Summerhays Lecture 2014

Dr. John D. Lamb, who recently retired from the BYU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will deliver the 2014 Summerhays Lecture, titled “The Dogma Trap.”

Despite their seemingly conflicting natures, science and religion have one important truth in common—both are grounded in faith in fundamental principles. In LDS theology, we believe in a set of 13 Articles of Faith, just as scientists believe in scientific laws and theories. Most of the time these principles provide a strong foundation for our beliefs, but sometimes, Lamb explains, they can cause us to become resistant to new ideas.

“Sometimes we tend to adopt the same kind of adherence to other principles that we do for these articles of faith,” Lamb said. “In some ways we can become rigid in our thinking and dogmatic in our beliefs to the extent that we close our minds to new possibilities.”

To avoid dogmatic thinking, Lamb suggests gaining a broad education and keeping an open mind.

Lamb also reminds seekers of truth that, often, asking questions and addressing doubts is the best way to find new insights.

“Keep in mind that what you learn here will be of value to you forever,” he said. “Many of the advances that we have seen in science over time have come about from people who were well educated, but also took the perspective that an open mind and thinking outside the box can lead to new insights.”

Lamb believes his membership in the LDS Church has led him to become a better scientist because he strives to maintain an eternal perspective in his study of the natural world.

“The idea that the physical world is actually part of a long sequence of an eternal existence makes learning about the physical world more fascinating and more valuable, in my mind,” he said.

The free lecture will be held on Thursday, September 18th at 7:00pm in 1080 of the Harold B. Lee Library (HBLL) at Brigham Young University. Campus Map

Information on past Summerhays lectures can be found at Previous Summerhays Lectures