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In Theory

Nov. 24 marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species.” The book laid out his theory of natural selection and spurred a debate, which continues today, on whether human beings are products of

December 04, 2009

Could we have come into being by evolution? Why not? This is a question for science, not for religion. The overwhelming scientific evidence favors evolution. This should pose no difficulty for the religious person, for whatever possibilities there are in created matter are there because of the richness of God’s creative act.

The Genesis story is very pictorial, almost like a screenplay. It does not attempt to answer today’s scientific questions. As long as science does not exceed its proper field of inquiry by making theological claims, there should not be any conflict between science and religion.

Of course, that same requirement should apply to religion, meaning that we should not make scientific assertions based on Bible texts that were not composed in response to those questions.

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Msgr. Wilbur Davis

Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach

The official position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Darwin’s legacy is clear: It doesn’t have one. While individual Latter-day Saints are free to form their own opinions, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism says, “The scriptures tell us why man was created, but it doesn’t tell us how.” Leaders further state, from an official declaration in 1931, “Leave geology, biology, archaeology and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of man, to scientific research.”

In a 1911 editorial, the then-Prophet of the Church stated: “The Church itself has no philosophy about the modus operandi employed by the Lord in his creation of the world.”

Brigham Young University teaches a “solid rigorous evolution course… without modification of Darwin’s theories.” One professor said, “We need to be careful not to think that we understand everything, both from a science and religious perspective. It’s OK not to have all the answers.”

In my personal faith journey, I emphasize my relationship with Jesus Christ as my Savior and advocate with the Father, and concern myself with being a better servant, son, father, grandfather, husband, citizen and neighbor. Issues yet to be answered go on my “problem shelf,” where they remain, to be reexamined or removed as my understanding expands. While I am not an unquestioning devotee, I honor him as a great scientist.

Tom Thorkelson

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Do you think there is a book on how to wrap gifts using string theory?

Evolution is a scientific observation; creationism is a leap of faith. In my book, “The Secret According to Jesus: No One is Left Behind,” I say science in competition with the supernatural is a house divided against itself.

The emotional crossfire created by this controversy tests loyalty, faith and doctrine in an invisible civil war whose wounds are seen in those who want to be healed, not codependent upon drugs, or doctrine.

The problem is not with Darwin; the problem is with one’s faith in God’s power to heal. Many scientists believe in both.

Dr. Jim Turrell

Center for Spiritual Living Newport-Mesa

For more responses, go to www.dailypilot.com.


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