Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
3 (1), March 1968

Table of Contents


March 1968 Editorial by Ralph Wendell Burhoe

Now that the expedition of Zygon enters the third year of its voyage, it may be a time to check our bearings, consult our charts, and evaluate our course. Like the ships of Columbus, Zygon, too, is sailing into an uncharted sea on an incredible mission: to reach the East by sailing westward, to reach religion by using the sciences. During our first two years, to judge by the testimonies of subscription growth and commentaries to the editor, we have not yet fallen off the alleged edge of a flat world where religion is East and science is West and never the twain shall meet. Our hypothesis that religion and science pervade the same spherical surface of human believing and knowing, with no edges of discontinuity, has not yet been disconfirmed.

Perhaps the biggest threat to reaching our goal of yoking religion and science will be the tediousness of sailing so long without encountering sufficiently tangible traces of solid land and the consequent tendency to wonder whether we are on a theoretical wild-goose chase. Back in the ports of the Old World from which we set out, people are in deeper troubles than ever. The famous clock on the cover of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has this winter been advanced several minutes closer to the midnight eschaton of atomic destruction. Poverty, anarchy, and trouble are ready to come to a boil all over. Why should we waste any further time under flapping sails on the doldrums of this visionary quest?
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1968.tb00130.x


The Involvement of Society in the Religious Decision: A Contribution of Sociology to the Christian Religion by William G. Mather

The Social Nature of Man

Sociology as a science came into being gradually. It came as students of mankind began to observe that most of man’s activities are carried on not singly but by men in groups. Whether the activity is religious in nature, or economic, or political, or reproductive, it is an activity carried on by men who find themselves grouped by geography, or age, or sex, or kinship, or who group themselves by interest in a common goal. The goal of the activity, the method of attaining the goal, and the membership of the group are all set by the group. This was observed so regularly that man came to be called “the group animal,” or “the social animal.”

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, some scholars began to have interest in the group and the grouping tendency in themselves, primarily as objects of study somewhat apart from their economic, political, or religious contexts. They made the group their concern, as biologists did the cell, chemists the element, physicists the atom. They classified the various kinds of groups, took them apart to learn their function and structure, their growth cycle from origin to decline, their subgroups, the relations between leaders and followers, the relations between groups, and the effects of group membership upon the individual members. …
William G. Mather is research professor of sociology at Pennsylvania State University.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1968.tb00131.x

Man: Not Only an Individual but a Member by Clara Mayo

Asked to look at religion from his particular scientific perspective, a sociologist might look at structures and institutions, and a psychologist might look at the inner direction that religion gives the values and beliefs of the individual. But a social psychologist looks first at the interaction between social and personal forces, namely, at the meaning that membership in an organized religion has for man.

Man is a social animal, one of a species that is naturally gregarious. Roots of this sociability are laid down early and deep in the necessary relationship of mother and child. The human infant requires the attention of a mothering adult to survive. In man, this dependence of offspring is much longer than in animals and is guided by more than the biological heritage. Only sustained social contact enables the child to develop a sense of self and a capacity to cope with the tasks that the environment presents. When children are deprived of social contact, as is sometimes the case with institutionalized or hospitalized children, they experience social and emotional damage. Prolonged isolation and emotional deprivation lead to irreversible damage. Harlow’s¹ noted studies of monkeys, raised with surrogate mothers under varying conditions of isolation, dramatically demonstrate that these monkeys are severely disturbed, particularly when their time comes for mothering behavior. …
¹ Cf. Allan M. Schrier, Harry F. Harlow, and Fred Stollnitz (eds.), Behavior of Nonhuman Primates: Modern Research Trends (New York: Academic Press, 1965).

Clara Mayo is assistant professor of psychology at Boston University.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1968.tb00132.x

Co-operative Functions of Science and Religion by Henry Nelson Wieman


We cannot take religion as it is and science as it is and put them together in co-operation to promote the good of human existence. We must distinguish that form of religion which can co-operate effectively with science; and we must distinguish that application of science which can co-operate with this form of religious commitment. Otherwise the two cannot work together.

