Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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122 I Dialogue take the sheep family and the goat family. There is only one small difference between the two species, and you can see exactly how one chromosome got split off and recombined so that you have a completely different kind of animal. You can see that, through a combination and recombination of genes, these things could actually have happened since the time of Noah. Do you believe in Adam and Eve as personal beings? I do and I believe all the human race came through them. I don't know really what they looked like, but look at the different types of humans we have today. My gosh, you can find anything, from giants to pygmies, different colors, different characteristics and certainly you would have to say that these have occurred through genetic assortment and genetic recombination. It seems to me a more basic question now might be: Is there evolution from cats to cows and men, that kind of thing, not only within certain narrow families, but between them? In general, no. I am speaking from fact, now, rather than from faith—we know that you cannot cross most species due to the fact that there is a different chromosome number between species. A few interspecies crosses have been made, but the offspring are sterile. You are involved with faith and fact every day; you work with these kinds of things and that is why we are interested in talking to you. Does your discipline raise other issues? Well, I guess you are wanting me to be the devil's advocate. I can do so, even though it is over matters that are not of great concern to me. For instance, you have heard a lot about the population explosion and the problems that we have as we look around at various countries, possibly our own here in a few years. The question that I really have is, "Why should there be so many people that we do not take care of properly? Why are we allowed to continue to reproduce?" This is a question which involves a fact. In our religious philosophy we are taught that we should have children—a certain number of spirits must come here—but why do some of them have to come under such horrible conditions of want and need? Why is it they are allowed to starve to death? From man's point of view, one of the ways of overcoming this is to curtail the number of people, rather than increase production. We know that we can increase production of food. But then why do you have such over-populated countries like India and China? It is an impossibility to raise enough food to keep them alive. Yet we say, yes, we should continue to have children. But we have not really been given the opportunity by the Lord to feed the world. We still have bad land, millions and millions of acres of land where the environment is so adverse that you can't do much with it. There is probably plenty of land here to raise crops for plenty of people, but we have not used them; maybe it is a challenge, I don't know. Maybe it is our job to try to feed the world, to overcome the situation. That is right. Face squarely the question of population.