Our first issue in this millennial year makes a number of important statements about the journal and about the field of religion-and-science in which we are rooted. Perhaps the first feature that will strike the reader is the size of this issue; in this year, we will publish 1,000 pages. Quantity in itself is no virtue; the decision to go for larger issues this year is prompted by the amount of worthy material, on the one hand, and the fact that our goal of keeping readers in touch with the major developments in the field of religion-and-science demands space. Although we cannot claim to cover all of the worthy efforts in our field, we do intend to present a comprehensive view of things, and this issue does just that.
Science and technology are frequently confused. This essay points out the bases for this confusion and then focuses on a basic distinction, namely, that whereas science brings us information that we have little choice but to absorb and reflect upon, technology is something that humans elect to do and, hence, can also elect not to do. It is proposed that technological ethics are most cogently undertaken with scientific understanding as the linchpin and religious/artistic sensibilities as the muse.
art • biotechnology • ethics • Nature • Natures Way • religion • science • technology
Ursula Goodenough is Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis and past president of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science. Her address is Department of Biology, Box 1129, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130; e-mail: ursula @ biosgi.wustl.edu.
Going Public: Science-and-Religion at a Crossroads by Gregory R. Peterson
A survey of recent news events involving science and religion is conducted with an aim toward analyzing the current state of the science and religion dialogue. Recent events suggest that the dialogue has come to a crossroads, achieving an unprecedented level of popular attention. At the same time, this attention reveals what still needs to be done. More attention needs to be given to the nature of religion, to the history of religion and science, and to the increasing plurality of the dialogue.
definition of religion • pluralism • popular culture • science and religion dialogue
Gregory R. Peterson is Assistant Professor of Religion at Thiel College, Greenville, PA 16125; e-mail: Gpeterso @ thiel.edu.
The Mythic Potential of Evolution by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
This article focuses on the relationship between science and myth. Its author (1) suggests that the theory of evolution provides the most powerful mythic structure for our times; (2) points out the problems that arise from the fact that, historically, evolution became yoked to the earlier concept of material, technological progress; (3) argues for an interpretation of evolution that is based on religious and psychological models of human development; and (4) proposes that such an interpretation, in which personal and social growth is seen as the possible outcome of evolutionary forces, may act as a corrective to a myth based on material progress.
cultural evolution • directive function • evolutionary myth • explanatory function • myth system • reflective consciousness
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is Director of the Quality of Life Research Center at the Peter R. Drucker Graduate School of Management, Claremont Graduate University, 1021 North Dartmouth Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711; e-mail: miska @ cgu.edu.
The Neuropsychology of Aesthetic, Spiritual, and Mystical States by Eugene G. dAquili and Andrew B. Newberg
An analysis of the underlying neurophysiology of aesthetics and religious experience allows for the development of an Aesthetic-Religious Continuum. This continuum pertains to the variety of creative and spiritual experiences available to human beings. This may also lead to an understanding of the neurophysiological mechanism underlying both positive and negative aesthetics. An analysis of this continuum allows for the ability to understand the neurophenomenological aspects of a variety of human experiences ranging from relatively simple aesthetic experiences to profound spiritual and unitary states such as those obtained during meditation. However, it may be possible through a neuropsychological analysis to determine the similarities that exist across such experiences. Thus, certain parts of the brain may be functioning in similar ways during different experiences. It may be the case that the specific neuropsychological components of a given experience may depend on the strength of the affectual response of the person and the ability to mark such experiences as significant. Further, even though similar structures may be functioning during different experiences, their inhibitory and excitatory interactions may be different. Finally, by considering the Aesthetic-Religious Continuum, we may eventually arrive at a better understanding of how we experience and define reality.
aesthetics • mysticism • neuropsychology • religion • spirituality
Eugene G. dAquili was Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania until his death in August 1998. Andrew B. Newberg is Assistant Professor of Radiology and an Instructor in Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Please address all correspondence to Andrew B. Newberg, 110 Donner Building, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
The Creative Brain/The Creative Mind by Andrew B. Newberg and Eugene G. dAquili
In the past few decades, neuroscience research has greatly expanded our understanding of how the human brain functions. In particular, we have begun to explore the basis of emotions, intelligence, and creativity. These brain functions also have been applied to various aspects of behavior, thought, and experience. We have also begun to develop an understanding of how the brain and mind work during aesthetic and religious experiences. Studies on these topics have included neuropsychological tests, physiological measures, and brain imaging. These different techniques have enabled us to open up a window into the brain. It is by understanding the functioning of the creative brain that we begin to understand the concept of the creative mind. It is through the use of emotions and other higher cognitive functions that the brain and mind can create ideas, music, literature, and ultimately our entire repertoire of behaviors. How these different creative abilities are derived can also be traced to various parts of the brain and how they function. Modern neuroscience allows us to begin to understand the creative aspect of the brain and mind and perhaps can take us one step further toward understanding the most profound types of aesthetic and religious experiences.
aesthetics • brain • creativity • neurophysiology • religion
Andrew B. Newberg is Assistant Professor of Radiology and an Instructor in Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Eugene G. dAquili was Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania until his death in August 1998. Please address all correspondence to Andrew B. Newberg, 110 Donner Building, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
The Argument from Design: What is at Stake Theologically? by Anna Case-Winters
This article offers a brief overview of the argument for Gods existence grounded in the evidence of design. It gives particular attention to the way the argument has evolved over time and in relation to changing scientific perspectives. The argument from design has in fact been formulated and reformulated in response to the discoveries and challenges it has encountered from the field of science. The conclusion of the article explores the theological importance of this argument—its extent and its limits.
