Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
Entire articles may be obtained at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/zygo.1973.8.issue-3-4/issuetoc. Please note that Zygon subscribers must log in. Others may have to pay a small fee to acquire the entire article.
Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
8 (3-4), September-December 1973

Table of Contents

Papers from the Symposium on Science and Human Purpose of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science

Prologue to the Symposium on Science and Human Purpose by Ralph Wendell Burhoe

Human purpose is a problem with which human beings have perennially wrestled since they began to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. As men have become conscious or aware of their aims or goals, of the different means of attaining these objectives or ends, and of the conflicts and confusions among the various means and ends, human purpose becomes a perplexing problem. Then, when we find conflict between our personal aims and those of others, and when we begin to perceive that our own purposes or those of our society may no longer be relevant or meaningful, we may become increasingly confused. In extreme cases we may become aimless, stymied, to the point of doing nothing beyond what primitive biological mechanisms force us to do. The aims or norms of our society may lose their appeal, and we may find our personal lives to be meaningless, pointless, even absurd.

“What is the purpose of it all?” we may ask, especially if we find ourselves suffering from the inadequacies of our own nature; or if we find ourselves chained to the service of a society of people for whom we have no enthusiasm and who, we suspect, do not really give a hoot for us except for what they can get out of us; or if we find ourselves to be just a freak of chance in a cosmos where our destined end—personally or even that of our community or species—is chaos and death. Are we mocked by the gods who have fashioned us to suffer waves of hopes and fears, which, when we wise up, we find are empty, accidental, and meaningless phenomena of a meaningless world?

While the less conscious lilies and birds do not concern themselves for .the morrow, and while even some men, in blessed simplicity, are content to follow the call of the immediate needs presented by their appetites and circumstances, there are increasingly many of us who are increasingly distraught by the complexity, confusion, paradox, arid even pointlessness that seem to come with learning ever more “facts” about our destiny that do not fit together and do not fit with our hopes. …
Ralph Wendell Burhoe is research professor in theology and the sciences, Meadville/Lombard Theological School, Chicago.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00227.x

Toward a Naturalized Technology by James E. Huchingson

As citizens of Western industrial society, we are currently undergoing an agonizing reevaluation of our culture so urgent and complete that it borders on a revolution. Central to this reevaluation is our attitude toward technology. We are ambivalent about our incredible powers over the natural environment, and it is this very ambivalence that renders any appraisal of them so agonizing. We feel omnipotent and impotent at the same time; as the standard of living increases, the quality of life deteriorates. We vaguely intuit, and are now coming to understand, that man and his environment are inextricably intertwined and that any exploitation of the one promotes subjugation of the other. Homo faber appears so conditioned by the habit of his profligate behavior toward the natural order that he may well dismantle his habitat to the extent of rendering himself inviable within the resulting context. While we know this, guidelines for a normative critique of the predicament remain elusive. Our intention, in this paper is to suggest provisionally a general orientation for discerning normative processes in the natural order. We also want to indicate tentatively how this orientation might assist in any reevaluation of the role of technology in the man-nature complex.

Common elements that appear in any polemic against technology are those describing it as “unnatural” and “inhuman.” One underlying but usually unarticulated assumption accompanying such charges is. that both man and nature possess “natures” that are intrinsically good and proper. A further assumption is that whatever distorts, lessens, or destroys these proper constitutions, that is, promotes the “unnatural” and the “inhuman,” must itself be intrinsically evil, or, at the very least, unfitting. A final assumption is that what is properly human and what is properly natural are somehow intimately and ultimately linked so that a distortion of the one invariably leads to a distortion of the other.

Arrange these assumptions as premises in a syllogism and we arrive at the indubitable conclusion that man, in his ill-considered misapplication of technology, is doing an evil thing. The environment is seldom held culpable, not since the collapse of the Medieval world view. What happens in the natural order when left to itself which could be considered “unnatural”? The fault for the nature-human predicament is traced to man, to his ignorance and prideful self-indulgence.

Philosophy and religion have long sought to isolate the evident flaw in human nature that makes our actions so fallible. As liberal heirs of the Enlightenment we often promote education as the panacea for whatever original sin ails us. Today this strategy goes by the name of “consciousness raising.” Perhaps education, as a means of attaining wisdom through an increase in perspective, is not the total answer to our crises, but at the very least it must provide a part of the answer. That is to say, if our technology is viewed as a menace encroaching upon the properly human and the properly natural, it would be helpful to clarify the structure of the technological enterprise itself and its relations to human actions and natural processes. Then, perhaps, proposals for a recovery of what has been distorted may be persuasively made. …
James E. Huchingson is assistant professor of religion, Florida International University, Miami, Florida.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00228.x

Quantum Physics and Human Purpose by Richard Schlegel

It is not immediately apparent that contributions from physics can be helpful for the problem of human purpose. Physics is the most abstract of the. natural sciences, since it does not take any particular set of natural entities as its subject. Biology is concerned with living organisms, geology with the earth; even so general a science as chemistry is specifically a study of molecules. But physicists attempt to describe and explain the properties of space, time, matter, and energy everywhere in the universe; Their science is expected to be valid for discussions of all material things: of stars, of man-made machines, or of living cells, without, however, taking as its domain the particular properties of any of those entities; that responsibility is for the astronomer, the engineer, or the biologist. Nonetheless, just because physics does apply so universally, what it tells us about nature is relevant also for human purpose. The connection is not one that can be readily set out in concrete detail; rather, it exists (perhaps somewhat vaguely) through what I will here refer to as general outlook. Still, I trust that we may agree that human behavior is influenced by basic belief or philosophy. My chief effort, then, will be toward showing that currently our philosophy of man’s relation to nature is being profoundly affected by the developments in this century that we call quantum physics. Some changes in possibilities for human purpose, I will hope to show, are inevitably associated with the new concepts of nature. …
Richard Schlegel is professor of physics, Michigan State University.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00229.x

Biological Trends within Cosmic Processes by V. L. Parsegian

Son of man, bathe yourself in the ocean or matter; plunge into it where it is deepest and most violent; struggle in its currents and drink of its waters. For it cradled you long ago in your preconscious existence; and it is that ocean that will raise you up to God.¹

The ecstasy expressed by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the scientist-theologian, is shared by many among those who, in studying the processes of nature, wonder how it is that from molecular chaos there emerge order and living organisms. The wonder only increases as one contemplates the variety of organisms—species after species, each seeming to build on structures and functions that went before. One may envision a trend toward increasing complexity in these species relationships, an evolutionary development toward ends or “goals” that at the moment seem to have arrived at man himself. Assuming there is a trend toward biological complexity, is this perhaps a development which is a subsystem to a larger process of evolutionary change? What, for example, are the possible relationships between biological trends and the trends in the physical universe that we identify with the “laws of thermodynamics”? What about the element we call “time” which is ever explicit or implicit in all our thinking and which appears to constitute a base line against which to measure evolutionary changes? Or is time itself only a by-product of those changes? Is it possible that the trends of natural processes offer an inkling to what might be the “purposes” of nature, and therefore a framework for what might be human purposes as well?

These are among the questions to which this article is addressed. It is an attempt to take advantage of the capability that was one of the early distinctions between man and the rest of the animal world, namely, the ability to interrelate the past, the present, and the future. Probing systematic interest in the past has been a relatively recent development, however, and only within the past two centuries has there been applied what we tend to regard as serious, nonmythological study of the relationship of living things to natural and cosmic processes. Whether the substitution of a mechanistic, biochemical approach for the mythological will give complete answers to our questions is not at all clear at the moment. The mechanistic approach to life, being itself a fabrication of the human mind, has provided many important bits of information on the processes of nature but little appreciation for the grand trends of these processes. Here we shall delve into some of the factual data, prevailing theories, and notions that relate to these topics, the intention being more to arouse interest than to provide final answers. …
¹ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hymn to the Universe (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), p. 65.

V. L. Parsegian is Rensselaer Professor Emeritus, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. This work was part of a project (“Building Educational Bridges between Science and the Humanities”) supported by the National Science Foundation.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00230.x

A Biological Basis for Human Purpose by Charles Birch

Most of the young people of the world … are worrying about the meaninglessness of their own lives. … they need purpose, and they are living on in society where the transmission of commitment has broken down.¹

In the Western world there is evidence of an attenuation of human purpose in the sense that man has become less convinced of clear-cut goals to pursue.² At the same time, there have been small movements of considerable strength among the young that have resulted in strong commitments to particular purposes that have brought added meaning to life ,of those so committed. Notable examples are the activist groups described by Keniston³ associated with opposition to the war in Vietnam and racial oppression and some of the attempts to develop an alternative life-style.⁴ The scene, however, has been a shifting one. One year the student community throughout the world seems to be characterized by activism and renewal; in the next the reverse may be the characteristic syndrome. No one seems to have had much success in diagnosing the scene or in predicting what might happen next.

