Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the The Daily Universe, a student newspaper of the School of Communications of Brigham Young University — a private university owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The title is Evolution and creation (it’s the first letter at that link), and the newspaper doesn’t seem to have a comments feature.
Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Jacob. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!
Though it is admirable that BYU is attempting to reconcile religion and evolution in a way that students can effectively learn more about both, this attempt at reconciliation is, like all other attempts, ultimately doomed.
Why is it doomed? Jacob says:
The theory of evolution is rooted in a purely naturalistic metaphysics. It assumes that all things can be reduced down to mere atoms bouncing against each other [Boinkity-boink, clickity-clack!] and that all aspects of life are nothing more than the result of random, meaningless chance.
Egad, what a horrible theory! But wait — it’s even worse! Jacob tells us:
These assumptions ultimately imply a world where agency does not exist, choices are meaningless and there is no universal morality that we can ground ourselves in. It assumes there is no God.
Evolution is truly horrible! He continues:
On the other hand, the idea of creationism is rooted in an entirely different metaphysics. It makes its starting assumption that there is a God. It assumes that God created us, our world and the whole universe. It assumes that God is perfect, just, merciful, loving, and cares a great deal about our actions. It assumes we have agency to live morally and that life has meaning.
That sounds so nice! It must be true. Let’s read on:
These two viewpoints, evolution and creationism, can never truly be reconciled because they are rooted in fundamentally opposed metaphysics. All attempts at reconciliation will fail because of this.
Verily, they cannot be reconciled. Jacob has convinced us. And here’s the end of his letter:
By all means, teach evolutionary theory in the classroom. But teach the assumptions and implications that go along with it. Teach how the theory of evolution, when really taken seriously, leads to determinism, nihilism, moral relativism and the death of God.
That’s the way to teach evolution. Great letter, Jacob!
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