Mormonism and science
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Mormonism and science
- Critics claim that Mormons believe that if there is a conflict between science and religion, that the science is incorrect.
- Critics claim that Mormonism reserves the right to identify scientific truth.
Latter-day Saints are not required to discard science in favor of religion. Many Latter-day Saints are heavily involved in scientific research without suffering a loss of faith. Not only do we believe that science is continually being updated, but that Gospel knowledge will be updated as well. As the 9th Article of Faith states:
- We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
We acknowledge that we do not understand everything regarding the manner in which God created the earth, but we have been assured through revelation that at some future time we will be allowed to understand these things. Neither religion nor science knows everything, but revelation provides us with sufficient knowledge to obtain salvation. In religion, as in science, all should be constantly seeking for the "further light and knowledge" that comes from God.
Is there any conflict between science and religion? There is no conflict in the mind of God, but often there is conflict in the minds of men.
—Henry Eyring, developer of the Absolute Rate Theory of chemical reactions: One of the most important developments of 20th-century chemistry.
In these respects we differ from the Christian world, for our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science in any particular...whether the Lord found the earth empty and void, whether he made it out of nothing or out of the rude elements; or whether he made it in six days or in as many millions of years, is and will remain a matter of speculation in the minds of men unless he give revelation on the subject. If we understood the process of creation there would be no mystery about it, it would be all reasonable and plain, for there is no mystery except to the ignorant.
—Brigham Young, (May 14, 1871) Journal of Discourses 14:116.
Latter-day Saints should strive to use both science and religion to extend knowledge and to build faith. But those who do so must guard against the significant risk that efforts to end the separation between scientific scholarship and religious faith will only promote a substandard level of performance, where religion and science dilute one another instead of strengthening both.
For some, an attempt to mingle reason and faith can result in irrational scholarship or phony religion, either condition demonstrably worse than the described separation.
—Dallin H. Oaks, Life's Lessons Learned: Personal Reflections (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 2011), 58-59.
- Are Mormonism and science compatible?—
Secular critics charge that Mormonism and science are incompatible, and that any Latter-day Saint who actually believes is "intellectually dishonest." In reality, however, Latter-day Saints in many ways have a more liberal view of science than some of their Christian brethren. We believe that God operates according to certain laws. If there are things that God can do which seem to contradict what we know through current science, we assume that there are scientific laws that are beyond our current understanding. (Link)
- Faith versus knowledge—
It is important to keep in mind the difference in purpose between science and the Gospel. The purpose of science is to examine the characteristics of the world around us in order to more fully understand it. A main purpose of the Gospel is to teach us to develop faith. Unfortunately, the acquisition of scientific knowledge is sometimes perceived to destroy faith. The purpose of faith is to help us understand spiritual things, just as science helps us to understand physical things. (Link)
- Burning in the bosom—
Critics are known to mockingly refer to the LDS imagery of a "burning in the bosom." While the phrase is used in the LDS community to express the intense feelings of receiving spiritual witnesses, critics claim it is simply the result of an electro-chemical process that occurs in the brain. (Link)
Latter-day Saint approaches to science
- Archaeology and the Book of Mormon—
Critics charge that what is known about ancient American archaeology is not consistent with the Book of Mormon account. Sectarian critics often add the claim that the Bible has been "proven" true by archaeology, unlike the Book of Mormon. (Link)
How does the Church reconcile the theory of evolution with the story of Adam? (Link)
There is scientific evidence of human habitation for many thousands of years. How do we reconcile this with the idea that Adam lived approximately 6,000 years ago? (Link)
- Death before the Fall—
Does LDS doctrine hold that there was no death before the Fall of Adam? (Link)
- Procreation before the Fall—
Did procreation exist before the Fall of Adam? (Link)
- Global or local Flood—
How do we deal with the fact that there is no scientific evidence of a worldwide flood? How can the scriptures and prophets teach of a worldwide flood, when this contradicts the evidence? The biodiversity of plants and animals on the earth could not have occurred within the span of a few thousand years. Did the continents separate during the flood of Noah? Doctrine and Covenants 133:23–24 seems to imply that they did. How do we reconcile this to scientific fact? Didn't Brigham Young, John Taylor and Orson Pratt teach that the Flood was the baptism of the Earth? (Link)
- Age of the Earth—
Do Latter-day Saints believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old? Why does Doctrine and Covenants section 77 say that the history of the earth covers only seven thousand years? (Link)
How do dinosaurs fit into God's plan? (Link)
- Book of Mormon and DNA evidence (Link)
- Free will and science (Link)
- Alleged "discovery" of cold fusion by Utah researchers—
Critics claim that the mistaken "discovery" of cold fusion in Utah reflects on either LDS gullibility, inability to do science, or dishonesty. (Link)
Science and LDS scripture
- Book of Abraham
- Book of Mormon
- Archaeology and the Book of Mormon (Link)
Latter-day Saint attitude toward science
- Mormonism and education—
Does the Church Educational System (CES) insist that gospel learning takes precedence over secular learning? Does the level of activity in the Church decrease as educational level increases? (Link)
- Latter-day Saint apologists' attitudes toward science (Link)
- Statistical claims—
This page indexes attacks and criticism of the Church based upon statistical analysis. (Link)
- General authorities statements regarding science—
If General authorities' statements are treated as scripture, then what does that mean when they make statements regarding science? (Link)
- Brigham Young and moonmen—Didn't Brigham Young preach that the sun and the moon were inhabited? (Link)
- Joseph Fielding Smith claimed that man would never walk on the Moon—Didn't Joseph Fielding Smith declare that man would never leave this planet? (Link)
- [note] Henry Eyring, Reflections of a Scientist (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 2.