Episode 14: Science and Disbelief

In this podcast guests Seth and Lorin join John Larsen in a discussion concerning the role of science in the loss of testimony. Seth and Lorin share their own journeys out of the Church and how scientific thought effected their outlook on Mormonism.

Episode 14

37 comments on “Episode 14: Science and Disbelief”

  1. Rich McCue Reply

    Great podcast! I had a lot of similar experiences in leaving the church… At some point I realized that my “spiritual experiences” did not always happen in spiritual settings… Eventually I stopped privileging the church’s explanations, and went where the evidence led. I can still remember feeling sick to the stomach for over a month after I realized I had to talk to my wife about my change in belief. Fortunately for both of us, she was having similar doubts because of her reading of Rough Stone Rolling.

    Thank-you for sharing Seth & Lorin, and thank-you John for the excellent interview.

  2. Rich McCue Reply

    Great podcast! I had a lot of similar experiences in leaving the church… At some point I realized that my “spiritual experiences” did not always happen in spiritual settings… Eventually I stopped privileging the church’s explanations, and went where the evidence led. I can still remember feeling sick to the stomach for over a month after I realized I had to talk to my wife about my change in belief. Fortunately for both of us, she was having similar doubts because of her reading of Rough Stone Rolling.

    Thank-you for sharing Seth & Lorin, and thank-you John for the excellent interview.

  3. Phil K. Reply

    Excellent episode! I’d suggest having Seth and Lorin back on a future episode for more discussion.

  4. Phil K. Reply

    Excellent episode! I’d suggest having Seth and Lorin back on a future episode for more discussion.

    • Polygamy Porter Reply

      Rich,

      You mentioned Rough Stone Rolling and how your wife reading it helped set the stage for you to basically extract you both from the clutches of Mormonism.

      Do you think that had your wife not read Bushman’s book, would she still be in? Would she have pulled away from you and deeper into the sweaty palm of the garment wearing King Kong the mighty Testimonkey?

      I wonder how the tithing retention department at LDS Inc feels about works like Bushman’s backfiring and causing a loss of tithes from you and all the generations of lost member tithes.

      Do I revel in the fact that Dr. Bushman’s inoculation turned into full blown testimony cancer?

      Of course.

  5. Polygamy Porter Reply

    Rich,

    You mentioned Rough Stone Rolling and how your wife reading it helped set the stage for you to basically extract you both from the clutches of Mormonism.

    Do you think that had your wife not read Bushman’s book, would she still be in? Would she have pulled away from you and deeper into the sweaty palm of the garment wearing King Kong the mighty Testimonkey?

    I wonder how the tithing retention department at LDS Inc feels about works like Bushman’s backfiring and causing a loss of tithes from you and all the generations of lost member tithes.

    Do I revel in the fact that Dr. Bushman’s inoculation turned into full blown testimony cancer?

    Of course.

  6. tim Reply

    That was fun to listen to. I only wish Lorin could/would have shared more. At times, I thought he was drowned out. It would be nice to hear more about his ideas that he only began to flesh out in his intro (I believe it was at that point), specifically, that when we leave the Church, we leave within a context. It would have been interesting to hear more about that context.

    Oh, PP, it is nice to see you are still around. Hope all is well!

  7. Devin Reply

    I’ve loved every episode so far. I could relate to a lot of these experiences as I went through university. Mine was different because I was in the social sciences with a minor in religious studies. The social science aspect drove home over and over again when something could be considered reliable or not, and what science could and could not “prove.” My religious studies classes were interesting because it made me evaluate my own religious experiences and realized that I did not have a monopoly of religious experiences and could in no way show that my religious belief was any less mythic than a Hindu.

    One of the classes that I took was on science and religion. The paper that I wrote was about how science and religion were incompatible in their ways of knowing because one idea in science is that science cannot actually prove anything – it can disprove or fail to disprove. Religious ideas cannot be tested because you cannot prove or fail to disprove that god exists or not. However, although I said that they are incompatible intellectually, I asserted that I believed that they were not incompatible. I truly believed that Mormonism was completely compatible with science and that the science would “catch up” per se to Mormonism. I didn’t doubt the science, but believed that there was still so much that we didn’t know.

    One of my ridiculous beliefs was that because the earth had fallen from a different state at the Fall of Adam and Eve, that modern science could not reliably understand evolution or the accurate age of the earth. In my mind the earth had moved from one dimension with different laws to the present one. One line of evidence for me was that humans slowly started to have shorter life spans from the time of Adam and Eve to after the flood.

    Eventually all my epicycles (the explanation used to explain how the earth was still the centre of the universe when scientific observation showed otherwise) fell apart and I woke up in a world where I no longer had to convolute, and life became simple and beautiful.

    Oh, one last thing… there is some great research on moral reasoning from Jonathan Haidt that shows that people require their emotions to make decisions… in fact it shows that people make decisions first and then create the reasons after. I believed that I left the church for very logical reasons, but have since come to believe that I created these reasons after the fact. I left because the church was destroying my family…seems logical but surely an emotional component as well.

