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The Failure of the Argument from Design

As has been noted by some, the obstacles confronting intelligent design are not merely limited to scientific verifiability. In addition to the typical scientific objections to ID, which are myriad and persuasive, there are a number of philosophical issues which ID, as it is typically accepted, is simply unable to deal with. It has often been said that ID is not only terrible science (not science at all in fact) but it is ghastly theology as well. In this post I would like to make some of the less well known reasons for this explicit.

One of the main differences between intelligent design and Darwinian evolution is that while the latter is fully composed of what Aristotle would called ‘efficient causes,’ the former is principally composed of ‘teleological causes.’ In other words, ID’s central point is that the causes responsible for the biological world we now observe are goal or purpose driven while Darwinism maintains that entirely purposeless causes are fully sufficient to cover the appearances.

It is for this reason that ID is called ‘intellectualized creationism.’ The entire enterprise is centered on the ‘argument from design’ or the ‘teleological argument.’ It is my intention to provide an account of the principles involved in the argument from design, drawing upon William Paley’s “Natural Theology: Evidence of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity Collected from the Appearances of Nature,” and expose its serious short comings.

Paley’s points are as follows:

  1. We have the ability to recognize design when we see it. If on the beach we found a watch (he calls it a clock) next to a rock on the beach, we would easily be able to identify which of the two had been designed.

  2. Natural phenomena such as our eyes, thumbs and noses are more like clocks than rocks.

  3. Just as we are able to accurately infer the existence of a clock maker from the existence of a clock, we should also be able to infer the existence of an ‘eye-maker’ from the existence of eyes. While the maker of a clock need only be finite in nature, the designer of all these designed phenomena in nature must be infinitely wise and powerful.

  4. Thus the only adequate source of such designed features as our noses being pointed down so that we wouldn’t drown from rain is God.

And now for the problems with such reasoning. Before continuing I would like to acknowledge that the ID movement does not insist that the ‘designer’ be infinite in anything, only that he be ‘intelligent’ in some form. However, this has not prevented most who adopt ID from accepting the infinite nature of the designer regardless. While most of these criticisms will apply to a finite designer as well, many will only apply to an infinite one. Like I said, it is the theological use of ID which I am principally concerned with.

  1. The argument from designer violates Ockham’s razor, the principle of parsimony. It engages in serious explanatory overkill. While it may seem more natural to posit a designer, thanks to modern evolutionary theory, we really don’t need to. Without the principle of parsimony, no explanation which covers the appearances is any better than any other which also does. Jesse Prinz’s “theory” that birds are robots, which melt when they burn, were created by mad scientists from another planet and fly because they hang from ultra thin threads connected to spaceships that orbit the earth is just as good as the theory that they are animals which descended from dinosaurs that do not gestate their young. Without parsimony, these two theories are equally good. This argues strongly against (3).

  2. Design need not come from above. In fact, it should not. If design can only be bestowed by an more-designed-Designer then we will have to explain how that more-designed-Designer got to be so designed in terms of an even-more-designed-Designer and so on ad infinitum. Thus, our explanation is heading in the wrong direction. This also argues against (3).

  3. The entire argument depends upon the ability to infer certain characteristics about a cause from its effects. Such reasoning is incredibly unreliable. Are we supposed to be able to infer the properties of salt by the taste which is gives French fries? Such reasoning would never in a million years allow us to conclude that salt is composed of the metal sodium and the poisonous gas, chlorine. Again, this goes against (3).

  4. Closely related, how in the world can anybody reasonably infer from finite effects that the cause must have been infinite? This is not just a case of going beyond what is necessary, but is in fact a case of going against reason to establish a desired conclusion. Hume put it best in his “Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion” where he asks if the designer could not have been stupid, or wicked, or a committee or simply vastly-but-not-infinitely powerful. All of these possibilities are actually MORE reasonable given the appearances which must be accounted for than is the all-wise, all-loving conclusion. This is a brutal blow against (4).

  5. The argument from design engages is HIGHLY biased data selection. Sure, when flowers are blooming and suns are setting its easy to be caught up in the awe of it all. But what about when tsunamis and hurricanes hit? What about famine and disease? What about birth defects? What about the obvious injustice of the wicked prospering while the righteous dwindle in utter poverty? What about all the horrible our simply stupid cases of design we observe in the biological world? If these imply a Designer then it must be a relatively stupid or malevolent one. This works strongly against (3). (It should be also kept in mind that we simply can’t say “well, we simply don’t know about these cases” because if such is the case, then we really don’t know about any of the cases and we shouldn’t be using the argument from design at all.)

  6. The problem is that most IDers believe that EVERYTHING, not just some things, shows design. God, sorry, the Designer designed everything including the rocks. This undermines (1).

  7. Issue is not simply one of design vs. non-design. Instead, follow Michael Ruse, the issue would be better phrased as an issue of chaos vs. complexity vs. design. It is not so easy to distinguish chaos from complexity or complexity from design as it is chaos from design and Paley does us a great disservice by ignoring this point. This also works against (1).

  8. Consequently, thumbs, while they may resemble clocks more than rocks, do not really resemble either very well. Nobody has ever seen a rock come into existence, loosely speaking. Lots of people have seen how clocks come into existence, namely by a clock-maker. Lots of people have also seen how thumbs, eyes and noses come into existence, namely by the birth of an organism. This final example shows how biological entities cannot be considered to be rocks or clocks, not by a long shot. This seriously undermines (2).

  9. The argument from design attempts to show that since biological phenomena are not chaos then they must be design, but such is not the case. Biological phenomena, as we have seen, do not suitably fall into the same categories as rocks or designed artifacts. Instead they are something different from both categories and Darwin proposed what is so far the only suitable mechanism for this third category “complexity.” Inheritance of information by birth simply cannot be equated with design, nor does it imply it at all. This too speaks against (2).

  10. Darwinian evolution (which is uncontroversially true to at least some extent) suggests that the equivalent of upside-down happens all the time. The appearances are equally compatible with the proposition that some individuals, in the beginning, were created with upside-down noses, but those people all drown some time in the past, leaves us “right-side-upers” to marvel at the benevolence of the creator. This, however, tells us more about us than the creator. It cannot be emphasized enough that this is uncontroversially true to some extent. (3) is again under attack.

