Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
28 (2), June 1993

Table of Contents

Editorial

June 1993 Editorial by Philip Hefner

This issue presents the second in our occasional series of “Profiles” of thinkers whose work is significant for the Zygon enterprise of yoking science and religion for the illumination of human living. The first Profile subject was Arthur Peacocke, the British biochemist and theologian, whose thought was examined in the December 1991 issue. The subject of this issue is Eugene d’Aquili, medical doctor, psychiatrist, and anthropologist. He epitomizes the type of thinker that the series focuses upon, one who has produced a body of work, but who is still in the prime of research and productivity. As we wrote in the preface to the Peacocke issue, the series is not conceived as a Festschrift. It does not seek to honor the thinker under discussion so much as to provide a readable presentation of his or her basic ideas, accompanied by interdisciplinary commentary and a final response. Typically, an already published piece by the subject will appear alongside a newly written piece that responds to the question, Just what are you trying to accomplish in your work? Our hope is that the Profile subject will benefit from the critique offered, and that the reader will be brought abreast of a thinker whose work is essential to the field of enquiry that forms an intersection between religion and the sciences.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01024.x

Profile: Eugene G. d’Aquili

Mature Contemplation by Charles D. Laughlin, Jr., John McManus, and Eugene G. d’Aquili

Abstract:
This chapter extends biogenetic structural theory to a consideration of the biopsychological principles underlying higher phases of consciousness, particularly those attained by the systematic exploration of consciousness called contemplation. The concepts of psychic energy, flow, centeredness, energy circulation, and dreambody are explored as presented in various mystical traditions, and a model of the underlying neurophysiology is presented in terms of ergotropic-trophotropic tuning. The psychophysiology of various forms of meditation together with emergent peak experiences is examined and integrated into the ergotropic-trophotropic tuning model. Structural invariance of ergotropic-trophotropic tuning as well as invariant aspects of contemplation across different cultures and associated with different symbol systems is considered. Finally the nature and implications of Void Consciousness, God Consciousness, or Absolute Unitary Being are examined.
Keywords:
Absolute Unitary Being • centeredness • contemplation • ergotropic-trophotropic tuning • flow • God Consciousness • meditation • neuropsychology • peak experiences • psychic energy • structural invariance • Void Consciousness
Charles D. Laughlin, Jr., is Professor of Anthropology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada KLS 5B6. John McManus is a social-psychological consultant. He may be reached at 852 North Twenty-second Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130. Eugene G. d’Aquili is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, 2400 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01025.x

Religious Mystical States: A Neuropsychological Model by Eugene G. d’Aquili and Andrew B. Newberg

Abstract:
This paper first considers the current confusion in categorizing and even describing mystical states, including experiences of God, the Void, and lesser religious experiences. The paper presents the necessity of studying the neuropsychological substrate of such experiences both to understand them in greater depth and to help resolve scholarly confusion in this area. As a prelude to presenting a neuropsychological model, the basic principles of brain organization are reviewed, including hemisphericity; primary, secondary, and tertiary sensory receptive areas; their motor analogues; prefrontosensorial polarity; and the integration of limbic functioning into cortical activity. A neuropsychological model for mystical states is then presented in terms of differential stimulation and deafferentation of various tertiary sensory association areas, along with integration of various patterns of limbic stimulation.
Keywords:
Absolute Unitary Being • associated areas • cultural elaboration • deafferentation • ergotropic-trophotropic tuning • hemisphericity • limbic-cortical integration • mystical states • neuroepistemology • structural invariance • Via NegativaVia Positiva
Eugene d’Aquili, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, may be reached at Limina, 24-00 Chestnut Street, Suite 1503, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Andrew B. Newberg is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and is in his first postgraduate year of medical education. His research experience includes nuclear medicine and brain visualization techniques. He may also be reached at Limina, 24-00 Chestnut Street, Suite 1503, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01026.x

Some Publications by Eugene G. d’Aquili

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01026.x

Thinking about Religion and Experiencing the Brain: Eugene d’Aquili’s Biogenetic Structural Theory of Absolute Unitary Being by H. Rodney Holmes

Abstract:
Religious experiences, including mystical states and experience of the divine, are the ultimate reality of human existence that demand an account. Eugene d’Aquili weaves together that account using paradigms of thought which historically have made mutually exclusive claims about the nature of religious experience. While pointing out the deficiencies of the theory from a narrowly scientific point of view, this paper recognizes that neuroscience, or any other solitary discipline, is incompetent to explain religion. This paper emphasizes the significance and truth of d’Aquili’s holistic theory, a religious vision which itself explains science and philosophy.
Keywords:
mystical experience • mysticism • naturalism • neurology • neuroscience • realism • religious experience
H. Rodney Holmes is a neurophysiologist and a senior lecturer in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division of the University of Chicago, 1116 East Fifty-ninth Street, Chicago, IL 60637.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01027.x

Brain, Symbol and Experience: A Psychiatric and Theological Dialogue by Mary Lynn Dell

