Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
34 (2), June 1999

Table of Contents


June 1999 Editorial by Philip Hefner

We have divided this issue into four sections, each of which typifies the breadth of purview that our journal embraces. The first section attempts a global perspective on evolution, religion, consciousness, and morality. Ewert Cousins, theologian and scholar of spirituality, summarizes the evolution of consciousness, spirituality, and religion, with the aid of Karl Jaspers’s theories of the axial ages of humankind. We are now on the brink of a transformation of consciousness that presents challenges to our religion, our science, and also to our capacity to resolve critical global problems. I summarize Cousins’s conclusion: The unique contribution of the world’s religions “is to tap their reservoirs of spiritual energy and channel this into developing secular enterprises that are genuinely human,” principally, justice and peace.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.1999.00206.x

Religion and Science and Global Issues Symposium

The Convergence of Cultures and Religions in Light of the Evolution of Consciousness by Ewert Cousins

This article describes a challenge to the cultures and religions of the world that the author believes is the greatest challenge that has confronted the human race in its entire history. Modernity’s search for unity and postmodernity’s affirmation of pluralism reflect aspects of our current situation, but more needs to be recognized. We must acknowledge that East and West must face the current challenges together. Multiculturalism and unity encompass all world cultures, and we cannot be content to read our present history only through the lens of western developments. Karl Jaspers’s theory of the First Axial period of history, 800-200 B.C.E., in which all the present world religions have their roots, is useful. It reveals that our present flowering of culture and spirit in the Western world, including our science, is not so much a product of the Western Renaissance and Enlightenment, as it is rooted in cultural events that belong to East and West equally. We are now in the Second Axial Period, which challenges the world religions to allow their energies to move toward convergence, just as in the previous millennia they moved toward differentiation. Teilhard de Chardin’s thought is a guide for us, in his vision of a complex convergence of consciousness, in which differences will not be abolished but will be transformed in their coming together. This convergent perspective will also join with the perspective of rediscovering our roots in the earth, and it will repossess the spirituality of the primal peoples, in its understanding of the entire human race to be one tribe. The world religions are faced with the task, therefore, of encountering each other in “dialogic dialogue,” and channeling their spiritual resources toward the solution of real-world global problems.
Axial Period • consciousness • earth • Jaspers • modern • postmodern • Teilhard • primal peoples • world cultures • world religions
Ewert Cousins is Professor of Theology at Fordham University, Bronx, NY 10458; General Editor, World Spirituality: An Encyclopaedic History of the Religious Quest, Crossroad Publishing Co., NY, 1985- ; and co-developer of the World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality for the 21st Century.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00207

Can Science Help Construct a New Global Ethic? The Development and Implications of Moral Transformation Theory by David Loye

This paper reports the results of a ten-year search for consensus among scientific findings on the nature of the origin and development of moral sensitivity and morality. Significant agreement on six underlying factors was found. Based on these foundations, a new theory of moral transformation and a scientific “global ethic” relating to the global ethic of Hans Kung and the Parliament of the World’s Religions is proposed. Fields surveyed include psychology, sociology, political science, economics, history, and gender and feminist studies in social science; physics and biology in natural science; and brain research, archaeology, and both old and new evolutionary studies and theory, including chaos, self-organizing, and other nonlinear theories, in systems science.
biological evolution • brain research • cosmic evolution • cultural evolution • dominator morality • evolutionary theory • freedom and equality • gender relations • global ethic • love • moral sensitivity • morality • partnership morality • religion • science • social action • systems science • “two worlds” • values
David Loye is a psychologist, co-founder of the Center for Partnership Studies, and a co-founder of the General Evolution Research Group. His mailing address is 25700 Shafter Way, Carmel, CA 93923; e-mail: loye @ partnershipway.org.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00208

Toward a New Concept of Global Morality by Solomon H. Katz

The human community faces today the most serious challenges ever to have confronted the planet in the areas of health, environment, and security. Science and technology are essential for responding to these challenges. More is needed, however, because science is not equipped to deal adequately with the values dimensions and the political issues that accompany the challenges. For an adequate response, there must be cooperative effort by scientists and statespersons, informed for moral leadership by the religious wisdom that is available. The religious communities can provide this spiritual dimension, thereby fulfilling their traditional role, but it will require their coming to terms with the character of the scientific and technological base of contemporary culture. The paper lays the conceptual groundwork for understanding these issues.
anthropology • biocultural evolution • global morality • moral leadership • religion • science
Solomon H. Katz is professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Krogman Growth Center, 4019 Irving St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-3531.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00209

The Challenge of Global Ethics: Learning and Organizing by William E. Lesher

This is a response from the point of view of religion to three articles—by Ewert Cousins, David Loye, and Solomon H. Katz—that together call for a decisive new moral grounding for the human race. This commentary calls on science, as the dominant power in society today, to initiate a new partnership with religion. It goes on to advocate for an urgent mutual-learning endeavor in which science and religion will derive needed information and understanding from each other. The commentary finds a common thread in the three articles—that religion informed by science is the principal force capable of stimulating a global moral transformation—and ends by proposing a series of concrete action steps.
global ethic • interfaith • Parliament for the World’s Religions • religion-science dialogue • spiritual • transformation
William Lesher is President Emeritus of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and a senior consultant with Growth Design International, 1733 Capistrano Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707-1805.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00210

Ethical Evolution by Eric J. Chaisson

Two papers on global morality and ethics—by David Loye and Solomon H. Katz—are hereby placed into an evolutionary context. Simply stated though no less true, ethical evolution will likely be the next great evolutionary leap forward into the future—if humankind is to have a future.
cosmos • ethics • evolution • humankind
Eric J. Chaisson (http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/eric/ericpage.html) is Professor of Physics and Professor of Education at Tufts University, where he directs the Wright Center for Science Education. He also codirects the Space Grant Consortium at MIT and teaches cosmic evolution at Harvard University.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00211


Being Religious: Working at Self-Maintenance and Self-Transformation by Ward H. Goodenough

We see religion in the things people treat as crucial to what they are and to what they aspire to become, things that make the biggest difference in how people feel about themselves. They may be social aspects or personal (behavioral or characterological) aspects of the self. The things people are militant about, the practices in regard to which they are most scrupulous, and the things about themselves that distress them are indicators of where their religious concerns lie, whatever the subject matter. People work to maintain themselves as they want to see themselves and as they want others to see them; they seek ways to repair damage to their selves. They seek also to transform themselves so as to escape present unhappy definitions of self and to achieve ideal states of being. What needs to be changed may be perceived as aspects of personal self, as attitudes other people have toward otherwise unchangeable aspects of self, or as the entire socio-political system in which people feel trapped. The process by which people manage successfully to transform themselves includes social cooperation, including the formation of groups to provide mutual reinforcement.
religion • religious movements • self-maintenance • self-transformation
Ward H. Goodenough, a cultural anthropologist, is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6398; e-mail: whgooden @ sas.upenn.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00212

The Evolution of Consciousness and the Theology of Nature by Gregory R. Peterson

Theology and philosophy have traditionally assumed a radical split between human beings and the rest of creation. Philosophically, the split is usually justified in terms of a locus humanus, some one cognitive trait that human beings possess and nonhuman animals do not. Theologically, this trait is usually identified as that which makes us in the image of God. Research in animal cognition, however, suggests that we are not unique in as many respects as we think we are. This suggests that we rethink the idea of the image of God. In light of this, I propose that we think of nature itself as being in the image of God, with humankind as part of the broader natural and theological process.
cognitive ethology • cognitive science • consciousness • René Descartes • emergence • human uniqueness • image of God • locus humanus • mind • Irene M. Pepperberg • Elizabeth Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
Gregory R. Peterson is Assistant Professor of Religion at Thiel College, Greenville, PA 16125; e-mail: gpeterso @ thiel.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00213

The Haunting of the Human Spirit by John A. Teske

Understanding the human spirit, the thinking, motivating, feeling aspect of a person, need not entail supernatural reference in any more than a boundary sense. Methodological naturalism accounts for many putatively supernatural experiences in terms of naturalistic and scientific research. Fairy tales have natural functions, naturalistic accounts of miracles can have moral and spiritual power, and neuropsychological research can have value in understanding experiences of ghosts, apparitions, and presences. Even beliefs in personal immortality, at odds with current neurobiology, may serve a range of psychological functions and may raise more moral questions than they answer. Naturalistic accounts can make spiritual explorations possible where supernatural answers provide epistemic barriers.
meaning • mortality • naturalism • neuropsychology • object-relations • phantom limb • presences • self • spirituality
John A. Teske is Professor of Psychology, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022; e-mail: teskeja @ acad.etown.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00214

Chaos Theology: A New Approach to the Science-Theology Dialogue by Sjoerd L. Bonting

Comparison of the concepts of creation from chaos and creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo) leads me to reject the latter for several reasons: it is not the biblical concept, and it presents serious conceptual, scientific, and theological problems. Chaos theology is outlined under the headings creation from chaos; chaos and contingency; chaos, evil, and creativity; chaos and incarnation; chaos and eschatology. It is shown to be well suited for the science-theology dialogue by some examples of its application to aspects of cosmic and biological evolution: initial mystery, separation and ordering; chaos and entropy; contingency and fine-tuning of the universe; purpose and progressiveness in evolution; and complexity theory and chaos events.
Big Bang theory • chaos • chaos events • creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo) • eschatology • evil • incarnation • initial chaos • theodicy
Sjoerd L. Bonting is emeritus professor of biochemistry, Catholic University of Nijmegen, and active as an Anglican priest in the Diocese in Europe. His address is Specreyse 12, 7471 TH Goor, the Netherlands; e-mail: s.l.bonting @ wxs.nl.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00215

Book Symposium: Theology of Creation in an Evolutionary World by Karl Schmitz-Moormann

Karl Schmitz-Moormann: Our Intellectual Legacy from a Great Mind by John R. Albright

Karl Schmitz-Moormann’s thought as expressed in his last book exemplifies Catholic theology based on realism, flow, evolution, and free will. Categories of creation are reviewed: from nothing, continuous, called forth, informed, and free.
called forth creation • continuous creation • creation from nothing • determinism • free creation • informed creation • Latin • Roman Catholicism • Karl Schmitz-Moormann
John R. Albright is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics at Purdue University Calumet, 2200 169th Street, Hammond, IN 46323-2094.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00216

Reifying Analogy in Natural Theology by Duane H. Larson

Karl Schmitz-Moormann argues that the doctrines of God and Creation, usually explicated in Roman Catholic theology by using the analogy of being, must rather be conceived in light of evolution and an analogy of becoming. God the Trinity, characterized by unity, information, and freedom, provides the image toward which the creation tends in its evolutionary processes. Informed by Teilhard and others, the author hereby provides more of a new research program for theology’s engagement with natural science than a fully developed theology.
analogy of becoming • analogy of being • “called forth” creation • creation • evolution • freedom • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin • Trinity
Duane H. Larson is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, 61 NW Confederate Ave., Gettysburg, PA 17325.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00217

Review Article

Science and Technology in Non-Western Cultures by Jensine Andresen

Seline’s edited volume relevates non-Western interaction between religious and scientific domains of human intellectual history. Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Chinese thinkers have played central roles in pursuing intellectual inquiry into topics of broad human concern. Although copious and nuanced literary collections in Arabic, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan languages document non-Western contributions, these primary sources often are inaccessible to Western scholars, creating the false illusion that members of non-Western cultures have offered only marginal contributions to the rigorous investigation of the natural world. This illusion is dispelled thoroughly by a number of excellent articles contained in Seline’s volume.
Āyurveda • colonialism • divination • indigenous • knowledge system • Mongols • multiculturalism • Ottomans • rationality • Vedas • Zoroastrianism
Jensine Andresen is Assistant Professor of Theology at Boston University, 745 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215.

This article reviews Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures edited by Helaine Seline.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00218

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