Three points are discussed: first, that limits of technological fixes are revealed by current economic, social, and environmental problems; second, that these problems cannot be solved by a technological fix but require alternative forms of activity and being; third, that realizing these limits makes possible the re-emergence of the sacred. Two attitudes toward technology, nature, and the sacred are described: Technocrats desacralize nature and strive to shape it technologically for human ends alone; pernetarians resacralize nature and develop a perennial philosophy (synthesized from elements of different spiritual disciplines) allied with an enlarged, artful science, so as to design activities compatible with nature.
Alan R. Drengson is associate professor of philosophy, University of Victoria, Post Office Box 1700, Victoria, British Columbia V8W 2Y2 Canada.
Genetic Engineering: Prospects and Recommendations by Bernard D. Davis and H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr.
At the 1983 Summer Conference on the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, working groups chaired by the coauthors outlined some of the prospects for the use of somatic and germ line genetic engineering and related biological technologies to alleviate disease and to modify human behavior. They then offered a series of recommendations concerning the application of genetic engineering to persons and the monitoring of medical research and therapy.
Bernard D. Davis is professor of bacterial physiology, Harvard Medical School, 25 Shattuck Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115. H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., is a professor in the departments of medicine and community medicine and a member of the Center for Ethics, Medicine, and Public Issues, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas 77030.
Persons and Humans: Refashioning Ourselves in a Better Image and Likeness by H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr.
This article argues that there are neither moral considerations that in principle forbid the development or use of recombinant DNA technology, nor grounds to hold that its application is likely to cause more harm than good. A defensible moral position would enjoin a prudent assessment of consequences, rather than an absolute prohibition. The technology may remain controversial because it presupposes the difference between being a person, an entity who can evaluate and manipulate its own biological structure, and human-ness as a biological structure likely to be the subject of engineering over the long-range future.
H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., is a professor in the departments of medicine and community medicine and a member of the Center for Ethics, Medicine, and Public Issues, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas 77030.
Genesis Revisited: Can We Do Better than God? by Michael Ruse
We are faced with growing powers of manipulation of our human genetic makeup. While not denying that these powers can be used for great good, it behooves us to think now of possible upper limits to the change that we might want to effect. I argue that thoughts of changing the human species into a race of supermen and superwomen are based on weak premises. Genetic fine-tuning may indeed be in order; wholesale genetic change is not.
Michael Ruse is professor of history and philosophy, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1G 2W1.
Sexual Attraction: A Test Case of Sociobiological Theory by H. V. C. Harris
A study of the place of human sexuality in religious systems indicates a possible universal stress on sexual attraction. This could be explained by using the theories of Richard Dawkins and other sociobiologists: the philandering male and the coy female express the best strategies for the survival of the selfish gene. Closer analysis of four religious systems throws doubt on these theories. In some systems the strategies are contradicted while in others there is stress on cooperative restraint rather than on survival through selfish propagation. The principal objection to the sociobiological approach is its assumption of conflict between the sexes.
H. V. C. Harris is coordinator of the religious studies department, McAuley College, 243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park, Queensland 4051 Australia.
Neurotheology: The Working Brain and the Work of Theology by James B. Ashbrook
Because the mind is the significance of the brain and God is the significance of the mind, the concept mind bridges how the brain works and traditional patterns of belief. The left mind, which utilizes rational vigilance and the imperative instructions of proclamation, names and analyzes the urgently right. The right mind, which discloses the relational responsiveness of numinous presence and natural symbolism, is immersed in and integrates the ultimately real. Together they provide a typology of mind-states with which to assess regressive, functional, and creative patterns. Hand dominance, gender differences, and cultural bias qualify the use of the metaphor.
James B. Ashbrook is professor of religion and personality at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60201, and an advisory member of the graduate faculty, Northwestern University.
Science and Religion: Seeking a Common Horizon by Frank E. Budenholzer
The thought of Bernard Lonergan provides an epistemological position that is both true to the exigencies of modern science and yet open to the possibility of God and revealed religion. In this paper I outline Lonergans transcendental method, which describes the basic pattern of operations involved in any act of human knowing, and discuss how Lonergan uses this cognitional theory as a basis for an epistemological position of critical realism. Then I explain how his approach handles some philosophical problems raised by classical and modern science and show how his thought provides an intelligible link between the scientific and religious horizons.
Frank E. Budenholzer is professor of chemistry, Fu Jen Catholic University, Hsinchuang 242, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.
Meaning and Purpose in the Intact Brain by Robert Miller, reviewed by Richard M. Restak