it and ask for an apology, and I wanted to make a stink about it. Thus, my “woe is me” rant (heh). FWIW, I believe the Bloggernacle should have higher standards of behavior than common internet fora, and to the extent I can try to encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior on BCC I intend to give it a shot.

    At the same time, I would prefer not to turn this thread into a discussion of that other thread. Thanks.

  86. MikeInWeHo says:

    Steve,

    Why don’t you start a series called Your Monday Maelstrom. You know, kick off the week with a little rhetorical bang. That would follow a more logical narrative arc than getting everyone all aflutter at the end of the week. : )

    Back on topic (sort of). Everybody be sure and check out the new, multi-million dollar Creation Museum:

    http://www.creationmuseum.org/

  87. Steve Evans, how come you didn’t start a diatriabe against Eric Russell? I guess because he mentioned the religious traditionalists in an equally negative light. That makes it forgivable I guess. Not to mention I didn’t list YOU as the problem, I mentioned the SUBJECT. Although, I do understand the idea that authors cannot divorce themselves from what they write about.

    Nevertheless, I won’t be apologizing, as you shouldn’t be surprised. Just so you know :) It is great that you are a church going, Temple recomend holding member. However, that doesn’t mean you are perfect. Doesn’t mean my calling out the negative reasons for the existance of this thread make me perfect. What is does mean is that I will still call them as I see them. It won’t make me popular either, but I don’t care about popularity. All I care about is that my opinions are made available.

  88. We all care deeply that your “opinions are made available.”

  89. #70 Thomas –

    And, in fact, we read that it is for our own sins, and not for Adam’s, that we die.

    I would be interested in seeing how you came to this conclusion.

    #71 Rich –

    I have to laugh whenever I hear people make the distinction between micro and macro evolution, as if there were any distinction! These terms, as far as I can tell, were fabricated by the Creationist/ID crowd to muddy the water, and those who use these terms are only showing their ignorance of what evolution actually is or means.

    I distinguish somewhat between the two here and I don’t believe it is out of ignorance, as you say. There is actually very little evidence supporting macroevolution as in the adaptation of one fully formed trait to another. Much of the so-called evidence has been disputed even by those eager to prove evolution and despite similarities in genetics and in physiology, there is very little evidence that shows how a wing, for example, might evolve from an arm or leg. The truth is that none of the evidence, though intriguing, has been as conclusive as the media and other pot-stirrers would have anyone believe. The “evidence” you produce of a liger and of a mule are difficult to accept as true evidence since both of these creatures are not only almost universally sterile and therefore not reproductively viable, but are also the result of crossbreeding and not genetic adaptation.

    If you want to hear more about my opinion of the evolution/creation debate, you should read my post. I am fascinated and entranced by the concept of evolution, but it cannot and should not take the place of religion. They are two completely different ways of addressing the unknown, and as such should never have been as emotionally confused as they obviously are. I don’t think science and religion are so mutually exclusive as all that.

  90. Steve Evans says:

    SilverRain, how can we avoid “emotional confusion” about evolution vs. creation when both pretend to have exclusive claims as to being explanations of reality?

  91. Because I don’t believe that science, or specifically the theory of evolution, was ever intended to create an “exclusive claim” of reality. Neither, for that matter, is religion (leastways, not the LDS religion.) Right in the Articles of Faith, we acknowledge that we have a lot to learn. Furthermore, I have yet to hear that God has revealed his methods of creation. Even the most official statements regarding evolution appeal to reason rather than divine revelation. The entire corollary of science is that no conclusive and definitive explanation can really be reached, only highly probable ones. Science is a method for searching and discovering not knowing.

  92. Loyd, That particular FP would have had no problem understanding definitions. They weren’t the mental midgets your comment implies.

  93. Sorry, fingers got ahead of brain on that last comment. It wasn’t Loyd to Loyd; it was mental midget me.

  94. Steve Evans says:

    SilverRain, fair enough — thanks for explaining.

  95. Thomas Parkin says:

    Hey Silver Rain,

    It’s a sort of amalgam of this:

    AoF 2: We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression;

    and this:

    Romans 7: 9-11

    9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
    10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
    11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

    ~

  96. Steve Evans says:

    Thomas P, that’s poetic. I am still trying to figure it out, but it’s dang poetic.

  97. Thomas – thank you for the explanation. (And before I get too into this, I want to make clear that your perspective on it is exciting because I’ve not heard it before. I’m not trying to criticize the perspective at all – just discuss because I find it intriguing. Is that enough qualifiers to avoid insulting you?)

    The way I see these two scriptures would be this: that we die a physical death because of Adam’s transgression, but that a physical death is not a punishment because Christ’s atonement removed the sting of death and destroyed its ultimate power over us. In Romans, Paul is discussing the spiritual death we suffer because of our sins, otherwise mentioned as the punishment in the Article of Faith you quoted. So when you said we die by our sins, and not Adams, was it a spiritual death you referred to, or the literal, physical death?

  98. Thomas Parkin says:

    Aye, SilverRain,

    I think the spiritual death is ultimately the punishment (or consequence) of sin. It’s the only death that really matters, yes? To refer obliquely to the endowment, think of the different ways the word “death” is used, and who uses them in those ways. I someimtes wish these weren’t public forums!

    I’m almost impossible to offend – so don’t worry about that. I see some understanable tension around here, but rarely really violent feelings. In the old interent world where I used to live, I saw threats of real violence that were to be taken seriously, and routine flames that make the disagreements ehre look positively domesticated. I consider the Bloggernacle a veritable sunny meadow morning in the midst of the benighted and tangled forest of internet discussion. Speaking of which …

    Steve,

    Well – ‘poetic’ is always a tough compliment to take, isn’t it? *smirk* By the way, we should do a regular poetry post to BCC. I’ve got some Wislawa Symborska in mind that is both lovely and apt.

    ~

  99. Steve Evans says:

    I may take you up on that!

  100. Ray-

    Are you saying that the FP meant ‘Adam,’ and ‘man’ in their ancient Hebraic sense? or that they were trying to make some scientific speciation distinction between modern genetic man and modern genetic man’s biological ancestor?

    My point is that the FP were not trained in ancient Hebrew, nor were they trying to make detailed scientific claims. They were simply making the common mistake of confusing different types of language games as if they were synonomous.

  101. Ray- I was not implying that the FP were mental midgets. I was saying that they were doing what most of us have a tendency to do. And that we are problematizing things by making it as though the FP were saying much more than they were meaning to say.

  102. Thomas – Good to know that it’s hard to offend you. I’ve gotten myself into a whole lot of trouble on that front, recently, so I’m a bit oversensitive. And thank you for the hint. Next time I go, I’ll have to pay a great deal more attention to that word. Usually I’m pretty focused on the “life” side, I’d never thought to pay attention to the death.

  103. Thomas Parkin says:

    SilverRain,

    Good luck. :) The word is actually “die.”

    ~

  104. Loyd, What I think is fascinating is that both of us think that others are “making it as though the FP were saying much more than they were meaning to say.” I basically said that earlier in this thread – when I talked about feeling better about parsing than extrapolating. I have said multiple times that all the FP said about the creation is that at some point man became man, either as an adult or as an embryo. They left open the possibility of the evolution of the physical body into which the spirit entered, but they didn’t make the claim explicitly. The FP and the 12 didn’t agree, and they didn’t have revelation answering that question, so they left their options open.

    What bothers me is when some interpret the statement based on what those some assume the FP must have meant based on the way others viewed and spoke in that day. I have heard too many people criticize the Book of Mormon, for example, using exactly the same logic. (It might not say A or B, but it means A & B – because that’s what it must mean even if it doesn’t say it – because that’s what people believed back then.) As you said, I don’t like claiming they said more than what they actually said.

    Just a bit ironic, don’t you think?

  105. I believe that to create a world as we see ours today does actually take 4.8 billion years (or however long our scientific measuring tools tell us it took) to be created. I also believe that man did indeed first come to this world around 6000 years ago. I believe the First Presidency message you quote, Steven, is accurate, and will in the end be proven most correct when all evidence comes to light.

  106. Steve Evans says:

    “Steven”?? I gotta take you seriously when you call me that!

