Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
28 (4), December 1993

Table of Contents

Editorial

December 1993 Editorial by Philip Hefner

The seven articles in this final issue of our twenty-eighth volume present the reader with a plate of fare that is representative of what Zygon strives for in its overall editorial effort. On the one hand, the pieces are diverse, covering the range of disciplines—cosmology and astrophysics, anthropology, psychology, ecology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, and theology. A number of the articles draw out the ethical implications that derive from their fields of inquiry. On the other hand, all of the authors are wrestling with the natural world in which we live, attempting to understand it in ways that are relevant to the philosophical and religious quest for understanding. Each of the articles does also, in its own way, strike new ground, whether it be in environmental ethics, the processes of altruism, the understanding of mysticism, or the ways of relating scientific and theological statements.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01045.x

Guest Editorial

Commentary on the Science-Religion Controversy by Frank T. Birtel

Abstract:
The science-religion exchange in failing to address fundamental issues is popular but ineffective. Reductionism and determinism, teleology, the assumed centrality of ethics in religion and progress must be reexamined to unify the task of science and religion into a common search for meaning in its eschatological dimension.
Keywords:
eschatology • ethics-religion • progress • reductionism • science-religion controversy • teleology
Frank T. Birtel, a mathematician, is Professor of the University at Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01046.x

Articles

Rights and Responsibilities on the Home Planet by Holmes Rolston, III

Abstract:
Earth is the home planet, right for life. But rights, a notable political category, is, unfortunately, a biologically awkward word. Humans, nonetheless, have rights to a natural environment with integrity. Humans have responsibilities to respect values in fauna and flora. Appropriate survival units include species populations and ecosystems. Increasingly the ultimate survival unit is global; and humans have a responsibility to the planet Earth. Human political systems are not well suited to protect life at global ranges. National boundaries ignore important ecological processes; national policies do not favor an equitable distribution of sustainable resources. But there are signs of hope.
Keywords:
biodiversity • earth • ecosystems • endangered species • fauna • flora • intrinsic values in nature • national resources • natural resources • responsibilities • rights • United Nations
Holmes Rolston, III, is University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Colorado State University. Mailing address: Department of Philosophy, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01047.x

Persons in Nature: Toward an Applicable and Unified Environmental Ethics by Frederick Ferré

Abstract:
Two major contenders for the role of robust environmental ethics claim our allegiance. One is Baird Callicott’s, based on the land ethic formulated by Aldo Leopold; the other is that of Holmes Rolston, III, sharply distinguishing environmental from social (human) ethics. Despite their many strengths, neither gives us the vision we need. Callicott’s ethic leaves too much out of his picture; Rolston’s leaves too much disconnected between nature and humankind. A really usable environmental ethic needs to be both comprehensive and integrated. For that, we need a worIdview that includes the human in nature but also affirms the unique values of personhood.
Keywords:
ethics • humanity • metaphysics • nature • organicism • personalism
Frederick Ferré is Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-1627.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01049.x

When to Bear False Witness: An Evolutionary Approach to the Social Context of Honesty and Deceit among Commercial Fishers by Craig T. Palmer

Abstract:
This paper uses an evolutionary perspective to identify variables influencing compliance with moral codes about honest communication. Data on over one thousand radio conversations among lobster fishers in two harbors in Maine are compared in regard to the sharing of information. The sharing of accurate information is found to be significantly more frequent in the harbor that is more integrated by reciprocally altruistic relationships. This is consistent with the view that moral systems are systems of indirect reciprocity, but it also suggests that humans have evolved to base their compliance with moral codes on cues from their social environment.
Keywords:
commercial fishing • communication • deceit • Maine • moral codes • reciprocal altruism
Craig T. Palmer teaches anthropology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and at the University of Colorado at Denver. Mailing address: 1901 Stardust Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80906.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01050.x

Science and God the Creator by Arthur Peacocke

Abstract:
Variable judgments, both negative and positive, have been made by scientists (mainly physicists and astronomers) on the theological implications of their findings. It is urged that science and theology are most appropriately related through a critical-realist approach. On this basis some implications for our conceptions of God and our scientific perspectives on the created world are explored with respect to both divine Being and divine Becoming. A positive assessment of nature as created concludes the article.
Keywords:
becoming • being • chance • creation • critical realism • emergence • omnipotence • omniscience • personal God • science • suffering • theology • time • vulnerability
Arthur Peacocke is Warden-Emeritus of the Society of Ordained Scientists and a former Dean of Clare College, Cambridge, and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre, Oxford. Mailing address: Exeter College, Oxford, OX1 3DP, U.K.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01051.x

Hawking on God and Creation by Robert J. Deltete

Abstract:
Although full of talk about God, Stephen Hawking’s recent best seller, A Brief History of Time, apparently has little use for the traditional notion of God as cosmic creator. More precisely, Hawking seems to reject the idea that we need appeal, any longer, to the notion of creatio originans (originating creation). The reason is that he has developed, over the last decade, a cosmological model that avoids any beginning to spacetime and the universe, and so eliminates the need for a cosmic beginner. I criticize Hawking’s model in this essay, arguing that either it is not intended to be construed realistically or that, if it is, the model is highly implausible.
Keywords:
Big Bang theory • general relativity • S. W. Hawking • quantum cosmology • time
Robert J. Deltete is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Seattle University, Seattle, WA 98122. The author would like to thank Michael Morgan, Reed Guy, Paulette Kidder and Carol Albright for helpful comments on earlier versions of this essay.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01052.x

Self or No-self? Converging Perspectives from Neuropsychology and Mysticism by Brian L. Lancaster

Abstract:
The nature of self is examined in relation to psychological observations which reveal some form of dissociation of knowledge from consciousness. Such dissociations are apparent in cases of blindsight, and amnesic patients displaying implicit memory effects, among others. While amnesic patients, for example, are unable consciously to recall material previously presented, such material does influence subsequent physiological and psychological processes. Thus, it is not the memories themselves that have been lost, but the ability to make conscious connection to them. In attempting to account for such observations, theoreticians generally have posited some kind of “consciousness system” that may become dissociated from brain modules dealing with specific processing.

It is argued here that a view of self along the lines of the Buddhist concepts of no-self and the conditioned nature of “I” introduces a more parsimonious perspective on the neuropsychological data. A theory of the nature of self is presented that constitutes a synthesis between key ideas drawn from Buddhist and other mainly mystical traditions and the scientific observations in psychology. Central to this theory is the role that the left hemisphere’s interpreter (Gazzaniga 1985; 1988a; 1988b) plays in constructing a unified “I.” This “I” is, in effect, a hypothesis that the mind generates to introduce some coherence into otherwise fragmentary mental elements. Although it appears to be the causal focus of the individual’s behavior and experience, it is in fact a retrospective construction and not a true causal structure of the mind. This theoretical view is discussed in relation to various meanings of the term consciousness and also in relation to the relevant neuropsychological cases.
Keywords:
blindsight • Buddhist psychology • consciousness • implicit memory • mind-brain • self
Brian L. Lancaster is Senior Lecturer in Psychology, School of Health Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, 15-21 Webster Street, Liverpool L3 2ET, England.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01053.x

Reviews

Yoking Science and Religion: The Life and Thought of Ralph Wendell Burhoe by David R. Breed, reviewed by Hubert Meisinger

Hubert Meisinger; Hassenrotherstr. 26; 64739 Hoechst-Hummetroth; Germany
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01054.x

Cosmos and Anthropos: A Philosophical Interpretation of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle and Cosmos and Theos: Ethical and Theological Implications of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle by Errol E. Harris, reviewed by Russel Bradner Norris, Jr.

Russel Bradner Norris, Jr.; Associate Professor of Systematic Theology; Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary; 4-201 North Main Street; Columbia, S.C. 29203
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01054.x

Hegel’s Circular Epistemology by Tom Rockmore, reviewed by Bernd Burkhardt

Bernd Burkhardt; Ketterstr. 5; 8000 Munich 71; Germany
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01054.x

Endmatter

Artificial Intelligence and the de las Casas: A 1492 Resonance by Alejandro García-Rivera

Abstract:
A comparison is made between two unlikely debates over intelligence. One debate took place in 1550 at Valladolid, Spain, between Bartolomé de las Casas and Juan Gines de Sep úlveda over the intelligence of the Amerindian. The other debate is contemporary, between John Searle and various representatives of the “strong” artificial intelligence (AI) community over the adequacy of the Turing test for intelligence. Although the contemporary debate has yet to die down, the Valladolid debate has been over for four hundred years. The question asked here is whether the contemporary debate can profit from the previous one. The common bond providing the basis for contrast is the issue of the “other” which is present in both debates. From this contrast, the observation is made that the question of meaning is intimately tied to the question of intelligence.
Keywords:
America • artificial intelligence • Chinese room • de las Casas • 1492 • New World • Searle • Turing
Alejandro Garda-Rivera is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at the Jesuit School of Theology, 1735 Le Roy Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1993.tb01055.x



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