The object is to examine strategies commonly used to heighten a sense of the sacred in nature. It is argued that moves designed to reinforce a concept of Providence have been the very ones to release new opportunities for secular readings. Several case studies reveal this fluidity across a sacred-secular divide. The irony whereby sacred readings of nature would graduate into the secular is also shown to operate in reverse as anti-providentialist strategies invited their own refutation. The analysis is used to support the claim that the sciences have put fewer constraints on religious belief than is generally assumed.
argument from design • deism • naturalism • natural theology • Providence • secularization
John Hedley Brooke is senior lecturer in the history of science at the University of Lancaster, England, where he has also been senior tutor and principal of Bowland College. He has published extensively on the history of organic chemistry and on the British natural theology tradition. He has lectured widely in both Europe and the United States and is currently completing a book on the historical relations between science and religion for the Cambridge History of Science series. Since May 1988 he has been editor of the British Journal for the History of Science.
Personality and Epistemology: Cognitive Social Learning Theory as a Philosophy of Science by James W. Jones
Implicit in the cognitive social learning model of personality as articulated by Walter Mischel, Albert Bandura, and others, is an epistemology which emphasizes the activity of the mind in the construction of knowledge. Using Mischels five person variables as an outline, the epistemic implications of this model of personality are developed and then illustrated by application to William Jamess typology of the religious personality and to the current debate over hermeneutic and empirical approaches to studying human behavior. This approach explicates the connection between personality characteristics and epistemological approaches in terms of cognitive social learning theory.
epistemology • hermeneutics • social learning theory
James W. Jones is associate professor of religion and a clinical psychologist at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903.
Mirrors, Portals, and Multiple Realities by George F. MacDonald, John L. Cove, Charles D. Laughlin, Jr., and John McManus
A biogenetic structural explanation is offered for the cross-culturally common mystical experience called portalling, the experience of moving from one reality to another via a tunnel, door, aperture, hole, or the like. The experience may be evoked in shamanistic and meditative practice by concentration upon a portalling device (mirror, mandala, labyrinth, skrying bowl, pool of water, etc.). Realization of the portalling experience is shown to be fundamental to the phenomenology underlying multiple reality cosmologies in traditional cultures and is explained in terms of radical re-entrainment of the neurological systems mediating experience in the brain. Phenomenological experiments with mirror portalling devices from both the Tibetan and the Tsimshian religious traditions are reported.
brain and states of consciousness • cosmology • meditation • religious experience • shamanism • symbolism
George F. MacDonald is director of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, 241 Cité des Jeunes Blvd., Asticou Centre, Hull, P.Q., Canada K1A 0M8. John J. Cove is associate professor of anthropology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6. He is the author of Shattered Images: Dialogues and Meditations on Tsimsian Narratives (Carleton Univ. Press). Charles D. Laughlin, Jr. is professor of anthropology at Carleton University and is co-author of Biogenetic Structuralism and The Spectrum of Ritual (both Columbia Univ. Press). John McManus is a free-lance psychologist and writer living at 852 North 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130 and is co-author of The Spectrum of Ritual (Columbia Univ. Press) and Science as Cognitive Process (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press).
The Whole Brain as the Basis for the Analogical Expression of God by James B. Ashbrook
As human beings we inevitably try to explain our experience. In philosophical language, we deal with transcendent assertions and aspirations. The issue, then, is: how can we talk about what matters, given the structures inherent in language and basic to the way we are made? Instead of the philosophical category of Being, I advance a case for giving the human brain privileged status as an analogical expression of God, the symbol-concept of what matters most, and then suggest the illumination which can come with using that analogical expression, especially as that analogy connects us with the environment at the limbic level and constructs our world at the cerebral level.
analogical expression • brain • empirical theology • epistemology • God • natural theology
James B. Ashbrook is professor of religion and personality, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60201, and an advisory member of the graduate faculty, Northwestern University. Portions of these ideas were presented in a paper to the Science and Theology Section of the American Academy of Religion in Boston, December 1987. The author expresses appreciation to respondents Don Browning and John B. Cobb, Jr., and to Ralph Wendell Burhoe, Karl Peters, and Barbara Stinchcombe for assistance with both content and style.
Sociobiology, God, and Understanding by Charles J. Lumsden
This article presents the rationale of a new approach to the debate between sociobiology and religion. In it, I outline a sociobiology that may generate alternative and competing hypotheses about the existence of gods as beings (theisms) and the nature of their participation in the universe. I examine the central theoretical issues of this sociobiology and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a sociobiological approach to theological issues, including problems pertinent to nontheistic theologies. A concluding case is made for an enriched and revitalized agenda in the dialogue between sociobiology and religion. While consistent with current research on gene-culture coevolution, the article's treatment expands on earlier work to begin incorporating theoretical terms that carry a more direct theological impact.
God • mathematical theology • natural theology • science and religion • sociobiology • theism
Charles J. Lumsden is associate professor in the department of medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A8. This paper was supported in part by population biology grant number A0393 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and a Career Scholarship from the Medical Research Council of Canada. Discussions with Cathy Whiteside, Edward O. Wilson, Michael Ruse, Karl Peters, and Fr. Ovey Mohammed, S.J. are gratefully acknowledged. Many thanks also to Anne Hansen for her careful preparation of the typescript and Wanda Taylor for her meticulous editorial commentary.
God of Chance by D. J. Barholomew, reviewed by Holmes Rolston, III
Jeffrey S. Wicken; Professor of Biochemistry; Penn State University; Behrend College
Der Dialog zwischen Theologie und Naturwissenschaft. Ein bibliographischer Bericht (The Dialogue Between Theology and Natural Science: A Bibliographical Report) edited by Jürgen Hübner, reviewed by Wim B. Drees