Ever since I started spouting off about climate change, people on both sides of the fence have repeatedly brought up the fact that I’m a “creationist.” (See examples here and here.) In all my years as a practicing scientist, nobody has brought this up before, but then, that’s mainly because I’m not a “creationist” in the way these people mean. If I had to pick a label, I’d choose “Theistic Evolutionist.” In one sense this is a particular brand of “Creationism,” but most people who say “Creationism” are talking about “Young Earth Creationism,” which is fundamentally anti-science, in my opinion.
The confusion seems to stem from the fact that I’m a Mormon, and since Mormons (like, say, Roman Catholics,) believe in God, angels, miracles, and so forth, people assume we’re all Young Earth Creationists. What they don’t understand is that Mormons also believe God ordains natural laws that the world follows on its own (see Doctrine and Covenants 93:30). It this situation, there is naturally a wide range of opinion among individual Mormons about the extent to which God poked his finger into the pie of Creation as it was baking, but there is no “official” Mormon position about such questions. This is so much the case that all the relevant science classes at Brigham Young University (where I work) routinely teach evolutionary theory, and that’s perfectly fine as long as we don’t try to force any particular viewpoint down the students’ throats. In fact, I’ve never heard a single one of my science professor colleagues at BYU express even the slightest support for the latest fad in Creationism, Intelligent Design Theory.
So if you are tempted to pop-psychologize me over the Internet, please get your facts straight, first.
Oh, don’t get me wrong–I’m not going to whine if you want to pop-psychologize me. I wouldn’t want to be such a wet blanket that I suck all the fun out of Internet discussions by sanctimoniously declaring religion off-limits. And if you want to banter about how irrational I am, you don’t have to look far. I mean, how “scientific” is believing Jesus was resurrected, or that angels sometimes visit people, or the gift of healing, and so on, and so forth? So with that bit of guidance, feel free.