Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
Entire articles may be obtained at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/zygo.2003.38.issue-2/issuetoc. Please note that Zygon subscribers must log in. Others may have to pay a small fee to acquire the entire article.
Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
38 (2), June 2003

Table of Contents


June 2003 Editorial by Philip Hefner

This is Zygon’s one hundred fiftieth issue. Just to write that sentence is exciting. We are halfway through our thirty-eighth year of continuous publication. In that time three editors have served the journal (Ralph Burhoe was the founding editor, Karl Peters, his successor), and each presided over approximately one-third of the total issues. Looking back over these years gives satisfaction, and it is good to remember and honor those whose achievements make our present work possible.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.1896.tb00393.x


Science and Religion: Getting Ready for the Future by Antje Jackelén

I explore three challenges for the current dialogue between science and religion: the challenges from hermeneutics, feminisms, and postmodernisms. Hermeneutics, defined as the practice and theory of interpretation and understanding, not only deals with questions of interpreting texts and data but also examines the role and use of language in religion and in science, but it should not stop there. Results of the post-Kuhnian discussion are used to exemplify a wider range of hermeneutical issues, such as the ideological potential of scientific concepts, the dynamics of interdisciplinarity, and the significance of the socioeconomic situatedness of science and religion. Feminist research analyzes the consequences of the interplay of masculine, feminine, and gender typologies in religion and science. Examples from the history of science as well as current scientific conceptualizations indicate that beliefs in the inferiority of woman form part of our inherited scientific, religious, and metaphysical framework. It is argued that postmodernism in its most constructive form shares the best fruits of modernity, especially of the Enlightenment, while avoiding some of its most serious mistakes. In conclusion, reflecting on the three publics engaged in the dialogue between science and religion—academe, religious communities, and societies—I offer constructive suggestions and critical observations concerning the future of this dialogue.
construction • Enlightenment • feminism • future • hermeneutics • ideology • interdisciplinarity • language • post-Kuhnian debate • postmodernism • principle of permanent critique • rationality • religion • science • socioeconomics • theology
Antje Jackelén is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology/Religion and Science 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; e-mail: ajackele @ lstc.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00496

Considering Animals—Not “Higher” Primates

Consciousness and Self in Animals: Some Reflections by Marc Bekoff

In this essay I argue that many nonhuman animal beings are conscious and have some sense of self. Rather than ask whether they are conscious, I adopt an evolutionary perspective and ask why consciousness and a sense of self evolved—what are they good for? Comparative studies of animal cognition, ethological investigations that explore what it is like to be a certain animal, are useful for answering this question. Charles Darwin argued that the differences in cognitive abilities and emotions among animals are differences in degree rather than differences in kind, and his view cautions against the unyielding claim that humans, and perhaps other great apes and cetaceans, are the only species in which a sense of self-awareness has evolved. I conclude that there are degrees of consciousness and self among animals and that it is likely that no animal has the same highly developed sense of self as that displayed by most humans. Many animals have a sense of “body-ness” or “mine-ness” but not a sense of “I-ness.” Darwin’s ideas about evolutionary continuity, together with empirical data (“science sense”) and common sense, will help us learn more about consciousness and self in animals. Answers to challenging questions about animal self-awareness have wide-ranging significance, because they are often used as the litmus test for determining and defending the sorts of treatments to which animals can be morally subjected.
animal cognition • cognitive ethology • consciousness • Charles Darwin • self-awareness • selfhood
Marc Bekoff (http://literati.net/Bekoff; www.ethologicalethics.org) is Professor of Biology in the Department of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His mailing address is 296 Canyonside Drive, Boulder, CO 80302; e-mail: marc.bekoff @ colorado.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00497

Being Conscious of Marc Bekoff: Thinking of Animal Self-Consciousness by Gregory R. Peterson