Thomas Aquinas • arguments for the existence of God • Aristotle • Karl Barth • Charles Darwin • emergence of life • evidence of design • David Hume • intelligibility of the universe • Immanuel Kant • meanings of design • Isaac Newton • William Paley • problem of evil
Anna Case-Winters is Associate Professor of Theology at McCormick Theological Seminary, 5555 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago, IL 60637-1692.
On the Symbiosis of Science and Religion: A Jewish Perspective by Norbert M. Samuelson
Three theses are explored, the first two historical and the third philosophical-theological: (1) throughout most of the history of Western civilization, science and religion have been closely connected with each other, and each has benefited from the connection; (2) the belief that science and religion have always been in conflict is not based on the actual history of either set of institutions; and (3) structurally a relationship between the two institutions is in the interest of both. By religion here I mean specifically, but not exclusively, Judaism.
Adam the Protobacterium • Aristotelianism • authority • belief • charity • Christendom • conversos • Daniel Dennett • The Guide of the Perplexed • Halakhah • Hallel • Islam • Jesus • Judaism • Kabbalah • Maimonidean controversy • Moses Maimonides • Mishneh Torah • modernity • Moses • pioneer macros • Rabbi Simon the Just • Saadia ben Joseph al-Fayyumi • silicon-based self-replicating crystals • Baruch Spinoza • Tractatus Theologico-Politicus • truth claim
Norbert M. Samuelson is the Harold and Jean Grossman Chair of Jewish Studies at Arizona State University, P.O. Box 873104, Tempe, AZ 85287-3104. He is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Academy for Jewish Philosophy and the Secretary of the American Theological Society.
The Dialogue between Religion and Science: Which God? by K. Helmut Reich
As exemplified by three cases, difficulties in the dialogue between religion and science not infrequently arise from differing views of Gods omnipotence and omniscience. From the side of theology, reflections on the biblical and church-related sources of those views, on Auschwitz and the problem of theodicy, on God as Creator of the universe, and on how to read and interpret the Bible show that a view of a God who self-limits almightiness and all-knowing in order to grant freedom and functional integrity to a Creation about which God cares can be multiply justified. Such a view is not dissonant with regard to a self-organized, open universe, producing unexpected emergent features as seen by science.
dialogue between religion and science • divine causation • God • interpreting the Bible • linked time modes • omnipotence • omniscience • science • theology
K. Helmut Reich is Professor at 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. For twenty-eight years he was a physicist at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. His mailing address is Pädagogisches Institut, Rue Faucigny 2, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland; e-mail: Helmut.Reich @ unifr.ch.
Discussion: Rethinking Christian Theology in Light of Science
In the following section, Arthur Peacocke and David Pailin present major statements for reconstructing Christian theology in the face of the challenges posed by the contemporary sciences. Their proposals would seem to carry importance both by virtue of the significance of Christian theology in the engagement between theology and science and also because of the preeminent stature of these two thinkers. At the same time, there are those, including many readers of this journal, for whom these proposals are of only limited importance. Peacocke and Pailin set in motion a discussion, after all, that appears to be an in-house affair, one whose cachet in our culture as a whole continues to decline. These persons may see very little urgency in the question of what future course Christian theology pursues.
Philip Hefner is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and coeditor of Zygon, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615-5199.
Science and the Future of Theology: Critical Issues by Arthur Peacocke
The ambivalent reputation of theology as an academic discipline is attributed to the often circular character of its procedures based on presumed authoritative sources. Recently, science too has come under the shadow of postmodernist critiques but, it is argued, has been able to withstand them successfully and make epistemologically warranted claims to be depicting reality—thereby vindicating human rationality. Evolutionary epistemological considerations also reinforce confidence in the more general deliverances of the human exploration of reasonableness through inference to the best explanation (IBE). The consequences of applying IBE, with its associated criteria, in theological investigation are considered in relation to theology as it is and as it might be. A number of issues critical for the development of a credible theology are identified. In spite of the challenging and somewhat negative view of contemporary theology to which this leads, hope is expressed that a genuinely credible evangelical, catholic, and liberal theology may yet emerge for the new millennium.
authority • bridge model • critical issues (I-XIV) • dissonance • evolutionary epistemology • human environment • inference to the best explanation (IBE) • methodology • postmodernism • rationality • reasonableness • relativism • scientific realism • theology
Arthur Peacocke was, until recently, Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre, Oxford. His address is Exeter College, Oxford, OX1 3DP, England, U.K; e-mail: arthur.peacocke @ theology.oxford.ac.uk.
What Game Is Being Played? The Need for Clarity about the Relationships between Scientific and Theological Understanding by David A. Pailin
This paper investigates the relationship between theology and the natural sciences by considering four realist and five nonrealist interpretations of theological understanding. These are that theology expresses biblical affirmations, the faith of the community, revelatory declarations, or a priori conclusions, and that it is reducible to expressions of feelings, attitudes, naturalism, liberating praxis, or moral convictions. Because these views are unsatisfactory, the author calls for an imaginative form of natural theology that shows how faiths understanding of the purpose, value, and meaning of reality fits how the world is actually found to be.
a priori • Bible • credibility • faith • game • God • natural theology • nonrealist theology • religion and science • revelation • theism • theology • understanding
David A. Pailin is Professor of the Philosophy of Religion in the Department of Religions and Theology at Manchester University, Manchester M13 9PL, England.
Theological Shamelessness? A Response to Arthur Peacocke and David A. Pailin by Vítor Westhelle
This is a theological response to two programmatic essays, Science and the Future of Theology: Critical Issues, by Arthur Peacocke and What Game is Being Played? The Need for Clarity about the Relationship between Scientific and Theological Understanding, by David A. Pailin. It argues that the two authors, well informed by the recent developments in science, are reduplicating some methodological and epistemological trends common to nineteenth-century theology. The feasibility of their project should, therefore, be examined on whether they succeed in answering the questions posed to the liberal project that dominated theological and philosophical scholarship in the last century. They are found to be wanting in their inadequate response to three considerations: (1) the persistence of particular manifestations of religion and theologys enduring refusal to accept thoroughly scientific enlightened criteria, (2) the epistemological implications of the eschatological character of the Christian message, and (3) the trinitarian paradigm for Christian theology and the life of faith.
death of God • episteme • epistemological break • eschatology • nineteenth-century theology • Trinity • ultimacy
Vítor Westhelle is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615-5199.
The Teachers File
Cosmology: What One Needs to Know by John R. Albright
Cosmology, the study of the universe, has a past, which is reviewed here. The standard model—the Big Bang, or the hot, dense early universe that is still expanding—is based on observations that are basically consistent but which require additional input to improve the agreement. Out of the early universe came the galaxies and stars that shine today. The future of the universe depends on the density of matter: too much mass leads to the Big Crunch; too little leads to eternal expansion and cooling. The dark-matter problem prevents us from knowing which will be the fate of the universe. The limits of what may be called scientific are addressed.
age of the earth • age of the universe • anthropic principles • Big Bang • Big Crunch • closed, flat, and open universes • cosmology • dark matter • galaxy • general relativity • Hubble expansion • inflation • Local Group • microwave background radiation • Milky Way • quantum mechanics • standard cosmological model • universe • Virgo Supercluster
John R. Albright is Professor of Physics and Head of the Department of Chemistry and Physics at Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, IN 46323-2094. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this article for class use, with this note: Reprinted from Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science.
Expressing the Nature and Meaning of DNA: Six Books for Teachers and Students by Charles F. Smith
DNA is an important agent not only in chemistry and biology but also in technology and modern culture. A number of books approach the double helix from different angles. These perspectives include (1) the science of DNA and genetics; (2) genetic engineering; (3) the ethics of manipulating genetic material; and (4) DNA in culture and religion. Various views of DNA provide insights into human nature beyond its molecular composition.
B-form DNA • cultural icon • Richard Dawkins • DNA • eugenics • gel electrophoresis • genetic engineering • genetic sovereignty • ifgene • protein • selfish gene • Z-form DNA
Charles F. Smith is a student in the Ph.D. program at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615; e-mail: cfsmahs @ visi.net. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this article for class use, with this note: Reprinted from Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science.
This article reviews The Thread of Life: The Story of Genes and Genetic Engineering by Susan Aldridge, The Genetic Gods by John C. Avise, Unraveling DNA by Maxim D. Frank-Kamenetskii, Genetic Ethics: Do the Ends Justify the Genes? edited by John F. Kilner, Rebecca D. Pentz, and Frank E. Young, The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon by Dorothy Nelkin and M. Susan Lindee, and The Future of DNA edited by Johannes Wirz and Edith Lammerts van Buren.
Science and Theology: An Introduction by John Polkinghorne, reviewed by Holmes Rolston, III
Willem B. Drees; Nicolette Bruining Professor of Philosophy of Nature and of Technology from a Liberal Protestant Perspective; University of Twente and Bezinningscentrum Vrije Universiteit; De Boelelaan 1115; 1081 HV Amsterdam; The Netherlands
Religion and Creation by Keith Ward, reviewed by David Fergusson