Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
36 (4), December 2001

Table of Contents


December 2001 Editorial by Philip Hefner

Change and continuity are prominent themes in both scientific and theological discussions. They have figured just as prominently in the 36-year-long career of this journal. As Zygon has been both observer and voice on the interface between religion and science, it has reflected change and continuity in the conversation, and it has also articulated them. It is one thing, however, to assert the cliché of change and continuity and something else again to identify them and grasp the significance of their interactions. In this issue (our 144th!), the continuity exists in the very fact that the authors are concerned to advance the conversation. In this sense, they wish to build on the past and direct the future trends on the religion-and-science interface. The tone, however, is for innovation. Every one of our eighteen authors issues a call for new ideas, new methods, and new themes.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2001.00385.x

Think Pieces

Mindful Virtue, Mindful Reverence by Ursula Goodenough and Paul Woodruff

How does one talk about moral thought and moral action as a religious naturalist? We explore this question by considering two human capacities: the capacity for mindfulness, and the capacity for virtue. We suggest that mindfulness is deeply enhanced by an understanding of the scientific worldview and that the four cardinal virtues—courage, fairmindedness, humaneness, and reverence—are rendered coherent by mindful reflection. We focus on the concept of mindful reverence and propose that the mindful reverence elicited by the evolutionary narrative is at the heart of religious naturalism. Religious education, we suggest, entails the cultivation of mindful virtue, in ourselves and in our children.
mindfulness • morality • religious naturalism • reverence • virtue ethics
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. Paul Woodruff is the Mary Helen Thompson Professor of the Humanities and Director of the Plan II Honors Program in Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. His mailing address is Department of Philosophy, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712; e-mail: pbw @ mail.utexas.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00386

Theology: Reduction or Autonomy? by Gregory R. Peterson

Issues of the nature and task of theology remain important to the science-theology dialogue. This paper lays out a framework for understanding the nature of theology in relation to the other sciences. In particular, I argue that the primary question remains one of autonomy and reduction. If theology is a genuine academic discipline, then it should be an autonomous field with its own subject matter and norms. Wolfhart Pannenberg argues that theology is the science of God, but I suggest that theology be more broadly understood as the science of meaning. If we recognize this, the modes of interaction between theology and the other sciences becomes clearer.
reductionism • science-theology conflict • science-theology typologies • scientific theology • theological method
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: 10.1111/0591-2385.00387


The Evolution of Animal Play, Emotions, and Social Morality: On Science, Theology, Spirituality, Personhood, and Love by Marc Bekoff

My essay first takes me into the arena in which science, spirituality, and theology meet. I comment on the enterprise of science and how scientists could well benefit from reciprocal interactions with theologians and religious leaders. Next, I discuss the evolution of social morality and the ways in which various aspects of social play behavior relate to the notion of “behaving fairly.” The contributions of spiritual and religious perspectives are important in our coming to a fuller understanding of the evolution of morality. I go on to discuss animal emotions, the concept of personhood, and how our special relationships with other animals, especially the companions with whom we share our homes, help us to define our place in nature, our humanness. It is when we take the life of another being in the ritual of compassionately euthanizing them (“putting them to sleep”) that who we are in the grand scheme of things comes to the fore. I end with a discussion of the importance of ethological studies, behavioral research in which a serious attempt is made to understand animals in their own worlds, inquiries in which it is asked, “What is it like to be another species?” Species other than nonhuman primates need to be studied. I plead for developing compassionate, heartfelt, and holistic science that allows for interdisciplinary talk about respect, grace, spirituality, religion, love, Earth, and God.
animal emotions • animal play • biocentric anthropomorphism • critical anthropomorphism • personhood • social morality • spirituality
Marc Bekoff is Professor of Biology at the University of Colorado, Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0334; e-mail: marc.bekoff @ colorado.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00388

Evolution, Genes, and Behavior by Ian Tattersall

The pseudoscience of evolutionary psychology purports to explain human behaviors by reference to an ancestral environment (essentially, a hunting-gathering way of life) in which we evolved. Contemporary human behaviors are allegedly governed directly by genes that reflect adaptation to this environment by natural selection. However, the evolutionary process is much more complex than this reductionist approach implies, and adaptation cannot involve the fine-tuning of structures or behaviors within individuals or species: natural selection can only affect entire organisms, not their components. Similarly, genetic processes are too complex to admit this simplistic view. Instead, our flexible, complex human behaviors probably represent an emergent acquisition.
evolution • evolutionary process • evolutionary psychology • human behavior • human consciousness • selfish genes • sociobiology
Ian Tattersall is a paleoanthropologist and a Curator in the Division of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024; e-mail: iant @ amnh.org.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00389

