Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
35 (2), June 2000

Table of Contents


June 2000 Editorial by Philip Hefner

It is becoming clearer every day that there are “many worlds” on the interface of science and religion. An adequate map of the territory along this interface will need not only to locate the different worlds, but also to identify the specific character, motives, and aims of the people who inhabit each world. Even though no one, not even Zygon, can undertake such a map, we do attempt to remain in touch with several of these worlds and to publish work that they produce. Our readers can then attempt their own maps, filling in from other sources what we leave out. For the most part, the thinkers in each world are ignorant of what goes on in the others; quite often each world is inclined to believe that the others are on the wrong track in relating religion and science. Indeed, since this journal is itself committed to a programmatic enterprise (see the boilerplate at the end of each issue for a summary of this programmatic intention), we do at the very least imply our own value judgments concerning what approaches on the interface are more important and more adequate.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2000.00272.x

Think Pieces

Whose Evolution? Which Theology by Gregory R. Peterson

The importance of scientific conflicts for theology and philosophy is difficult to judge. In many disputes of significance, prominent scientists can be found on both sides. Profound philosophical and religious implications are sometimes said to be implied by the new theory as well. This article examines the dispute over natural selection between Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould as a contemporary instance of such a conflict. While both claim that profound philosophical conclusions flow from their own alternative account of evolution, I suggest that the implication is not as great as is claimed and that the alleged implications have as much to do with their own perceptions of theology as with the actual theories themselves. Nevertheless, evolutionary theory is not irrelevant for theology. Theologians should be aware of the possible implications of evolutionary theory and at the same time the extent and limits of such implications.
Richard Dawkins • evolution • Stephen Jay Gould • natural selection • punctuated equilibrium
Gregory R. Peterson is Assistant Professor of Religion at Thiel College, Greenville, PA 16125; e-mail: gpeterso @ thiel.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00273

Reflections on Scientific and Religious Metaphor by Ursula Goodenough

Scientific and religious understandings are inherently contextual, yet the contexts in which they are embedded are often elusive or difficult to reconcile with a person’s worldview or experience. Access to these contexts and understandings is therefore often abetted by metaphor. It is argued that if a metaphor is valid—that is, if it carries some core truth about an understanding—then what is important is whether it carries that core truth over to someone else.
concetto • metaphor • religion • science
Ursula Goodenough is Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, past president of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, and author of The Sacred Depths of Nature (Oxford Univ. Press, 1998). Her address is Department of Biology, Box 1129, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130; e-mail: ursula @ biosgi.wustl.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00274

Exploring Resources of Naturalism

What Is Religious Naturalism? A Preliminary Report of an Ongoing Conversation by Michael Cavanaugh

Religious naturalism is an emerging construct that relies greatly on science and yet affirms attitudes and practices that are distinctly religious in nature. This article explores the meaning of the term as it is used by various proponents, contrasts it to some similar constructs (especially straight naturalism and natural religion), and examines some objections and outstanding issues from within the science-religion community: (1) postmodernist objections; (2) whether religious naturalism is sufficiently respectful of traditional religious expression; and (3) whether religious naturalism seeks to be a descriptive or a prescriptive enterprise or both. Overall, religious naturalism is affirmed as a potentially productive new variant of natural theology, one that can preserve religious sensibilities without relying on supernatural constructs while maintaining a basic (though not uncritical) affirmation of other religious traditions.
Christian naturalism • Willem B. Drees • epic of evolution naturalism • Ursula Goodenough • William Grassie • Philip Hefner • IRASnet • naturalism • postmodernism • religious naturalism • Loyal Rue • straight naturalism • supernaturalism
Michael Cavanaugh is a lawyer. His address is 744 Dubois, Baton Rouge, LA 70808; e-mail: MichaelCav @ aol.com.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00275

Naturalizing Ethics: The Biology and Psychology of Moral Agency by William A. Rottschaefer

