Steven L. Peck has been selected to give the Eugene England Lecture at the 2018 Mormon Studies Conference at Utah Valley University. The conference theme is “Mormonism and the Challenges of Science, Revelation and Faith.” Peck is author of the Maxwell Institute’s Living Faith book Evolving Faith and an associate professor of biology at BYU. Peck is also co-directing this year’s Summer Seminar on Mormon Culture, focusing on Mormonism and science.
UVU has hosted the Mormon Studies Conference since 2001. Conference organizer Brian Birch, director of UVU’s Center for the Study of Ethics, said the Mormon Studies Conference “hopes to bring Mormonism into lively and productive conversation with other faith communities, theological perspectives, and intellectual frameworks.”
Birch said this year’s theme came together after he and a few associates attended an exposition held at the UVU basketball team’s arena introducing Latter-day Saints to pseudo-scientific ideas about the age of the earth and other matters. Just prior to the Expo, a group of faculty and students from BYU’s Geological Sciences Department submitted a letter to BYU’s The Universe expressing dismay that the Expo received advertising space in the Universe, and explaining that the scientific ideas opposed by Expo speakers are all taught at BYU.
“Given Mormonism’s lively historical debates over evolution and earth science,” Birch said, “we saw this as another striking example of the tensions that persist surrounding the foundations of science and its relevance in contemporary Mormon thought.”
In addition to Peck, Institute scholars Deidre Green and Philip Barlow will also present papers at the conference on February 22 and 23. The keynote speaker is Molly Worthen, an assistant professor of history at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and former guest on the Maxwell Institute Podcast.
The 2018 Mormon Studies Conference takes place February 22 and 23. It is free and open to the public. Free live-streaming will also be provided. More information is available here.