For as long as it has been in existence, this journal has devoted intense reflection to the question of how what we know should be related to how we act. More specifically, this reflection has focused on the relationship between scientific knowledge and values. Zygons founder, Ralph Wendell Burhoe, underscored the great crisis of contemporary civilization that has resulted because we lack a set of credible concepts that can interpret this relationship between knowledge and values, which in turn has left us with no public consensus on this critical matter. Our most basic goal is to make whatever contribution we can to clarifying the knowledge/values interface. The major concern of the articles in this issue coincides with this goal.
Human action and experience are the outcome of genes and memes. Not only are both of these represented in consciousness, but consciousness mediates their claims and thus governs our choices. Hence it is important how consciousness is ordered and where it is directed. Sorokins typology of the sensate and the ideational (spiritual), and the dialectic between them, is relevant to this issue. In our period of history, the sensate factors of materialism and secularism need to be dialectically counterbalanced by the reinforcement of memes that value the spiritual intimations of the realm beyond the senses. As we approach the twenty-first century, the memes that will undergird our spirituality will be those that resacralize nature and emphasize our unity as humans with all of universal reality, in an idea of common beinghood. Spiritual systems that accord with this trend in evolution will have to respect three conditions. They will (1) integrate the sensate and the ideational; (2) reflect the importance of the flow state of optimal experience, which matches ever-complexifying skills with comparable challenges; and (3) move the fulcrum of their worldview from the human being to the network of beings and its evolution.
beinghood • cultural evolution • ideational • psychological selection • sensate • spirituality
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is Professor of Psychology. University of Chicago, Foster Hall, 1130 East 59th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637.
Religion and Cultural Evolution by Fausto Massimini and Antonella Delle Fave
The end of the twentieth century marks the slow disintegration of both the Marxist and capitalist socioeconomic theories, inasmuch as both have proven inadequate to meet basic issues of human existence. Their inadequacy rests on the tendency to use the criteria of extrinsic rewards, quantification, production, and consumption to evaluate human personhood and human activity. What is needed is a third alternative to these two systems, one that is based on intrinsic rewards and cultivates internal values rather than production, consumption, and quantification. Religious communities have traditionally been such an alternative and seem to represent an ordered nucleus of information that can counter the inadequacies of Marxism and capitalism. To carry out this function, religions must (1) minimize the trivial differences that set belief systems against one another; (2) support bimodal cultural evolution that allows the old and the new to coexist; and (3) discover the unifying factors that cut across human groups.
cultural evolution • extrinsic/intrinsic rewards • psychological selection • religion • third way
Fausto Massimini and Antonella Delle Fave hold posts in the Institute of Psychology, Department of Medicine, University of Milan, Via F. Sforza, 23, Milan 20122, Italy.
Editors Note: The authors wrote this article just a few months before the startling events of 1989-90 that brought sweeping changes to the societies of East Europe. The insights presented here by Massimini and Delle Fave do in themselves throw light on the subsequent historical events, but in a complex and dialectical manner. Since readers can easily interpolate these societal changes into their reading, the editorial staff of Zygon decided to publish this provocative paper without change from its original version of Spring 1989.
This paper presents and criticizes .Alexanders evolutionary theory of morality (1987). Earlier research, on which Alexanders theory is based, is also reviewed. The propensity to create moral systems evolved because it allowed ancestral humans to limit conflict within cooperating groups and thus form larger groups, which were advantageous because of intense between-group competition. Alexander sees moral codes as contractual, and the primary criticism of his theory is that moral codes are not completely contractual but also coercive. Ways of evaluating Alexanders theory as well as modified versions of it are discussed.
evolutionary theory • human behavioral biology • morality • sociobiology
William Irons is Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University, 1810 Hinman Avenue, Evanston, Illinois 60208-1310. The author thanks R. D. Alexander, J. H. Beckstrom, M. Borgerhoff Mulder, L. Cronk, W. D. Hamilton, M. S. Rogasner, and D. Symons for helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.
A Naturalistic Theory of Archaic Moral Order by Donald Campbell
Cultural evolution, producing group-level adaptations, is more problematic than the cultural evolution of individually confirmable skills, but it probably has occurred. The conformist transmission, described by Boyd and Richerson (1985), leads local social units to become homogeneous in anadaptive, as well as adaptive, beliefs. The resulting intragroup homogeneity and intergroup heterogeneity makes possible a cultural selection of adaptive group ideologies.
