Evolution: the Experience is an upcoming confrence held in Melbourne, Australia in February 2009: Here is a discription.
2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of his landmark publication On the Origin of Species. Because of Darwin evolution has become an accepted theory, explaining the great diversity of animal and plant life on Earth and underpinning much of the medical, psychological, agricultural and biological research going on in the world today. Evolutionary theory has permeated many other facets of modern life from economics to politics to theology.
I submitted this Abstract for a presentations (no guarantees it will be accepted):
Mormonism and Evolution: A Success Story?
“Mormonism started as a uniquely American religion in the early 19th Century and has grown to be one of the fastest growing religions in the world. Mormonism has a strongly hierarchal structure with the leadership of the Church defining the direction of Church doctrine and teachings. In the early part of the 20th Century vigorous debates among the hierarchy produced several statements about the origin of man which did not exclude evolution explicitly. Eventually, however, many in the Church, following mainstream American Christian Fundamentalism, promoted an anti-evolutionary stance especially within the Church’s education system. Several professors from Church-owned Brigham Young University were fired for their refusal to stop teaching evolution. While the Church has no official stand on evolution, the climate was largely hostile through much of the early to mid-1900’s. Currently, however, Brigham Young University supports a strong evolutionary biology program and faculty with a DNA sequencer and researchers publishing in major journals at the forefront of evolutionary theory. Evolution is a required course for Biology majors and is taught as part of the general education courses in Biology for undergraduate freshmen. BYU professors have been active in thwarting attempts of Utah State Legislators to introduce Intelligent Design into Public Schools’ science curriculum. This paper explores how this pro-evolutionary climate came about at the Church’s premiere private university despite leanings within the Church that were decidedly anti-evolution in their perspective and in some instances continue being so. The presenter is a Mormon evolutionary biologist, who has experienced these tensions first hand. While at BYU he has published papers in Evolution, American Naturalist, and Trends in Ecology and Evolution among other evolutioanry journals. He runs a blog on evolution and the environment for a Mormon audience and will speak about his experience in supporting evolutionary thought in the Mormon community, which run the gamut of belief in evolution from Young Age Creationism to mainstream evolutionary biology. This story provides an example of successfully navigating the tensions (many still remain) faced in promoting evolution in a traditionalist religious environment.”
Discuss the Question Mark in the title.