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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128 I Dialogue Is there a specific example you can give from zoology or genetics? Immediately you have reminded me that a man who had undergone training in those areas would confront the issue of evolution and the origin of man as taught by the Church. Genetics to me is one basis for understanding why every individual is different from everyone else. The process of mutation and evolution within the human species is a limited evolution. There is no evidence that Homo sapiens have really changed at all during the time span of which we have knowledge. At the same time, one of the things that keeps overriding in my mind is the fact that things do not tend towards complex organization, the way the theory of evolution maintains that they must. Rather, things tend towards disorganization. Atmospheric conditions may have repeatedly created the potential for nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon atoms to come together to form a very simplified amino acid. But the chances of that amino acid hooking up with another amino acid are so statistically remote as to be, in my mind, completely beyond the realm of comprehension as an explanation of man's origin. When we look at the comparative anatomy of animal forms and find that there is a similarity, that there is a developmental continuity up to anthropoid forms, then as scientists we have a very difficult time really determining the exact transition between those species. If someone says to me, " Oh, there is so much that points to evolution as being the real source of man," I will say, "Friend, so much points against evolution as to call into serious question evolutionary arguments for man's creation or existence." When I look at the human body, when I look at the workings of the human body, when I see the intricacies of it in medical situations—its existence seems to me beyond the realm of coincidence. Everything about the body and the universe seems so well planned and so finely tuned. And when I look at the way in which evolution would have to have occurred to bring about the functions of man or animal, there is just nothing that I can find in anthropology, in geology or in zoology that in any way even begins to prove that in my mind. I believe that there is a process of evolution. I believe that when we say "evolution" we have to say "Yes, Mendelian genetics are a fact; they are a reality." But to apply Mendelian genetics to an inter-species evolution from an amino acid to man is just not possible to my mind. I think that man's origin is far more explainable in the context of religious belief and by the power of the priesthood, than it is explainable by any theory originated and generated by man. Are there any problems in your scientific training that tend to conflict with the teachings of the Church? As far as the teachings of the Church are concerned, I am pretty orthodox. I am very conservative in my feelings. I can find some inconsistencies, yes; I can find things that are not in agreement between one general authority and another. I have also come to understand that there can be an interjection of individual interpretation into things. Individuals may have reached partial answers. I also feel that at times there is a rather harsh approach to some of the things that are psychological or that are psychosomatic. I feel that there may be more physical or chemical bases for some human illness than some may give credit for.