Steven L. Peck

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Steven L. Peck (born July 25, 1957) is an evolutionary biologist, blogger, poet, and novelist. His literary work is influential in Mormon literature circles. He is a professor of biology at Brigham Young University (BYU)[1] He grew up in Moab, Utah and lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah.


After failing high school history, Peck studied to receive his GED.[2] Peck received a bachelor's degree in 1986 from Brigham Young University in statistics and computer science with a minor in zoology. His master's is from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (environmental biostatistics), and his 1997 PhD from North Carolina State University (biomathematics and entomology). His dissertation was titled "Spatial Patterns and Processes in the Evolution of Insecticide Resistance."

Personal life[edit]

During their honeymoon, Steven and his wife Lori were hit by a drunk driver in Oregon.[2] Steven and Lori have five children.[3]


Peck believes that God "only enters the universe through our consciousness."[4] He compares scriptural interpretation to scientific interpretation, in that both nature and scriptures are unchanging, but our understanding of them changes over the course of generations.[4] While the LDS church currently has no official position on evolution, Peck teaches evolution in the courses he teaches at BYU.[5]

On the subject of writing, Peck says that it is a way for him to explore the complexities in his life.[6] He stated that anything we do to build our knowledge of the universe helps to build the kingdom of God.[7]

Other work[edit]

In 2008, Peck worked with the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria making models of tsetse fly ecology and population genetics.

Critical reception[edit]

Michael Austin at Dialogue's website wrote that Peck is "one of Mormonism's best living writers." Summarizing Peck's book Evolving Faith, he wrote: "Because all knowledge incorporates subjective assumptions, both religion and science require an element of faith." Literal interpretations of scripture cheat "both religion, by ignoring what the author of the text was really trying to tell us, and science, by setting up unnecessary oppositions between important religious principles and easily testable facts." [8] At the Association for Mormon Letters, Heather Young wrote that Evolving Faith had "enlarged my appreciation for my time on earth and the part I can play in protecting its immeasurable gifts."[9] At Common Consent, Steve Evans said the book was "not for beginners" and uses terminology that is difficult to understand, and that the two parts of the book were not well-connected.[10] Of Wandering Realities, Evans said the stories were "wondrous and rich."[11]

In A Short Stay in Hell, a man must find the book of his life's story among every possible book. David Spaltro described the novella as "one of the most original and powerfully moving things I’ve ever read" and has acquired the rights to adapt it into a film.[12] Doug Gibson at the Standard Examiner wrote that a hell that contains an "eternity of the mundane" was a "pretty effective hell."[13] Derek Lee at Rational Faiths wrote that the novella encouraged reflection on the nature of the afterlife and what living forever would mean.[14]

BHoges at By Common Consent praised Rifts of Rime's narrative and setting, and said that its discussion of religious topics, while plentiful, were a bit overt.[15]




Science articles[edit]

  • 2000 "A tutorial for understanding ecological modeling papers for the nonmodeler" (American Entomologist)
  • 2001 "Ecological Modeling: A guide for the nonmodeler" (Conservation Biology in Practice)
  • 2001 "Antimicrobial and Insecticide Resistance Modeling: Is it time to start talking?" (Trends in Microbiology)
  • 2003 "Randomness, contingency, and faith: Is there a science of subjectivity?" (Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science)
  • 2004 "Simulation as experiment: a philosophical reassessment for biological modeling" (Trends in Ecology and Evolution)
  • 2008 "The Hermeneutics of Ecological Simulation" (Biology and Philosophy)
  • 2009 "Whose boundary? An individual species perspectival approach to borders" (Biological Theory)
  • 2010 "Death and ecological crisis" (Agriculture and Human Values)
  • 2012 "Agent-based models as fictive instantiations of ecological processes" (Philosophy & Theory in Biology)
  • 2012 "Networks of habitat patches in tsetse fly control: implications of metapopulation structure on assessing local extinction probabilities" (Ecological Modelling)
  • 2013 "Digital ecologies as Tractarian systems" (Philosophy Study)
  • 2013 "Life as Emergent Agential Systems: Tendencies without Teleology in an Open Universe" (Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science)
  • 2014 "Perspectives on why digital ecologies matter: Combining population genetics and ecologically informed agent-based models with GIS for managing dipteran livestock pests" (Acta Tropica)
  • 2016


Many of these essays appear in the 2015 Evolving Faith: Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist ISBN 978-0842529440.



Short stories[edit]

Some of these stories are collected in the 2015 Wandering Realities: Mormonish Short Fiction ISBN 978-0988323346.


Many of these poems appear in the collection Incorrect Astronomy.


Anthologies containing Peck's work[edit]


  • 2011
    • Warp and Weave science fiction competition: 1st place for "Stratton Yellows"[18]
    • Brookie and D.K. Brown Fiction Contest: Honorable Mention for "The Problem"[18]
  • Association for Mormon Letters: Best novel for The Scholar of Moab[19]
  • 2012
    • Irreantum Fiction Contest: 2nd place for "A Strange Report from the Church Archives"[20]
    • Montaigne Medal Finalist for The Scholar of Moab[21]
  • 2014
  • 2015
    • 2015 Analytical Laboratory Reader's Awards: 2nd place for "Five Wagers on What Intelligent Life Elsewhere in the Universe Will Be Like"[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BYU faculty page
  2. ^ a b Peck, Steve (12 April 2008). "A BYU Bio-Professor Explores Science and Faith". The Mormon Organon. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "Contributors" (PDF). Dialogue. 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Riess, Jana. "Mormon views on evolution are evolving, says biologist". Religion News Service. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  5. ^ Stiles, Emilie (2 November 2015). "BYU professor writes book examining evolution and faith – The Daily Universe". The Daily Universe. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  6. ^ Tribune, The Salt Lake (27 December 2015). "Utah books that (almost) slipped past us in 2015". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  7. ^ Jepson, Eric W. (November 2013). "Steven L. Peck — Mormon Artist". Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  8. ^ Austin, Michael. "Book Review: Peck's Peak. Wandering Realities and Evolving Faith, by Steven L. Peck". Dialogue. Archived from the original on 12 January 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  9. ^ Young, Heather. "Peck, "Evolving Faith – Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist" (reviewed by Heather Young) | Dawning of a Brighter Day". Association for Mormon Letters. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  10. ^ Evans, Steve (19 October 2015). "Book Review: Evolving Faith: Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist by Steven Peck". By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  11. ^ Evans, Steve (27 July 2015). "Review: Wandering Realities by Steven Peck". By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  12. ^ Desowitz, Bill. "A Short Stay in Hell Feature Planned". Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  13. ^ Gibson, Doug (28 February 2014). "'A Short Stay in Hell' is an odd, compelling novella about an eternity of the mundane". Standard-Examiner. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  14. ^ Lee, Derek (23 March 2013). "A Short Stay in Hell - A Book Review - Rational Faiths | Mormon Blog". Rational Faiths. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  15. ^ Hoges, B (14 June 2012). "Review: Steven L. Peck, "The Quickend Chronicles: The Rifts of Rime"". By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  16. ^ Full curriculum vitae
  17. ^ Contributor page
  18. ^ a b Peck, Steven. "Bio". stevenlpeck. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  19. ^ "AML Awards 2011". Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  20. ^ "Irreantum". Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  21. ^ "Montaigne Medal Finalists". Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  22. ^ "AML Awards 2014". Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  23. ^ "The 2015 Analytical Laboratory Readers' Awards - News | Analog Science Fiction". Retrieved 12 January 2017.