  107. Steve, for the record, I have not considered calling you Steven. “Stevie” maybe, but not Steven.

  108. Steve Evans says:

    Ray, good call. We would have banned you for it.

  109. I distinguish somewhat between the two here and I don’t believe it is out of ignorance, as you say. There is actually very little evidence supporting macroevolution as in the adaptation of one fully formed trait to another. Much of the so-called evidence has been disputed even by those eager to prove evolution and despite similarities in genetics and in physiology, there is very little evidence that shows how a wing, for example, might evolve from an arm or leg.

    Silverrain, I hate to say this, but however much you consider yourself a scientist, you have clearly demonstrated by your own blog entry and your comments here how horribly misinformed and ignorant of even fundamental genetics and evolutionary biology you really are.

    There is overwhelming and abundant evidence, quite to the contrary, that show how wings, flippers, etc. could EASILY have evolved from (or alongside) legs and arms (which came first in point of fact?). Richard Dawkins does a very good job of explaining this in at least two of his books, “The Blind Watchmaker” and “Climbing Mount Improbable”, in a way that any lay person could easily understand. I recommend both to you. Sean Carroll, in his remarkable book “The Making of the Fittest” clearly lays out the proof that lies in the forensic record that is our DNA. There are many other outstanding works I could recommend to you if you’re really interested in understanding it.

    (By the way, your disputed link doesn’t work).

    And while I understand your rather belabored point about belief, it’s really a tiresome argument that implies that scientists are only militant atheists with a “religious” agenda to corrupt the minds of our youth. Sorry, that’s a bunch of crap, IMO. Francis Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project, has written a lovely book wherein he states his conviction that evolution is clearly the tool God used to create us (he’s a devout evangelical Christian). The majority of working scientists today actually refer to themselves as “believers” in some higher power or being, FWIW.

    Scientists get worked up about evolution because the gross ignorance of even well-meaning people continue to relegate real science into some conspiracy theory (an atheist agenda to corrupt the minds of our youth). Imagine your exasperation if you had been one of the Apollo astronauts, and when speaking of what you found on the lunar surface, you kept getting interrupted by cat-calls and snide remarks about “how everyone knows the moon is made of green cheese, Grommit!”, and your first-hand knowledge was continually called into question. You get the idea.

    Let’s go back to my jab at Chiropractors. I suspect there are people that visit this board that think well of Chiropractors. Chances are you even have one for a friend. Chances are you, or someone you know, refuses to immunize your children because of the F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty and doubt) spread by a few of these quackers posing as doctors. I’m old enough to remember a few people (including my next-door neighbor) who were victims of a very dread disease virtually unknown today in the US — but were feared by all in the decade in which I was born (’50’s). That was polio. All it took was to drink a little sacrament cup of sugar water with the right immunizational ingredients, and I was safe. A little scratch (and a resulting scar) on my arm made me safe from the fearsome smallpox (also unknown today). These didn’t disappear because of an increase in spinal adjustments. If you think my analogies are waxing hyperbolic, you’re grossly mistaken. Wishful thinking, belief and supposition are never viable substitutes for knowledge gained by hard and careful work.

    And if you want to blame “the media” (I honestly have no idea what you even mean by this) or “pot-stirrers”, you’re going to have to provide at least one or two examples to prove you aren’t just making this up (or that you are merely an Ann Coulter devotee).

    The “evidence” you produce of a liger and of a mule are difficult to accept as true evidence since both of these creatures are not only almost universally sterile and therefore not reproductively viable, but are also the result of crossbreeding and not genetic adaptation.

    Sigh. You seem to have completely missed my point. The very fact that mules and ligers are sterile is what I was getting at. You say there isn’t any evidence of macroevolution — the definition of which is that one species evolves to become another — and yet clearly horses and donkeys (and zebras for that matter) clearly had a common ancestor, as horses and donkeys can mate and have offspring, but the very fact that the offspring isn’t reproductively viable proves my point. The two creatures have evolved to a point where they are no longer the same species. Barely. Which therefore make them a perfect example of so-called macroevolution.

