Recently I came across an e-mail exchange that occurred between my father and his missionary companion/trainer. My dad had asked his companion’s input on the subject of Biological Evolution and Mormonism, since I had been raising questions about it at home. I had finished reading Evolution and Mormonism: A Quest for Understanding, had studied Evolution in College and was very convinced of the strenth of the theory. Currently, there is really no scientific debate about Evolution as a theory- there are debates about the details, but not about the theory itself. It is accepted by most scientists. Today I ordered Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design, by Michael Shermer. I have read other books by Michael Shermer and find him a great critical thinker. Last night I listened to a podcast interview where he talked about his book (you can subscribe to the Skeptic Podcast here or listen to the interview here). Anyways, here goes the e-mail exchange- I found it to be very interesting. Enjoy!
(A conversation on Evolution between my dad and his mission companion, *****. I had brought the subject up several times with my dad to help him open his mind to it, and this is what his former companion said when asked about it)
From [my father]:
“Evolution, interesting subject. So, what do we know about evolution, you and I? I know very little. Do you know more? What do you know, I’m interested?
Response from [his former companion from the mission]:
First, most scientists who believe in Evolution are believers. They just don’t believe that A & E started as perfect people in the garden because there is no evidence to that effect. NONE
Second, all mainline scientists have to believe in all or part of evolution because there isn’t another answer to how all this came about. Astronomy cannot predict or explain what they see in their telescopes. Geologists can’t explain how the G. Canyon was made. I know, “it was made in the flood”. There was no world wide flood. It was impossible on all levels. The problem with the scriptural account is that since all the animals died in the flood, except for the ones on the arc, how did an animal like the platypus get from mount Arat to the southeast coast of Australia without leaving any babies. The fact is that the islands of the sea have 75% of all the species on earth. The Tasmanian Devil is just one of those. He lives as far from Mt. Arat as you can get. How did Noah get him there? And no place else? So the Genesis scriptures can’t be relied on as a history lesson, but as a spiritual lesson it has some power certainly. Few people realize that the author must have been a farmer. He was concerned with weeds. But a hunter gatherer doesn’t even understand the word. All the plants are good in some way for him. So there is a built in prejudice right from the start. Interestingly, the idea that Eve would have greater pain in child birth, begs some questions: greater than what? She had not had children at that point. Greater than if she hadn’t eaten the fruit?
That’s what the rest of the world thinks, but we don’t . How about greater than the animals? It is interesting to note that because we are human and our heads are so big that we have the most
trouble of all animals on earth bearing children because many times the head won’t go through the birth canal as happened with my niece.
She would have died without modern medicine. It is also interesting to note that with civilization came clothes, farming, domesticated animals, writing and everything that makes A & E modern day people.
Without evolution, Biologists can’t explain why our DNA is 98% like the chimp DNA as they have just confirmed after completing the chimp genome project. And neither can the people who insist on interpreting Genesis literally.
Third, BYU teaches E as does Notre Dame. That’s because there isn’t another why or how alternative, just a who, and that answers no questions and does allow us to make predictions.
We Mormons have the perfect solution, and why we insist on doing the fundamental thing is beyond me. The first creation story is the spiritual creation, the one that starts with man is second creation story and has no time in it at all. Why not tell the world we don’t believe the world was created in 6,000 years. It obviously wasn’t and those that insist that it was are the flat earth believers of today.
Lastly for today, our bodies are not perfect. Approximately 1/3 of men have penises that are too big for their spouse. That doesn’t happen anywhere but in humans. All the other species the genitilia of the male fit the genitilia of the female. 1/3 of women report pain in intercourse. 20% need medical attention. Why? How come if you are European, you have to have your wisdom teeth pulled? Black people don’t. But my daughter had 6 teeth pulled just to make room for her teeth. Blacks and aborigines and Hawaiians don’t have to have this done, but 90% of Europeans do. Why? Why are we built with built in obsolescence? When you and I turn 60, the chances that we are going to have prostate problems start to rise. If we masturbated a lot as kids we are better off than if we didn’t. If we’re getting some now, it will stave off difficulties. But the prostate is wrapped around the urethra and when it gets old it swells and cuts off the bladder. People used to die early all the time from this but today we live longer, not because God wills it, but because of modern medicine. God wants us dead after we are done having children. By the way, that is how all the other animals in world are programmed, to die after they are finished having babies.
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These are just a few problems with the perfect body theory of the Genesis creation story. There is a very long list and one that gets longer the more we know about our bodies. For instance, for
everything the body does, there is a genetic disease. From cystic fibrosis to werewolf’s syndrome. You name it and it can go wrong.
One scientist who was Christian, said most people on earth would burn the creator to the stake if they could put their hands on him.
And he listed the ten most insidious diseases. There is one that is caused by a parasite that causes a million cases of blindness in children a year. Who would purposely make a parasite like that?
Evolution gets God out of a tough spot.
That’s my take.
Anyways, I thought it was a great take on Evolution. What do you think?,