I see our task today as similar to that of those who labored some two thousand years ago—following such leaders as Isaiah, the Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Jesus, and Muhammad—to update our interpretation of the wisdom that a sovereign nature has selected and accumulated in the great world religions so as to adapt it for significance in our radically new context in a world of science and technology. I see the increasingly universally accepted language and imagery of the sciences about human nature, its place in the scheme of things, and the role of religion in human evolution, as now capable … of providing each of the major religious traditions with the means to interpret and understand itself in harmonious relation with the reality pictures of science and with one another. I see this as leading to the revitalization of religious faith, with an increasingly rational and scientific interpretation, a faith rebinding us to shared goals and mutual caring that enhance lifes fulfillment under the requirements and opportunities for humans set by the reality system that is our common creator and sustainer.
Ralph Wendell Burhoe
Zygon is halfway to the twenty-first century: having begun publication in 1966, our journal is completing its seventeenth volume; another seventeen years of publication will see Zygon entering the third millennium of the common era. Keeping this and the above vision from the closing words of Ralph Wendell Burhoes Templeton Prize address in mind, I invite you to reflect briefly on the increasing pluralism in the world today, with the resulting loss of coherence within societies, and on how Zygon and its community of inquirers is seeking to address this situation. I am convinced that we, the members of the Zygon community, are involved in an enterprise vital to the continuance and advancement of life on earth; therefore, we should do all we can to further the growth into the twenty-first century of what Zygon represents.
The author argues, by analyzing the logic implicit in scientific and religious statements, that these two kinds of statements belong to different universes of discourse. Religious statements are not admissible into scientific discourse and scientific statements are not admissible into religious discourse. This separation of discourse into universes of discourse is based on validity conventions which legislate different kinds of truth criteria for statements in different universes.
Bruce B. Wavell is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida 32789.
Is Science the Only Way to Truth? by Richard Schlegel
In the context of contemporary life questions, especially that of world peace, this essay first develops the view that truth is essentially scientific truth. Although religion gives insights for living, as science encompasses more and more of human experience it reinforces and modifies religious truths with its own firm knowledge. However, because of several limitations, it is concluded that science alone cannot give a complete account of humanity and the universe. For our first beliefs and principles we must look to other kinds of truth, which are in accord with scientific truth but go beyond scientific method in their justification.
Richard Schlegel, who died May 30, 1982, was professor emeritus of physics at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824.
Senses of Reality in Science and Religion: A Neuroepistemological Perspective by Eugene G. dAquili
The phenomenology of certain mystical states is contrasted with the sense of baseline reality in an exploration of primary senses of reality. Nine theoretical and eight actual primary senses of reality are described. A neurophysiological model is presented to account for these states, and their possible adaptive significance is considered from an evolutionary perspective. Finally the state of absolute unitary being is contrasted with baseline reality, and their competing claims for primacy are evaluated in an epistemological context.
Eugene G. dAquili, M.D., is associate professor of clinical psychiatry at University of Pennsylvania, University and Woodland Avenues, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104.
Religion and an Evolutionary Theory of Knowledge by Karl E. Peters
This paper outlines an evolutionary theory of knowledge involving not only conceptual but also behavioral and experiential knowledge. It suggests human knowledge is continuous at the behavioral and experiential level with that of nonhuman animals. By contrasting an evolutionary understanding of ultimate reality (God) with the more traditional, personalistic understanding, the paper shows how an evolutionary epistemology applies to religion in terms of both general and special revelation. Finally, the paper explores how one might respond to the problem of religious knowledge in a pluralistic age and how a nonpersonal, evolutionary understanding of God might be religiously adequate.
Karl E. Peters is editor of Zygon and associate professor of philosophy and religion at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida 32789.
The Spiritual Nature of Man by Alister Hardy, reviewed by Don Browning