Two other concepts are involved in this problem. We must have some understanding of human existence relative to these issues and some understanding of the good to be attained for human existence by this co-operation of science and religion. Hence the following discussion will examine these four—religion, science, human existence, and greatest good—so far as they are involved in this problem.

It is here proposed that the kind of religious commitment fit to work with science to attain the greatest good is a commitment to a creativity operating in a fourfold way as follows: (1) Individuals and peoples interact, creating in each party an awareness of the needs and interests of the other. (2) Each party integrates the needs and interests of the other into his own, after due modification. (3) This enables the interacting parties to work co-operatively for the needs and interests they share in common, developing the unique individuality of each person and each culture thus interacting. (4) Out of this develops an expanding system of mutually sustaining activities, institutionally maintained, endowing each participant with a growing good encompassing the lives of all. …
Henry Nelson Wieman is professor emeritus of Christian theology, University of Chicago.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1968.tb00133.x

The Administration of the Universe by Kirtley F. Mather

To the best of my recollection, I first heard this astute rubric from the lips of T. C. Chamberlin during the academic year 1909-10. He was then the senior professor of geology in the University of Chicago, and I was a first-year graduate student in his department. Although in his sixty-seventh year, he was still eight years away from retirement as a member of the faculty. The one formal course of instruction he offered was entitled “Principles of Geology.” In it he discussed whatever geological problem, ranging from the origin of the earth through mountain-making forces to the causes of glacial climates, was currently engaging his research-oriented mind. It was, in fact, a course of study of T. C. Chamberlin, an opportunity to gain insight concerning the workings of his mind, to observe how he communicated his ideas to others, and, most important, to become intimately acquainted with the personality of a great “scholar, teacher, and gentleman,” as his students labeled him. I audited his course that first year in the graduate school, took it for credit the next year, and audited it again in 1914-15, when I returned to Chicago to complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree, after three years of teaching at the University of Arkansas. Thus, I heard those words drop casually from his lips at least a dozen times, and thus I came at last to some comprehension of their meaning in his vocabulary.

For Chamberlin then, and now for me, “the administration of the universe” is a perfectly valid scientific term. Like many another such term, it is coined to reveal some significant knowledge and conceal a considerable amount of ignorance. It simply affirms that the universe is under some kind of administrative regulation, whatever the administrative power may be. It implies only one thing about the nature of the administration: that it is unitary; “administration,” not “administrations.” Significantly, administration is not spelled with a capital A in ordinary usage, nor is there any suggestion that “Administrator” is an appropriate synonym.

I do not know whether T. C. Chamberlin was the first to express this concept in precisely these words, but the general idea thus conveyed in specific terms is of course an ancient one. It is glimpsed in the thinking of the patriarchal sages of the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., who affirmed, as in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, that the same power that orders the stars in their courses is also responsible for the presence of man on the earth. It resounds in some of the most majestic verses in the Book of Psalms and is essentially the basis for the philosophical perplexities of Job. It is implicit in all of the far-ranging discussions of “natural law,” the “laws of nature,” and “the order of nature” that have enlivened intelligent discourse throughout many centuries. A universe in which all processes of change operate in accordance with discernible (or potentially discernible) regulations must be subject to some kind of administration. …
Kirtley F. Mather is professor emeritus of geology at Harvard University.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1968.tb00134.x

The Natural Causation of Free Will by Gardner Williams

I. The Problem

One intricate spiritual problem with which most naturalistic-humanistic thinkers fail to deal precisely and correctly is how freedom, or free will, and both legal and moral responsibility are produced by natural causes which do not negate the freedom or the responsibility which they create. Many have given up their natural scientific belief in causal uniformity so as to keep their faith in moral responsibility and the dignity of human freedom. And many others have denied the latter because they know both that uncaused events do not occur and that the causal uniformities are never violated. Very probably natural causal law, in the sense of these uniformities, does not change and very probably cannot be broken. Of course, this does not necessarily apply to many attempted human formulations of these natural causal laws, such as Newton’s law of gravity or Einstein’s relativity. But it does apply to the actual uniformities in nature which in most cases underlie these formulations and to which, probably, the latter approximate very closely for the most part. Perhaps some, perhaps even all, contemporary human statements of natural causal law are absolutely accurate. But it is no great calamity if some or all of them are a bit off. And whether they are or not is wholly irrelevant to the problems of free will versus causal determinism. For free will properly means freedom from obstacles, not from causes. Very probably there is no freedom from uniform causation.

In order to understand this subject, one must always clearly bear in mind that psychology is a natural science and that spiritual things like wish, will, preference, and choice are not the manifestations of any supernatural immaterial mind-substance or soul-substance but, together with their neural foundations, are natural occurrences resulting from natural causal processes and having natural results. Scientific psychology and evolutionary biology show that there is no soul-substance. The brain is a natural biological substance, a highly evolved form of the ultimate physical energy-substance of the universe, and all instances of experience, awareness, or consciousness are attributes of somebody’s brain.¹ …
¹ For strong corroborative evidence of this, see Wilder Penfield, “The Interpretative Cortex,” Science, Vol. CXXIX, No. 3365 (June 20, 1959).

Gardner Williams is professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Toledo.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1968.tb00135.x

A Psychological Commentary on the Biblical Doctrine of Salvation by Leo Lieberman

Salvation—what does it mean in the context of today’s disordered world? The human wisdom of the ancient ages may be assumed to be communicated to the present by way of the myths and legends forged in the fogs of antiquity. I shall try to translate the seemingly “forgotten language” of the Judeo-Christian biblical revelations into some of the psychological idiom of today.

The concepts contained in the accumulated wisdom of a people, the concepts that guide people toward what is best for the human condition in the long run, presumably help to decrease the probability that the individual or a group will be ensnared in the sufferings that often ensue from a trial and error approach. Increased insight into the human process represented by the biblical term “salvation” may make less painful and more joyous the evolutionary progression of a modern man from a chronically disordered situation to a more harmonious, creative, and self-fulfilling society. It would seem profitable to explore the insights of the ancients and try to recapture and internalize them by means of a modern idiom.

It seems to me that (I) the source of the salvation story is external; (2) the nature of salvation is the strength to preserve and protect; and (3) its objective is security, peace, and harmony. …
Leo Lieberman is director of guidance and chairman of the Psychology Department at Suffolk University.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1968.tb00136.x

Review Essay

Theology and Science in Theological Perspective by Egon W. Gerdes

It should be said at the outset that this is a theologian speaking. I do not claim Hübner’s impressive knowledge of the scientific issues at stake, but I share his concern for a dialogue between theology and science. It would be good if the scientific side could also pick up from Hübner and proceed with the dialogue.

The book represents Hübner’s doctoral dissertation. The author is trained as both biologist and theologian and is now about to become a Privat-Dozent at Tubingen with another dissertation on Kepler as theologian. He is also editor of the theological writings of Kepler for the same publisher who printed his dissertation.¹ These excellent qualifications stand behind this excellent piece of work.

The specific topics of Hübner’s study are the German theological reactions to what he calls the biological doctrine of evolution (Evolutionslehre), as it was founded by Darwin and has been continually updated through the decades since. Hübner tackles his subject by giving a critical account of the historical development, less of the biological, more of the theological positions. His personal stance is only implied, but at the end his own position is clearly stated. Let us follow Hübner’s own procedure and report on his report before offering a critique of his position. …
¹ I received this information from Dr. Hübner in Tübingen last summer.

Egan W. Gerdes is professor of historical theology at Garrett Theological Seminary. The quotations from Jürgen Hübner and the other German authors have been translated by Dr. Gerdes from the German.

This article reviews Theologie und biologische Entwicklungslehre: Ein Beitrag zum Gespräch zwischen Theologie und Naturwissenschaft by Jürgen Hübner.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1968.tb00137.x


Cosmic Humanism by Oliver L. Reiser, reviewed by Alfred P. Stiernotte

Alfred P. Stiernotte; Quinnipiac College
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1968.tb00138.x

Philosophy of Science Today edited by Sidney Morgenbesser, reviewed by Joseph J. Maier

Joseph J. Maier; Whitman College
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1968.tb00138.x

In the Periodicals

Alfred P. Stiernotte; Quinnipiac College
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1968.tb00139.x

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