Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science

March 2013 Editorial

[Zygon, vol. 48, no. 1 (March 2013).]
© 2013 by the Joint Publication Board of Zygon. ISSN: 0591-2385
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01325.x

open PDF version

Science, Realism, Galileo, Morality and More

Welcome to a new year of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science with great articles on religious beliefs, practices and traditions in their intellectual and social interactions with the sciences. In this issue we continue our series of reprints of major articles by Ernan McMullin. In December 2012, we republished McMullin’s “Values in Science,” together with an essay by Michael Ruse detailing its significance in his own academic career—focusing on the differences between epistemic and non-epistemic values, and between scientific research itself and its cultural meanings and interpretations (McMullin 2012; Ruse 2012). In this issue, we republish the Thomas Aquinas Lecture delivered by Ernan McMullin, titled The Inference that Makes Science. It provides a great overview of the history of reflection on scientific inference, with an emphasis on certainty and uncertainty, from Aristotle to the present. While the philosopher of science Bas van Fraassen praises the historical overview, he challenges the cautious scientific realist claims McMullin makes on behalf of science. His is a more agnostic empiricism. We also republish one of McMullin’s papers on the archetypal conflict between science and theology, the Galileo affair. The focus is Galileo’s reflections on the Bible and its interpretations. George Coyne, former director of the Specola Vaticana, the astronomical research institute of the Vatican, and himself an expert on Galileo, sets the discussion in a much larger context of responses to scientific insights and the potential clash between different authorities.

Among the articles is one on human morality in theological and evolutionary perspectives by Stephen J. Pope. This one comes from a symposium in honor of Owen Gingerich, from which we published articles on “human nature in theological perspective” in the December 2012 issue (Deane-Drummond & Wason 2012; Walton 2012; Stenmark 2012; Torrance 2012; McFadyen 2012; Deane-Drummond 2012; Schneider 2012). Further articles from this symposium are to be expected in the next issue.

Other individual articles discuss claims about links between atheism and health and theological opinions on homosexuality and other forms of sexual diversity, but also more theoretical issues such as the interpretation of quantum physics, contingency and natural laws, and the “field theory of information” as articulated by the theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg. A more anthropological article on “moral elevation” treats aspirations regarding sainthood. With a brief response by the initial author, we conclude a thread of papers on techno-secularity, Athens, and Jerusalem, which started in 2012 (Marangudakis 2012; Caiazza 2012). A selection of older articles on this same theme have been collected in a “virtual issue” of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science titled “Techno-secularity and Technosapiens: Religion in an Age of Technology,” presented in more detail in a separate editorial in this issue. Relevant books are discussed in the review section, including Terrence Deacon’s Incomplete Nature (2012) and Sven Wagner’s The Scientist as God: A Typological Study of a Literary Motif, 1818 to the Present (2012).

Willem B. Drees


Caiazza, John. 2012. “Religion and Science through the Ages: Response to Marangudakis.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47:520-23.

Deane-Drummond, Celia. 2012. “God’s Image and Likeness in Humans and Other Animals: Performative Soul Making and Graced Nature.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47:934-48.

Deane-Drummond, Celia, and Paul Wason. 2012. “Becoming Human in Theistic Perspective.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47:870-74.

Marangudakis, Manussos. 2012. “Eutopia: The Promise of Biotechnology and the Realignment of Western Axiality.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47:97-117.

McFadyen, Alistair. 2012. “Imaging God: A Theological Answer to the Anthropological Question.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47:918-33.

McMullin, Ernan. 2012 [1983]. “Values in Science.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47: 686-709. Originally published in Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1982, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983, 3-28.

Ruse, Michael. 2012. “Science and Values: My Debt to Ernan McMullin.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47:666-85.

Schneider, John. 2012. “The Fall of Augustinian Adam. Original Fragility and Supralapsarian Purpose.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47:949-69.

Stenmark, Mikael. 2012. “Is There a Human Nature?” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47:890-902.

Torrance, Alan. 2012. “Is There a Distinctive Human Nature? Approaching the Question from a Christian Epistemic Base.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47:903-17.

Walton, John H. 2012. “Human Origins and the Bible.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47:875-89.

Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts