Readers may find a useful entrée to the articles that appear in this issue by reflecting that the major questions of human existence arise within our experience of nature. The British philosopher R. G. Collingwood argued in his 1945 book, The Idea of Nature, that we elaborate all of our intellectual formulations under the constraints imposed by our understanding of nature. One could argue that concepts of the human spirit, for example, are fundamentally conditioned by how we conceive natures place in human being. Or, that concepts of Gods transcendence are determined as much by what we understand about nature as they are by what we know about God. All three of the major Western religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—possess within their traditions the awareness that what we learn from Gods revelation is inextricably intertwined with what we learn from the study of nature. Isaac Newtons generation worked within the ambience of a concept of the Two Books: the Book of Nature, interpreted by science, and the Bible, interpreted by the church.
Evolution has become the standard way of understanding the world process. Theology has to express traditional faith in the context of the contemporary world. Since the common world view has profoundly changed, from a static world of being into a dynamic world of becoming, theology needs to change its language and its understanding of the universe as Gods creation. This understanding of an evolving world is to be used as a theological source. Such a change of perspective necessitates a fundamental reconstructing of theology; for theology, such reconstructing means a renewed understanding of the Creator and of the Incarnation.
becoming • Christian faith • natural law • revelation • science • theological method
Karl Schmitz-Moormann is a professor of philosophical anthropology in the Department of Social Work at the Fachhochschule Dortmund, Germany. He and his wife, Nicole, are preparing a critical edition of the complete works of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. His address is: Im Ostholz 160, D 4630 Bochum-Linden, Germany.
Relationships between Scientific Analysis and the World View of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin by Lodovico Galleni
This paper introduces the thought of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin from a perspective neglected until now: a view that builds on the analysis of his scientific papers. His scientific work formed part of the modern synthesis which laid the foundation of contemporary Darwinism. His main contributions in the field were the definition of a new branch of evolutionary sciences, geobiology; the redefinition of the term orthogenesis; and the proposal of the scale phyletic tree. Using these new research concepts, Teilhard de Chardin attempted to solve, within a scientific framework, a problem fundamental for his philosophical synthesis: that of evolutionary directionality.
directionality • evolution • modern synthesis • Teilhard de Chardin
Lodovico Galleni is Professor of General Zoology, Faculty of Agricultural Science, University of Pisa, Via S. Michele Degli Scalzi, 2 I 56124 Pisa, Italy. He is editor of the Italian journal Il Futuro dellUomo.
The Existence of God and the Creation of the Universe by Jack C. Carloye
Kant argues that any argument for a transcendent God presupposes the logically flawed ontological argument. The teleological argument cannot satisfy the demands of reason for a complete explanation of the meaning and purpose of our universe without support from the cosmological argument. I avoid the assumption of a perfect being, and hence the ontological argument, in my version of the cosmological argument. The necessary being can be identified with the creator of the universe by adding analogical mental relations. The creation of the universe is then shown to reflect modern scientific cosmology as well as stories and metaphors in the Eastern and Western religious traditions and to resolve the problem of evil.
analogical attributes • cause • contingent being • existence • extension of attributes • necessary being
Jack C. Carloye is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-5130.
Can Neuroscience Provide a Complete Account of Human Nature? A Reply to Roger Sperry by James W. Jones
In a recent Zygon article (June 1991), Roger Sperry argues for the unification of science and religion based on the principle of emergent causation within the central nervous system. After illustrating Sperrys position with some current experiments, I suggest that his conclusions exceed his argument and the findings of contemporary neuroscience and propose instead a pluralistic, rather than unified, approach to the relations between religion and science necessitated by the incompleteness inherent in any strictly neurological account of human nature.
human nature • mind-brain relationship • philosophy of mind • religion and science
James w. Jones holds doctorates in psychology and in religious studies and is a professor in the Department of Religion, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0270.
Credo: What Can We Expect from the Ecological Sciences? Two Perspectives
Nature, Technology, and Theology by William H. Klink
Modern technology presents new challenges and possibilities to the environment and life on earth. It is argued that ecology as the science of the earth as a whole cannot provide the means for making technical decisions pertaining to the environment. An alternative means is suggested in which modern technology provides the medium for communicating with nature, so that a dialogue, an intruding in and listening to nature, becomes the basis both for seeing modern technology in a new light and for living with modern technology in a new way. Some theological ramifications are also explored.
dialogue • ecology • modern technology • theology
William H. Klink is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1479.
What is the Role of Science in the Dialogue Proposed by William Klink? by Thomas L. Gilbert
Klink rejects the use of ecological models in environmental decision making because their predictions cannot be tested by rigorous scientific methods. I argue that models that cannot be tested according to the rigorous standards of the physical sciences can still be considered scientific; they are useful (and, in practice, used) for assessing the impacts of human actions on the environment and choosing between alternative courses of action. It is, however, important to be aware of the uncertainties and to make corrections as new data and insights become available. The interplay between (1) model-based decisions and action and (2) their consequences and subsequent corrections can be regarded as a dialogue between humans and nature (or God) in the sense proposed by Klink. Klink also claims that future actions should be informed by the larger vision of theology and should not be based on science. I suggest that science has an indispensible role. The larger vision is needed to respond to the fundamental religious question: How should I live—and why? But this question cannot be answered without first addressing the fundamental scientific question: How does the world work? I suggest that responses to the first question can be formulated as visions of a future state of existence that we feel compelled to strive to realize, and that science is necessary to provide maps of reality needed to realize visions. I also suggest that Christian traditions can probably provide adequate visions; the crucial need is for improving our maps of reality.
ecology • environment • environmental impacts • map of reality • religion • science • scientific models • uncertainty • vision
Thomas L. Gilbert, formerly a Senior Physicist at Argonne National Laboratory, is Associate Director of the Chicago Center for Religion and Science, 1100 East Fifty-Fifth Street, Chicago, IL 60615.
The Justification of Science and the Rationality of Religious Belief by Michael Banner, reviewed by Philip Clayton