    If you want another example, look no further than the Utah state bird — the seagull. These birds can be found literally everywhere on planet earth. Now it turns out that in various geographic areas there are slight differences to be found in gull populations. And as you circle the globe, something very interesting has been discovered. Let’s say you start at point A, and work your way around the earth in one direction. At some point Z, you come full circle. Let’s say a gull in California can mate with a gull in Nevada. A gull in Utah can mate with the Nevada gull as well. Keep going east, and the gull in Colorado can mate with the Utah gull, etc., and so on around. It turns out there’s a point in Siberia where the two ends meet, and where the two endpoints are no longer reproductively viable! At that point they are different enough birds that they cannot successfully mate. And yet you can find a gull “Y” that is compatible with Z, an X compatible with Y, and so forth all the way back to where you started at A. But A and Z cannot mate, cannot reproduce. Voila! “Macroevolution”. I am told there are hundreds of other examples (I”m no biologist, I just like to read). And I’ve been told (by a local biology prof at the “Y” no less) that there are thousands of examples in the plant kingdom, where it’s almost impossible to tell where one species ends and another begins, they are so closely related genetically.

  110. MikeInWeHo says:

    Important Tangent,

    re: 89

    gst lives!!!

  111. how horribly misinformed and ignorant of even fundamental genetics and evolutionary biology you really are.

    That is your opinion, not fact. There are many other scientists who agree with me (or I with them, depending on how you look at it.) You’ll note that I have not condemned evolution, merely stated that there is not yet enough evidence.

    implies that scientists are only militant atheists with a “religious” agenda to corrupt the minds of our youth.

    Actually, my point would be more that militant atheists are using science to attack religion, a usage that was never intended to be the nature of science.

    As far as most of the rest of your point, please try to make your points without belittling me. Accusing me of being an Ann Coulter devotee and calling me ignorant and my points belabored only serves to make you sound like a boor.

    My entire point wasn’t to disprove evolution. In fact, I believe that evolution was quite probably the tool used by God to create the world. My point was to show that science should not be a religion. There are many things about evolution that are being accepted on faith, rather than being addressed with the skepticism the theory deserves at least until it is proven as law or more solidified as a theory. That, to me, betrays the nature and purpose of science.

    You example of the gulls and of the horses/donkeys etc. does not serve to prove macroevolution in the evolution of an appendage to a wing. No matter how you look at it, we will have to discover how that would be viable from point A to point B in order to show that it could happen. Then there would need to be an adequately repeatable testing of the hypothesis through scientific record. (Much as has been done with The Evolution of the Eye.)

    This is just one of the many intelligent, well thought-out discussions on the inadequacy of the theory of evolution. Genetic mapping alone, though certainly intriguing, is insufficient to explain the plausibility of evolution as we now teach it. The speciation of traits such as a more refined foot to the point of reproductive inviability is much easier to map than the speciation of a trait such as the diversification of birds from mammals. That has not been sufficiently mapped or even postulated. Even more importantly, the diversification of man from ape has not yet been satisfactorily proven. I will, however, be certainly excited when it is. In the meantime, there ought to be no place in any scientific theory where I am asked if I believe in it.

  112. Here is the eye link again. I’m too sleepy to be trying to post links. :D

  113. #110;”The majority of working scientists today actually refer to themselves as “believers” But do they believe in a God with Arms and legs?

  114. That’s ‘Bob’ Bo’s a 10. I’m a 3.

  115. Peter LLC says:

    the Bloggernacle, [...] was founded by and is infested with lawyers, among them myself. Do you really want to engage in a pissing match over who knows English the best? Come now.

    LOLZARDS!

    The legal profession–where abstruse thought is transformed into garden-variety hubris.

  116. Ray,

    First of all, I was responding to your accusation that I was implying that the FP were mental midgets. I was making no such implication (unless your use of ‘mental midgets’ implies anyone who speaks beyond their expertise). I think the context and language of the FP statement clearly shows that they were trying to make both scientific and scriptural claims that exclude evolution as they were teaching a gospel principle. However, because they are neither scientists nor trained in ancient languages, they spoke beyond their abilities in this attempt. This does not make them mental midgets, it makes them human. We all speak beyond our knowledge and abilities. The problem lies when others want to claim that they were making detailed scientific or ancient scriptural claims. This is the confusion.