One characteristic of a meaningful life is that it finds commitment in purposes beyond self to a wider sphere of goals in the world and among people. Some have attempted to find that commitment in a narrow realm, such as scientific research. However, I incline to agree with Jenkins when he writes: “I am sometimes tempted to judge that, as practised, it [Science] is more often an activity designed to escape from reality than to come to grips with it.”⁵ We have mounting numbers of graduate students who agree and who judge the research of their supervisors as trivial and who, by contrast, feel the urge to tackle problems of great human significance. On the other hand, the senior researcher is at times at a loss to know how it is that other students can be so unmoved and uncommitted to science and so unresponsive to the wonder of what science reveals. Coming to grips with reality can be a consequence of entering science because of a profound questioning of the world around us. Neurophysiologist John Eccles entitled a recent book Facing Reality.⁶ That is what happened to Eccles when as a student he became a neurophysiologist because of his profound interest in the problem of mind and consciousness. Unless there is a profound questioning there is unlikely to be passionate interest. …
¹ Margaret Mead, discussion, in Biology and the History of the Future, ed. C. H. Waddington (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 1972), p. 32.
² See Ralph Wendell Burhoe, “What Specifies the Values of the Man-made Man?” Zygon 6 (1971): 224-46.
³ Kenneth Keniston, Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968).
⁴ Robert A. Evans, Belief and the Counter Culture (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1972).
⁵ David Jenkins, What Is Man? (London: SCM Press, 1970), p. 100.
⁶ John C. Eccles, Facing Reality: Philosophical Adventures by a Brain Scientist (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1970).

Charles Birch is Challis Professor of Biology, University of Sydney.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00231.x

Ethics and Values in Biological and Cultural Evolution by Theodosius Dobzhansky

The problem of biological foundations of ethics and values is a relatively new one. For centuries and millennia, ethics and values were believed to stem from God’s commandments. Having revealed his will, God exacts compliance. He rewards righteousness with bliss and wickedness with suffering. In the words of Paul Ricoeur, God “corrects the apparent disorder in the distribution of human fortune. The law of retribution makes of religion not only an absolute foundation for moral law but also a world view, a speculative cosmology.”¹

But why does God command doing certain things and prohibit others? Can the wisdom of God’s commands be demonstrated rationally? God’s purposes need not be all inscrutable, still less contrary to human reason, which is in itself God’s gift to man. Already medieval theologians, notably Saint Thomas Aguinas, sought to discover rational bases of the moral law. His premise was that since man is created in God’s image, all humans have the same nature, and this nature is the source of the same moral law.

The problem acquired a new dimension in the light of Darwin’s theory of evolutionary ascent of man. Man has evolved from ancestors who were not human. Unless human nature and moral law were implanted suddenly and in their present state, they too must have evolved. Moreover, there is no single human nature common to everybody but as many variant human natures as there are men. These findings lead to many new questions. And these questions are no longer only theological or philosophical. Some key ones are biological questions. Since the creation of God’s image in man is not an event but a process, the moral law is a product of an evolutionary development.

What causes brought about this development? This development is the key to understanding of the unique human evolutionary pattern. Biological evolution formed the foundation for the development of culture, including some aspects of ethics and morals. The development of culture led to the emergence of other kinds of ethics and morals, independent of and sometimes even contradictory to the purely biological ones. Teilhard de Chardin saw this clearly when he wrote: “The ethical principles which hitherto we have regarded as an appendage, superimposed more or less by our own free will upon the laws of biology, are now showing themselves—not metaphorically but literally—to be a condition of survival of the human race. In other words, evolution, in rebounding reflectively upon itself, acquires morality for the purpose of its further advance.”²…
¹ Paul Ricoeur, Fallible Man, trans. Charles Kelbley (Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1965).
² Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man (New York: Harper & Bros., 1959).

Theodosius Dobzhansky is professor of genetics, University of California, Davis.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00232.x

Cultural Evolution versus Biological Evolution by J. C. Eccles

We share with all living forms the history of our origin by a biological evolutionary process that is characterized by two principal features. There are first the changes being wrought in the genetic code by random mutations and recombinations, which change the DNA structure of the sex cells of an organism. In rare cases a mutation favorable for survival and multiplication will lead to a flourishing of the organism developing from those sex cells and of its descendents bearing the same favorable genetic code. This illustrates the second operative component in biological evolution. It is called “natural selection” or, less appropriately, “survival of the fittest,” and it is believed to be responsible for the marvelous adaptations developed in the evolutionary process.