  11. Finally, and a little off topic, the argument from design to the existence of God, rather than a mere designer, simply does not work. Just because some entity designed this world and even us is no reason whatsoever to suppose that this Designer is deserving or desiring of worship. Of course this argument against (4) only goes to show the underlying motives which trump the inadequate reason involved in ID reasoning.

For all of these reasons, which are in addition to the typical scientific objections, perhaps it is time we all got off the ID train.


The Relevance to Evolution of Brigham’s Science-friendly Statements

Jared has a nice post on the changing publication history of a very interesting quote from Brigham Young, and Jeffrey and Clark give some other interesting statements of Brigham’s. No question it’s gratifying to perceive support for one’s own sympathies for science in general, and interpretational flexibility of Genesis in particular, from someone of Brigham's stature; but there are some reasons for enthusiasts of naturalistic evolution to not to get too excited.

First, Clark italicizes a statement that, taken out of the context of the totality of Brigham’s thought, seems open to evolution; but Brigham surely did not intend it as such. In saying “Our spirits are His: He begot them. We are His children; He set the machine in motion to produce our tabernacles,” the ‘setting in motion’ Brigham had in mind could only have been the initial procreation by divine beings of the first parents of the human race, and not the initiation of naturalistic evolution by the creation of rudimentary single-celled (or even sub-cellular) life.

Second, the full statement Clark cited has potentially conflicting ideas on God being subject to natural law and God decreeing natural law, and also gives some ammunition to Intelligent Design advocates. Says Brigham,
But it is hard to get the people to believe that God is a scientific character, that He lives by science or strict law, that by this He is, and by law he was made what He is; and will remain to all eternity because of His faithful adherence to law.
So far, so good; sounds like God as Engineer. But then he immediately says
It is a most difficult thing to make the people believe that every art and science and all wisdom comes from Him, and that He is their Author. … It is strange that scientific men do not realize that, all they know is derived from Him; to suppose, or to foster the idea for one moment, that they are the originators of the wisdom they possess is folly in the highest!
Here Brigham is either not recognizing a distinction between God as Engineer and God as First Cause, or is at least denying man’s ability to discover the regularities of nature through the scientific method without divine inspiration. Finally, a general teleological argument:
As for ignoring the principle of the existence of a Supreme Being, I would as soon ignore the idea that this house came into existence without the agency of intelligent beings.
For more on the distinction between God as First Cause and God as Engineer, and the styles of arguments from design they respectively inspire, see this post.

Finally, with regard to the ultimate relevance of Jared’s well-done and much-appreciated detective work: when it comes to what people and organizations take as religious doctrine, older and original are not always deemed more true. In fact, the opposite may be true. (This is contrary—not inappropriately, for science of course, and perhaps also for a religion with acknowledged infallible authorities and an open canon—to the usual values historians deploy in plying their craft.) We applaud Brigham for applying this principle in recognizing the limitations of the creation account in Genesis, by taking account of what we ‘know’ today—either by science or revelation/inspiration—that previous prophets did not. However, this freedom to set aside older statements is a two-edged sword: we may be less excited about the contemporary Church availing itself of this principle in selecting for current consumption only the portions of Brigham’s statements that are today considered good doctrine by the current presiding authorities.



Elder Boyd K. Packer on Evolution

Elder Boyd K. Packer has commented on evolution on a number of occasions. Below I provide relevant excerpts from all of the talks that I am aware of where he makes reference to evolution either explicitly, or where it could reasonbly be inferred. Most of the talks were given in General Conference--a few were given at BYU. As an exception, I do not provide any text from "The Law and the Light," because the whole talk is dedicated to the topic. A link is provided instead.

For the most part, Elder Packer's talks really seem less to do with evolution than with morality. The recurring theme of his comments is that we are not merely animals, but children of God with divine potential and are governed by moral laws. Many of Elder Packer's statements are actually directed toward a certain philosophy, not science itself. Unfortunately, the average reader may not realize the distinction.

"The Law and the Light" deserves a post of its own, but for now a summary must suffice. This talk makes clear that Elder Packer views the application of evolution to humans as false, yet he also seems to reject the label of "creationist." He declares that he does not know how the creation (including that of man) was accomplished or how long it took. He also leaves the door open for the application of evolutionary theory to animals. Furthermore, he encourages scientific study.
"No Latter-day Saint should be hesitant to pursue any true science as a career, a hobby, or an interest, or to accept any truth established through those means of discovery. Nor need one become a scientist at the expense of being a Latter-day Saint of faith and spiritual maturity."
Again in this talk, discussion of evolution is overshadowed by the reaffirmation of basic gospel truths, especially the existence of conscience and moral law.

Excerpts from Elder Packer's talks are easily used as blunt instruments which may polarize rather than persuade. When given additional context and taken as a whole, I think they allow for more latitude than is initially apparent. If they are approached with an acceptance and belief in God, the Atonement, moral law, and accountability, the tension with science largely (though not entirely) dissolves. Instead of attacks on evolution the statements become testimonies of spritual and moral truths, and a caution against adopting a certain philosophy based on, but not actually a part of, science.

Elder Packer desires that "there be no “evolutionists” nor “creationists” nor any manner of “ists”; just seekers after truth" (4). Although disagreements are bound to occur, this statement suggests that discussion ought to proceed without insult to either intellect or testimony.



1. Nov 1984, The Pattern of Our Parentage. (Note that in #4 Elder Packer appears to be more open to the evolution of animals.)

"No lesson is more manifest in nature than that all living things do as the Lord commanded in the Creation. They reproduce “after their own kind.” (See Moses 2:12, 24.) They follow the pattern of their parentage. Everyone knows that; every four-year-old knows that! A bird will not become an animal nor a fish. A mammal will not beget reptiles, nor “do men gather … figs of thistles.” (Matt. 7:16.)

In the countless billions of opportunities in the reproduction of living things, one kind does not beget another. If a species ever does cross, the offspring cannot reproduce. The pattern for all life is the pattern of the parentage.

This is demonstrated in so many obvious ways, even an ordinary mind should understand it. Surely no one with reverence for God could believe that His children evolved from slime or from reptiles. (Although one can easily imagine that those who accept the theory of evolution don’t show much enthusiasm for genealogical research!) The theory of evolution, and it is a theory, will have an entirely different dimension when the workings of God in creation are fully revealed.