All archaic urban, division-of-labor social organizations had to overcome aspects of human nature produced by biological evolution, due to the predicament of genetic competition among the cooperators. The universal norms found in archaic moral systems are seen as curbs to this human nature, reinforced by beliefs in invisible sanction systems and rewarding and punishing afterlives (as in heaven or reincarnation). Perhaps the ubiquity of lavishly wasteful royal funerals is to be explained as contributing to this function.
archaic civilizations • cultural evolution • genetic competition among the cooperators • human survival • sociobiology • supernatural beliefs
Donald T. Campbell is Professor of Social Relations, Price Hall 40, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015.
Myth and Morality: The Love Command by Philip Hefner
Following in general a history of religions analysis, the paper argues that myth lays a basis for morality in that it sets forth a picture of how things really are (the is), to which humans seek to conform their actions (morality, the ought). A parallel argument locates the capacity for morality and values orientation in the process of evolution itself. A hypothesis is formulated concerning the function of myth in the emergence of Homo sapiens, namely, to motivate the action required if creatures so culturally formed as humans were to survive. The Christian love command (understood as altruism) is interpreted as an example of the general hypothesis.
altruism • Christian theology • culture • evolution • love command • morality • myth
Philip Hefner, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60615-5199, is Professor of Systematic Theology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and Director, Chicago Center for Religion and Science.
Philosophical and Religious Implications of Cognitive Social Learning Theories of Personality by William Rottschaefer
This paper sketches an alternative answer to James Joness recent attempt to explore the implications of cognitive social learning theories of personality for issues in epistemology, philosophy of science, and religious studies. Since the 1960s, two cognitive revolutions have taken place in scientific psychology: the first made cognition central to theories of perception, memory, problem solving, and so on; the second made cognition central to theories of learning and behavior, among others. Cognitive social learning theories find their place in the latter revolution. Because of an ongoing naturalistic revolution in philosophy, these cognitive revolutions in psychology are having a profound effect on both descriptive and normative issues in epistemology and philosophy of science. From the naturalistic perspective, philosophy cannot adequately pursue its goals without the contributions of the empirical sciences, including psychology. The author concludes that the cognitive revolutions in psychology and the naturalistic revolution in philosophy have similar descriptive and normative import for the study of religion.
cognitive psychology • cognitive social learning theory • naturalistic philosophy • naturalized epistemology • naturalized ethics • normative epistemology • religious studies
William A. Rottschaefer is Professor of Philosophy at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon 97219.
Ralph Wendell Burhoe: His Life and His Thought: III. Developing the Vision among the Unitarians, 1954-1964 by David R. Breed
This third installment in David Breeds intellectual biography of Ralph Wendell Burhoe focuses upon the impact of his thought on the Unitarian Universalist Association and that groups role in Burhoes career. Dana McLean Greeley, elected president of the American Unitarian Association in 1958, was a key figure in Burhoes eventual participation in the project, The Free Church in a Changing World. Burhoes emphasis on the need for doctrine that could communicate religious wisdom in terms of science stood in tension with free-church tradition. Nevertheless, the section of the projects final report, titled Theology and the Frontiers of Learning, largely accepted Burhoes program for a new natural theology based on science. This project brought Burhoes program to the attention of the denomination and led to the invitation in 1964 from Malcolm Sutherland, on behalf of Meadville/Lombard Theological School in Chicago, of which he was president, for Burhoe to implement his program in the new curriculum of that school. Burhoe accepted.
Unitarians • Dana Greeley • Malcolm Sutherland • free churches • liberal religion • natural theology • Meadville/Lombard • Frontiers of Learning
David R. Breed is an independent scholar and systems consultant living at 5218 S. Dorchester Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60615.
Who Gets Sick: How Beliefs, Moods, and Thoughts Affect Your Health by Blair Justice, reviewed by Kenneth Vaux
B. F. Skinner was one of the centurys leading psychologists and the patriarch of the school of thought known as behaviorism.
Fred Skinner had an impact on Zygon in three ways. His primary impact came through its founder, Ralph Burhoe, and his associates. Skinner was a member of the Committee on Science and Values of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which in 1952 accepted, from the Coming Great Church group, an invitation for scientists to address the issue of what a scientific understanding of religion might contribute to religion. Skinner was one of ten scientists to speak at the conference entitled Religion in an Age of Science, which the committee prepared for the Coming Great Church groups week-long meeting in the summer of 1954. The group was having its fifth summer conference on Star Island, ten miles out from Portsmouth, N.H. …