Re: Mormons and science

Date: Wed Sep 25 2002 - 13:39:45 EDT

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    Being an ex active Mormon (and some would say I am now apostate as opposed
    to simply inactive) all I can contribute is that I heard, and I emphasize
    heard, that sometime in, or prior to, the early 1970's some regular members
    of the church were complaining about the teaching of evolution and an old
    earth at BYU and some of the science teachers expressed their concern to the
    head of the church that these people might bring enough pressure to affect
    their jobs or their teaching or something along those lines and his reply
    was, and this is purely a paraphrase of the way it was told to me: "You just
    take care of teaching good science and I'll take care of running the
    church." and that was the end of that. I don't know if it is still an
    objective of the church but along about that time there was some talk of
    trying to build the school into something more than just a good regional
    university and eventually more than even a top level university at the
    national level but I don't know how any of that has progressed.

    I do know that in 1978 when I was looking for potential schools to attend in
    pursuit of a Ph.D., I looked seriously at BYU for the following reasons: 1)
    I had just finished my masters thesis in which I developed and tested the
    use of a laser to determine the paleocurrent direction for essentially
    structureless sandstones and they had a fellow who had developed a technique
    for using X-rays to see faint or internal cross bedding in cores so I
    thought we might have enough interests in common to warrent my going there;
    2) Utah has all kinds of rocks within a very short driving distance (by
    Texas standards) and all we had around here were sediments and not too many
    kinds of those so I thought it would be a chance to see lots of different
    kinds and ages of rocks than I had seen prior to that, 3) I was an active
    Mormon at the time. I sent them a copy of my masters thesis and transcript
    but I never heard back so I guess they were not intersted or it got lost
    somewhere. However, I do remember that in their catalog were some items
    that were considerably different than what I found in other catalogs. First,
    the math department had to approve the mathematics of ALL dissertations and
    thesis before they could be approved and secondly they expected graduate
    students to attend class. Struck me as being a bit more picky than I was
    used to so I would say their attitude about science is pretty blue collar:
    show up, do your work, do it right, and no nonesence.

    That is all over 20 years old but it is what I know or think I know.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Jonathan Clarke" <>
    Cc: <>
    Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2002 4:30 PM
    Subject: Mormons and science

    > Hi all
    > I was doing some research on the geology of the hanksville area and found
    > publications by Grigham Young University invaluable. Pity there does
    > not seem to
    > be any Protestant, let alone evangelical university, that supports
    > geological work
    > of a similar calibre. This has made me wonder what that is the nature of
    > Mormon pproach to science, earth history, and the interpretation of
    > Genesis 1-11.
    > Any takers?
    > Jon

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