Friday, September 13, 2019

Revisiting evolution - BYU vs. math

A while ago I did a somewhat deep dive into the evolution issue. I read a lot, talked to a variety of people, etc. I concluded that the math didn't work for evolution, but I also recognized I wasn't enough of an expert to give an opinion and I didn't have anything original to contribute yet.

So I didn't write about it.

Some time ago, I saw that someone has discussed it in some length.

One of my favorite parts of this article is the first sentence of the second paragraph.

He’s not giving up Darwinism without some remorse. “It means one less beautiful idea in our world,” says David Gelernter.
This isn’t someone you’d expect to reject Darwin. He lives and works at the heart of the intellectual establishment. He’s a renowned computer scientist at Yale University — the New York Times called him a “rock star” — and served on the National Council on the Arts. 
The writer, Rachel Alexander, whom I presume is favorable toward Gelernter, frames this as "unexpected" because Gelernter is well educated and works at Yale. She's probably correct, which corroborates the point I made in another blog about the elites in Babylon.

And it also shows why our intellectuals have been promoting evolution.

I find this whole thing funny because just as our BYU intellectuals have managed to construct an "evolution" exhibit on campus in the Bean museum, and just as they've been able to convince most of their students that evolution is "true," we have a real scientist, detached from agendas and not trying to curry favor with his peers, announcing that evolution cannot explain the natural world.

Some of the BYU employees have shown the effectiveness of their persuasion.

Polling data reveal a decades-long residual rejection of evolution in the United States, based on perceived religious conflict. Similarly, a strong creationist movement has been documented internationally, including in the Muslim world. 

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormon), a generally conservative denomination, have historically harbored strong anti-evolution sentiments. We report here a significant shift toward acceptance, compared to attitudes 30 years earlier, by students at Brigham Young University, which is owned and operated by the LDS church. 

This change appears to have multiple explanations. Students currently entering the university have been exposed to a much-improved introduction to evolution during high school. More importantly, there has been a significant decrease in negative messaging from Church authorities and in its religious education system. There is also evidence that current students have been positively influenced toward evolution by their parents, a large percentage of whom were BYU students, who earlier were given a strong science education deemed compatible with the maintenance of religious belief. 

A pre-post comparison demonstrates that a majority of current students become knowledgeable and accepting following a course experience focused on evolutionary principles delivered in a faith-friendly atmosphere. Elements of that classroom pedagogy, intended to promote reconciliation, are presented. 

Our experience may serve as a case-study for prompting changes in acceptance of evolution in other conservative religious groups.

Great. Just as uninhibited scientists figure out evolution cannot work, our BYU faculty is teaching the youth of the Church to believe evolution.

Here's a nice article on the evolution of evolution at BYU.

This one reflects some fun biases from the author as well. Here's a great line:

This message from the First Presidency was anti-evolution and science. 

Of course, nothing in the message was "anti-science." The message opposed the "theories of men."

Not to be left out, FairMormon chooses the ad hominem approach by attacking people instead of explaining the issues.

And, of course, Dan the Interpreter chimes in:

The end

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Fluhman - Mason discussions

NOTE: a lot of subscribers here don't realize I've moved my main blog to

This BookofMormonWars blog is transitioning toward a broader discussion of the Book of Mormon, particularly among Christians.

In the meantime, I'll make occasional comments on LDS-related issues.

The discussion at the link below reminds me of what happens in non-LDS homes when a family members joins the LDS church. I've heard this type of concern many times in many places.

This conversation sounds like these fine brethren have never heard of this problem before, as if people leaving is a brand new idea to them. Of course, that's not the case. Both of them are well aware of the faith-crisis problems.

I agree with what Brother Mason said in this interview:

In general, I would like us to figure out what we really believe and then be unapologetic about it, even in our first encounter with interlocutors (if and when the question comes up).

If we don’t believe something, then we shouldn’t teach it and ideally should disavow it if it has been taught before.  If we’re unsure about something, then we should say so and then allow for a diversity of viewpoints.

I prefer a straightforward approach rather than tap dancing around unpopular or difficult issues, and believe that we gain more respect by being honest and confident than shifty and defensive.

"Shifty and defensive" is a great description of the M2C proponents. They resort to censorship to maintain the illusion of M2C. If instead the M2C citation cartel adopted the approach suggested by Mason here--i.e., allow for a diversity of viewpoints--I would have stopped blogging about M2C a long time ago.

Instead, Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter, FairMormon, and the rest continue to promote M2C exclusively and disparage anyone who disagrees with them.

The M2C citation cartel is one of the underlying reasons for the problems Fluhman and Mason discuss in this conversation.

It's way past time to acknowledge, respect, and accommodate multiple views about Book of Mormon geography and historicity. Perhaps our scholars at BYU, CES, and COB will someday actually honor the Church's policy of neutrality.