Thursday, November 7, 2013

Livin on the Edge

A while back I was wearing a shirt that features a chimpanzee dressed as Che Guevara and the phrase: "Viva la Evolucion" when I was approached by another missionary and he said. "Ah, I see you believe in evolution." 

To which I replied, "Uh yeah, the same way you believe in electromagnetism or the theory of gravity." 

We later got into a conversation about how Bruce R. McConkie stated that natural selection was one of seven deadly heresies and I told him to stuff it because James E. Talmage noted that the stones that Adam supposedly used to build his first altar were fossiliferous. (Meaning that there were dead things in them.) In either case, I tend to get heated up in discussions such as these because I can't wrap my mind around the concept that people don't accept Evolution as scientific fact. 

The way I see it, there's this massive genre of stuff in our every day lives wherein we don't really have any form of guidance from God or holy scripture. We're forced to use our own personal judgement and hope for the best. Stuff that falls into this category are things like which political party you should join, what kind of car you should drive, and is Weight Watchers really worth it? God promises us that he'll always be there for the big important stuff but there's a plethora of things in life that in the end, don't really matter to him. It may make a lot of people upset but I don't believe God really cares what we think about evolution because we'll all find out the truth eventually. 

However, I think the issue is important for another reason. Namely how we need to take great care that our understanding and interpretation of scripture and church doctrine doesn't cloud our judgement to other truths that aren't covered between Genesis and Revelations. Things like Gravity, Quantum Physics, or the Dirac Sea. After all, the glory  of God is Intelligence and he wants us to learn everything we can about this dizzyingly beautiful universe He put us in. Knowledge gained is a precious resource because it allows us to achieve so much. I'm using Darwin's theory of Natural Selection as a springboard for this entry because it's been a stupidly controversial topic for quite some time and it's something that I feel passionate about. 

Natural Evolution can be summarized thusly; Over millions of years, species go through physical changes in order to more effectively adapt to their environments. Through reproduction over various generations, traits are developed and refined that help ensure the greatest survival of that particular species. 

It's simple and it makes sense. Yet how much drama has been made over this issue ever since 'The Origin of Species' was first printed? I've discussed it with past mission companions, one of which vehemently exclaimed "NO! I didn't come from no monkey!" Even now we hear of lawsuits in which public education boards (I'm looking at you, Kansas) wish to teach intelligent design alongside natural selection, as if the scientific explanation conflicts with their spiritual beliefs. It's not the first time people were slow to embrace new fact, consider for a moment that Copernicus was put to death by the Catholic church on account of Heresy for saying that the earth orbits the sun. 

Genesis has plenty to say on the "Why" man was created, but nothing to say on "How" he was created. The observations of Charles Darwin and thousands of others since provide that evidence of "How" we came to be. Do we have an entire line of events? Not yet, but we're working on it. I feel that some people develop the attitude that if it can't be readily explained, then God did it and we shouldn't probe any further. This forces God to become a sort of "God of the Gaps." We don't know how something happened, therefore it was God working in "mysterious ways" and we leave it at that. We should take care to avoid this way of thinking because in time, those gaps become filled. It is a way of thinking that undermines faith as our understanding of our surrounding universe improves.

Do we understand everything about Life, the Universe, and everything else? Not even close. But we're working towards those answers and slowly learning how God put together this magnificent world of ours. As our understanding continues to increase at faster rates, I urge you to always maintain an open heart and an open mind. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for being intelligent, it's a breath of fresh air.

    That comes from an Atheist.

    Remind me how I found this, please.