Since every living thing follows the pattern of its parentage, are we to suppose that God had some other strange pattern in mind for His offspring? Surely we, His children, are not, in the language of science, a different species than He is?"

2. Nov 1986, Little Children

"This secular doctrine holds that man is not a child of God, but basically an animal, his behavior inescapably controlled by natural impulse, exempt from moral judgments and unaccountable for moral conduct. While many claim that this philosophy could not, in the end, lead mankind to relaxed moral behavior, something causes it! Is it accidental that the more widely such secular doctrines are believed, the more prevalent immoral behavior becomes?

They defend their philosophy with collected data and say, “It is now proven to be true. Look at all the evidence on our side.”

We in turn point to the sorry way in which mankind degrades procreation and the attendant suffering of both children and adults and say, “Look at all the evidence on our side.”

Secular doctrines have the advantage of convincing, tangible evidence. We seem to do better in gathering data on things that can be counted and measured. Doctrines which originate in the light, on the other hand, are more often supported by intangible impressions upon the spirit. We are left for the most part to rely on faith. But, in time, the consequences of following either will become visible enough."

3. May 1988, Atonement, Agency, Accountability

"We are taught in Genesis, in Moses, in Abraham, in the Book of Mormon, and in the endowment that man’s mortal body was made in the image of God in a separate creation. Had the Creation come in a different way, there could have been no Fall. If men were merely animals, then logic favors freedom without accountability.

How well I know that among learned men are those who look down at animals and stones to find the origin of man. They do not look inside themselves to find the spirit there. They train themselves to measure things by time, by thousands and by millions, and say these animals called men all came by chance. And this they are free to do, for agency is theirs.

But agency is ours as well. We look up, and in the universe we see the handiwork of God and measure things by epochs, by eons, by dispensations, by eternities. The many things we do not know we take on faith.

But this we know! It was all planned before the world was. Events from the Creation to the final, winding-up scene are not based on chance; they are based on choice! It was planned that way.

This we know! This simple truth! Had there been no Creation, no Fall, there should have been no need for any Atonement, neither a Redeemer to mediate for us. Then Christ need not have been."

4. Oct 1988, The Law and the Light, published in 1990 in Jacob through Words of Mormon: To Learn with Joy.

5. Nov 1990, Covenants

"Little do we realize what we have brought upon ourselves when we have allowed our children to be taught that man is only an advanced animal. We have compounded the mistake by neglecting to teach moral and spiritual values. Moral laws do not apply to animals for they have no agency. Where there is agency, where there is choice, moral laws must apply. We cannot, absolutely cannot, have it both ways.

When our youth are taught that they are but animals, they feel free, even compelled, to respond to every urge and impulse. We should not be so puzzled at what is happening to society. We have sown the wind, and now we inherit the whirlwind. The chickens, so the saying goes, are now coming home to roost."

6. March 1992, "The Fountain of Life," 18-Stake BYU fireside, published in Things of the Soul. (Note the similarity to #7.)

"The knowledge that we are the children of God is a refining, even an exalting truth. On the other hand, no idea has been more destructive of happiness, no philosophy has produced more sorrow, more heartbreak, more suffering and mischief, no idea has contributed more to the erosion of the family than the idea that we are not the offspring of God, but only advanced animals. There flows from that idea the not too subtle perception that we are compelled to yield to every carnal urge, are subject to physical but not to moral law.

The man-from-animal theory has been passed about enough to be pronounced true on the basis of general acceptance. Because it seems to offer logical explanations for some things, it is widely taught and generally accepted as the solution to the mystery of life.

I know there are two views on the subject. But it is one thing to measure this theory soley against intellectual or academic standards, quite another to measure it against moral or spiritual or doctrinal standards.

When the theory that man is the offspring of animals is planted in young minds, it should be accompanied by careful instruction to set it in isolation in the garden of the mind until faith is well rooted. Otherwise, seeds of doubt may spring up and choke out the seedling of faith, and the harvest will be bitter fruit and the giver will have served the wrong master."

7. May 1992, Our Moral Environment

"No idea has been more destructive of happiness, no philosophy has produced more sorrow, more heartbreak and mischief; no idea has done more to destroy the family than the idea that we are not the offspring of God, only advanced animals, compelled to yield to every carnal urge."

8. November 1993, "The Great Plan of Happiness and Personal Revelation," CES fireside, published in Things of the Soul. (Note the similarity to #4.)

"We may safely study and learn about the theories and philosophies of men, but if they contradict the plan of redemption, the great plan of happieniess, do not "buy into" them as truth. If you do, you may be putting a mortgage on your testimony, on your knowledge of premortal life, on the creation of man, on the Fall and the Atonement, on you Redeemer, the Resurrection, and exaltation; for "every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up" (Matthew 15:13).

If you "buy into" the philosophies of men, you may have your testimony repossesed. Your respect for moral law may go with it, and you will end up with nothing."



Two Classes of Argument from Design, Which Both Fail

In a recent post that took Alma’s encounter with Korihor as a springboard, my discussion of the possible evolution of Joseph’s views on the nature of God turned on the assumption that Alma’s argument from design points to a kind of God—which for convenience I will call God as First Cause—who is somehow outside the universe, and logically prior to its natural laws, and therefore the ultimate potentiator of the universe’s observed order. I mentioned parenthetically that it was debatable whether Alma’s argument took this form, and invited commenters to call me on it, but no one did. Hence I take it upon myself to clarify the matter by pointing out that there is a second type of teleological argument, and that it is not clear which Alma had in mind. Then I do that effort at clarification the dubious honor of rendering it moot on the larger issue: while it might make some difference for how we interpret the evolution of Joseph’s theology, when it comes to evidence for God it doesn’t really matter which type of argument Alma (or Joseph writing Alma) had in mind (or if he even thought carefully enough to distinguish them), because they both fail—leaving us, in the end, with the testimony of direct experience as the only potential evidence for God’s existence.

The version with God as First Cause takes the apparent messiness of nature as a starting point, and proceeds to the uncovering of simple laws that give rise to these complicated phenomena. It is then the simple underlying universal laws—rather than the complicated phenomena—that are taken to be the hidden manifestation of God’s wisdom. A possible example of this might be Kepler’s faith-shaking discovery that—horror of horrors!—planetary orbits are ugly ellipses with varying speed, rather than uniform circular motion pure and undefiled. Perhaps this result was rendered more palatable to some—which is to say, more consonant with alleged divine æsthetic sensibilities—by Newton’s derivation of a single set of beautiful laws to unify not only different kinds of orbits, but also terrestrial gravitational and projectile phenomena. Here, underlying the bewildering diversity of phenomena, was the hidden simplicity worthy of divine wisdom.

