The abductive oomph of evolution

Alas, I am busy beyond reason. Two papers are due (overdue) and summer activities are keeping me dancing. So It’s time to back up and look at some posts you may have missed in my early years . . . er . . . early months. I’ll start with some of those that define science to remind you why evolution is so important as an explanation of the data we find in the biological and geological sciences (and actually scores of sciences from anthropology to economics). Also, from the looks of things only about six people saw this back in the day, so I don’t feel too bad reposting. Here it is again!

“Ah. I understand the source of your misperception, but this is not sleepwear, and I do not have a ‘missus.’” — Star Trek the Next Generation, Data to Jack London (Time’s Arrow, Part ?)

The fancy word for today is abduction. Not the kidnapping type. Abductive reasoning is a way to make an inference. A way to reason. A way to get at the truth of things. Science uses it a lot. Let me illustrate with an example. Suppose I walk into my house and find on the table a nicely decorated chocolate cake, the kind with beautiful red frosting roses gracing the sides. Moreover, (I love that word, it just sounds so philosophical, moreover, it adds a sense of grace to your argument) in the sink you find some cake pans piled on the kitchen counter with that dark bit of cakey stuff that sticks to the bottom of recent baking events. Continue reading The abductive oomph of evolution

Creationism, Postmodernism, and Mormonism — A Guest Post by David H. Bailey!

The LDS movement was founded on a premise that the Bible is neither complete nor inerrant. As LDS Apostle James E. Talmage wrote, “The opening chapters of Genesis, and scriptures related thereto, were never intended as a textbook of geology, archaeology, earth-science, or man-science.” Further, Mormonism, from its founding, has traditionally seen God as working within the realm of natural law. As LDS Apostle Parley P. Pratt wrote, “Among the popular errors of modern times, an opinion prevails that miracles are events which transpire contrary to the laws of nature, that they are effects without a cause. If such is the fact, then, there never has been a miracle, and there never will be one.” This notion immediately suggests a truce in the age-old “war” between science and religion: God works within, rather than without, the realm of natural law. Continue reading Creationism, Postmodernism, and Mormonism — A Guest Post by David H. Bailey!

The Day Bro. Thane Died

The day Bro. Thane died
he looked out in the morning sun
at a line of green that marked
the Virgin River.
Late summer- it would be
running slow and easy through
the desert he loved.
Continue reading The Day Bro. Thane Died

Fear of the other: Who are you afraid of?

I just came from a powerful film. Waltz with Bashir is Israeli Ari Folman’s animated film on the 1982 Israeli march on Beirut and the Christian Phalangist massacre of Palestinians. This is not one to take your kids to. The animation is rough and shadowy like a graphic novel and switches back and forth between Ari trying to reattach lost memories of the massacre, which he has forgotten, and the present. He knows he was there and he has strange memories of himself walking through the ocean to a beach where flares are lighting up a bombed out city. Continue reading Fear of the other: Who are you afraid of?

The Student Response to the 1911 BYU Heresy Controversy

In 1911, The Superintendent of Church Schools, charged three Brigham Young University Professors with Heresy. They were charged with (a) “including man in the process of evolution,” (b) “Joseph Smith’s vision were described in terms of their psychological, and therefore subjective, aspects,” and (c) “In regard to the Bible, teaching from the standpoint of the ‘Higher Criticism’” Continue reading The Student Response to the 1911 BYU Heresy Controversy