The preceding article by Marc Bekoff reveals much about our current understanding of animal self-consciousness and its implications. It also reveals how much more there is to be said and considered. This response briefly examines animal self-consciousness from scientific, moral, and theological perspectives. As Bekoff emphasizes, self-consciousness is not one thing but many. Consequently, our moral relationship to animals is not simply one based on a graded hierarchy of abilities. Furthermore, the complexity of animal self-awareness can serve as stimulus for thinking about issues of theodicy and soteriology in a broader sense.
animal rights • animal self-consciousness • Marc Bekoff • theology of nature
Gregory R. Peterson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at South Dakota State University, Box 504, Scobey 336, Brookings, SD 57007; e-mail: greg_peterson @ sdstate.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00498

Considering Spirituality

Integral Spirituality, Deep Science, and Ecological Awareness by Thomas P. Maxwell

There is a growing understanding that addressing the global crisis facing humanity will require new methods for knowing, understanding, and valuing the world. Narrow, disciplinary, and reductionist perceptions of reality are proving inadequate for addressing the complex, interconnected problems of the current age. The pervasive Cartesian worldview, which is based on the metaphor of the universe as a machine, promotes fragmentation in our thinking and our perception of the cosmos. This divisive, compartmentalized thinking fosters alienation and self-focused behavior. I aim to show in this essay that healing the fragmentation that is at the root of the current world crises requires an integrated epistemology that embraces both the rational knowledge of scientific empiricism and the inner knowledge of spiritual experience. This “deep science” transcends the illusion of separateness to discern the unity, the unbroken wholeness, that underlies the diverse forms of the universe. Our perception of connectedness, of our integral place in the web of life, emerges as an attribute of our connection with the eternal, beatific source of all existence. This awakened spiritual vision “widens our circle of understanding and compassion, to embrace all living creatures in the whole of nature” (Einstein, quoted in Goldstein [1976] 1987). Our behavior, as it emerges naturally out of our perception of the sacredness of the natural world, will naturally embody love and respect for all life forms. This vision promotes the healing of our long-standing alienation from the natural world and offers hope for renewal in the midst of widespread cultural deterioration and environmental destruction.
awakening • awareness • consciousness • contemplative spirituality • ecological • emergent • enlightenment • fragmentation • holistic • holographic • holomovement • idealist • implicate order • integration • materialism • modern physics • modern science • mystic • mystical • perennial philosophy • quantum mechanics • salvation • scientific materialism • spirituality • Sufism • synthesis • transcendental • transpersonal • transrational • unity • worldview
Thomas P. Maxwell is a physicist, eucharistic minister, and Sufi initiate, currently engaged in interdisciplinary research with Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, 590 Main St., Burlington, VT 05405; e-mail: Thomas.Maxwell @ uvm.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00499

Mathematics and Spiritual Interpretation: A Bridge to Genuine Interdisciplinarity by Ronald Glasberg

This article is a spiritual interpretation of Leonhard Euler’s famous equation linking the most important entities in mathematics: e (the base of natural logarithms), π (the ratio of the diameter to the circumference of a circle), i (√-1), 1, and 0. The equation itself (eπi +1 = 0) can be understood in terms of a traditional mathematical proof, but that does not give one a sense of what it might mean. While one might intuit, given the significance of the elements of the equation, that there is a deeper meaning, one is not in a position to get at that meaning within the discipline of mathematics itself. It is only by going outside of mathematics and adopting the perspective of theology that any kind of understanding of the equation might be gained, the significant implication here being that the whole mathematical field might be a vast treasure house of insights into the mind of God.

In this regard, the article is a response to the monograph by George Lakoff and Rafael Núñez, Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being (2000), which attempts to approach mathematics in general and the Euler equation in particular in terms of some basic principles of cognitive psychology. It is my position that while there may be an external basis for understanding mathematics, the results are somewhat disappointing and fail to reveal the full measure of meaning buried within that equation.
Leonhard Euler • hermeneutics • mathematics • spirituality • transcendental numbers
Ronald Glasberg is an associate professor in the Faculty of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4; e-mail: rglasber @ ucalgary.ca.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00500


