I’m greatly concerned about of the anti-science stance associated with conservative Christians, tea party members, and the LDS Church. I’m particularly troubled by the latter becaused I am a Mormon. It is my heritage.
But science is also in my blood. My father was a scientist (biochemist, nutritionist) and my brother is a scientist (biologist, immunologist), as is his wife. And I’m an engineer. Science and an optimism about the future are in my blood.
There are several examples of where science and some religious beliefs are currently at odds:
- Sexuality, there is strong resistence to the idea that sexual preference may, in large part, be genetic.
- Evolution, many conservative Christians continue to believe that evolution is a failed abstraction. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
- Climate, there is intense negative emotional reactions to the idea of global warming.
This dismissal, out of hand, of many parts of science is not healthy. And I would like to see LDS Church leaders take a more proactive stand regarding the relationship between science and Mormonism. LDS leaders should be discouraged from publically dismissing scientific findings, as has been done on issues like sexuality. The Church needs to develop a coherent statement regarding LDS doctrine and evolution. For example, something stating unequivically that LDS doctrine and evolution are not at odds, in fact, they are very compatible. Additionally, all churches need to take a stronger stand on stewardship of the Earth. And this stand needs to be based on reputable science, not scriptural conjecture.
According to Donald W. Viney in a presentation made at Claremont School of Theology, 11 Mar 2005:
They (Alfred North Whitehead and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin) argued that religious concepts must often be rethought or reinterpreted in light of scientific progress and what this means at the level of metaphysics. For Teilhard, the central scientific discovery of our age with which theology must deal is the fact of evolution. Whitehead was clearly an evolutionist, but his concern . . . was the collapse of the Newtonian world-view.
Whitehead himself states (1925, 270): “Religion will not regain its old power until it can face change in the same spirit as does science.” Mormon doctrine on change (eternal progression) is very relevant today and needs to be developed further in light of the rapid technological advances that are occuring worldwide. Science and religion must not be seen as enemies. Apostle John A. Widtsoe argued this point his entire adult life.