BYU professor writes book examining evolution and faith

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The origin of man has almost always been a controversial conversation. People have disputed evolution and creation since Charles Darwin introduced the theory of evolution in 1859.

Steven L. Peck, an associate professor in BYU’s biology department, wrote “Evolving Faith,” a book on evolution and faith, hoping to help scientists and believers reconcile their beliefs.

The cover of Dr. Steven Peck's new book, "Evolving Faith: Wandering of a  Mormon Biologist." Peck wrote the book to reconcile faith and science.
The cover of Steven Peck’s new book, “Evolving Faith: Wandering of a Mormon Biologist.” Peck wrote the book to reconcile faith and science. (Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship)

Peck wrote the book in association with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. The book is part of the “Living Faith” series, which also includes titles by a philosopher, historian and doctor.

Blair Hodges, the communications specialist for the institute and editor of the “Living Faith” series, said the series is specifically directed towards younger Latter-day Saints.

“We’re doing this series of books where we take a scholar who is a member of the church, and we invite them to reflect on their faith and how it relates to their work,” Hodges said. “We want to give models of faithful scholars.”

Peck said one of his purposes in writing the book is because LDS people tend to be suspicious of evolution.

“Evolution is my favorite subject,” Peck said. “In the biology department, it’s a huge part of what we teach because it infuses all of biology. You really can’t be a biologist without a commitment and interest in evolution because it’s the foundation.”

Peck received his undergraduate degree at BYU and said when he arrived at the university, he thought evolution was “not something that Latter-day Saints believed in or could believe in.”

He later came to accept evolution as he was taught by biology professors who were also active members of the church. Peck said he wrote this book to help people understand “that evolution’s OK, even for people of faith who are believers in the gospel, like I am.”

The photo of Dr. Steven Peck featured in his new book. Peck wrote the book to reconcile faith and science. (Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship)
Steven Peck, featured in his new book. Peck’s book, “Evolving Faith,” combines science and religion. (Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship)

Jani Radebaugh, an associate professor in BYU’s geological sciences department, reviewed the book for publication. She said the book helps students reconcile their beliefs in both faith and science.

“BYU students are often encountering evolution for the first time or nearly the first time in a strong scientific context while also building their faith,” Radebaugh said in an email. “Through this book, they can learn that the two topics are compatible.”

Peck said while he wants to dispel religious people’s suspicions about science, he also wants to take on the scientific community who believe that religion is impossible.

“I really hope that (church members) understand that science isn’t a threat to our faith,” Peck said. “I hope (people) understand that faith isn’t a threat to science. I don’t want a watered-down science to go with my religion, and I don’t want a watered-down religion to go with my science. We don’t have to have to think that we have all the answers in either science or religion.”

The book can be purchased on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

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