Last week (May 9, 2009) I gave a presentation at the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities conference on God in science. In that presentation I argued for acceptance of recognizing God in scientific discourse, much as was done during the 17th century Scientific Revolution.
After my presentation I was approach by a young lady named Molly Farmer, a writer for Deseret News. She asked me where I work and what I do for a living. Naturally I was curious about whether she would write an article on my presentation. Well, she did. It is a great article that captures the essence of my presentation in a very nice way. Her article can be viewed here. I highly recommend it.
There have been a number of replies to the article at Deseretnews.com. There are the obvious criticisms from atheists – I expect no less from them. But what’s unusual are the criticisms from some Latter-day Saints, from members of our faith who think that God should be precluded from science. Take, for example, this comment from a mormon biologist.
As a biologist and active member of the LDS church, I see no problem with the absence of God in scientific writing. Collingridge's argument makes as much sense as complaining that not enough economists address their belief in God.
This biologist seems to be unaware of the fact that we have been commanded to give thanks to God for all blessings and to recognize His hand in all good things. As I point out in my book Truth & Science: An LDS Perspective, the Lord is the main benefactor in science. Through the Light of Christ He inspires scientific progress. Why then should we not recognize His hand in science? We do it in government because we recognize that He gave the Constitution and laws for this country, then why not in science?
Members who agree with this biologist should carefully consider the following words from the Prophet Joseph F. Smith:
In all the great discoveries in science, in the arts, in mechanics, and in all material advancement of the age, the world says, “We have done it.” The individual says, “I have done it,” and he gives no honor or credit to God. Now, I read in the revelations through Joseph Smith, the prophet, that because of this, God is not pleased with the inhabitants of the earth, but is angry with them because they will not acknowledge his hand in all things.
Did you read that carefully? It is saying that God is displeased with modern science because it has become accustomed to not recognizing His hand in scientific discovery. If this biologist has a problem with recognizing God in science, then he/she must take issue with the fact that Newton, Galileo, and Descartes mentioned deity in their influential scientific treatises.
I suspect that the real reason why this biologist does not want God mentioned in science is that he/she does not want a gospel critique of the theory of evolution. You see, several LDS biologists accept the fallacy that evolution is completely compatible with LDS doctrine. They are absolutely mistaken. While there are some areas of agreement between the gospel and evolution, there are definitely areas of disagreement (peruse my evolutionary posts for good examples). Several LDS biologists hope to perpetuate the “compatibility” falsehood by forestalling a careful comparison between LDS doctrine and the assumptions underlying evolution.