The main articles in this issue of Zygon may be interrelated as constituting moments in a train of thought. Eugene dAquili and Andrew Newberg set the theme in motion with a neuropsychological reflection upon religion. The persistence of religion for millennia in human history is accounted for by the fact that it expresses fundamental ordering functions that are located in the workings of our brains. These functions are essentially ordering activities that put our worlds of experience together: the ordering of elements of reality into causal chains giving rise to explanatory models of the external world, whether scientific or mythical. These models are in turn related to the most basic, even transcendent, realities.
By the end of the eighteenth century, the intellectual elite generally believed that religion would soon vanish because of the advent of the Higher Criticism and the scientific method. However, two hundred years later, religions and the concept of God have not gone away and, in many instances, appear to be gaining in strength. This paper considers the neuropsychological basis of religion and religious concepts and tries to develop an understanding of why religion does not go away so easily. In general, religion appears to serve two major functions—it is a system of self-maintenance and a system of self-transcendence. Since both of these functions bear directly on human survival and adaptability, the neuropsychological mechanisms that underlie religions appear to have become thoroughly ingrained in the human gene pool and ultimately human experience. This paper reviews these two functions of religions from a neuropsychological perspective to try to explain why religion continues to thrive. Finally, we consider the conclusions regarding reality and epistemology that a neuropsychological analysis of religious experience suggests.
neuroepistemology • neuropsychology • religion • self-maintenance • self-transcendence
Eugene G. dAquili is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 2400 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Andrew B. Newberg is a Fellow in the Division of Nuclear Medicine and an Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 2400 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Both are Directors of the Institute for the Scientific Study of Meditation. This work was supported by the John Templeton Foundation.
Meme Pools, World 3, and Averroëss Vision of Immortality by Derek Gatherer
Dawkinss concept of the meme pool, essentially equivalent to Poppers World 3, is considered as an expression in modern terms for what Averroës knew as the active intellect, an immortal entity feeding into, or even creating, the passive intellect of consciousness. A means is thus provided for reconciling a materialist Darwinian view of the universe with a conception of nonpersonal immortality. The meme pool/active intellect correspondence provides a strong basis for regarding science as a communal enterprise producing enrichment of the meme pool and expansion of consciousness. It also emphasizes the virtues of memetic conservation in relation to vanishing cultures.
Averroës • consciousness • Richard Dawkins • immortality • meme pool • Karl Popper
Derek Gatherer is a teacher and researcher in the School of Biomolecular Sciences, John Moores University, Liverpool L3 3AF, England. Support was provided by the Medical Research Council of Great Britain.
The Theology of the Cross and Gods Work in the World by George L. Murphy
Ian Barbour has distinguished eight theologies of Gods role in nature, together with corresponding models of divine activity. This essay examines these ideas in the light of a theology of the cross. Three of Barbours approaches—the neo-Thomist, the kenotic, and the existentialist—are able to provide different aspects of a theology of divine action that is consistent with belief that Gods definitive revelation takes place in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. These approaches encourage attention to a part of traditional doctrines of Providence, the idea that God acts by cooperation with natural processes. The kenotic character of divine involvement in the world means that the regularities of the basic interactions of physics are maintained. The idea of cooperation can be extrapolated into the past, to give some insight into ways of understanding Gods activity in originating the universe.
chiasmic cosmology • Creation • Providence • theology of the cross
George L. Murphy is a theoretical physicist and Pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church, Tallmadge, OH 44278.
The One Body of Christian Environmentalism by Raymond E. Grizzle and Christopher B. Barrett
Using a conceptual model consisting of three intersecting spheres of concern (environmental protection, human needs provision, and economic welfare) central to most environmental issues, we map six major Christian traditions of thought. Our purpose is to highlight the complementarities among these diverse responses in order to inform a more holistic Christian environmentalism founded on one or more of the major tenets of each of the six core traditions. Our approach also incorporates major premises of at least the more moderate versions of biocentrism, ecocentrism, and anthropocentrism. We label this holistic approach cosmocentrism and use it as the basis for a preliminary description of the notion of pluralistic stewardship. We argue that only such holistic environmental perspectives, where societal needs are more directly coupled with environmental protection, and a pluralism of worldviews are acknowledged as potentially contributing to such efforts are capable of successfully addressing the complex issues we face today. We note that, at the international level in particular, Christian thought and secular environmentalism already have been moving in such a direction.
anthropocentrism • biocentrism • Christianity • cosmocentrism • ecocentrism • environmental ethics • environmentalism • global • holism • pluralism • stewardship
Raymond E. Grizzle is Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Taylor University, Randall Environmental Studies Center, 500 W. Reade Avenue, Upland, IN 46989; e-mail: rygrizzle @ tayloru.edu. Christopher B. Barrett is Assistant Professor of Economics, Utah State University, Department of Economics, Logan, UT 84322; e-mail: cbarrett @ b202.usu.edu.
Cog and God: A Response to Anne Foerst by K. Helmut Reich
This response offers considerable agreement with Anne Foersts analysis in her essay Cog, a Humanoid Robot, and the Question of the Image of God (Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 33 [March 1998]), yet endeavors to make her argument even more helpful. The response deals mainly with (1) the concept of symbol and the symbolic approach, (2) the symbolic description of a human being by artificial intelligence (AI) and by the theological symbol, image of God (imago dei), and (3) the ensuing dialogue between scientists and theologians.
artificial intelligence • Cog • dialogue • image of God • imago dei • symbol • symbolic approach
K. Helmut Reich is Professor in the School of Religious Studies and Sacred Values of the nonresidential Senior University, headquartered at Evanston, Wyoming, and Richmond, British Columbia. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Education, University of Fribourg. His mailing address is Pädagogisches Institut, Rue Faucigny 2, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland; e-mail: Helmut.Reich @ unifr.ch.
Cog Is to Us as We Are to God: A Response to Anne Foerst by Mary Gerhart and Allan Melvin Russell
Foerst says that a robot must have human features if it is to learn to relate to human beings. She argues that the image of God (imago dei) represents no more than a promise of God to relate to us. In our view, however, the principle of embodied artificial intelligence (AI) in the robot suggests some kind of embodiedness of the image of God in human beings if they are to learn to relate to God.
Foersts description of how people react to a humanoid robot reads like Ottos description of the divine as mysterium fascinans et tremendum (awesome and alluring mystery). Her description makes robot-human interaction seem more religious than human-God interaction.
artificial intelligence • creator • humanoid robotics • Image of God • metaphor
Mary Gerhart is Professor of Religious Studies, and Allan Melvin Russell is Professor of Physics Emeritus, at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY 14456.
The Teachers File
Cornell College: Program in Science and Religion by William E. Carroll
Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, has established a new interdisciplinary program in science and religion. One of the features of this program is an undergraduate major in science and religion that requires substantial course work in at least one of the natural sciences as well as course work in philosophy, religion, and history. As a result of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, Cornell College will offer a special course, God and Physics: From Aquinas to Quantum Mechanics (April 1998), and will sponsor an international symposium on creation and contemporary cosmology (April 1999). Opportunities exist for interested scholars to come to Cornell as Templeton Visiting Fellows in order to participate in these activities.
Aquinas • Aristotle • Big Bang • biology • William Carroll • chemistry • Cornell College • cosmology • creation • evolution • Galileo • geology • God • history of science • Peter Hodgson • nature • Newberry Library • philosophy • physics • quantum mechanics • religion • science • John Templeton Foundation • time • Whitehead
William E. Carroll is Professor of European Intellectual History and the History of Science at Cornell College, 600 First Street West, Mount Vernon, IA 52314. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this article for class use, with this note: Reprinted from Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science.
Sociobiology and Human Nature: A Perspective from Catholic Theology by Stephen J. Pope
This paper addresses a nonspecialist audience on how sociobiological accounts of human nature might be relevant to Christian theology. I begin with some confessional remarks to clarify what I mean by Christian theology and how I understand it to be related to science. I indicate briefly why sociobiology might be of interest to theology and then move on to sketch some ways in which sociobiology might relate to theological ethics. My basic point is that sociobiology is directly relevant to theological ethics in its understanding of evolved human emotional predispositions but not in its normative reflection proper.
faith • human flourishing • human nature • normative discourse • Roman Catholic • sociobiology • theological ethics • theology • virtue
Stephen J. Pope is Associate Professor in the Department of Theology at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02167. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this article for class use, with this note: Reprinted from Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science.
The Evolution of Altruism and the Ordering of Love by Stephen J. Pope, reviewed by Jean Porter
Gregory R. Peterson; Assistant Professor of Religion; Thiel College; Greenville, PA 16125
Philosophical Naturalism edited by Peter A. French, T. E. Uehling Jr., and H. K. Wettstein and Naturalism: A Critical Appraisal edited by Steven J. Wagner and Richard Warner, reviewed by Philip Clayton
Many of us not part of the old Burhoe gang are nonetheless deeply influenced by the ideas of Ralph Wendell Burhoe, albeit in indirect ways. This remembrance summarizes six such ways: Three are procedural influences, namely (1) that dialogue is most valuable, especially in the science/religion interface, when carried on among those who may not agree; (2) that scholarship is necessary to refine and improve preliminary opinions; and (3) that organizations are crucial to accomplishing the first two tasks. The three substantive influences are (4) Burhoes focus on human values; (5) his work in defining God; and (6) his contribution to defining what it means to be human. As is well known, his emphasis in all three substantive cases was on the power and nuances of biological and social evolution, especially on the dynamics of natural selection.
Ralph Wendell Burhoe • God • human nature • Institute on Religion in an Age of Science • natural selection • values • Zygon
Michael Cavanaugh is a lawyer and self-employed investor. His address is 744 Dubois, Baton Rouge, LA 70808; e-mail: MichaelCav @ aol.com.
The Open-Ended Legacy of Ralph Wendell Burhoe by Karl E. Peters
Through cultivating my thinking, along with that of many others, Ralph Burhoe taught me to understand myself in relational terms. He helped me to appreciate religious traditions on scientific grounds and to see how religion adapts to changing conditions even as it continues to provide meaning and guidance to the wider culture. He restored my belief in an ever-present sovereign God when God is understood in terms of function and system.
Ralph Wendell Burhoe • evolution • God • religious tradition • scientific theology • soul • system
Karl E. Peters is Professor of Religious Studies at Rollins College, Winter Park, FL 32789. He also is Coeditor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science.