The implications of evolution for key LDS Doctrines: My SMPT paper part I

So during the last month because of trips to Indonesia and Senegal and the SMPT conference, I’ve been rather inactive on my blog. Time to repent. The following is the text from my SMPT paper. It will be posted in four parts.

Just this week, researchers reported the results of the DNA analysis of a 40,000 year old finger fragment. It was a previously unknown species of human. It’s last common ancestor with humans and Neanderthals was over a million years ago. This forensic reconstruction and the skull going around are from Homo erectus, a hominin that lived about 1.5 million years ago. Our last common ancestor with the Neanderthals was about a half million years ago. Do such things have implications for Mormon Theology? Continue reading The implications of evolution for key LDS Doctrines: My SMPT paper part I

A peek at my paper attempting to reconcile evolution and LDS theology

Here to whet your appetite are the first few paragraphs of my Dialogue article in the Spring 43 (1) issue called “Crawling Out of the Primordial Soup: A Step toward the Emergence of an LDS Theology Compatible with Organic Evolution.” If you want to read the rest, pick up the new issue! In this paper I try to take a stab at identifying the tensions that appear as one tries to reconcile LDS theology and Darwinian evolution and gesture toward some possible solutions to these quandaries. Also, I will speaking at the SMPT Conference on March 26 on “The Implications of Evolution and Consciousness for Key LDS Doctrines.”

From Peck (2010):

Wesley J. Wildman, a liberal evangelical Christian, contributed this issue’s sermon as part of the ongoing “From the Pulpit” series. Provocatively titled “Narnia’s Aslan, Earth’s Darwin, and Heaven’s God” (see pp. 210–17), it details some of the waste and brutality of natural selection that are inevitable accompaniments of evolution. “Surely such a loving, personal Deity would have created in another way,” he queries, “a way that involved less trial and error, fewer false starts, fewer mindless species extinctions, fewer pointless cruelties, and less reliance on predation to sort out the fit from the unfit” (214). In conclusion, he poses the far-from-rhetorical question: “What sort of God could, would, and did create the world through evolution?” (217). He shows that evolution has striking implications for theology—including LDS theology, I would add. Continue reading A peek at my paper attempting to reconcile evolution and LDS theology

The Flesh Flies of Climate Change

I just returned from Bali. A large island in Indonesia just below the equator. It seemed like the perfect place to talk about large flies that either, (a) lay their eggs in the wounds of animals or that (b) transfer diseases when the flies take a blood meal (like the tsetse fly that I work on!). Nothing like a tropical paradise to send your mind thinking about flesh eating flies, heh? The two just seem to go together naturally. Most of the researchers are on-the-ground field entomologists, geneticists or GIS specialists. They came from many parts of the world: Iraq, Brazil, Yemen, Indonesia, Kenya, France, Ethiopia, Austria, Australia, UK and me, USA. We all gave presentations and, no surprise, climate change (CC) was the topic of conversation in many of the presented field studies. The climate change deniers keep picking at supposed anomalies in climate temperature readings and ignore the great swaths of other supporting data. But temperature measurements themselves (which all show global warming) aren’t the only story, there is stunning data showing drastic changes on the ground in real ecological systems. Continue reading The Flesh Flies of Climate Change