Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science

March 2003 Editorial

[Zygon, vol. 38, no. 1 (March 2003).]
© 2003 by the Joint Publication Board of Zygon. ISSN: 0591-2385
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.661997066

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In recent editorials, I have observed that our explorations on the frontier of engagement between religion and science sometimes confront new issues and interpretations but more often result in new interpretations of perennial issues. The articles we present here reflect that observation—some attention to novel issues, more on issues that have been around for quite some time. Biologist Steven Peck starts us off in his Thinkpiece by exploring the contrast between materialist arguments for chance and contingency, which count against the existence of God, and the implications of subjectivity for both science and a belief in God. Robert Schaible, a professor of English literature, proposes that poetry, exemplified in the work of Walt Whitman, attempts to understand complex aspects of human experience in ways that parallel the attempts of physicists to understand complex aspects of the subatomic world.

John Teehan (philosopher) analyzes the classic achievement of Kantian moral philosophy and concludes that an evolutionary view of reason and emotion can provide a more adequate alternative for grounding ethics. Frank Budenholzer (biochemist/theologian) adds to our informal series of articles on Bernard Lonergan with his suggestion that Lonergan’s philosophical methodology may be the most adequate approach for understanding both reductionism and emergence. Historian William Durbin offers another installment in his biographical approach to religion-and-science issues with a study of the conversion experience of astronomer Allan Sandage. Readers may recall Durbin’s study of Henry Margenau in our March 1999 issue.

We include two symposia in this issue. The first, “Naturalism: Varieties and Issues,” brings new reflections in the mode of naturalist thinking that this journal has featured in many articles over the years. Philosopher Jerome Stone, who has gathered papers from the 2001 meeting of the American Academy of Religion, introduces this symposium and its contributors: Gordon Kaufman, Ursula Goodenough, Charley Hardwick, and Donald Crosby.

The second symposium attempts something new in the dialogue between religion and science, a discussion in three dimensions: interreligious, scientific, and concrete ethical. With a focus on HIV/AIDS, Jewish, Hindu, and Christian symposiasts bring theological and scientific perspectives to bear on the possibility of fashioning a global ethic. James Moore (theologian) organized the symposium and introduces it. The contributors to this effort are Norbert Samuelson, V. V. Raman, Gordon Kaufman, Gayle Woloschak, Barbara Strassberg, and Philip Hefner. This three-dimensional approach is one that we watch with great interest. Later in this year, we will present a similar set of papers dealing with the issues that arise from transplantation of human organs.

With this issue, Zygon begins its thirty-eighth year of publication. Throughout these years, the journal has worked within the parameters of its statement of mission (see the back matter of each issue), which I quote in part: “The word zygon means the yoking of two entities or processes that must work together. … Zygon’s hypothesis is that, when long-evolved religious wisdom is yoked with significant, recent scientific discoveries about the world and human nature, there results credible expression of basic meaning, values, and moral convictions that provides valid and effective guidance for enhancing human life.” It is in the spirit of this vision that we offer this, our one hundred forty-ninth issue.

Philip Hefner

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