It is striking to observe at this point in Western history the massive cultural representations of the striving for independence. We are concerned with the rights of children to follow their own interests and proceed at their own pace in our educational systems. We affirm the importance of individuality in dress and in life-style, as well as in distinctive vocational pursuits. We champion independent entrepreneurial business enterprises and simultaneously the independence and legitimacy of deviations within the counterculture. In both philosophy and the social sciences there are methodological celebrations of phenomenology and other forms of understanding that recognize pluralism within the culture and the idiosyncratic nature of each individuals perception of reality. We express scorn and experience shame in matters of conformity. We reserve the highest prohibitions in the university for plagiarism and express constantly the importance of independent ideas, giving our highest praise only for those who demonstrate genuine creativity and innovation. …
William R. Rogers is professor of religion and psychology, Harvard University.
Complementarity and the Relation between Science and Religion by Hugo Adam Bedau
About two decades ago, the idea was broached that the relation between science and religion might be understood in terms of their complementarity. Although complementarity had been introduced by Niels Bohr in the 1920s¹ and was first applied by him to quantum physical problems, he never believed it to be a principle limited to that area of natural science. Almost from the beginning, Bohr apparently had the idea that complementarity would prove to be of widespread application in scientific and nonscientific fields alike.² The idea that science and religion were complementary, therefore, was quite in the spirit of Bohrs own conception of the role which he hoped complementarity would eventually play in scientific and philosophical thinking. …
¹ See Niels Bohr, The Quantum Postulate and the Recent Development of Atomic Theory, Nature 121 (1928): 580-90, reprinted in his Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1934).
² Aage Peterson, The Philosophy of Niels Bohr, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 19 (September 1963): 12-14. For other references to the influence of Bohrs idea of complementarity on fields outside quantum physics, see P. K. Feyerabend, Problems in Microphysics, in Frontiers of Science and Philosophy, ed. R. G. Colodny (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1962), p. 191, nn. 7-9. 1 know of no evidence in Bohrs writings or elsewhere to support Dillenbergers statement that the principle of complementarity … was actually taken over by Bohr from philosophy and theology (John Dillenberger, Protestant Theology and Natural Science [New York: Doubleday & Co., 1960], p. 275).
Hugo Adam Bedau is Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy and Chairman, Department of Philosophy, Tufts University. The author is grateful for support from the Foundation for Research in Philosophy of Science, Princeton, New Jersey. He is also grateful to Nathan Brody and Paul Oppenheim for reading an earlier version of this essay. That either approves of the result is not to be inferred, however, from the authors indebtedness to them.
Complementarity in Scientific and Theological Thinking by D. M. MacKay
Theology, at least in its Christian theistic form, is all-embracing. Our world is declared to be Gods world—the whole of it. All our knowledge—physical, biological, historical, philosophical—is knowledge of Gods creation. If this is not an empty claim, then the theologian is bound to seek relations between the statements made in different academic disciplines and those he makes in specifically theological terms.
Faced with the conceptual disparity between assertions about breeding habits of the fruit fly or the isotopes of helium on the one hand, and about the Kingship of Christ or the necessity of regeneration on the other, we may be tempted to create a verbal relation, where no other is apparent, by invoking the omnibus name of complementarity. Physicists have popularized this term to represent the relation between wave and particle aspects of the behavior of light without fully understanding it. Why should not the theologian ease his conscience by following in such distinguished footsteps and broadly declare his theological statements and those made in other disciplines to be simply complementary?
The most obvious objection, of course, is that such a blanket use of the term is logically empty unless we can say what it would mean for two statements not to be complementary. By what criteria are we to distinguish statements that show genuine complementarity from those which are totally unrelated, related but only supplementary, or related but flatly contradictory? How can we prevent complementarity from becoming yet another fashionable escape gate from intellectual integrity in theology?
There is, however, a second objection to be raised to the tongue-in-cheek proposal above, namely, that to invoke the use of the term in physics as a justification of its use in theology would be both dangerous and misleading: dangerous, because the validity of the concept in theology might then seem to be dependent on the changing winds of fashion in physics; and misleading, because complementarity is not basically a physical concept but a logical one.¹ In discussing whether religious and other types of assertion are logically complementary, the greatest confusion arises from attempts to use complementarity in quantum mechanics as the paradigm case. The current debate in quantum physics is relevant to us now, I suggest, mainly as a cautionary tale. …
¹ In Complementarity II (Aristotelian Society: Supplementary Volume 32 : 105-22) I suggested that the logical notion underlying both physical and other uses of the term could be characterized as follows: Two (or more) descriptions may be called logically complementary when (a) They purport to have a common reference[,] (b) Each is in principle exhaustive, (in the sense that none of the entities or events comprising the common reference need be left unaccounted for), yet (c) They make different assertions, because (d) The logical preconditions of definition and/or of use (i.e., context) of concepts or relationships in each are mutually exclusive, so that significant aspects referred to in one are necessarily omitted from the other (pp. 114-15). In a, I would now delete the words purport to. The force of b here is of course permissive; if a description A does not claim to take account of certain of the entities comprising the situation described by B (as with the mathematical explanation of a computers activity discussed in the section on Hierarchic Complementarity below), the corresponding features of B have no complementary correlate in A, but this does not prevent A from being complementary to the appropriate part of B. The point is that even where A does claim to take account of the total situation, in the sense that nothing would remain if all features named in A were removed, c and d can still apply. Some of the arguments in the present paper will be found amplified in Complementarity II and in my earlier papers, particularly Complementary Descriptions (Mind 66 : 390-94).
D. M. MacKay is Research Professor of Communication, University of Keele, Keele, Staffordshire. The author is indebted to a number of friends, especially to Dr. J. M. Forrester, for their helpful criticism of an earlier draft of this paper.
A Logical Solution to the Problem of Evil by William S. Hatcher
In this article we will discuss the philosophical problem known as the problem of evil. The classic form of this problem runs something as follows: If there is a God, then he cannot be both omnipotent and good. For, since there is evil in the world, God, if he be all-powerful, is responsible for this evil (since he could prevent it if he chose) and is thus himself evil. …
William S. Hatcher is professeur titulaire, Département de Mathématiques, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
Passages about Earth by William Irwin Thompson and The Coming of the Golden Age by Gunther S. Stent, reviewed by John A. Miles, Jr.