Abstract:
Brain, Symbol and Experience attempts to solidify the authors’ work in the fields of neurophenomenology and consciousness. The interdisciplinary nature of the work dictates less than extensive discussions of individual academic topics, but it does facilitate the identification of mutual points of interest for future pluralistic dialogues. This paper explores the implications of Laughlin, McManus, and d’Aquili for the neurosciences, psychopathology, psychotherapy, contemporary literature, theology, and faith development theory. Suggestions for specific interdisciplinary conversations are offered.
Keywords:
anthropology • Robert Bly • consciousness • contemplation • cosmology • dissociative disorders • faith development • James Fowler • Matthew Fox • monasticism • myth • neuroanatomy • neurology • neuroscience • psychiatry • psychology • psychopathology • symbolism
Mary Lynn is the Medical Director of the Medical Psychiatry Unit at Egleston Children’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. Mailing address: Medical Psychiatry Unit, 6A, Egleston Children’s Hospital at Emory, 1405 Clifton Road, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30322.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01028.x

From Biogenetic Structuralism to Mature Contemplation to Prophetic Consciousness by James B. Ashbrook

Abstract:
The publication of Brain, Symbol and Experience by Charles D. Laughlin, Jr., John McManus, and Eugene G. d’Aquili marks a significant advance in their biogenetic structural theory. They set forth a neurophenomenology of human consciousness and mature contemplation. A question is raised about their espousal of pristine perception, while their emphasis on polyphasic awareness is appreciated. In their contribution to interdisciplinary dialogue, limitations of gender, neglect of the religious traditions of the West, and linguistic issues are explored. While the style is difficult, the volume promises to become a classic in affirming “the human brain as the main locus of causality.”
Keywords:
biogenetic structuralism • consciousness • contemplation • linguistics • neurophenomenology • symbolic process
James B. Ashbrook is Professor of Religion and Personality, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201, and an advisory member of the graduate faculty, Northwestern University.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01029.x

Apologia pro Scriptura Sua, or Maybe We Got It Right after All by Eugene G. d’Aquili

Abstract:
A summary of the progress of biogenetic structuralism as an approach to the social and behavioral sciences is presented, from the publication of Biogenetic Structuralism in 1974 to the present. The difficulty that many scholars have found integrating neuroanthropology and comparative ethology into an understanding of cultural, and particularly of religious, phenomena over the past almost two decades is considered. More specifically, the articles of James Ashbrook and Mary Lynn Dell published in the same June 1993 issue of Zygon as this article are analyzed and responded to. These authors critique Eugene d’Aquili’s work of integrating neuropsychology and religious experience primarily by analyzing Brain, Symbol and Experience, which d’Aquili co-authored with Charles Laughlin, Jr., and John McManus. H. Rodney Holmes’s article in the same issue of Zygon analyzes the whole corpus of d’Aquili’s religion and science work as it appeared over the years in the pages of Zygon and in other articles and books as well as in Brain, Symbol and Experience. This critique is likewise carefully considered and responded to. Finally a proposed trajectory of d’Aquili’s (and Andrew Newberg’s) future work in their ongoing project integrating neuropsychology and religious experience is elaborated. This involves, not only expansion of their general theoretical approach, but also empirical testing of hypotheses relating brain function to religious experience using PET scanning and some newer MRI visualization techniques.
Keywords:
James Ashbrook • biogenetic structuralism • Brain, Symbol and Experience • comparative ethology • Eugene G. d’Aquili • Mary Lynn Dell • H. Rodney Holmes • MRI visualization technique • neuroanthropology • neuropsychology • PET scanning • religious experience • science-religion integration
Eugene d’Aquili, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, may be reached at Limina, 2400 Chestnut Street, Suite 1503, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01030.x

Review Article

A Critique of Borowitz’s Postmodern Jewish Theology by Norbert M. Samuelson

Abstract:
Borowitz’s book is primarily a systematic response by a liberal Jewish theologian to his perceived challenges from rationalism on one hand and postmodernism on the other. It is within this context that Borowitz discusses issues of the relationship between modern science and Judaism. The first part of this essay is a summary of Borowitz’s book. Here I locate Borowitz’s place in the general discipline of Jewish philosophy and theology. The second part of the paper is a critique of Borowitz’s discussion of postmodernism and liberalism. It is in this concluding section that the issues raised by contemporary science for Jewish religious thought are discussed.
Keywords:
asymptote • atomism and relationalism • autonomy • Eugene B. Borowitz • Martin Buber • calculus • Hermann Cohen • covenantal theology • entities, parts, and collections • halakhah and aggadah • hopeless hope • human rights and democracy • individual rights • Jewish and singular self • liberalism and traditionalism • modernism and postmodernism • moral relativism • Newtonian physics • quantum mechanics • rationalism and nonrationalism • realism • Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Orthodox Judaism • Bertrand Russell and the Principia Mathematica • Steven Schwarzschild • universalism and particularism
Norbert M. Samuelson is Professor of the Philosophy of Religion and Jewish Studies, Religion Department, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122.

This article reviews Renewing the Covenant: A Theology for the Postmodern Jew by Eugene B. Borowitz.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01031.x

Response

Belief vs. Commitment, Validity vs. Value: A Response to Ward Goodenough by T. L. Brink

Abstract:
This paper is on Ward Goodenough’s recent article (27: 3), suggesting that his points can be clarified by reiterating the distinction between the realms of meaning and relevance. Religion’s “truth” is in the form of its value; the “proof” which it requires is vindication; and the resulting “faith” must be understood as commitment.
Keywords:
belief • commitment • faith • religion • truth • validity • value
T.L. Brink is on the faculty of Crafton Hills College, Yucaipa, California and Iberoamerican University, Mexico City. His U.S. address is 1103 North Church Street, Redlands, CA 92374.

This article reviews Reviewed Book Title by Reviewed Book Author.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01032.x



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