This argument is turned on its head in the other class of argument from design. In this version, simplicity is not the hallmark of God’s handiwork, but marvelous complexity. Simple laws are not the manifestation of the mind of God, since these alone can lead to meaninglessly messy behavior; the real genius is in the use of these laws—whether by setting up special initial conditions, or through more prolonged regulating interventions—to bring about his purposes. In this more organizational version of creation, instead of God as First Cause we have God as Engineer. (If it were not so unwieldy and inflammatory, we might also say God as Most Excellent Advanced Alien Technologist.)

This perspective of God as First Cause has a grave difficulty. What does it mean to say something outside the universe interacts with it? Considering God outside the universe seems to be nonsensical; the right thing to do is expand one’s definition of the universe to include everything that interacts with us, including God. Similar comments apply to alleged non-material entities like souls (or God himself): if it interacts with our physical bodies, it too ought to be defined as material. Moreover, on what basis could this God’s actions be judged good, or even be orderly, except by fidelity to some set of principles external to himself?

Mormons who believe in God as Engineer—a finite and embodied God within the universe, the nature of whose existence depends on laws and order bigger than him and beyond his control—can be justifiably proud of escaping the above-mentioned (and other) dilemmas presented by God as First Cause. They can also avoid a problem facing religionists who, in accepting something like Intelligent Design, believe in both God as First Cause and God as Engineer: If complex things like human bodies must be designed, and the designer is also a complex thing, then who designed the Designer? Even those Mormons disinclined to attribute the origin of humanity’s physical body to an infinite regression of physically procreating Gods can nevertheless hijack the basic concept and renovate it as an infinite regression of designers.

But God as Engineer faces another problem that not even Mormons can avoid: the reality that we have both theoretical and empirical examples of systems in which random initial conditions can give rise, without intelligent intervention, to ‘special’ outcomes that are both orderly and complicated. There are multiple mechanisms for this; I will mention two examples.

One class of order without intelligent intervention might be called ‘specialness amidst randomness,’ arising from the presence of a statistical ensemble with variations in properties. An example here is planetary systems, of which 150 or so have been detected since the first discovery about a decade ago. None of these systems have conditions similar to Earth suitable for life. It is almost certain that this results from a known observational selection effect, but observing the degree of variety we have so far, it is clear that fundamental natural laws are not sufficient to ensure that all planetary systems have suitable conditions like those of our solar system. But the point nevertheless remains that there are billions and billions of planetary systems out there, and given observationally plausible ranges of conditions, it would be surprising indeed if none of them had suitable conditions. Hence regardless of whether Alma means that divinely ordained fundamental laws on the one hand (God as First Cause) or divinely arranged initial conditions on the other (God as Engineer) are responsible for the “regular form” of our planetary system’s motions, he is dead wrong in asserting to Korihor that it constitutes an evidence of God’s existence.

A second class of order without intelligent intervention—which might be called ‘specialness from randomness’—is exemplified by nonlinear dynamical systems with ‘attractors,’ that is to say, systems that deterministically drive arbitrary initial conditions to one of a few special ‘final’ conditions (manifolds of bounded volume with smaller dimensionality than the entire dynamical phase space). Philosophically similar to this—if less mathematically clean—may be evolution, which in Darwin’s view involves the channeling and ratcheting, via natural selection, of arbitrary variations in species characteristics into certain obviously useful features: eyes, for instance, which I gather have been shown by genetic evidence to have independently evolved several times, by different paths from different initial conditions, to functionally similar ‘attracting’ final states.

Does Alma’s argument from design refer to God as First Cause or God as Engineer? The fact that it is more offhand reference than sustained argument means that it’s difficult to say—and difficult even to tell if Alma (or his creator) had thought carefully about it at the time the statement was authored. Alma’s statement has two parts: a general reference to “all things,” and a more specific reference to the regular motion of our planets. Each part could arguably be motivated by either of the two styles, though I tend to think the first reference to “all things” sounds more like God as First Cause, and the second to planets in their “regular form” like God as Engineer. (Note that in arguing for an evolution of Joseph’s conception of God I deftly combined the two parts to slant interpretation of the combined argument towards “God as First Cause.”)

However the conclusion is that neither style of teleological argument from design for God’s existence holds water. To make an analogy admittedly more poetic than strictly accurate, the fact that certain texts are attributed to, say, Aaron B. Cox is not sufficient to establish Mr. Cox's existence. And works alleged by some to depend on God’s intervention—like the creation of Earth and life upon it, or the Book of Mormon—may be similarly pseudepigraphic. (The analogy is deficient because, having observed that most texts arise from human authors, it is most likely that texts attributed to Mr. Cox were also written by some human. But since we have no clear examples of intelligent minds creating either individual organisms or large-scale biospheres, no ‘watchmaker’ argument can be made remotely rigorous, and every example of ‘specialness from randomness’ renders such less necessary—and perhaps, in combination with observations of biological deficiencies and exaptations, less plausible as well.)

Hence scriptural statements connecting God with creation cannot be understood as arguments for his existence. Given other reasons to believe in him—presumably, direct experience with him or his heavenly messengers—such scriptural statements then, and only then, may tell us something about the nature of our relationship to him, and perhaps also something about his and our natures. To the extent Joseph is responsible for the content of the Lectures on Faith, he deserves credit for reflecting this perspective. And to Alma’s credit, his rebuttal to Korihor started off well, with reference to the testimonies of the prophets and other saints; it’s just that that’s where he should’ve stopped!


Response to God and science

Since Geoff B mentioned me by name, I feel inclined to respond. Statements from his post are in italics, and my responses follow.

As an example of how God might fit into scientific articles, consider articles about the origin of life on earth. There could be a whole array of scientific hypotheses put forward, all of which could lead to scientific tests, especially in the field of genetics.

As I look over Pratt’s list that follows this statement they all seem, contrary to what Pratt says, either untestable at present with little hope for future testability, barring God’s detailed and public disclosure of his role (b through d, g and h); or falsified, with regard to organisms’ physical bodies (e and f).

A refusal by the scientific world to accept God in any of its respected experiments these days makes for incomplete studies and false science.

Science does not include God in its hypotheses because no one has discovered indications of his actions that are sufficiently precise, testable, and publicly shareable to be amenable to the methodology of science. The range of questions that can be addressed by science is obviously limited (though it has grown steadily over time), and in this respect science is certainly “incomplete.” But that in no way makes it “false.”

As any student of the history of science will know, Sir Isaac Newton and even Einstein accepted the existence of a Creator.

Neither man accepted an anthropomorphic, embodied God. I think for Newton, infinite and absolute space and time (that is, the entire ‘stage’ on which everything plays out) were essential aspects of God’s very being. As far as Einstein goes, one quote I quickly found through Google put it this way:
He rejected the conventional image of God as a personal being, concerned about our individual lives, judging us when we die, intervening in the laws he himself had created to cause miracles, answer prayers and so on. Einstein did not believe in a soul separate from the body, nor in an afterlife of any kind…

…he was also struck by the radiant beauty, the harmony, the structure of the universe as it was accessible to reason and science…

…it seems likely that he believed in a God who was identical to the universe—similar to the God of Spinoza. [!] A God whose rational nature was expressed in the universe, or a God who was identified with the universe and its laws taken together.
I don’t think Mormons can really look to either of these guys for support in specific theology, or that creationists of any stripe can point to them in support of their perverse notions of science pedagogy. That they had interests and perspectives that included things beyond science is a good example for all of us, but says nothing about what should be in science classes—which, after all, is only one slice of life. Ironically, by insisting on including God in science classes, creationists may have already given in or sold out: they shoot themselves in the foot by implicitly conceding and adopting the point of view that the scientific method is the only path to knowledge, insight, happiness, and so on.

Do they honestly believe that the study of science in a Millennial world will be the same as it is now?

If there is open communion with the heavens in a Millenial world then yes, the range of questions addressable by science will be expanded, because there will then be precise, testable, and publicly shareable indications about God’s nature and his past and current involvement with Earth and humanity.

And, lastly, if science classes are incomplete without factoring in the “God factor” in their experiments, isn't there room for at least bringing that up in evolution or astronomy classes?

I think science classes should reflect the content and methods of mainstream professional science, with protracted discussions of its limitations and alternative putative ways of knowing left to other areas of the curriculum (philosophy, “Guidance” class as they call one subject in our local district, etc.), and to other venues (churches, books, blogs, seminars by charismatic circuit tour speakers…)

In this connection I am against the inclusion of so-called ‘teach the controversy’ approaches involving Intelligent Design in science classes, because this does not reflect mainstream science. However such discussions may have a useful place in classes on philosophy, social studies, science and society, etc.

Having said that, I do not think claims should be overstated in science classes, and I do not think all subjects should be taught at all levels, and this leads me to a particular kind of science pedagogy I think should prevail. What belongs in science classes are tested hypotheses for which the students are capable of understanding the nature of the tests. Because I think science classes should leave students with a ‘feel’ for the practice of science, even more than filling their brains with specific facts, I think it would be poor science pedagogy to present even well-established conclusions of professional scientists at a point before students can have some understanding of how those conclusions were arrived at. This approach would, to some extent at least, both allow and teach students to evaluate evidence for themselves. Adherence to this approach would also serve as a prophylactic against the temptation to bandy about the latest and greatest hypotheses at the margins of knowledge before they are tested—as often happens in the media—which often leads to the unfortunate false impression that science is continually overturning itself, when in fact there is steady accumulation of well-established facts and ‘laws,’ and new theories reduce to well-established old ones in the limited conditions addressed by the old theories.

[This is cross-posted from The Spinozist Mormon. Please go to the original post to comment.]


Do all things denote there is a God?

Suggesting a resonance with the Intelligent Design approach to biology, Matt Evans mentions Alma’s teleological argument to Korihor in Alma 30: the observed order, or “regular form,” of “all things” shows there is a God. There are questions, however, as to whether Alma’s argument is consistent with Joseph Smith’s mature views on the nature of God, and also with the ancient Hebrew worldview from which Nephite culture sprang.

Is God (a) somehow outside the universe and responsible for its laws and its order, or (b) a finite and embodied being within the universe, the nature of whose existence depends on laws and order bigger than him and beyond his control?

I think most Mormons would say Joseph believed (b) during the Nauvoo era. But an early (I think the 1832) account of the First Vision, in which he marveled at the heavens in language somewhat like Alma’s—and also language in D&C 88—may suggest he believed something more like (a) in his earlier years. It would not be surprising if Joseph had been exposed to teleological arguments in, for example, the youth debating club he participated in, mentioned by Richard Bushman in his books on Joseph.

To the extent Alma’s statement represents (a) (this may be debatable—I leave it for commenters to explain why), how to account for its difference from and possible incompatibility, or at least tension, with (b)? One possibility is that Alma did not know as much as Joseph Smith about the nature of God and eternity. This seems plausible; we know from Alma’s teachings to Corianton that Alma did not know as much about the afterlife as Joseph came to know. But a second possibility is that Joseph is the true author of Alma’s argument, and that it therefore reflects Joseph’s early beliefs rather than those of ancient prophet. (Similarly, in this scenario Alma’s hazy picture of the afterlife could be a reflection of Joseph’s haziness on the matter prior to the reception of D&C 76.)

A reason to prefer the theory that Joseph is the source of the Alma’s teleological argument can be derived from a recent post by Jim F. by way of background on the Old Testament. (The responsibility for this use of Jim’s post is mine; he may well not endorse the argument I make here.) Jim describes the very different way ancient Hebrews wrote history: the existence of God and his action in the world was a universal assumption brought to both the writing and the reading of literature, to the extent that to write a meaningful history was to describe God’s involvement in the events of the world. An argument like Alma’s seems completely out of place in such a narrative tradition, in which God’s existence is not something to be argued for, but instead is an unconscicous necessity before a text can even be meaningful. Alma’s argument is much more comfortably situated as a typical believing response, characteristic of Joseph Smith’s era, to issues raised by the Enlightenment.

As a parting comment, I note that Joseph’s mature Mormonism, embracing (b), seems in important ways to be philosophically much closer to atheism than traditional Christianity, which embraces (a). This may be a reason why Mormons imbued with (b) who leave Mormonism tend to become atheist or agnostic rather than active in a denomination of traditional Christianity.

