Evolution At BYU.com
This is a website dedicated to the examination and critique of the treatment of the topic of evolution at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, a large private university sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).
One might be forgiven for assuming that the topic of evolution would be treated much differently at a private religious school such as Brigham Young University. The topic of evolution is indeed treated differently at other private religious universities, but at BYU it appears that it receives approximately the same treatment it would get at any secular school. I consider this a serious anomaly which either needs to be carefully explained or corrected. Both kinds of information are welcome on this site, but the emphasis will be on what I believe is a need to correct this anomaly.
A packet has been put together at BYU which collects statements by various members of the First Presidency on the issue of evolution. These carefully restrained materials mostly come from 100 years ago and are read by the evolutionists at BYU as giving them carte blanche to accept, teach, and use all of the statements and speculations by the world's proponents of organic evolution that have been generated ever since.
Just looking at these ancient doctrinal statements, I believe that BYU evolutionists have seriously overstepped the bounds which those prior Church leaders meant to set.
But whether those particular bounds have been overstepped or not, I believe these BYU evolutionists have gone much farther in their statements and arguments than the actual science permits. If, in their enthusiasm, today's BYU evolutionists have gone beyond what legitimate scientific logic reasonably allows, then they ought to be challenged on their statements, regardless of what any church authorities may have said in the past concerning doctrinal matters.
See "BYU Evolution Packet (pdf)"
I want to challenge and encourage professors and administrators at BYU to keep their public statements, and especially their teaching, within the bounds of provable science rather than including the many speculative expansions added by atheist philosophy, unless they clearly identify those expansions as such.
Damage done by enforced ignorance
I recall speaking to one department chair who noted that, of her students who left BYU for more advanced study, she could not think of one who had remained active in the Church. By this single anecdotal measure one might guess that tens of thousands of students who left BYU did so quite unprepared to defend their beliefs against the teachings of men in the outside world, including the atheism-driven evolutionary and materialist themes that are accepted as absolute dogma at almost every other institution of higher learning. I recall speaking to one young man who had recently received his MBA degree at BYU, and in his entire life he had never even heard of the topic of evolution, let alone engaged in some analytical discussion concerning its accuracy or limits. I consider this insertion of atheism into our secular life one of the philosophical and religious challenges of our time, even a great scourge, and yet this young man had never even heard of it, or so he claimed. How likely is he to be prepared to deal with this confusing and often faith-destroying propaganda when it inevitably does enter his life? At least while at BYU he ought to be briefly inoculated against this widespread and dangerous disease. I consider it educational malpractice to keep such students so completely isolated from the powerful philosophical forces they will face in the real world.
As an antidote to what I consider wildly excessive statements on the importance and power of evolutionary speculations, I offer my own short "packet" which clearly and succinctly describes five of what I consider insurmountable, mile-high logical barriers to accepting the overblown assertions of the atheists who control so much of the discussion concerning science.
View antidote packet -- Five Barriers to Belief in Evolution (pdf)
Three More Barriers to Belief in Evolution (pdf)
Many public spokesman for organic evolution constantly and arrogantly claim that everyone must accept their atheism-based and scientifically unproven speculations as "fact," even though they can offer no convincing or even relevant evidence for their statements which are really of a philosophical, religious. or even theological nature. If an atheist can get past the five barriers which I will describe, and still believe fervently and unequivocally, perhaps even fanatically, in the speculative conclusions concerning the origin of life, then that person is clearly operating on a level of faith which exceeds the level of faith of many Christian believers. These Christian believers actually have more evidence to support their faith than do the atheists, which is why I say the atheists need to have more "faith" to accept their most important philosophies.
My background for this project
I have two law degrees and worked 3 years as a federal government lawyer. But I have spent most of my life working as a computer consultant for 12 federal agencies, ending with the U.S. Department of State at 3 overseas posts. I have also published 3 books on Church history, mostly focused on the politics and economics of the early years.