    —-

    On another note, what I find very interesting in this statement is the appeal to modern scriptures (Moses and Ether) instead of the Bible.

  117. With that I agree, Loyd – with the previously stated qualifier about excluding evolution. (That deserves a :-) .) Sorry for the incorrect interpretation.

  118. To add a another dimension in defining Adam/Man, the story of creation uses the Hebrew “Adamah” to refer to the ground, or earth. The connection to “Adam” is apparent, in that “Adam” was made from the “Adamah” or ground/earth.

    Some translators emphasize this word play by translating “Adam” as “Earth Creature,” to more accurately represent the Hebrew text.

  119. There are many other scientists who agree with me (or I with them, depending on how you look at it.)

    I’m sure I can find a half dozen or so (aka, “many”) “scientists” who will also believe in the tooth fairy.

    Look, I’m not trying to be rude. But when YOU cite your own “scientist” credentials as means to lend weight to your opinions, and your opinions clearly indicate ignorance (remember that the word doesn’t mean stupid, it simply means that you haven’t learned something yet), you shouldn’t take offense when your “facts” are called into question.

    The website you linked to contains arguments quite typical of ID apologists. I find it interesting that the material is dated 1990 — 17 years is ancient history in terms of the progress and discoveries made in Genetics. Dr. Carrol states in his book (published just last year) that it couldn’t have been written even a couple of years ago; that’s how quickly knowledge is accumulating in this fairly new field of study. So instead of taking offense, why not visit the public library and check out a copy (or better yet go buy one since you claim you are interested in this topic) and read it, paying particular attention to chapter 8: “The Making and Evolution of Complexity”, wherein he talks specifically about wing and eye evolution (among other complex structures), and then come back here and state again that there is insufficient evidence (along with an explanation of why you think so).

    Actually, my point would be more that militant atheists are using science to attack religion, a usage that was never intended to be the nature of science.

    It is also the case that militant religionists use “revelation”/scripture to attack science, a usage that was never intended by God to be the nature of His gospel. As His children, we are endowed with His nature — curiosity, a desire to learn and know. That’s what real science is all about.

    Just as atheists may usurp science to their ends, they are no different than any other special interest group usurping science. Politicians are especially good at it for example. So why make a special fuss about atheists? Especially when so many religionists talk about “not believing” in evolution! What is there not to believe? I don’t hear you making the same fuss over them. Nothing about evolutionary science is taken on “faith” as you put it. It’s just plain old science.

    You example of the gulls and of the horses/donkeys etc. does not serve to prove macroevolution in the evolution of an appendage to a wing.

    The actual definition of Macroevolution (as I understand it anyway) concerns one species evolving into another. Are you giving us a new definition?

    Even more importantly, the diversification of man from ape has not yet been satisfactorily proven. I will, however, be certainly excited when it is.

    Well goodness, get excited then! Spend more time studying the actual emerging and cutting-edge science than outdated creationist apologetics.

    And to your point, you might find this quote from Dr. Collins interesting (from a radio interview with Diane Rehm):

    “The evidence for evolution is absolutely overwhelming. Those who would deny that should sit with me some day and go through the DNA evidence of our relatedness to other species.

    “If I look at our genome, and compare it with that of the chimpanzee, they are 98.8% the same. Now some might argue “well, God simply used some good ideas in a slightly different way over and over again in multiple acts of special creation”, but the data doesn’t support that. For instance, chimpanzees have two more chromosomes than humans do. When you look closely to see what’s going on there, those two chromosomes have fused together to make one of ours, and when you look at the DNA sequence at that fusion point, it has a remarkable character; it has the type of sequence that one sees at what’s called the telomere, the tip of the chromosome; no other chromosome has that in the middle. It’s clearly the signature of two chromosomes having come together, and when you look at the chimp and you look at the human, it’s inescapable to conclude that we are descended from a common primate ancestor.

    “We humans have pseudo-genes; genes that have lost their function. They’ve acquired some sort of major flaw, and in some instances those are genes which are located in the same place in the chimpanzee, or even in the dog or in the horse, yet in us they have stopped working.