[This is cross-posted from The Spinozist Mormon. Please go to the original post to comment.]



Origin of the Origin of Man

1909 marked the centennial of Charles Darwin's birth and the semicentennial of the publication of Origin of Species. According to Gary James Bergera,
Seven months after the Darwin centennial, and perhaps in response to questions raised during the Darwin celebration [apparently at BYU - M&E], the First Presidency of the LDS church, consisting of life-long Mormon official Joseph F. Smith and counselors John R. Winder and Anthon H. Lund, asked Apostle Orson F. Whitney to draft an official statement on the "origin of the physical man." A special committee of apostles corrected Whitney's text, which was then read to the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles, was "sanctioned by them" as "the official position of the church," and appeared in the November 1909 issue of the official Improvement Era.
James Talmage, not yet an apostle, was also involved in the drafting of the statement.

Interestingly, the 1909 statement draws on an article previously written by Orson F. Whitney and published in the Contributor in 1882. (Contributor, vol. 3 (October 1881-September 1882) June, 1882. No. 9.) In that article, Whitney discussed the absurdity of both evolution and creation ex nihilo. The end of the article is quite similar to the end of the 1909 statement.

Below I have formatted the passage to show the changes made to the 1882 paragraph.

"[The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims] [m]an is [to be] the direct [and lineal] offspring of Deity, of a being who is the Begetter of his spirit in the eternal worlds, and the Architect of his mortal tabernacle in this. God himself is an exalted man, possessing body, parts and passions, refined and developed to the highest state of perfection [perfected, enthroned, and supreme]. [By His almighty power] He organized the world [earth] and all that it contains, from matter; from ever-living spirit and everlasting element, which exist co-eternally with [H]imself. He formed every plant that grows and every animal that breathes, each after the image of its own kind, and determined the fixity of their respective species. [spiritually and temporally--"that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal, and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual."] He made the tadpole and the ape, the lion and the elephant,; but He did not make them in His own image, nor endow them with godlike reason and intelligence. Monkeys are the offspring of monkeys, and have been from time immemorial. Hybrids may appear, but they are without the power to propagate. There is no instance on record where a baboon ever evolved into a human being, and science in attempting to unearth a "missing link" which it is claimed will connect mankind with monkeykind, is like a blind man hunting through a haystack to find a needle which isn't there. [Nevertheless, the whole animal creation will be perfected and perpetuated in the Hereafter, each class in its "distinct order or sphere," and will enjoy "eternal felicity." That fact has been made plain in this dispensation (Doctrine and Covenants, 77:3).]

[new paragraph]For [M]an is the child of God, fashioned in His [formed in the divine] image and endowed with His [divine] attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father [and mother] is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable in due time of becoming[, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into] a God."



Intelligent Design and Theistic Evolution

While some theories may be backed by what appears to be science, this does not in any way make that theory itself scientific.  Take for instance global warming.  This theory is backed by huge amounts of research with numerous lines of evidence converging upon the same conclusion.  Nevertheless, “global warming” is not a scientific theory or model by any means, it is a political movement.  The same can be said for the modern Intelligent Design (ID) movement.

While I shall leave the discussion of why this is so for another time, I would like to dedicate the rest of this post to clarifying what other wise seem to be the rather blurry lines which separate ID, formerly known a scientific creationism, from both Theistic Evolution (TE) and Evolutionary Creationism (EC).  Many, in fact most, assume that these three models (not scientific models mind you) are basically the same thing or at minimum have a good deal of overlap with each other.  I will attempt to show that while these models do have their similarities and points of contact with each other, they are actually quite distinct from one another.

The reason for the confusion lies in the belief that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  In other words, since I believe in a Creator God and a fully naturalistic version of Neo-Darwinism denies such, anybody who disagrees with such a model must be on my side.  Accordingly, essentially every flavor of creationist has jumped on the ID band wagon, oft times without so much as asking themselves what it is that ID allows and rejects.  

ID, as it presented by Michael Behe and company does not allow for a young earth.  Nor does it hold out for a separate creation of species, including that of humans.  In fact, I can’t think of a single system or organ which is claimed to have been intelligently designed which is unique to humans.  Nor does the theory deny that natural selection as a process does have a significant amount of creative power.  It simply points out that some unspecified organs or systems could not have been produced without intelligent foresight.  That’s it. All these points should make ID supporters far more nervous than they seem to be.  

Thus, all young earth creationists cannot wave the banner of ID.  Nor can anybody who insists upon holding out for special and separate creations of species.  This, I assume, covers at least half of those who are so vigilant in their political activism in this matter.  Of course these discrepancies tend not to bother these people in so much as they are happy to have the mere mention of a Creator (Intelligent Designer? C’mon.) in the account of creation.  While they might not accept all of ID, they at least consider it a step in the right direction.

Here I simply can’t help but sidetrack and ask if this really sounds like science to anybody at all.  Parties putting forth preconceived theories without any appeal to falsifiable evidence which can distinguish them from any others and in the end reaching a tentative compromise in order to promote what are common in their different agendas?  People supporting supposedly scientific models based not on what the theory says itself but on what it says against another model?  People voting on what is science?  Politicians’ opinions serving as a substitute for the scientific method?  When was the last time anybody ever saw a debate in a physics, chemistry or biology class?  Contrary to popular opinion, the debate is being taught… to grad students and those who are well informed enough to have informed opinions on the matter.  What kind of class “teaches the debate” in high school?  A humanities class, that’s what kind.  The same kinds of classes that the politicians and lawyers, but not the scientists are accustomed to. But I have digressed.

Having shown how ID differs from the less sophisticated versions of creationism, we should also proceed to show how it differs from other more scientific versions of creationism.  Theistic Evolution maintains that evolution is “the pen which God used to write the book of life” so to speak.  It comes in two varieties.  First, Deistic Evolution (DE) states that God created the world and its laws knowing what would evolve and therefore had no reason to ever interfere with the process of creation.  The other version is that of Evolutionary Creationism which holds that God somehow guided evolution in some undisclosed way.  Both versions accept what ID denies, namely macroevolution.

Part of the appeal which TE offers to the scientific mind is that it makes no claims whatsoever to actually being science.  It offers no theories whatsoever as to how, where or when divine intervention played a role in the creative process.  It simply accepts that it did on simple, unpretentious faith.  But again I have digressed somewhat.

The differences between both forms of TE and ID should not be trivialized.  ID does not accept macroevolution, namely the idea that natural selection along with other purely naturalistic mechanisms could have possibly been responsible for the wide diversity of highly complex life which we now observe. The very idea of ID is that at some time an Intelligence came along and designed something. This is not natural selection, self-organizing complexity or any form of evolution at all which, be it theistic or non-theistic is defined as the accumulation of design through the (differential) replication of living entities.  Coagulation, flagella and the immune system, for example, didn’t evolve into existence at all, but were instead designed all at once.

Either something is designed by an Intelligence or not. I while back at Times and Seasons Glen Henshaw posted on evolutionary algorithms and their use in creating new designs in software programs and the like. This process is very akin to EC in a number of ways.  While the designers did design the computer algorithms they used as well as control the selective pressures, they did not design the products of that process.  Naturally if any person is to receive credit for having designed the products it would definitely be those programmers.  The real credit, however, belongs not with the programmers’ creative genius, but with the creative power of the entirely mindless algorithms themselves.  The programmers simply took advantage of this vast creative power and used it to their own advantage.

To give the designers the full credit for the resulting designs would be to miss the entire point of evolution by natural selection.  One of Darwin’s earliest critics understood this perfectly well when he shrieked:
“In the theory with which we have to deal, Absolute Ignorance is the artificer; so that we may enunciate as the fundamental principle of the whole system, that, in order to make a perfect and beautiful machine, it is not requisite to know how to make it... This proposition will be found…to express in a few words all Mr. Darwin's meaning; who, by a strange inversion of reasoning, seems to think Absolute Ignorance fully qualified to take the place of Absolute Wisdom in all the achievements of creative skill.”


The differences between this and ID should be clear.  Had the engineers been intelligent designers they would have simply built the end product themselves rather than letting a long, wasteful and cumbersome process work on it for a while.  Had they intelligently designed the end product, then they would have indeed deserved full credit for the creative process, but they didn’t so they weren’t.  

Like DE, they didn’t directly create the end product, but rather the process by which that product, whatever it would turn out to be, would be created by nobody but the processes itself.  This, however, isn’t really giving the engineers their full due, for they did, presumably, supervise the process and guide it according to their tastes by a manipulation of selective pressures and variability.  Their roles were much more analogous to EC.  Nevertheless, they still did not directly create the end product and still do not deserve as much credit as if they had directly designed the end product by themselves.

Despite these similarities, there are, however, a number of differences which should not be overlooked.  In the case of the engineers survival and replication are artificially defined according to their particular tastes, desires and goals.  However in biological evolution survival and replication are in fact intrinsically self-defined.  Whereas the engineers defined the ability to survive and reproduce according to performance some particular faculty, surviving long enough to reproduce in biological systems is not defined by actually surviving long enough to reproduce.  Thus, it would seem that in this very important aspect, the User of the biological evolutionary algorithm could design nothing but creations which are good at surviving and reproducing, something which is done by all living organisms, irrespective of cognitive capability or Whose “image” they come in.

Other ways could be conjured up as to how God could have guided this evolutionary process though.  He could have some how protected from harm those organisms which He saw had mutations which, although not contributing to their genetic fitness, did contribute to His own definition of fitness.  He could have also negatively selected mutations which although increase genetic fitness, were contrary to His particular definition of fitness at that particular time.  This, however, would appear to be a serious uphill battle.  One would also have to wonder why, if He knew what was good or bad, didn’t He simply design it according to ID?

This is an important point worth mentioning and giving more thought to.  The reason why the engineers in our example used those mindless algorithms to discover those wonderful designs was because they didn't know what that design would eventually be. If they had known what that optimal design was beforehand, they simply would have intelligently designed it that way rather than taking the long and wasteful route.  One wonders how this point applies to a EC devoid of all intelligent design as I have defined it. If the Designer knew the design then why waste so much time, energy and life in taking the long route? Why take the longer and more exploratory route if no exploration was necessary? The ID answer is that He (to one degree or another) didn't. The evolutionary creationist, on the other hand, doesn't really have much of an answer.

The other way in which God could have guided the evolutionary process is by influencing the mutations in organisms as well as the variation within the populations making them less than random.  Of course, this starts to look an awful lot like full blown ID.  ID, as far as I can tell, does accept that while the irreducibly complex features we now observe could not have come about by natural selection, they do arise within the embryonic development of each organism in a purely naturalistic manner.  Thus, their design wouldn’t amount to building a system as much as simply tinkering with the genetic sequence with a specific goal in mind.  Is this really all that different from what TE is suggesting?

A few comments are in order.  First, if that is the form of design which ID promotes then they really need to abandon any hope of special creation, for this mechanism has common descent written all over it.  This, as we have already seen, should come as no surprise since Behe himself has already acknowledged this.Second, the manner in which "irreducibly complex" systems can arise due to simply manipulations in the genetic sequence actually works against ID attacks on evolution. They are quite fond of quoting Darwin's admission that gradualism is necessary, but here is exactly where Darwin's ignorance regarding genetics plays a crucial role. Modern Neo-Darwinism doesn't necessarily hold out for gradual change in the phenotype as much as it does for gradualness in the change of the genotype, and even then there are some important qualifications which have recently come to light.  The gradualism which ID attacks is no longer a strict prerequisite as it once was. Thus, ID simply must hold out for changes in the genetic sequence which are virtually impossible without some intelligent "help" for their "theory" to have any meaning whatsoever. And this is where the separation between ID and EC comes in. God's causing or influencing particular mutations in the genome would, I suggest, count as EC if the change COULD have come from entirely naturalistic causes, whether it actually did or not. Such mutations would count as ID if they could not have possibly been the effect of "random" mutations and this by their own definition.Thus the EC should be careful to not get too greedy and/or specific in his claims that God influence mutations and/or variation or else he might find himself in the ID camp after all.  The difference between EC and strict ID (a long earth creationism, complete with common descent and microevolution) is one of degree rather than kind, for the possible/impossible divide as to whether a mutation could have arisen by itself is blurry at best.
This then serves as a sufficient test as to whether somebody rejects the ID movement for pragmatic reasons or due to its falsity. Those who reject ID due to its falsity don't think that there are any mutations which COULD NOT POSSIBLY have been entirely blind and naturalistic. Those who reject the ID movement for pragmatic reasons think that there just might be some mutations which really couldn't have been random and therefore do require an Intelligence Designer.  “It’s just,” they claim, “that we probably won't ever be able to find any such mutation events with any degree of surety.  Therefore it is best that we leave that explanation out of science altogether for it is only by assigning naturalistic explanations to all we can that the exceptions will be revealed.”

ID says that those mindless algorithms aren't powerful enough to have done the work we now observe.  Therefore the design which we see now is not a product of indirect design through the tool of blind forces, but is instead the products of direct design. That is why it is "intelligent" rather than "blind."  Thus, either design came directly from God as ID claims or it came, at best, indirectly from God as EC suggests. It can't be both. If we accept any breaks at all in the genealogical lines of accumulated design then we have at that very moment left evolution altogether and are now in ID land.



Joseph F. Smith: A Tale of Two Letters Pt. 2

The same month (April 1911) that Joseph F. Smith's editorial appeared in the Improvement Era, he published a separate editorial in the Juvenile Instructor. Although similar to its companion, the JI article contains some interesting statements.

It comes as no suprise that President Smith viewed evolution as "more or less a fallacy." Nevertheless, he characterized our relationship to our Creator as defined by revelation to a "very limited degree." He further made these significant statements:
In reaching the conclusion that evolution would be best left out of discussions in our Church schools we are deciding a question of propriety and are not undertaking to say how much of evolution is true, or how much is false...

The Church itself has no philosophy about the modus operandi employed by the Lord in His creation of the world...
Part of President Smith's motivation for the action he took was a desire to keep the gospel simple--something that both schooled and unschooled could understand and appreciate. He thought that a better use of biological instruction was to focus on practical issues like pest control.

Commenting on this editoral, Trent Stephens and Jeffery Meldrum write:
A lot has changed since 1911...We now know that managing insects requires a knowledge of their life cycles, chemistry, genetics, and evolution.

...the decision to avoid teaching evolution in the church schools was abandoned at least by the fall of 1971, when a formal class in evolution was instituted at BYU [with General Authority approval, M&E]...It has been the case for many years that all the biology classes at BYU teach evolution as the foundation of the discipline... (Evolution and Mormonism: A Quest for Understanding, p. 41)

Again, it is interesting to note that President Smith did not make reference to the 1909 statement. Nevertheless it seems appropriate to suggest that these two editorials illuminate Joseph F. Smith's thinking on evolution, and that they should be kept in mind when interpreting "The Origin of Man."

The Juvenile Instructor editorial is reproduced below. The text is taken from Eyring-L.


Philosophy and the Church Schools.

Some questions have arisen about the attitude of the Church on certain discussions of philosophy in the Church schools. Philosophical discussions as we understand them, are open questions about which men of science are very greatly at variance. As a rule we do not think it advisable to dwell on questions that are in controversy, and especially questions of a certain character, in the courses of instruction given by our institutions. In the first place it is the mission of our institutions of learning to qualify our young people for the practical duties of life. It is much to be preferred that they emphasize the industrial and practical side of education. Students are very apt to draw the conclusion that whichever side of a controversial question they adopt is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and it is very doubtful therefore, whether the great mass of our students have sufficient discriminating judgment to understand very much about some of the advanced theories of philosophy or science.

Some subjects are in themselves, perhaps, perfectly harmless, and any amount of discussion over them would not be injurious to the faith of out young people. We are told, for example, that the theory of gravitation is at best a hypothesis and that such is the atomic theory. These theories help to explain certain things about nature. Whether they are ultimately true can not make much difference to the religious convictions of our young people. On the other hand there are speculations which touch the origin of life and the relationship of God to his children. In a very limited degree that relationship has been defined by revelation, and until we receive more light upon the subject we deem it best to refrain from the discussion of certain philosophical theories which rather destroy than build up the faith of our young people. One thing about this so-called philosophy of religion that is very undesirable, lies in the fact that as soon as we convert our religion into a system of philosophy none but philosophers can understand, appreciate, or enjoy it. God, in his revelation to man has made His word so simple that the humblest of men without especial training, may enjoy great faith, comprehend the teachings of the Gospel, and enjoy undisturbed their religious convictions. For that reason we are averse to the discussion of certain philosophical theories in our religious instructions. If our Church schools would confine their so-called course of study in biology to that knowledge of the insect world which would help us to eradicate the pests that threaten the destruction of our crops and our fruit, such instruction would answer much better the aims of the Church school, than theories which deal with the origin of life.

These theories may have a fascination for our teachers and they may find interest in the study of them, but they are not properly within the scope of the purpose for which these schools were organized.

Some of our teachers are anxious to explain how much of the theory of evolution, in their judgment, is true, and what is false, but that only leaves their students in an unsettled frame of mind. They are not old enough and learned enough to discriminate, or put proper limitations upon a theory which we believe is more or less a fallacy. In reaching the conclusion that evolution would be best left out of discussions in our Church schools we are deciding a question of propriety and are not undertaking to say how much of evolution is true, or how much is false. We think that while it is a hypothesis, on both sides of which the most eminent scientific men of the world are arrayed, that it is folly to take up its discussion in our institutions of learning; and we can not see wherein such discussions are likely to promote the faith of our young people. On the other hand we have abundant evidence that many of those who have adopted in its fullness the theory of evolution have discarded the Bible, or at least refused to accept it as the inspired word of God. It is not, then, the question of the liberty of any teacher to entertain whatever views he may have upon this hypothesis of evolution, but rather the right of the Church to say that it does not think it profitable or wise to introduce controversies relative to evolution in its schools. Even if it were harmless from the standpoint of our faith, we think there are things more important to the daily affairs of life and the practical welfare of our young people. The Church itself has no philosophy about the modus operandi employed by the Lord in His creation of the world, and much of the talk therefore, about the philosophy of Mormonism is altogether misleading. God has revealed to us a simple and effectual way of serving Him, and we should regret very much to see the simplicity of those revelations involved in all sorts of philosophical speculations. If we encouraged them it would not be long before we should have a theological scholastic aristocracy in the Church, and we should therefore not enjoy the brotherhood that now is, or should be common to rich and poor, learned and unlearned among the Saints.

Joseph F. Smith

The Juvenile Instructor 46(4):208-209 (April 1911)