I have studied the topic of evolution extensively over the past 10 years, and, among other activities, including online debates, have purchased and read perhaps 30 books on the topic. I feel confident that I have gotten to the bottom of this issue and can name and describe the elements of most arguments for and against. It is true that much good has come from the study of the biological sciences, but, at the same time, I believe it has been turned into one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated upon the human race, and the time has come to bring some clarity and sanity to the issue.
Converging Paths to Truth
I am grateful that the Desert News publishing company chose to publish in 2011 the five-year proceedings of the Summerhays Institute on Science and Religion, 2003-2008, in the form of a book entitled Converging Paths to Truth, edited by Michael D. Rhodes and J. Ward Moody. I graduated from BYU, I now live nearby, and I visit there fairly often. As I have spoken with various students, professors, and administrators at various levels over the years, and examined the sparse writings on the topic as it relates to BYU, I believe that I have established a pretty good feel for attitudes about the topic of evolution on the BYU campus. With the publication of this BYU book I now have a solid reference point or foil to use in making my own points. That is far better than having to relate and rely upon only my own experiences, even though they are mostly congruent with what is found in the book. I have much to say about the inherent weaknesses of minimal evidence and unconstrained speculation, and publication of this BYU book certainly minimizes the amount of speculation one might need to engage in concerning the treatment of the topic of evolution on the BYU campus.
My review of Converging Paths to Truth
I will include in this little collection of writings my reactions to the book entitled Converging Paths to Truth. Almost every issue of consequence is brought up somewhere in that book, giving me the chance to clarify and respond where necessary. See review 15pp. (pdf) - partial draft 1.
My review of "A Delicate Balance: Teaching Biological Evolution at BYU-Idaho"
This is a review of an article written by biology professor Lynn Firestone at BYU-Idaho. He uses arguments similar to those used at BYU-Provo to advocate for teaching organic evolution. See review 4pp. (pdf)
My review of "The Mormon Myth of Evil Evolution"
This is a review of an article written by Michael R. Ash, published in Dialogue, Winter 2002. He is listed on his Wikipedia page as "a Mormon scholar and apologist." He emphasizes that the LDS Church is neutral on the topic of evolution, but I believe he has overstated the significance of that supposed neutrality. See review 2pp. (pdf) - partial draft 1
Teaching Deism, Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism at BYU
The standard Deist accomodation of religion to evolution logically obliterates religion as LDS members know it, but BYU professors don't seem to notice. See article 4pp. (pdf)
Polling and Politics
The Dover, Pennsylvania, school board case
The History of Church leaders' opinions on the evolution issue
The BYU defense for teaching evolution
Multiple topics under development. See article 7pp. (pdf) - partial draft 1
Darwin's Letters: He Would Not Accept Pasteur's Experiments
Darwin would not accept Pasteur's experiments showing that life only came from life. He continued to rely on a "warm little pond" as the source of all life.
See article 5pp. (pdf)
Outline and Extracts for Man His Origin and Destiny 12pp. (pdf)
Smith, Man His Origin and Destiny 563pp. (pdf)
Anti-evolution packets at BYU:
Bankhead,The Fall of Adam, The Atonement of Christ, and Organic Evolution 48pp. (pdf)
The Origin of Man & Organic Evolution 31pp. (pdf)
Source: http://emp.byui.edu/marrottr/OriginOfMan.htm accessed Jan. 9, 2013
Other Analysis and Commentary
Do We Have An Authoritative Evolution Document? 6pp. (pdf)
A Gospel For LDS Evolutionists? 10pp. (pdf)
The William Bradshaw Online Presentation of His Personal Views On Evolution -- a consolidated and reformatted version 22pp. (pdf)
A Response to the Bradshaw Personal View on Evolution 10pp. (pdf)
Utah Legal Considerations
Evolution-Related Videos, Books, and Articles
Last Update: June 28, 2013