    “What’s going on? Would God have put those there just to confuse us or mislead us, when in fact we are completely different, special acts of creation? That sounds like a trickster god, not the God I worship.

    “So, I don’t think by the study of DNA, or for that matter the fossil record, one can any longer deny the reality of evolution. But that’s not a problem for me as a believer. If God decided to use that mechanism of creation, that’s incredibly elegant; that’s incredibly awe-inspiring.”

  120. I have no bone to pick with Evolution. It seems like a good and working science model. But I am not sure Science says it is OK to add a ‘God’ to it’s model.
    Dr. Collins shows no plan, only a Nature endlessly repairing or killing off it’s mistakes. This does not sound God like.
    My real question is: can Evolution be sewn onto 19th Century Mormonism? Pres, Hinckley says we do not teach God was one a man, only that man can become as God. Why would God have a body that is only a bunch of fixed mistakes?

  121. Kristine says:

    Well, why not? After all, we believe in becoming like God after fixing our mistakes through repentance. Why should mistakes with matter be weightier than moral mistakes?

  122. I like that Kristine. In any event: “only a bunch of fixed mistakes” is hardly an accurate description of the evolutionary process.

  123. But I am not sure Science says it is OK to add a ‘God’ to it’s model.

    hmm, science really can’t say anything about the existence or non-existence of God. Though many try, God really is out of bounds.

    Dr. Collins shows no plan, only a Nature endlessly repairing or killing off it’s mistakes. This does not sound God like.

    Why not? I realize I’m going to use an example from the very portion of the bible that I’d consider allegorical, but didn’t the Israelites go in and wipe out everyone who was living in the promised land before them? We would consider them Children of God just as much as the Israelites, yet it was okay for them to be decimated. Why? How about all the Jews who were killed when the Babylonians invaded in 600 B.C., or the Jews who were killed in 66 A.D. (ish) by the Romans? They were the Promised People, yet they suffered rather severely when they rebelled. God does an awful lot of killing off people who don’t obey him–i.e.–his “mistakes.”

  124. Kristine N: We believe in agency, therefore, disobedient people are their own mistakes, not God’s.

    We are told that when the majority of the people choose wickedness, then they are ripe for destruction. I assume, though there is no proof of it (except with regard to the Jews), that they were warned about this concept.

  125. #122 &123: Those were really weak retorts to a fair question. We talking about a God who we say had a prefect body before Evolution on Earth.
    Why then the mistakes? “Only a bunch of fixed mistakes” comes from Dr Carrol book reviews on Amazon. MCQ; I am open to your more accurate description of Evolution without a Heavenly Design.

  126. Steve Evans says:

    Bob, there was nothing weak to Kristine’s reply. The principle of man existing in a fallen state is entirely consistent with your notion of “mistakes” (so far as I can understand your comments). What exactly are you getting at? Frankly all of your comments thus far on this thread have been enigmatic at best.

  127. We are told that when the majority of the people choose wickedness, then they are ripe for destruction.

    Yeah, so God selects those who are obedient for survival.

  128. #124: Forgive my tone.

  129. #127: “enigmatic”..got it Steve, Bye.

  130. Ok, but I would say it this way, Kristine N:

    We select ourselves for survival or destruction based on our obedience (or not) to the law.

    God didn’t make the law. He became God by obedience to it and revealed it to us.

  131. dhasterok says:

    MCQ – It is too bad that God has numerous times changed his mind on exactly what the law is. Old testament, God smites people… New testament, fuzzy bunny God.

  132. Thomas Parkin says:

    #132.

    Actually, the law Christ institutes in the New Testament is, in its way, more exacting than the Mosaic Law. It’s focus is on the much more difficult process of becoming, rather than on merely behaving. It is easy enough – for msot of us, most of the time – to not commit adultery. It is much more difficult, for many of us, much of the time – to not be adulterous in one’s heart.

    The law is progressive. As we begin, we are asked to keep commandments that may be difficult at the time – but later on, not so much so. However, we are presented with increasing difficulties as we draw nearer to a Christ-like character. At one point, I may have only had to give up my Jack Daniels. At the time, that may or may not have been too difficult. As I progress, higher laws are presented. Now, for instance, I struggle to not manipulate, or pursue wealth for it’s own sake, or truly consecrate my heart to God.