Cognitive Neuroscience, Temporal Ordering, and the Human Spirit by John A. Teske

Understanding purpose and intent requires attention to our experience of time. Cognitive neuroscientific research into the functional and neural substrates of higher cognitive functions have direct bearing on the experience of temporal ordering. Consciousness, located within the short span of working memory, is made cognitively possible and evolutionarily valuable by biological constraints in time. These constraints, including our longevity, make thought about more extended events both possible and useful. Such cognitive processes, rooted in the neurophysiology of cortical function, are a sine qua non for the construction of meaning, relationship, morality, and purposes that may extend beyond our mortality. Research in the cognitive neurosciences is overviewed, and implications are discussed for questions of mortality, design and intention, the reconstruction of meaning, and the experience of eternity.
consciousness • design • frontal cortex • meaning • memory • mortality • purpose • somatic marking • spirituality • temporality
John A. Teske is Professor of Psychology, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022; e-mail: teskeja @ etown.edu. Support for this paper was provided by a Faculty Summer Stipend from Elizabethtown College.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00390

Theism, Dualism, and the Scientific Image of Humanity by Maurice K. D. Schouten

Recently, some philosophers of religion have suggested that a reduction of the classical image of humanity may jeopardize classical theism. To obstruct reductionism, some theologians have argued for dualism on the basis of the argument of consciousness. In this essay, I argue that even consciousness must be considered a brain-based phenomenon. This does not commit one to reductionism, however. Nonreductive physicalism appears to offer a promising alternative to either dualism or reductionism, without necessarily compromising more traditional views of humanity. I do suggest that a modification of the classical image of God may be inevitable.
consciousness • dualism • naturalism • physicalism • reductionism • theism
Maurice K. D. Schouten is a researcher in the Department of Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands; e-mail: MKD.Schouten @ psy.vu.nl.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00391

Imagination and Reality: On the Relations between Myth, Consciousness, and the Quantum Sea by Charles D. Laughlin and C. Jason Throop

There often appears to be a striking correspondence between mythic stories and aspects of reality. We will examine the processes of creative imagination within a neurobiological frame and suggest a theory that may explain the functions of myth in relation to the hidden aspects of reality. Myth is peppered with archetypal entities and interactions that operate to reveal hidden processes in reality that are relative to the human condition. The imagery in myths in a sense “sustains the true.” That is, mythopoetic imagery keeps the interpretive process in experience closer to the actual nature of reality than the rational faculties operating alone are able to do. Indeed, whereas rationalizing can easily lead us awry, genuine myth rarely does. Explanations of events offered by cultures around the world are frequently couched in terms of mythic themes and events. An important function of myth is to provide a “field of tropes” that informs the lived experience of people. This paper focuses especially on those aspects of myth that represent facets of the quantum universe and give us clues as to the relationship between consciousness, symbolism, and reality.
archetypes • brain • cognitive development • cultural neurophenomenology • eidetic cosmology • mediate • myth • neurobiology • neurognosis • potentiate • reality • symbolism • trueing • truth
Charles D. Laughlin is a professor of anthropology and religion in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6. C. Jason Throop is a doctoral candidate in the program for psychocultural studies and medical anthropology in the Department of Anthropology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00392

Designer Theology: A Feminist Perspective by Mary E. Hunt

This is a critical look at the question of design from a feminist theological perspective. The author analyzes James Moore’s 1995 Zygon article, “Cosmology and Theology: The Reemergence of Patriarchy.” Then she looks at the relationship between science and religion from a feminist perspective, focusing on the kyriarchal nature of theology itself in light of the myriad power issues at hand. Finally, she suggests that, instead of pondering the notion of design, scientists and theologians might more fruitfully look for new ground for dialogue since feminist scholars are asking very different questions, not just answering questions differently.
animal rights • antiviolence • design • ecology • feminism • feminist theology • kyriarchy • patriarchy
Mary E. Hunt is co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), 8035 13th Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00393

Religion and Science in Taiwan: Rethinking the Connection by Frank E. Budenholzer

The author draws upon his experience in teaching courses in religion and science in Taiwan, as well as more traditional sources in the history of Chinese religions and the history of science in China, to discuss the relationship of religion and science in contemporary Taiwan. Various aspects of Chinese and Taiwanese understandings of both science and religion are discussed. It is suggested that the nexus for the science-religion dialogue does not lie in a doctrine of creation, which is noticeably absent in Buddhism and most Chinese religions, but rather in the human person who seeks personal health and wholeness, right relations with fellow human beings, and harmony with the cosmos. The author notes that many of these ideas are not unique to China and Taiwan and that in considering other cultures, our understanding of our own culture is enriched.
Chinese religions • creation • history of Chinese science • science and religion • superstition
Frank E. Budenholzer, SVD is Professor of Chemistry at Fu Jen Catholic University, Hsinchuang 242, Taiwan, Republic of China; e-mail: chem1003 @ mails.fju.edu.tw. Research for this paper was sponsored by the East-West Cultural Center of Fu Jen Catholic University.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00394

Barbour’s Fourfold Way: Problems with His Taxonomy of Science-Religion Relationships by Geoffrey Cantor and Chris Kenny

In this paper several problems are raised concerning Ian Barbour’s four ways of interrelating science and religion—Conflict, Independence, Dialogue, and Integration—as put forward in such publications as his highly influential Religion in an Age of Science (1990) and widely adopted by other writers in this field. The authors argue that this taxonomy is not very useful or analytically helpful, especially to historians seeking to understand past engagements between science and religion.
Ian Barbour • conflict • dialogue • independence • integration • science-religion relationship
Geoffrey Cantor and Chris Kenny are members of the Division of the History and Philosophy of Science, School of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, U.K.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00395

Wolfhart Pannenberg—A Dialogue

God as Spirit—and Natural Science by Wolfhart Pannenberg

The biblical sentence “God is Spirit” (John 4:24) occasioned the development of the Christian doctrine about God as Spirit. But since patristic times “spirit” was interpreted in the sense of Nus, which rather means “intellect.” The biblical concept of spirit (pneuma), however, has its root meaning in referring to “air in movement,” as in breath or storm. The similar concept of pneuma in Stoic philosophy has become the “immediate precursor” (Max Jammer) of the field concept in modern physics, so that the conclusion is suggested that God is spirit as something like a field of force rather than as intellect. This essay argues for such a conception by relating the divine eternity and immensity to the concepts of space and time, the basic requirements of any physical field. God’s eternity and immensity are interpreted in terms of undivided infinite space (and time) which is presupposed in all concepts of parts of space or time (or space-time), therefore in all mathematical and physical measurement.
eternity • field • field of force • God as spirit • immensity • modern physics • spirit
Wolfhart Pannenberg is Professor of Fundamental and Ecumenical Theology Emeritus, University of Munich, Germany. His mailing address is Schellingstrasse 3/III, VG, 80799 München, Germany.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00396

Fields and Theology: A Response to Wolfhart Pannenberg by John Polkinghorne

In responding to Pannenberg’s paper, “God as Spirit—and Natural Science,” Polkinghorne challenges the paper’s interpretation of the scientific concept of field. He insists on its physical, material nature, elaborated by quantum theory, and asserts that Pannenberg’s concept of field is immaterial or even in some sense “spiritual.” Polkinghorne also comments on how a physical theory may give rise to several differing, even contradictory, metaphysical interpretations.
field • field as metaphorical • field as physical • metaphysics • quantum theory
John Polkinghorne is a former Professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and an Anglican priest. His mailing address is 74 Hurst Park Avenue, Cambridge, CB4 2AF, England.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00397

Response to John Polkinghorne by Wolfhart Pannenberg

In this statement, the author poses a number of questions that he believes John Polkinghorne left untouched in his response to Pannenberg’s article “God as Spirit—and Natural Science.” These questions include the role of philosophy in the interaction between theology and science, the concepts of space and time as prior to measurement, the relation between top-down and bottom-up thinking, and the concept of field.
bottom-up thinking • field • holistic perspective • top-down thinking
Wolfhart Pannenberg is Professor of Fundamental and Ecumenical Theology Emeritus, University of Munich, Germany. His mailing address is Schellingstrasse 3/III, VG, 80799 München, Germany.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00398

Pannenberg’s Fundamental Challenges to Theology and Science by Philip Hefner

This paper is a response to Wolfhart Pannenberg’s “God as Spirit—and Natural Science” (2001). I argue that the distinctiveness and significance of Pannenberg’s approach to the conversation between theology and science lies in his method of relating biblical-theological concepts specifically and directly to scientific knowledge and theories. The example at issue in this paper is his correlation of the biblical-theological term spirit to the scientific term field. This approach is both distinctive and the most difficult of challenges. However, it results in a genuinely theological interpretation of the scientific knowledge of the world. In his argument, Pannenberg asserts that his use of the term field is both similar to and different from the scientific use of the term. This assertion is provocative, but it also requires further discussion.
George Ellis • field • John Haught • kenosis • Nancey Murphy • Wolfhart Pannenberg • spirit • theology
Philip Hefner is Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus 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: 10.1111/0591-2385.00399

Theology, Science, and Relationality: Interdisciplinary Reciprocity in the Work of Wolfhart Pannenberg by F. LeRon Shults

The material anthropological proposals of Wolfhart Pannenberg are best interpreted in light of the methodological reciprocity that lies across and holds together his treatments of theology and science. In the context of a response to a recent book on Pannenberg by Jacqui Stewart, this article outlines a new interpretation of his theological engagement with the human sciences. I provide a model of the relationality that links these disciplines in Pannenberg’s work and commend its general contours as a resource for the ongoing reconstruction of the interdisciplinary dialogue vis-à-vis the concerns of late modernity.
image of God • methodology • Wolfhart Pannenberg • relationality • theological anthropology
F. LeRon Shults is Associate Professor of Theology at Bethel Theological Seminary, 3949 Bethel Drive, St. Paul, MN 55112; e-mail: L-Shults @ bethel.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.00400

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