  8. Devin Reply

    I’ve loved every episode so far. I could relate to a lot of these experiences as I went through university. Mine was different because I was in the social sciences with a minor in religious studies. The social science aspect drove home over and over again when something could be considered reliable or not, and what science could and could not “prove.” My religious studies classes were interesting because it made me evaluate my own religious experiences and realized that I did not have a monopoly of religious experiences and could in no way show that my religious belief was any less mythic than a Hindu.

    One of the classes that I took was on science and religion. The paper that I wrote was about how science and religion were incompatible in their ways of knowing because one idea in science is that science cannot actually prove anything – it can disprove or fail to disprove. Religious ideas cannot be tested because you cannot prove or fail to disprove that god exists or not. However, although I said that they are incompatible intellectually, I asserted that I believed that they were not incompatible. I truly believed that Mormonism was completely compatible with science and that the science would “catch up” per se to Mormonism. I didn’t doubt the science, but believed that there was still so much that we didn’t know.

    One of my ridiculous beliefs was that because the earth had fallen from a different state at the Fall of Adam and Eve, that modern science could not reliably understand evolution or the accurate age of the earth. In my mind the earth had moved from one dimension with different laws to the present one. One line of evidence for me was that humans slowly started to have shorter life spans from the time of Adam and Eve to after the flood.

    Eventually all my epicycles (the explanation used to explain how the earth was still the centre of the universe when scientific observation showed otherwise) fell apart and I woke up in a world where I no longer had to convolute, and life became simple and beautiful.

    Oh, one last thing… there is some great research on moral reasoning from Jonathan Haidt that shows that people require their emotions to make decisions… in fact it shows that people make decisions first and then create the reasons after. I believed that I left the church for very logical reasons, but have since come to believe that I created these reasons after the fact. I left because the church was destroying my family…seems logical but surely an emotional component as well.

  9. Swearing Elder Reply

    Wonderful discussion! One of the panelists talked about how going back to church after he lost his belief felt foreign and strange to him. If I miss even a few weeks and then go back to church I wonder where I am and what’s going on in this strange place. I can’t imagine what it would feel like if I missed several months or a year and then went back!

  10. Swearing Elder Reply

    Wonderful discussion! One of the panelists talked about how going back to church after he lost his belief felt foreign and strange to him. If I miss even a few weeks and then go back to church I wonder where I am and what’s going on in this strange place. I can’t imagine what it would feel like if I missed several months or a year and then went back!

  11. Tiktaalik Reply

    Very interesting discussion.

    In the future, would it be possible to increase the volume of the discussion so that those of us with weak laptop speakers can still listen around the house?

  12. Tiktaalik Reply

    Very interesting discussion.

    In the future, would it be possible to increase the volume of the discussion so that those of us with weak laptop speakers can still listen around the house?

  13. Some Schmo Reply

    Yep, this was one of my favorites so far as well. Given that I’m somewhat scientifically minded, it’s no surprise that the content of this one was especially interesting.

    It was also personally fun to hear how Seth sounds, given I’ve been reading his posts for so long and have always enjoyed his thoughts.

  14. Some Schmo Reply

    Yep, this was one of my favorites so far as well. Given that I’m somewhat scientifically minded, it’s no surprise that the content of this one was especially interesting.

    It was also personally fun to hear how Seth sounds, given I’ve been reading his posts for so long and have always enjoyed his thoughts.

  15. Japanguy Reply

    Really enjoyed this episode. I could really understand where they are coming from. It is true that once you open your eyes that you can’t close them again. I tried to attend the church for a while after I had my epiphany. It was terrible. I could see all of the inconsistencies.
    Good job and keep them coming.

  16. Japanguy Reply

    Really enjoyed this episode. I could really understand where they are coming from. It is true that once you open your eyes that you can’t close them again. I tried to attend the church for a while after I had my epiphany. It was terrible. I could see all of the inconsistencies.
    Good job and keep them coming.

  17. Glenn Reply

    This is my new favorite podcast. Seth and Lorin, you were fantastic, and articulated so well many of the things I struggle with having deconstructed and now trying to put it all back together. Really cool discussion. I’d love to hear more.

  18. Glenn Reply

    This is my new favorite podcast. Seth and Lorin, you were fantastic, and articulated so well many of the things I struggle with having deconstructed and now trying to put it all back together. Really cool discussion. I’d love to hear more.

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  21. Chaste_and_Benevolent Reply

    I’m a little too long in the tooth to go in for much New Age spirituality. I’m waiting for the podcast on Old Age spirituality.

  22. BrianD Reply

    I really enjoyed that podcast.  It is fun to see all the different points of view from all different kinds of Mormons.  I haven’t heard a podcast with this type of interview on either of the John’s yet.  I am skeptical, but it is fun to hear other points of view

  23. Oh_My_Heck Reply

    I for on have no problem with this couple.  I believe in spiritual gifts.  Thank you for this podcast.  Can you post the link to Christa’s web site? 

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