On 8 Feb 2011, I had an op-ed piece published in the SLTrib. The article was an expansion of one of my blog posts (https://rogerdhansen.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/the-anti-science-movement) which encouraged churches and their leaders to stop fighting science, particularly in the areas of human sexuality, organic evolution, and man’s impact on the environment. This prompted a Mormon apologetic’s group–FAR or the Foundation for Attraction Research–to publish a rejoinder (25 Feb 2011) which dealt with the sole issue of same-sex attraction.
My op-ed piece, states that there is a stong genetic component to sexuality, and that conservative religions need to “deal with it” and quit pretending otherwise. FAR dismisses the scientist I quote, who by the way is a professor emeritus, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, BYU. And they quote from a book titled The Language of God by Frances S. Collins, former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and the current director of NIH.
Collins is an interesting man for FAR to quote. I have not read the book The Language of God, but according to Amazon:
- The book argues that belief in a transcent, personal God . . . can and should coexist with a scientific picture of the world that includes evolution.
- The book expounds a theistic view, which assumes organic evolution is fact, and constitutes a divine means of creation.
- Collins’ support for the Big Bang Theory and organic evolution, and his beliefs in a non-literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis is going to make conservative Christians uncomfortable.
So, I’m sure that Collins would support my contention that conservative Christians need to come to grips with advancements in science and technology, the premise of my original op-ed piece. The authors of the FAR op-ed piece seem to be cherry picking which parts of Collins’ book they choose to support. Is FAR co-author, John P. Livingstone, associate professor of Church History and Doctrine in Religious Education at BYU, ready to believe in organic evolution, including common descent? Is he ready to give up on the early chapters in the Book of Genesis? If he is, we are making progress.
On the issue of same-sex attraction, I suspect that Collins would be very uncomfortable with the way his quote is used in the FAR op-ed piece. FAR quotes him as writing that homosexuality is “genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.” Since his book was published, Collins has stated that this use of his words misrepresents his position, which he subsequently clarified as follows: “No one has yet identified an actual gene that contributes to the hereditary component [of sexual orientation], but it is likely that such genes will be found in the next few years.”
We need to let science determine the biological nature of human sexuality, organic evolution (including common descent), and the impacts of humans on the environment, and discourage church leaders and their surrogates from speculating.