In contrast, my thesis is that cultural evolution is exclusively human. Culture is man-made. Man alone has the potentiality to participate in culture both as an experiencer and as a creator. Animals have no culture and are blind to culture. Behavior that is learned uncritically or automatically by imitation as a result of some conditioning procedure is not cultural, although it is not, as such, inherited. But it is at the highest level of performance of the animal nervous system, being part of the conditioning process. It represents the summit of the studies of the behaviorists and the physicalists. I am aware that my extreme position will invite attack. It will be attacked on the grounds that in many of their behavioral patterns animals exhibit a sense of beauty or of design. For example, there are the structures made by animals such as spiders’ webs, or nests built by wasps or ants, or by birds. But against this I raise two objections.

In the first place it is remarkable that animals building some of the most elegant structures with geometrical design have relatively simple nervous systems, such as the social insects—ants, bees, wasps—and the spiders. Other constructional animals such as birds and lower orders of mammals, the badgers and the beavers, also have nervous systems less highly developed than the higher orders of mammals—for example, the anthropoid apes—that have virtually no constructional propensities.

Second, we have the amazing story of the immense time lag between man’s development of a full-sized brain and his significant progress in cultural evolution, as I shall outline after introductory sections on the nature of culture and instinctive behavior. …
J. C. Eccles is Distinguished Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, State University of New York at Buffalo.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00233.x

Some Biological Antecedents of Human Purpose by Alfred E. Emerson

Few original data or concepts are presented in this summary. Earlier publications by others and by me draw similar generalizations.¹ Some of the conclusions and background logic are controversial. Each author in this conference series presents inferences drawn from different fields of scholarship and experience. Each organizes his data differently, uses different terms for similar concepts and the same term for different concepts. Some different conclusions may be resolved by semantic clarification. In spite of some real differences, common viewpoints are apparent to the discerning reader. …
¹ R. R. Grinker, ed., Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior (New York: Basic Books, 1956); Anne Roe and G. G. Simpson, eds., Behavior and Evolution (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1958; H. R. Barringer, G. I. Blanksten, and R. W. Mack, eds., Social Change in Developing Areas (Cambridge, Mass.: Schenkman Publishing Co., 1965).

Alfred E. Emerson is professor emeritus of zoology, University of Chicago.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00234.x

The Purpose of Mankind by Ervin Laszlo

The title of this essay suggests that its topic is nonsensical. First, purpose cannot be associated with anything other than a conscious human being. Second, mankind as such does not exist, only individual men. These objections make an essay on the purpose of mankind a study of an impossible characteristic of a nonexistent entity.

I believe, however, and offer to demonstrate, that these objections are unsound. “Purpose” can be operationally defined as a property of a class of entities which may, but need not, be endowed with consciousness. And “mankind” can be shown to be an entirely reasonable conceptualization of a network of relationships binding the members of the earth’s human population. Hence, my own purpose in this paper will be (and since I am a conscious human being I have no need to prove that I can have a purpose) to show that (1) “purpose” can be legitimately attributed to “mankind,” and (2) there is evidence of various sorts that mankind does indeed manifest a purpose. It will become apparent that such purpose may well be a sine qua non of the long-term future of human life and culture on this planet. …
Ervin Laszlo is professor of philosophy, State University of New York, Geneseo.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00235.x

Evolutionary Perspectives on Purpose and Man by Solomon H. Katz

A consistent and striking anthropological observation is the continuous attempt by all human societies to organize and structure their environment. While the method of organization and quantity of structure imposed by each society is a product of its past and present social, biological, and environmental history, there is abundant evidence that this basic human attribute is universal. I believe this striking human attribute is closely associated with the nature of human purpose. In this paper I intend to develop this theme by using ethnographic, cybernetic, and evolutionary data and frameworks to suggest holistic ways of dealing with the concept of purpose. …
Solomon H. Katz is associate professor of anthropology, University of Pennsylvania.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00236.x

Social Science and Human Purpose by Karl H. Hertz

One of the striking characteristics of the past several decades, as well as of this symposium in particular, is that we are bringing together sets of concerns that have in the past been thought to belong to different disciplines, whose mixture has, at the very least, been thought of as a confusion of categories, if not in fact an intellectually illegitimate operation. “Science” is something preeminently descriptive and empirical; “human purpose” involves us in prescriptive concerns, questions of values, and ethical decision making. Science is objective, but valuing is subjective. …
Karl H. Hertz is professor of church and society, Hamma School of Theology, Springfield, Ohio.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00237.x

The Is-Ought Problem: A Developmental Perspective by Dwight Boyd and Lawrence Kohlberg

For over two hundred years, or more accurately since Hume’s Treatise, to speak in one breath of both science and values has caused philosophical shudders. Hume is commonly credited with having first pointed out the logical gap between factual statements and moral judgments, or between “is” and “ought.”¹ Since Hume’s time this gap has been repeatedly mapped and remapped, with the result more often than not being a widening or deepening of the gap. It has become the Grand Canyon of modern moral philosophy: the dangers of skirting its edges are equaled only by the drawing power which it seems to have for philosophical interest. In fact, it has recently been billed as “the central problem in moral philosophy” in an introduction to an anthology of papers on this topic by notables ranging from A. C. MacIntyre to R. M. Hare.² The call to this symposium is thus a call to a well-established danger zone, for, as stated in a description of the symposium, the goal is to shape “a view of man in accord with scientific knowledge that would provide a foundation for responding to questions about human goals, purpose, and values—a foundation for understanding man’s meaning and for making ethical decisions.”

In reviewing discussions of the is-ought problem, one finds the majority of the discussions interpreting the problem as one of analysis of the difference in meaning between simple linguistic expressions, statements of fact versus moral judgments, or between linguistic patterns of evaluating and describing. Analysis of the logic of expressions of fact, such as “This apple is red,” and expressions of evaluation, such as “This action is right,” is believed to bring us closer to understanding the nature of the gap, and, ultimately, to answering the question, “How is what is the case related to what ought to be the case?” It is our belief that focusing exclusively on analysis of certain forms of expression may actually take us farther away from answering this is-ought question. Even if one rejects Mary Warnock’s suggestion (which we would not) that “one of the consequences of treating ethics as the analysis of ethical language is … that it leads to the increasing triviality of the subject,”³ one must at least wonder about the cause of the frequent recurrence of titles such as “The Triviality of the Debate over ‘Is-Ought’ and the Definition of ‘Moral.’”⁴ G. E. M. Anscombe has suggested “that it is not profitable for us at present to do moral philosophy; that it should be laid aside at any rate until we have an adequate philosophy of psychology, in which we are conspicuously lacking.”⁵ We would go one step further and claim that we need a more adequate moral psychology first of all before we can have an adequate philosophy of psychology, before we can profitably do moral philosophy—or at least that they are all tied together. …
¹ See, for example, A. C. Macintyre, “Hume on ‘Is’ and ‘Ought’” (and subsequent papers), in The Is-Ought Question, ed. W. D. Hudson (London: Macmillan & Co., 1969), pp. 35-63. (Readers may also refer to the discussion of the is-ought question in the March 1969 and September 1969 issues of Zygon, and to Karl H. Hertz, “Social Science and Human Purpose,” this issue.—Ed.)
² Ibid., p. 11.
³ Mary Warnock, Ethics since 1900 (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), p. 144.
⁴ Peter Singer, “The Triviality of the Debate over ‘Is-Ought’ and the Definition of ‘Moral,’” American Philosophical Quarterly 10 (1973): 51-56.
⁵ G. E. M. Anscombe, “Modern Moral Philosophy,” in Is-Ought Question, p. 175.

Dwight Boyd, currently at the Developmental Psychology Laboratory of the University of Washington, is visiting from the Harvard Laboratory of Human Development. Lawrence Kohlberg is professor of education and social psychology, Harvard University.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00238.x

The Nature and Purpose of Man in Science and Christian Theology by A. R. Peacocke

It is the height of intellectual perversity to renounce, in the name of scientific objectivity, our position as the highest form of life on earth, and our own advent by a process of evolution as the most important problem of evolution.¹

Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever!²

The original brief of this symposium is to shape “a view of man in accord with scientific knowledge that would provide a foundation for responding tq questions about human goals, purpose, and values.” Anyone attempting this must first be clear about two questions: (1) whether or not, in principle, any understanding of human goals, purpose, and values can be deduced directly from the scientific account of man and his origins, and (2) what kind of context this scientific account provides for any re-formation, or discovery, of these goals. The position I shall adopt is that, as regards (1), the fundamental philosophical³ criticisms of evolutionary ethics negate any possibility of deducing values or ethical judgments from the evolutionary sequence; however, with respect to (2), I will urge that the actual history and sequence of development revealed by the sciences do serve to evoke questions about man and his relation to the cosmos which cannot be answered from within the realm of discourse of natural science alone. I shall set alongside this scientific perspective on man and the questions it raises an account of the understanding of man which prevails in the Judeo-Christian development and, in particular, of the implications of the distinctively Christian affirmations which concern the Incarnation and the person of Jesus. Only thus can one hope to discern any mutual illumination or complementarity between these two perspectives. …
¹ Michael Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967), p. 47.
² Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647).
³ A. Quinton, Biology and Personality, ed. I. T. Ramsey (Oxford: Blackwells, 1965), pp. 107 ff.

A. R. Peacocke, a former Fellow (biochemistry) of St. Peter’s College, Oxford, is dean of Clare College, Cambridge.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00239.x

The Self-Definition of Life and Human Purpose: Reflections upon the Divine Spirit and the Human Spirit by Philip Hefner

It has been amply demonstrated, in this volume of essays and elsewhere, that we can gather clear and very helpful insights into the nature of man and the tendencies of his future development if we pay careful attention to where man has been in terms of his evolution within the context of the total evolution of the world. Arthur Peacocke has summarized these insights helpfully in his essay in this volume under the two rubrics, “Man as a Psychosomatic Unity: A Person” and “Man Evolving: An Unfulfilled Paradox.” The gist of his interpretation, which is also supported by other thinkers in the field, is that man represents the evolution of matter to a state in which matter has assumed the properties of intellect, self-consciousness, and spirit. (At this point, initially, we define “spirit” as the power of man’s psychic life. This definition will be expanded.) Moreover, this set of properties is so organized and centered that it can be spoken about appropriately only in terms of “person.” As the very term “evolution” implies, however, the stage of development we call “humankind” is no static phenomenon, but rather a welter of possibilities which points toward the future. These possibilities are open to further developments, some of which may be so dramatic that they constitute “emergences” into new dimensions of life that seem, from our perspective, to be breaks in the evolutionary continuum. But at the same time, these potentialities are all fully grounded in the physical, psychosocial, and cultural evolution of what has gone before, so that they are in a sense determined by the thrust of that past development and also a fulfillment of it. …
Philip Hefner is professor of systematic theology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00240.x

The Concepts of God and Soul in a Scientific View of Human Purpose by Ralph Wendell Burhoe

This symposium on science and human purpose seeks to make some sense and perhaps offer some practical solutions to an ominous cloud of anomie and absurdity advancing over the horizon of human perspectives. As man’s view of himself and his world and his powers to transform them are enhanced by the sciences, his traditional convictions about his worth, meaning, and purpose in the scheme of things are disintegrating. This is hitting hardest among the youthful, better-educated, and more economically advanced and sensitive elements of the world population. But it is becoming widespread enough to portend societal and personal breakdowns of horrible dimensions. …
Ralph Wendell Burhoe is research professor in theology and the sciences, Meadville/Lombard Theological School, Chicago.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00241.x

Epilogue to the Symposium on Science and Human Purpose by George Arkell Riggan

Participants in this symposium offer the papers published in this collection as the chief work accomplished by their joint efforts in an interdisciplinary enterprise. Each contributor has significantly revised the original draft. of his paper following a working conference attended by all participants at the Institute on Man and Science in Rensselaerville, New York, from October 25 to 30, 1972. At that conference each author interpreted the original version of his work to the entire symposium and received in turn hard-hitting criticisms and constructive suggestions for its reformulation. Mrs. Anne Grant recorded all comments on tape and made available to each author as much of the final transcript as seemed desirable to the man himself for the revision of his own work. The symposium is especially indebted, therefore, to Mrs. Grant and also to the Sloan Foundation, which made to the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science the grant enabling the entire project.

The individual authors themselves have acclaimed the insights mutually given and received during the course of the project. One contributor, Dwight Boyd, went so far as to suggest that any person reading only the papers might be struck most forcibly by our disagreements and would inevitably miss the pervasive unity of our endeavor unless he could experience for himself the rational interdisciplinary discourse of the working conference in which, despite differences passionately held, participants evidenced close attention, openness, and respect for the experience and judgment of their colleagues. …
George Arkell Riggan is Riley Professor of Systematic Theology at Hartford Seminary Foundation.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1973.tb00242.x

Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts