Book Review

Evolving Faith: Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist

This daily feature is an introduction to a full book review by Blake T. Ostler. To read the full text of this review, follow the link below.

Evolving Faith is a remarkable book within the context of Latter-day Saint faith. Steven L. Peck has put together a marvelously readable book that addresses some of the most difficult philosophical issues confronting not only Mormons, but all people. The expertise of Peck's discussion of philosophical issues is quite surprising because Peck is a professor of biology, not philosophy, at Brigham Young University. He addresses the relationship between LDS thought and evolution, the mind-body problem, the problem of consciousness, emergence of novelty and ontologically novel life systems, and free will. In addition, he addresses the ecological issues confronting Latter-day Saints, along with approaches for truly reverencing creation.

Peck is at his best addressing issues such as "subjectivity" as an epistemology (theory of knowledge) and the emergence of new realities in biological life systems. He discusses the views of French philosopher Henri Bergson as a critique of "flat naturalism" (or the view that everything happens by random chance). Peck focuses expertly on the important issue of whether there can be a theistic view of evolution and purpose in the seemingly random mutations that drive evolution. I highly recommend his discussion.