(by Dennis B. Horne)
Elder George R. Hill III, Formerly of the Seventy, excerpt from “Seek Ye Diligently”:
The theory of evolution as presently taught posits that higher forms of life arose gradually from lower stages of living matter. Inheritable genetic changes in offspring are assumed to be spontaneous rather than the result of arranged or directed forces external to the system.
This theory conflicts with a basic law of chemistry, the second law of thermodynamics, which states in part that it is not possible for a spontaneous process to produce a system of higher order than the system possessed at the beginning of the change.
An example of a spontaneous process is a boulder that dislodges from a mountaintop and rolls down the mountain. The only way to get the boulder back up the mountain (thereby increasing its height, or the order of the system) is for energy outside the system to be expended—such as someone directing the process by seeing that the rock is carried up the mountain.
One of the current explanations of the improvement in plant and animal species over time is that cosmic radiation caused genetic changes resulting in a higher order of offspring survivability than the parent possessed.
A number of years ago, a renowned biologist and geneticist told of an experiment he had directed in which grasshoppers in their various stages of growth had been subjected to radiation levels greater than that insect family had received during its existence. He said the experiment caused many genetic changes, including the loss of a foreleg, an antenna, or some other inheritable change. However, not one of those changes gave the offspring a greater viability or survivability than that of the parent.
Many Latter-day Saints recognize that the processes involved in evolution are valid. We see improved strains and varieties of plants and animals developed through judicious selection of their parents. But we would have to agree with those who understand the limitation defined in the second law of thermodynamics limitation that such changes can only occur if guided or if outside energy is available to improve the system.
We are in the very fortunate position of understanding that the Lord is in charge of the universe and that positive genetic changes can in fact occur under his direction. On the other hand, spontaneous improvements of the type hypothesized by devotees of current evolutionary theory remain an unsupported supposition.
We are also blessed with the knowledge that Adam and Eve, our first parents, were not subject to death until they partook of the forbidden fruit. They and all of their descendants are spirit children of God, created in his image, and are thus different from all other forms of life on earth. As literal children of God, we possess the inherent capability of becoming as he is.