Moral agency is a central feature of both religious and secular conceptions of human beings. In this paper I outline a scientific naturalistic model of moral agency making use of current findings and theories in sociobiology, developmental psychology, and social cognitive theory. The model provides answers to four central questions about moral agency: (1) what it is, (2) how it is acquired, (3) how it is put to work, and (4) how it is justified. I suggest that this model can provide religious and secular moral theories with a basis for a common understanding of moral agency.
altruism • Albert Bandura • ethics and science • evolutionary ethics • genetic selfishness • Martin Hoffman • moral agency • moral agency and biology • moral agency and psychology • moral development • naturalistic fallacy • naturalized ethics • religion, ethics, and science • social cognitive theory • sociobiology
William A. Rottschaefer is Professor of Philosophy at Lewis and Clark College. His mailing address is Department of Philosophy, Lewis and Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland, OR 97219; e-mail: rotts @ lclark.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00276

Can a Darwinian Be a Christian? Ethical Issues by Michael Ruse

A brief historical overview shows the main Christian claims about morality and proper conduct, looking at questions about both prescriptions (“normative ethics”) and foundations (“metaethics”). Jesus did not leave a fully articulated ethical system, and hence it fell to his followers to tease out such a system from his sayings and actions. Particularly important for Catholic thinking has been the natural law theory of St. Thomas Aquinas. Particularly important for Protestant thinking have been the directives of the Gospel stories, although different branches of Protestantism emphasize different parts of Christ’s teachings. Foundationally important for all Christians is God’s will or desire, and it is necessary to show that this does not commit the believer to potentially capricious divine directives.
Thomas Aquinas • Christian ethics • divine command theory • metaethics • natural law
Michael Ruse is Professor of Philosophy and Zoology at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00277

Can a Darwinian Be a Christian? Sociobiological Issues by Michael Ruse

This essay looks at the Darwinian sociobiological account of morality, arguing that in major respects this philosophy should prove congenial to the Christian. It is shown how modern-day Darwinism, starting from a “selfish gene” perspective, nevertheless argues that a genuine moral sense is part of our evolutionary heritage. This moral sense yields directives much in tune with Christian prescriptions. It is argued also that Darwinian sociobiology can itself offer no metaethical foundations for morality, but the Christian wanting to appeal to God’s will can nicely and smoothly mesh the religious intent with the scientific and philosophical implications of Darwinian moral inquiry.
Christian ethics • Darwinism • metaethics • morality • selfish genes • sociobiology • Edward O. Wilson
Michael Ruse is Professor of Philosophy and Zoology at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00278

Exploring Relationships: Scientists and Theologians

All on the Same Side: Reflections on the Dialogue Between Science and Religion by David M. Byers

The “war” between religion and science is winding down, creating new opportunities for fruitful dialogue. The foundations of indirect religion-science dialogue, where the perspectives of the two disciplines illuminate some third subject, are not well established. A detailed comparison of the Roman Catholic bishops’ dialogues and a similar program within the American Association for the Advancement of Science illustrates the variety in formal science-religion interactions and reveals much about the promise, achievements, and limitations of different approaches. Success depends in large part on controlling the diversity of the dialogue group, choosing topics carefully, and adopting positive and cooperative attitudes.
American Association for the Advancement of Science • direct religion-science dialogue • diversity in dialogue • indirect science-religion dialogue • National Conference of Catholic Bishops • practical limitations of dialogue • religion-science-industry model • search for wisdom • shared goals of dialogue • spirit of dialogue • topics for dialogue • war between religion and science
David M. Byers is Executive Director of the Committee on Science and Human Values, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 3211 Fourth Street NE, Washington, DC 20017.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00279

Why Do Theologians Need to Be Scientists? by Stanley J. Grenz

The postmodern situation has given rise to a quest for new understandings of the relationship between theology and science. Drawing illustrative material from an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, I look at three paradigmatic answers to the question posed in the title—the modern empirical scientific, the renewed medieval, and the postmodern—with the goal of outlining a methodological approach for an engagement between Christian theology and science in the postmodern context. Drawing insight from post-empirical philosophy of science and the sociology of knowledge, I argue that both science and theology engage in the task of constructing a world for human habitation.
eschatology • methodology • philosophy of science • sociology of knowledge • theology
Stanley J. Grenz is Pioneer McDonald Professor of Theology and Ethics at Carey Theological College and Regent College, 5920 Iona Drive, Vancouver, BC V6T 1J6, Canada.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00280