    We get the law we are ready for. We read that Moses’ people were not ready for a higher law, so that God, in wrath, gave them a lower, carnal law.

    ~

  133. MCQ – It is too bad that God has numerous times changed his mind on exactly what the law is. Old testament, God smites people… New testament, fuzzy bunny God.

    Ok, that’s one of the funniest things I have ever read. Thanks for the great laugh dhasterok. I have never thought of Christ as a fuzzy bunny, but now Easter makes a lot more sense.

    I was going to try to provide an answer but, as usual, I bow to the wisdom already delivered from Sinai by Thomas.

  134. Rich – I think you missed my main point. Whether I’m completely up-to-date on all the latest evolutionary findings is irrelevant to my point which is that no one should ever be asked if they believe in a scientific theory. The rest of the points were there just to show that there is some doubt on the issue, and that there is almost always doubt on any scientific theory. Please stop treating me like I know nothing. Especially since I mentioned my scientific background only to show that I knew and understood the scientific method.

    Rein in the passion (and the rudeness) on this one, cowboy. You are preaching to the choir. I’ve already stated that I liked the theory of evolution and thought it was very probably accurate. 1) There is, of course, almost always a degree of uncertainty in science and many people seem to devote themselves to evolution like its some kind of religion. (The misplaced passion of your comments being an excellent example of what I mean.) 2) No one should ever be asked to accept a tenet of science on faith. That is all I was saying.

  135. Kristine says:

    SilverRain,

    Up-to-date isn’t really the point, either. A couple of centuries ago, Hume (not to mention legions of excellent postmodern theorists) ably demonstrated that ALL science has to be accepted on faith, because inductive reasoning is logically untenable (and the scientific unreliability of deductive reasoning is painfully obvious). The fact that apples have fallen downwards from trees 4.6 bazillion times in the past offers no indisputable logical reason to trust that it will happen on the 4.6 bazillion-and-one-th time. Since the scientific method proceeds by inductive reasoning, it always requires a leap of faith. It’s nice, of course, to have empirical data to support one’s faith, but it doesn’t change the underlying reliance on faith in one’s perceptions, faith in the reliability of physical axioms, etc. Interesting writers on the topic include John Heilbron, Anne Harrington, Amy Dalmedico, Ann Johnson, inter alia. George Levine’s collection _Realism and Representation_ is a good, if somewhat dated, overview of current history of science work that takes postmodern theories of epistemology and representation into account.

  136. God didn’t make the law. He became God by obedience to it and revealed it to us.

    The law would here be the law of agency and accountability, right? I would argue you could restate the idea as “mistakes are allowed.” Under this “mistakes allowed” system, we’re given the opportunity to choose to sin/transgress/make mistakes and we suffer the consequences of said mistakes. The atonement gives us the opportunity to repent, and God does, from scriptural and anecdotal accounts, mitigate to some degree the consequences of transgression, but the atonement doesn’t remove consequence. Sometimes we get lucky and avoid the consequence; sometimes someone else suffers the consequences of our mistakes; sometimes the consequence for a bad decision is so seemingly out of proportion to that mistake that we may wonder how just God truly is.

    Because we suffer the consequences of our (and others’) transgressions, we have the chance to “sink or swim”–we can find grace, humility, charity, and find ways to survive trials, whether deserved or undeserved, with magnanimity; or we can become embittered, angry, and find ways to abuse the system and abuse others. Most of us flawed humans find some middle ground–we have occasional moments of pettiness and insecurity, and other moments of truly Christ-like, loving behavior.

    I see evolution as being, if anything, analogous to agency. There’s the potential in mutation and recombination of genes for incredible greatness, beauty, and near perfection; and the potential for gross error and malformation. Most of us muddle along somewhere in the middle: smart but ugly, beautiful yet vacuous, average in every sense of the term.

  137. That’s beautiful Kristine. Well said.

  138. Thanks, Kristine, for providing the outline of a talk I’ve been considering for some time.

  139. I meant to include both Kristines in my last comment. Kristine N, I can’t get used to calling you Krizarro. It sounds like a comic book villain.

  140. Kristine N:

    I like everything that you said. I think our struggle with God’s justice when we perceive consequences that seem out of place is born of our limited perspective and a misperception of God’s role in our lives.

    If we see him as a loving father who is willing and able to help us, but restrains himself and allows us to experience all of the consequences of our actions, both good and bad and in all the random extremes, because he loves us and knows that is ultimately what is best for us, then I think we come closest to understanding his justice.

    You may be right that evolution is just a part of that same role, and that, having created the earth, he allows the consequences of evolutionary “choices” to play out, the same way he allows our choices to do so. I have never thought of that before. Is that what you’re saying?

  141. Kristine H! says:

    Kristine N, I can’t get used to calling you Krizarro. It sounds like a comic book villain.

    …which is weird, because I’m the one who’s consistently mistaken for a comic book villain when I go out.

  142. Steve Evans says:

    Kristine, it’s the cape. And the raygun.

  143. …having created the earth, he allows the consequences of evolutionary “choices” to play out, the same way he allows our choices to do so. I have never thought of that before. Is that what you’re saying?

    pretty much, but more succinctly.

    I guess I’ll go back to kristine N. I was just trying to avoid confusion.

  144. Kristine:

    Which villain are you mistaken for? This one?

  145. Kristine H! says:

    AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGH!! Whoever revealed my identity to you is going to pay!!

  146. Kristine –

    The fact that apples have fallen downwards from trees 4.6 bazillion times in the past offers no indisputable logical reason to trust that it will happen on the 4.6 bazillion-and-one-th time.

    Very good point. I suppose my response to that would be that in that case, anyone appealing to science needs to admit it is faith-based and little better than any other religion. If they don’t want to admit that there is faith involved, they need to treat it as what it is originally meant: a method of discovery, and no more. (The route I prefer.)

    Krizarro – (I think comic-book-villianess is great!) I really like your analogy to agency. It seems to me that if God works with natural laws, he would be more of a guide than one who literally builds atom upon atom. He would just nudge the process of evolution the way He wanted it to go.

  147. Kristine N:

    Re: 144, does the letting the “evolutionary ‘choices’ to play out” place the Creator in the “divine watchmaker” category—who created the universe, wound it up, then left it to run on its own? Just wondering about the implications of that theory.

  148. Steph–not necessarily. It is closer to “blind watchmaker” territory, though, than a more involved creation would imply.

  149. I don’t think scientific theory is Faith based. I think it expects, in it’s models, the apple to fall again, but is always open to it not happening. In fact hopes it doesn’t fall! That’s how you make it in science, disproving the other guy’s model.
    ‘God didn’t make the law. He became God by obedience to it’.
    I don’t believe that is the stand of the Church. That’s back to God once was a man.
    If God is a watchmaker, then Evolutions mistakes are his mistakes. There is no Blind Watchmaker in Mormonism.

  150. I don’t believe that is the stand of the Church. That’s back to God once was a man.

    Back to? When did we ever leave it? Just because the church doesn’t actively teach it, Bob, doesn’t mean we don’t believe it. It’s pretty hard to justify the idea of eternal progression without this concept.

    If God is a watchmaker, then Evolutions mistakes are his mistakes.

    There is no God that makes mistakes in Mormonism.

  151. #151: MCQ, I fully agree with you! But there are many high ranking Bloggers on these sites who say God has always been God.
    Where do Evolution’s mistakes come from? The animals,the Laws of Nature,God?
    When did the Church start to not to teach God was once a man? And why?

  152. Bob, again I question the enigmatic nature of your comments. What’s your point?

  153. high ranking Bloggers?

    Where are these rankings of which you speak, Bob? Are there Topps Bubble Gum Blogger cards I am not aware of? If so, could you get me a 1997 Nate Oman card? That thing’s got to be worth bank!

  154. #153, 154: OK..I will leave you to your Adam-Name-Games and the Poetry of #137. My point is: Evolution belongs to Science, it is their baby. Be ready for a FIGHT. Science will not let you turn it’s baby into a Green Jello Mold, that you can add to it whatever suits you. Evolution is Godless.You are building a case for ID. Steve, sorry for adding heat to your ‘Firestorm’.

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