Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
29 (1), March 1994

Table of Contents


March 1994 Editorial by Philip Hefner

This twenty-ninth volume of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science begins with the third in our series of Profiles. The subject is the philosopher and historian of biology, Michael Ruse. He joins previous profilees, biochemist and theologian Arthur Peacocke (December 1991) and neuropsychiatrist Eugene d’Aquili (June 1993). If our plans do not go awry, the March 1995 issue will focus upon the ethicist and theologian James Gustafson.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00643.x

Profile: Michael Ruse

Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics: Are They in Harmony? by Michael Ruse

Does modern evolutionary theory (specifically Darwinism) pose a problem for the Christian’s thinking about morality? It certainly poses threats for those who would argue that certain practices are wrong because they are “unnatural.” Liberal Christians can probably get around these questions. But at a deeper level, despite superficial similarities between its conclusions and the Love Commandment, Darwinism points to an essential relativism about morality, thereby striking at the very core of all Christian thought on moral behavior. Thus, those who are worried about the clash between science and religion have good reasons for their worries.
evolutionary ethics • love commandment • natural law
Michael Ruse is Professor of Philosophy and Zoology, Departments of Philosophy and Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00644.x

From Belief to Unbelief—and Halfway Back by Michael Ruse

Through autobiography, I explain why I cannot accept conventional Christianity or any other form of religious belief. I sketch how, through modern evolutionary theory, I try to find an alternative world-picture, one which is, however, essentially agnostic about ultimate meanings. I characterize my position as being that of “David Hume brought up-to-date by Charles Darwin.” I express sad skepticism about ever realizing the hopes on which Zygon was founded.
Charles Darwin • evolutionary ethics • internal realism • religious doubt • Michael Ruse • skepticism
Michael Ruse is Professor of Philosophy and Zoology, Departments of Philosophy and Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00645.x

Publications by Michael Ruse

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00645.x

Ruminations on Ruse and Religion by George C. Williams

I am in general agreement with Ruse on most religious and scientific issues but find little justification in his partial return to Christianity. His rejection of the literal interpretation of certain “Jewish myths,” once started, can logically end only with the rejection of all the important content of both Old and New Testaments. His recognition that religious establishments have been responsible for much personal stress and many of history’s great tragedies is understated.
Bible • Christianity • Gospels • Jesus • Judaism • morality • myth • Michael Ruse
George C. Williams is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00646.x

What Does Evolutionary Biology Tell Us about Philosophy and Religion? by Michael Bradie

Considerations from evolutionary biology lead Michael Ruse, among others, to a naturalistic turn in philosophy. I assess some of the pragmatic and skeptical conclusions concerning ethics, religion, and epistemology that Ruse draws from his evolutionary naturalism. Finally, I argue that there is an essential tension between science and religion which forecloses the possibility of an ultimate reconciliation between the two as they are now understood.
epistemology • ethical skepticism • evolutionary ethics • fallibilism • naturalism • religion
Michael Bradie is Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00647.x

From Belief to Unbelief and Back to Belief: A Response to Michael Ruse by Richard P. Busse

Michael Ruse’s rejection of religious belief is questioned at two levels. First, on the metaethical level of analysis, evolutionary ethics cannot account for moral behavior that is based on a “strong version” of the Love Command. Second, agnosticism is discussed as a form of belief. Insights from religious forms of life that are inclusive, pluralistic, and expansive are contrasted with exclusivistic, closed, and fundamentalist forms of religion in order to develop criteria for “genuine religion.” Theistic agnosticism is presented as a prolegomena to belief.
agnosticism • ethics • existentialism • faith • metaethics • naturalistic • religious truth • Michael Ruse • transcendental ideals • transformation
Richard P. Busse is Visiting Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Indiana University Northwest, 3400 Broadway, Gary, IN 46408.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00648.x

Entrusting the Life That Has Evolved: A Response to Michael Ruse’s Ruse by Philip Hefner

This piece challenges Michael Ruse on three points: (1) The charge that Christian myth and doctrine are incredible fails to take into account the scholarship that has clarified the genre to which myth belongs and its function. (2) Naturalistic explanations, like Ruse’s, have fully as much difficulty dealing with questions of purpose and evil as religion does. (3) The concept of “deception” has a number of inherent problems that Ruse fails to consider, of which the chief is that it requires a certainty about truth and falsity that Ruse cannot and does not claim to possess.
altruism • deception • meaning • myth • religion • Michael Ruse • trust
Philip Hefner is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 East Fifty-fifth Street, Chicago, IL 60615.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00649.x

A Few Last Words—Until the Next Time! by Michael Ruse

Appreciative as I am of my critics’ comments, I find, to no one’s surprise, that I can bear them with equanimity, even complacency. The wide spread of opinions surely justifies my intellectual composure.
agnosticism • religion • Michael Ruse
Michael Ruse is Professor of Philosophy and Zoology, Departments of Philosophy and Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00650.x


Evolutionary Theories of Morality and the Manipulative Use of Signals by Lee Cronk

Several attempts have recently been made to explain moral systems and moral sentiments in light of evolutionary biological theory. It may be helpful to modify and extend this project with the help of a theory of communication developed by ethologists. The core of this approach is the idea that signals are best seen as attempts to manipulate others rather than as attempts to inform them. This addition helps to clarify some problematic areas in the evolutionary study of morals, and it generates new, testable predictions about moral statements.
communication • cultural transmission • evolutionary biology • morality • signals • social manipulation
Lee Cronk is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00651.x


Creation and the History of Science by Christopher Kaiser, reviewed by Colin A. Russell

Colin A. Russell; Professor of History of Science and Technology; The Open University; Milton Keynes MK7 6AA; United Kingdom
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00652.x

Conceptual Revolutions by Paul Thagard, reviewed by Tess Cosslett

Tess Cosslett; Senior Lecturer in English; Lancaster University; Lancaster LAY 4YT; United Kingdom
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00652.x

Pierre Duhem: Philosophy and History in the Work of a Believing Physicist by R. N. D. Martin and German Science by Pierre Duhem, reviewed by John R. Albright

John R. Albright; Professor of Physics; Florida State University; Tallahassee, FL 32306
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00652.x

Mortal Questions by Thomas Nagel, reviewed by Michael J. Degnan

Michael J. Degnan; Assistant Professor of Philosophy; University of St. Thomas; 2115 Summit Avenue; St. Paul, MN 55105
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00652.x


Wildflowers and Wonder: A Pastor’s Wanderings in the Religion-Science Wilderness by Linda Jarchow Jones

In this paper, I explore, as a Christian and a parish pastor, what drew me into the religion-science dialogue and what keeps me involved. Encounters with nature and readings of evolutionary theory answer some questions and raise others, especially questions about chance and the nature of God. I persist in my quest for understanding because creedal affirmations of God as Creator demand an examination of the relationship between God and the world, and because I want to proclaim the Christian message in a credible way to parishioners raised with a scientific worldview. Along the way I am reaping unexpected spiritual dividends.
contemplative prayer • contingency • Creator • design • evolutionary theory • natural theology • purpose
Linda Jarchow Jones is an Associate Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 207, La Grange, IL 60525.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1994.tb00653.x

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