Vajrayāna Art and Iconography by Jensine Andresen

Iconographic imagery in the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Tantric (i.e., Vajrayāna) tradition is replete with polymorphic symbolic forms. Tantric texts themselves are multivalent, addressing astronomy, astrology, cosmology, history, embryology, physiology, pharmacology, alchemy, botany, philosophy, and sexuality. The Srī Kālacakra, a medieval Indo-Tibetan manuscript of great import, describes ritual visualization sequences in which practitioners visualize elaborate man?d?ala designs and deified yab-yum (father-mother) consort couples. The Kālacakra system is the preeminent conduit for the globalization of Tibetan Buddhism, and contemporary enactments of its initiation ceremony incorporate a variety of aesthetic genres, including sand man?d?ala construction and ritual dance.
homology • Madhyamika • maṇḍala • Tantra • Vajrayāna • yab-yum • melothesia
Jensine Andresen is Assistant Professor at Boston University, School of Theology, 745 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, where she teaches in the graduate program in Science, Philosophy, and Religion; e-mail: jensine @ bu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00281

The Technological Factor: Redemption, Nature, and the Image of God by Peter Scott

This paper begins from the premise that being in the image of God refers humanity neither to nature nor to its technology but to God. Two positions are thereby rejected: (1) that nature should be treated as a source of salvation (Heidegger), and (2) that redemptive significance may be ascribed to technology (Cole-Turner, Hefner). Instead, theological judgments concerning technology require the reconstruction of theological anthropology. To this end, the image of God (imago dei) is reconceived in terms of sociality, temporality, and spatiality to show how humanity may be understood as imaging God in a technological society.
image of God • imago dei • nature • redemption • sociality • spatiality • technology • temporality • theological anthropology
Peter Scott is Lecturer in Theology in the School of Theology and Religious Studies, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, P.O. Box 220, The Park, Cheltenham GL50 2QF, U.K; e-mail: pscott @ chelt.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00282

From MacLean’s Triune Brain Concept to the Conflict Systems Neurobehavioral Model: The Subjective Basis of Moral and Spiritual Consciousness by Gerald A. Cory Jr.

This paper builds upon a critically clarified statement of the triune brain concept to set out the conflict systems neurobehavioral model. The model defines the reciprocal algorithms (rules of procedure) of behavior from evolved brain structure. The algorithms are driven by subjectively experienced behavioral tension as the self-preservational programming, common to our ancestral vertebrates, frequently tugs and pulls against the affectional programming of our mammalian legacy. The yoking (zygon) of the dual algorithmic dynamic accounts for the emergence of moral and spiritual consciousness as manifested in the universal norm of reciprocity and in the work of such thinkers as Martin Buber and Paul Tillich.
Martin Buber • conflict systems neurobehavioral model • Paul D. MacLean • reciprocal algorithms of behavior • Paul Tillich • triune brain
Gerald A. Cory Jr. is affiliated with the Center for Behavioral Ecology, 50 Airport Parkway, San Jose, CA 95110-1011.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00283

Commentary and Response

J. Wentzel van Huyssteen: Refiguring Rationality in the Postmodern Age by Jerome A. Stone

In his three books J. Wentzel van Huyssteen develops a complex and helpful notion of rationality, avoiding the extremes of foundationalism and postmodern relativism and deconstruction. Drawing from several postmodern philosophers of science and evolutionary epistemologists who seek to devise a usable notion of rationality, he weaves together a view that allows for a genuine duet between science and theology. In the process he challenges much contemporary nonfoundationalist theology as well as the philosophical naïveté of some cosmologists and sociobiologists.
Harold Brown • critical realism • evolutionary epistemology • fideism • Susan Haack • Imre Lakatos • Larry Laudan • John Milbank • Nancey Murphy • postfoundationalism • postmodernism • Nicholas Rescher • Joseph Rouse • Calvin Schrag • Mikael Stenmark • William Stoeger • Ronald Thiemann • transversality • J. Wentzel van Huyssteen
Jerome A. Stone is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at William Rainey Harper College, Palatine, IL 60067.

