Evolution and creation
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.
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 and that all aspects of life are nothing more than the result of random, meaningless chance. 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.
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.
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.
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.
An overlooked opportunity
Between 2010 and 2015, the demand for bilingual employees more than doubled — the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in the next ten years, 70% of employers will consider Spanish-speaking highly favorable. In an increasingly globalized world, speaking a second language is profoundly beneficial—and college is the perfect environment to learn one.
Why would anyone willingly spend credit hours on a French class they swore off after the two painful years they spent learning it in high school? With so many individuals choosing to pursue higher education, the competition for jobs is ever-increasing. Employers are searching for individuals who can connect with people; a second language makes you a valuable asset.
If securing employment isn’t enough incentive, consider the mental benefits of language learning. A study conducted by The Dana Foundation showed that those who speak more than one language have enhanced memory, multitasking, conflict management and even creativity. This constant brain exercise has even been shown to prevent mental decay from aging as older bilingual individuals consistently display better memory and control.
College is expensive. So why not learn a language on your own through apps like Duolingo? Disregarding the fact that most people who try to pick up a language on their own lose motivation, a classroom setting provides so many aspects of applied learning that a screen cannot match. Each professor offers a new perspective on the culture behind the language, and face-to-face conversations solidify what you’re learning.
Standing out at BYU — and eventually in the world — can be a challenge when everyone seems to be a star student. Whether for the financial, social or mental benefits, every student should take advantage of foreign language classes. College is a time to enrich yourself. Take every opportunity to do so — the lifelong knowledge and experience infinitely outweigh the costs.
I moved out at age seventeen. I had been working to save for college my whole life. Financially and emotionally, I was ready to “adult.” However, I am a minor, unable to sign financial documents without my parents. But why can I move out, pay my own rent, work and pay taxes, yet still be considered a minor? There should be an application for sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds to be considered adults with finances, so they can make their own financial decisions.
The application would make sure the sixteen- or seventeen-year-old has a job, so they have an income to manage and pay taxes. It would also check grade point averages. Researchers from John Hopkins found that the higher a student’s high school GPA, the higher their chances for success. This is because students who care about their future will work harder to get better grades, becoming more responsible overall, especially in finances.
Some say that my generation can’t handle finances. However, when experts have compared generation Z to millennials, the former has been described as independent, pragmatic, and connected. In addition, an article by financial website Kasasa explains that generation Z is more likely to learn about finances and less likely to get into debt.
Since coming to Brigham Young University, I have met many minors in my situation. Half of my roommates are still seventeen. Sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds take on the responsibility of adults very often, so let’s give them a chance to do so financially as well. Let them open bank accounts and sign leases and documents without their parents. Maturity doesn’t come with age — it comes with experience.