The BYU Biology Department’s efforts to lionize Darwin and find meaningful parallels between his life and those of great men have me wondering.  Perhaps the BYU Darwin Bicentennial celebrations attempted to make a Darwinian mole hill into a Darwinian mountain.  Of course Darwin did a great job at uncovering a mechanism driving microevolutionary processes (he did not “invent” evolution), but I am not inclined to put him into the same category as other great men.  I would argue that in the grand scheme of things, his scientific accomplishments and their impact on society pale in comparison to those from scientists like Boyle, Newton, Galileo, Faraday, and James Clerk Maxwell.

Let's take Galileo, for example.  Not only was he a great scientist, his work is directly connected to the Restoration. 

- Joseph Smith and Galileo encountered stiff resistance from apostate religionists when they tried to tell the world of truths they had discovered.  Joseph Smith had truths about the nature of the godhead and religions, and Galileo had truths about the nature of our solar system and our place in the universe.  

- Also, Galileo and Smith encountered the same sort of opposition as they challenged deep-seated apostate views.  The prophet Joseph Smith declared, “I soon found that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among the professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution.”  And Galileo similarly wrote, “I discovered in the heavens many things that had not been seen before our own age. The novelty of these things, as well as some consequences which followed from them . . . stirred up against me no small number of professors.

- And attempts were made to disprove each man’s discoveries.  In the case of Smith, clergy members attempted to deny and disprove it by claiming that “there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles and that there would never be any more of them.”  And in the case of Galileo, “[Theologians] sought to deny and disprove the new things which, if they had cared to look for themselves, their own senses would have demonstrated to them.”

- Galileo’s efforts to loosen the shackles that constrained free thinking prepared the earth for the Restoration which Joseph Smith brought forth centuries later. 

- Finally, each man lost his freedom as a result of challenging apostate religious dogma.

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