This essay reviews three books by J. Wentzel van Huyssteen; Duet or Duel? Theology and Science in a Postmodern World, Essays in Postfoundationalist Theology, and The Shaping of Rationality: Toward Interdisciplinarity in Theology and Science.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00284

Postfoundationalism and Interdisciplinarity: A Response to Jerome Stone by J. Wentzel van Huyssteen

In my recent work I argued that the religion and science dialogue is most successful when done locally and contextually. However, I also argued against theology’s epistemic isolation in a pluralist, postmodern world, and for a postfoundationalist notion of human rationality that reveals the interdisciplinary, public nature of all theological reflection. I now want to explore the possibility that, when we look at what the prehistory of the human mind reveals about the biological roots of all human rationality, some forms of contemporary evolutionary epistemology may actually hold the key to understanding the kind of cognitive fluidity that enables true interdisciplinary reflection. Philosophically the religion and science dialogue benefits from this move when a postfoundationalist notion of rationality redescribes the dynamic interaction of our various disciplinary dialogues with one another as a form of transversal reasoning. Transversality in this sense justifies and urges an acknowledgment of multiple patterns of interpretation as one moves across the borders and boundaries of different disciplines.
authentic pluralism • biological roots of human rationality • cognitive fluidity • constructive postmodernism • evolutionary epistemology • interdisciplinary reflection • postfoundationalist rationality • public theology • transversal reasoning • wide reflective equilibrium
J. Wentzel van Huyssteen is the James I. McCord Professor of Theology and Science at Princeton Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 821, Princeton, NJ 08542-0803.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00285

The Teachers’ File

Education for the Heart and Mind: Feminist Pedagogy and the Religion and Science Curriculum by Joyce Nyhof-Young

Feminist educators and theorists are stretching the boundaries of what it means to do religion and science. They are also expanding the theoretical and practical frameworks through which we might present curricula in those fields. In this paper, I reflect on the implications of feminist pedagogies for the interdisciplinary field of religion and science. I begin with a brief discussion of feminist approaches to education and the nature of the feminist classroom as a setting for action. Next, I present some theoretical and practical issues to consider when developing a feminist praxis and an antisexist curriculum. This leads into a discussion of the role of language and critical reflection in the religion and science classroom, the risks associated with reflective discourse, and considerations in the use of “feminist” teaching tools such as small group work, journals, and portfolio assessment. I conclude with a reflection on how feminist pedagogy promotes an epistemology that speaks to the hearts and minds of participants in the dialogue of religion and science.
antisexist curriculum • classroom discourse • critical reflection • curriculum development • education • epistemology • feminist pedagogy • feminist praxis • journals • language • personal theory building • portfolios • religion • science • small group work
Joyce Nyhof-Young is a Medical Educator and Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Princess Margaret Hospital (University Health Network) and a member of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine Centre for Research in Education at the University Health Network. Her address is 610 University Avenue, 5th floor, 318, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2M9. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this article for class use, with this note: Reprinted from Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00286


The Biology and Psychology of Moral Agency by William A. Rottschaefer, reviewed by Fraser Watts

Fraser Watts, Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Science, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge CB2 1TW, United Kingdom
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.t01-1-00287

Manufacturing Religion: The Discourse on Sui Generis Religion and the Politics of Nostalgia by Russell T. McCutcheon, reviewed by Bryan S. Rennie

Bryan S. Rennie, Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, History, Philosophy, and Classics, Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA 1617
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.t01-1-00287

The Practice of Technology: Exploring Technology, Ecophilosophy, and Spiritual Disciplines for Vital Links by Alan Drengson, reviewed by David W. Gill

David W. Gill, Professor of Applied Ethics, North Park University, Chicago, IL 60625
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.t01-1-00287

God and Creation: An Ecumenical Symposium edited by David B. Burrell and Bernard McGinn, reviewed by Abrahim H. Khan

Abrahim H. Khan, Faculty of Divinity, Trinity College, 6 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1H8, Canada
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.t01-1-00287

Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts