Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
36 (2), June 2001

Table of Contents


June 2001 Editorial by Philip Hefner

Zygon is now at the halfway point in its thirty-sixth year of publication. Much has changed since Ralph Wendell Burhoe and his colleagues started on this venture in 1965. The change is quantifiable, in the size of the journal—averaging more than twice as many pages per year than in the first ten years—and the number of authors. The quality of change is more important, expressed, for example, in the range of questions and perspectives represented. The move into electronic access is one of the most striking innovations in recent years. Members of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science and all individual subscribers have access to Zygon from their home computers. Last December, we noted that 178 universities and other institutions in Korea now have electronic entrée to our text, as well as 22 state-funded universities in California. Beginning in 2001, Zygon will be available in all 64 Canadian universities, in 16 universities and colleges in Norway, and in 15 universities and in 55 colleges and community colleges in Ohio. All of these arrangements have been instituted by national and state governmental agencies contracting with our publishing agent, Blackwell Publishers. It seems not too much to imagine that in a few years every state-supported university and college in the United States will receive the journal electronically, in addition to the university systems of many other nations around the world. The Zygon “college without walls,” as the founders envisioned it, is becoming an international community. Our author base reinforces this assessment—in the years 2000 and 2001, published articles have come from Taiwan, Brazil, Estonia, Italy, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and Canada, as well as the United States, which still supplies more than 80 percent of our articles.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2001.00349.x

Engaging Huston Smith’s Why Religion Matters

A Setback to the Dialogue: Response to Huston Smith by Ursula Goodenough

Huston Smith’s book, Why Religion Matters, offers an eloquent evocation of mystical sensibility. Unfortunately, along the way, he offers a strongly negative and often inaccurate account of the scientific worldview, the claim being that the science is laying siege to the spiritual.
emergence • mysticism • science • scientism
Ursula Goodenough is Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, 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.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00350

Science and Scientism in Huston Smith’s Why Religion Matters by Ian G. Barbour

Huston Smith is justifiably critical of scientism, the belief that science is the only reliable path to truth. He holds that scientism and the materialism that accompanies it have led to a widespread denial of the transcendence expressed in traditional religious worldviews. He argues that evolutionary theory should be seen as a product of scientism rather than of scientific evidence, citing authors who claim that the fossil record does not support the idea of continuous descent with modification from earlier life forms. I suggest that he has underestimated the cumulative weight of evidence from many independent fields of science supporting neo-Darwinism. I argue that methodological (but not philosophical) naturalism is a basic assumption of scientific inquiry. Proponents of intelligent design assume a fixed plan or blueprint, which is compatible with Smith’s understanding of God’s timeless vision. By contrast, almost all biologists and many theologians today envisage a dynamic and open-ended process rather than the realization of the unchanging forms in a preexisting plan.
Darwinism • evolution • intelligent design • mysticism • scientism • Huston Smith
Ian Barbour has retired from Carleton College, Northfield, MN 55057, where he was Professor of Physics, Professor of Religion, and Bean Professor of Science, Technology and Society.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00351

The Matter of Religion and Science: Response to Huston Smith by Gregory R. Peterson

Huston Smith’s Why Religion Matters is the culminating reflections of one of the most respected religion scholars of our day. In this work, Smith sees modern society to be in the midst of a spiritual crisis. According to Smith, this crisis has been brought about by the advance of science and the inroads into what Smith calls the traditional worldview. While Smith’s work is of some importance, I believe that several of its fundamental claims are mistaken. Smith often does not accurately portray the content of science and frequently conflates the actual practice of science with philosophical scientism. Smith wrongly blames science alone for the decline of religion among Western elites. His claim that all religions can be equivocally described in terms of the traditional worldview is also problematic. Despite this, Smith does have a clear conception of what the issues are in the relation between science and religion. It is my hope that these issues will continue to be taken seriously.
CTNS • modernity • religion • scientism • worldviews • Zygon
Gregory R. Peterson is Assistant Professor of Religion and codirector of the Global Institute at Thiel College, Greenville, PA 16125; e-mail: gpeterso @ thiel.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00352

Huston Smith Replies to Barbour, Goodenough, and Peterson by Huston Smith

Responses and clarifications are given to the three respondents to my recent book, Why Religion Matters, in which I discuss what I see as the drawbacks and inconsistencies of Darwinism. While certain of their criticisms are understandable, others are based on a misreading of my work. Finally, my critics fail to show that my book is mistaken in its central claim that the modern loss of faith in transcendence, basic to the traditional/religious worldview, is unwarranted, because science has not been able to disprove the metaphysical claim that transcendence exists.
Ian Barbour • Darwinism • evolutionary theory • Ursula Goodenough • intelligent design • naturalism • Gregory Peterson • reductionism • scientism • transcendence
Huston Smith is Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Syracuse University. His mailing address is 1151 Colusa Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707-2726
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00353

Engaging E. O. Wilson: Twenty-Five Years of Sociobiology

E. O. Wilson as Moralist by Stephen J. Pope

E. O. Wilson offers descriptive and normative analyses of morality. Regarding science as the only proper basis for explaining and developing morality, he has not sufficiently accounted for the complexity of human conduct in this arena. Wilson’s account of evolved proclivities, however, indicates important features of human nature that moral theorists ignore at their peril.
biological predispositions • emotion • empiricism • geneculture theory • material origins • morality • norms
Stephen J. Pope is Associate Professor of Social Ethics and Chairperson of the Theology Department at Boston College, Carney Hall 417, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467; e-mail: stephen.pope.1 @ bc.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00354

Understanding Religion: The Challenge of E. O. Wilson by Philip Hefner

E. O. Wilson’s fundamental challenge is to bring knowledge and sensibility into an effective working relationship. Both ambivalence and opaqueness characterize his analysis of religion. Ambivalence refers to his conviction on the one hand that religion is essential for societal well-being and genetically resourced and his prediction, on the other hand, that religion will be superseded by scientific reason; the opaqueness refers to his strange insistence that religion be subjected to tests of literal facticity, whereas, in contrast, the arts are exempted from this test, because they constitute a delivery system that impacts the sensibilities directly, with no particular concern for literalness. Wilson’s analysis of religion should be brought into consonance with his view of the arts, thereby recognizing the importance of myth, symbol, metaphor, and analogy in religious formulations and their status as direct delivery systems to the sensibilities. Wilson’s distinction between empiricist/materialist and transcendentalist worldviews is reshaped by distinguishing between metaphysical and methodological transcendentalism. This reshaping enables us to recognize how the action required by human existence depends both on scientific knowledge and symbolic formulations that extend to human action, even though certain knowledge is lacking.
action • empiricist and transcendentalist worldviews • knowledge • metaphysical transcendentalism • methodological transcendentalism • religion • sensibilities • E. O. Wilson
Philip Hefner is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615-5199; e-mail: p-n-hef @ worldnet.att.net.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00355

E. O. Wilson, Stephen Pope, and Philip Hefner: A Conversation by E. O. Wilson, S. Pope, and P. Hefner

The following represents excerpts from a transcription of the informal discussion that ensued after Stephen Pope and Philip Hefner delivered the preceding papers at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., 20 February 2000. These excerpts are presented with a minimum of editing, to preserve the extemporaneous, informal, oral character of the conversation. The excerpts end with a fragmentary comment by E. O. Wilson, conveying the spirit of the actual conversation, which was halted when the allotted time had elapsed and the sense of the group was that areas had been opened up for further conversation that could not be continued at this meeting.
Edward O. Wilson is University Research Professor and Honorary Curator in Entomology, Museum of Comparative Zoology, The Agassiz Museum, Harvard University, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138-2902. Stephen J. Pope is Associate Professor of Social Ethics and Chairperson of the Theology Department at Boston College, Carney Hall 417, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. Philip Hefner is Professor of Systematic Theology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615-5199.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00356

Engaging Paul Tillich’s Thinking on Religion and Science

Science and Religion: Original Unity and the Courage to Create by Paul Henry Carr

Paul Tillich noted the emergence of science by “demythologization” from its original unity with religion in antiquity. Demythologization can lead to conflict with accepted paradigms and therefore requires the “courage to create,” as exemplified by Galileo. Tillich’s “God above God” as the ground of creativity and courage can, in this new millennium, enable religion to be reconciled with science. Religion is a source of the “courage to create,” which is essential for progress in scientific knowledge. Religion and science working together as complementary dimensions of the human spirit can lead us into a wider world and greater wisdom. Reconciliation and reunion characterize the New Being and Creation.
courage to be • courage to create • Galileo • science and religion • Paul Tillich
Paul Henry Carr is Adjunct Professor in the Philosophy Department, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA 01854-2881. He is emeritus at the Air Force Research Laboratory.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00357

Paul Tillich’s Perspective on Ways of Relating Science and Religion by Donald E. Arther

Where do Paul Tillich’s views of the relationship between religion and science fit in Ian Barbour’s four classifications of conflict, independence, dialogue, and integration? At different levels of analysis, he fits in all of them. In concrete religions and sciences, some conflict is evident, but religion and science can be thought of as having parallel perspectives, languages, and objectives. Tillich’s method of correlation itself is a form of dialogue. His theology of nature in “Life and the Spirit” (Part 4 of his Systematic Theology) fits the integration type. His strong “Two Types of Philosophy of Religion” (in Theology of Culture) is a latent natural theology. His system of the sciences is a form of synthesis, a type of integration.
conflict • correlation • dialogue • independence • integration • system of the sciences • theology of nature • ultimate concern
Donald E. Arther is a part-time instructor in theology at Eden Theological Seminary, 475 E. Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves, MO 63119.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00358

The Relevance of Tillich for the Theology and Science Dialogue by Robert John Russell

This paper explores the relevance of the theology of Paul Tillich for the contemporary dialogue with the natural sciences. The focus is on his Systematic Theology, volume I. First I discuss the general relevance of Tillich’s methodology (namely, the method of correlation) for that dialogue, stressing that a genuine dialogue requires cognitive input from both sides and that both sides find “value added” according to their own criteria (or what I call the method of “mutual creative interaction”). Then I move specifically to a Tillichian theological analysis of twentieth-century theoretical science and its empirical discoveries, including Big Bang, inflationary, and quantum cosmologies, quantum physics, thermodynamics, chaos and complexity, and molecular and evolutionary biology, suggesting how they relate to such Tillichian themes as finitude and the categories of being and knowing (time, space, causality, and substance) and to Tillich’s understanding of such symbols as God, freedom and destiny, creation, and estrangement. In doing so, my intention is to provide a point of departure for further extended analyses of Tillich’s theology in relation to contemporary natural science.
Big Bang cosmology • categories of being and knowing • chaos and complexity • creation • estrangement • freedom and destiny • God • inflationary and quantum cosmologies • method of correlation • method of creative mutual interaction • molecular and evolutionary biology • natural science • quantum physics • spacetime • systematic theology • thermodynamics
Robert John Russell is Professor of Theology and Science in Residence at the Graduate Theological Union, and Founder and Director of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA 94709; e-mail: rrussell @ ctns.org.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00359

Belief-Ful Realism and Scientific Realism by Ronald B. MacLennan

Despite tensions between Tillich’s category of belief-ful realism and a view of science that embraces metaphysical and epistemological realism, a constructive relationship can be developed between the two. Both are based on common understandings about reality. Belief-ful or theonomous realism thus affirms scientific realism. On the other hand, scientific realism is open to the ecstatic, self-transcending elements of belief-ful realism. Finally, Tillich’s formulation of the relationship between culture and religion can be reformulated specifically to include scientific and technological culture.
belief-ful realism • realism • theonomy • Paul Tillich
Ronald B. MacLennan is Associate Professor of Religion at Bethany College, 421 North First Street, Lindsborg, KS 67456.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00360

Ambiguity in Our Technical Society by J. Mark Thomas

The spiritual situation at the turn of the millennium can be interpreted through Paul Tillich’s appropriation of modernity, by analysis of the determinative structures and decisive trends of our age. The methods and organization of industry determine modern society. Spiritually, this situation results in the proliferation of means without ends, the objectification of natural structures, and the reduction of persons to things. Extrapolating from Tillich’s analysis, the spiritual situation at the turn of the millennium can be understood as a quasi-religious struggle between the movements of liberal individualism and multiculturalism, both of which lose the sense of ambiguity. The communitarian movement and related interpretations remain the minority voice offering a mediating position.
ambiguities • competition • individualism • industry • liberalism • moral • spiritual situation • technical society • Paul Tillich
J. Mark Thomas is an instructor of Sociology and department head of the Social Sciences Department at Madison Area Technical College, 211 North Carroll Street, Madison, WI 53703.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00361

Paul Tillich’s Realistic Stance toward the Vital Trends of Nature by Eduardo R. Cruz

Many scientists have argued forcefully for the pointlessness of nature, something that challenges any doctrine of Creation. However, apparent design and comprehensibility are also to be found in nature; it is ambivalent. This trait is nowhere more evident than in the natural inclinations that lead to concupiscence and the “seven deadly sins” in human beings. These inclinations are dealt with as pertaining to the “pre-fallen” condition of nature and human beings. As a framework to make sense of the goodness of creation in this context, Paul Tillich’s notion of the “vital trends of nature” is called to the fore. Being at the intersection of a philosophy of religion and a philosophy of nature, this notion hints at the goodness of Creation in fragment and anticipation.
ambivalence • creation • design • evil • goodness • life • nature • pointlessness • seven deadly sins • Paul Tillich
Eduardo R. Cruz is Professor of Religious Studies, Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo. His address is R. Monte Alegre, 984, Sao Paulo, 05014, Brazil; e-mail: erodcruz @ pucsp.br. Research for this paper was partially funded by Fundacao de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Sao Paulo.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00362

Re-Conceiving God and Humanity in Light of Today’s Evolutionary-Ecological Consciousness by Gordon D. Kaufman

The anthropocentric orientation of traditional understandings of Christian faith and life, further accentuated by the existentialist terms in which theology was articulated in mid-century by Tillich and others, produced theologies no longer appropriate in today’s world of evolutionary and ecological thinking about human existence and its embeddedness in the web of life on planet Earth. This problem can be addressed with the help of several new concepts that enable us to understand both humanity-in-the-world and God in ways in keeping with these present conceptions, thus providing a more intelligible and illuminating way of understanding Christian faith and life today.
anthropocentrism • biohistorical • creativity • ecological crisis • evolution • faith • God • historicity • serendipitous creativity • theology • trajectories
Gordon D. Kaufman is Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Professor of Divinity, Emeritus, at Harvard University Divinity School. His mailing address is 6 Longfellow Road, Cambridge, MA 02138; e-mail: gordon_kaufman @ harvard.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00363

Eschatology: Eternal Now or Cosmic Future? by Ted Peters

Paul Tillich’s eternal now is the ground from which all things emerge and perish in each and every moment. A Tillichean eschatology involves the gathering of all things finite into the eternity of the present moment, into God. Salvation is present moment. But is the “eternal now” enough? This essay offers biblical and theological critiques of Tillich’s present eschatology and posits an eschatology that combines Tillich’s “eternal now” with Wolfhart Pannenberg’s “end-oriented eschatology.” The result is an eschatology that recognizes the eternal now in which all things (including all time) belong to God yet with an eye toward the God-given possibilities of the next moment, the future. The end of being is not cessation; rather, it is the fulfillment of time, the consummation of all things.
consciousness • eschatology • eternity • ontology • Wolfhart Pannenberg • soteriology • Paul Tillich • time
Ted Peters is Professor of Systematic Theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He is program director for the Templeton Funded Science and Religion Course Program at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, 2380 Ellsworth Street, Berkeley, CA 94704.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00364


Unholy Alliances: Religion, Science, and Environment by Dee Carter

Christianity’s relationship with the environment is considered. From the seventeenth century, Christianity contributed to the legitimization of scientific developments that had injurious consequences for the environment. These developments were secularizing; hence the ecological crisis participates in the broader problems of secularization. Under secular hegemony, the normative model of the person as atomistic individual is integral to the problem itself as well as bereft of the spiritual resources to challenge abusive attitudes that profane God’s creation. This paper proposes that responses to the ecological situation should be sought in a richer understanding of the human being: an anthropology that is not only part of the Christian legacy but also offered by contemporary sociobiology.
Francis Bacon • Charles Darwin • René Descartes • Enlightenment • environment • human being • Immanuel Kant • religion-science relation • scientific revolution
Dee Carter is a part-time Lecturer in Theology and Ethics in the School of Theology and Religious Studies, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham, GL50 4AZ, United Kingdom; e-mail: dcarter @ chelt.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00365

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