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146: David Barker: Science and Religion


Today we sit down with LDS author David Barker and discuss his book “Religion and Science: Reconciling the Conflicts”.  We talk about seeking truth, trusting prophets, Evolution, and the Flood.  This episode goes to show that we all see the the gospel and the world differently and that just when we think we have the answers, paradigm shifts occur.

His book “Science and Religion: Reconciling the Conflicts”

I referred in the interview to problems with a global flood.  Below is the article referred to.

Other links to David’s works and views



1 thought on “146: David Barker: Science and Religion”

  1. I really enjoyed this podcast. I immediately looked of it on line and it took a while on amazon to find that the had an e-book version.

    Since I’ve started listening to your podcast I’ve been reviewing my intellectual history so to speak. I realized that the problem that I had was that I was giving science an epistemologically privileged position. This was after reading Nibley’s books where he repeatedly said that judging things according to science was idiocy because one of sciences premises is based on the idea that it changes, whereas the gospel, and not our interpretation of the gospel, does not change. I figured Nibley just didn’t know what he was talking about I mean science could prove it was right. Right? Oh not so grasshopper.

    My whole life I wondered if I was being a idiot for believing in the Bible, the Book of Mormon and other scriptures. I mean how did I resolve the “fact” that evolution was the way things worked? I loved science, and I received and degree in Mechanical Engineering from BYU, which isn’t a science field per se, but it did involve a lot of physic classes as well as the general science classes required, and I still thought this.

    When I was in high school I was facsinated by Erich von Däniken’s books and book like Kon Tiki. I thought von Daniken brought up some great points, and every Mormon should know about Kon Tiki. On my mission someone gave me a book called “Secrets of the Lost Races”. Since I wanted people to read the Book of Mormon I felt I should read his book, which only took a couple of days of study periods after I finished reading the required scriptures. When I took the book back he seem surprised that I’d read it and said I could keep it. I loved that book. It gave a different interpretation of the same kinds of things that von Daniken brought up, although the Races book talked more about Ooparts. One thing that was said in that book was if people really lived as long as it says they did in the bible, that would mean that right now we would have Capurnicus, Galileo, Newton, Pascal, Maxwell, Einstein all alive and working together. To that thought I add, they probably had the Spirit working like it has since the restoration, which also brought in what I like to call the technological age so imagine what kind of technology they could have achieved in 2000 years from the fall to the flood! That’s scientific fiction kind of thinking.

    After my mission I finished my degree, found Nibley, FARMS (in the early years that’s practically a redundant statement) and FAIR which fed the intellectual needs of my testimony and still thought I might be an idiot for believing all this stuff because I mean “science” was right, they have “facts” and I knew them. Of course the Church had the spirit, which I’d felt, I wasn’t going to throw out the experiences I’d had on my mission, and with my family. I’m to much of a coward to do that.

    While in college the famous salamander letter came out. My sister came to me worried about it and I told her what I believed then. My testimony doesn’t depend on what things like that say my testimony depends on the experiences I’ve had. I felt like sooner or later FARMS would have a reply and I’d wait. I felt like a genius when it was proved the letter was fake, and my sister was glad for the guidance I’d provided.

    After college I tried selling insurance with the family business (at which I was an abject failure) but a manager said that I should join something like toast masters because it was inexpensive, good training, and a way to network. Sounded good to me so I found a Christian Toast Master Club and joined. It was a great experience. We had a PhD Physicist that worked at Sandia National Laboratory that participated. He gave a presentation about how the Genesis 6 day account of creation could work due to relativistic time dilation and black holes at the beginning of the big bang. I could understand part of it and some of it didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but the point was that I’d never heard any of this before! I’d thought about how some things in the scriptures could be explained by relativity and I’d been fascinated by stuff like that.

    Next day I’m at the library checking out books on Creationism, and when I read those it blew my mind. Why hadn’t I been told anything like this? The things that stand out is what a crock uniformitism is. A foot of coal requires 10 feet of vegetable matter to be compressed to make a foot of coal. Where in the world does vegetable matter accrue like that. It should if all process that were happening are happening today. Despite the best guesses at how petrification works it has never been demonstrated in a lab. The best guess is that some how sediments get into porous bones and the turn into rock, however in real life when trying to duplicate the process, say in a swamp which has a lot of sediment, the bacteria immediately destroys the carcass in a matter of days, thus the common southern detective story trope of discarding the body in the swamp where it will never be found. I was told none of this in any science class and it all makes sense, or at least with all of the other things that I know about science I now question science much much more than I do the gospel.

    I’m not a young earth creationist now, I’m like Bro. Barker I can’t wait for the movie after I die, or however I’m going to learn it after I die. I assume the learning process will be very different. However, I now think that since keeping the number of animals alive for the given period on the ark with only seven people at the very least would have taken an enormous amount of technology, and considering the level of technology that could have been achieved considering what I explained that the Races book leads me to consider, and that Moses spent 150 years (I think that was it) building the ark, why don’t I just go with a science fiction answer and say that Moses and his family took genetic material from all the animals and stored them in the ark and had machinery that could recreate them afterwords. Any Heavenly Father that engineers the nano technology in our cells could easily accomplish what I just described.

    Want to know something. When you say stuff like this in church you get looked at very weird, so I usually don’t say anything, but I actually shared that idea with a class when I taught about Noah and the Ark. I’m actually a very popular teacher in our ward and as people talked about various ways they tried to accept Noah I kept saying it could have happened that way. The class finally kept asking me at the end of the meeting what I believed and I said it’s really to crazy to share what I believe but they kept pressing. I said OK we’ll have the prayer and I’ll share it afterwards for anyone who is still interested. Well no one left and I quickly shared my idea about technology and the long life spans and the genetic material idea. Yes most of them were just so shocked they couldn’t really say anything. I don’t know that I believe this or not but if that is the answer I won’t be surprised, and if I am surprised by the real answer I won’t be surprised either.

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