What Poetry Brings to the Table of Science and Religion by Robert M. Schaible

Ever since Plato’s famous attack on artists and poets in Book 10 of The Republic, lovers of literature have felt pressed to defend poetry, and indeed from ancient times down to the present, literature and art have had to fight various battles against philosophy, religion, and science. After providing a brief overview of this conflict and then arguing that between poetry and science there are some noteworthy similarities-that is, that some of the basic mental structures with which the scientist studies the “text” of nature (facts, laws, theories) find their counterparts in ways an informed reader studies the poetic text, I develop what I see as the most important differences between poetry, on the one hand, and science, philosophy, and theology, on the other. These differences lie chiefly in two areas: (1) in the stance that each takes toward language itself and (2) in the stance each takes toward that ancient polarity between the one and the many. The aim of my argument is neither to privilege poetry over the other modes of knowing the world nor to grant, particularly to science in its reductive “objectivity,” a higher epistemological status than that accorded to poetry and the arts. Instead, I wish to argue that science, by pushing the boundaries of knowledge about the material world, shows the poet, as well as the theologian, some of the more important work to be done and that poetry, with its emphasis on the particular over the abstract and on the ambiguities and paradoxes of language as inherently metaphorical, serves science and religion by providing a caution against the naive acceptance of language as literal and the consequent enthrallment to the power of absolutes and totalizing abstractions.
A. R. Ammons • epistemology • facts • laws • metaphor • one/many conundrum • Plato and poets • science and literature • theories • the two cultures • William Wordsworth
Robert Schaible is Professor of Arts and Humanities at Lewiston-Auburn College of the University of Southern Maine and the current occupant of the Walter E. Russell Chair in Philosophy and Education. His mailing address is 51-55 Westminster St., Lewiston, ME 04240; e-mail: schaible @ usm.maine.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00501

Feminism, Family, and Women’s Rights: A Hermeneutic Realist Perspective by Don Browning

In this article I apply the insights of hermeneutic realism to a practical-theological ethics that addresses the international crisis of families and women’s rights. Hermeneutic realism affirms the hermeneutic philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer but enriches it with the dialectic of participation and distanciation developed by Paul Ricoeur. This approach finds a place for sciences such as evolutionary psychology within a hermeneutically informed ethic. It also points to a multidimensional model of practical reason that views it as implicitly or explicitly involving five levels—background metaphysical visions, some principle of obligation, assumptions about pervasive human tendencies and needs, assumptions about constraining social and natural environments, and assumed acceptable rules of conduct. The fruitfulness of this multidimensional view of practical reason is then demonstrated by applying it to practical-theological ethics and the analysis of four theorists of women’s rights—Martha Nussbaum, Susan Moller Okin, Lisa Cahill, and Mary Ann Glendon. Finally, I illustrate the importance and limits of the visional dimension of practical reason by discussing the concept of “Africanity” in relation to the family and AIDS crisis of Eastern Africa.
Africanity • analogical • capabilities • dialogue • distanciation • hermeneutic realism • inclusive fitness • kin altruism • practical-theological ethics
Don Browning is Alexander Campbell Professor of Religious Ethics and the Social Sciences Emeritus, Divinity School, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637; e-mail: dsbrowni @ midway.uchicago.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00502

Pluralism and Ambivalence in the Evolution of Morality by Karl E. Peters

Much good work has been done on the evolution of human morality by focusing on how “selfish genes” can give rise to altruistic human beings. A richer research program is needed, however, to take into account the ambivalence of naturally evolved biopsychological motivators and the historical pluralism of human morality in religious systems. Such a program is described here. A first step is to distinguish the ultimate cause of natural selection from proximate causes that are the results of natural selection. Next, some proximate causes are suggested as possible conditions of biological and emotional valuing as well as of customary social morality and individual rational ethical thought. Finally, different moral perspectives of Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity are briefly presented in order to illustrate how one might inquire about the selection of a variety of biopsychological and cultural proximate causes that enable the evolution of a plurality of religious moral systems.
altruism • ambivalence • attachment • biological valuing • Buddhism • Christianity • Confucianism • customary morality • dharma • emotional valuing • ethics • evolution • harmony • Hinduism • William Irons • jenli • morality • natural selection • pluralism • proximate causes • reflective morality • ultimate causes • valuing
Karl E. Peters is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, and coeditor of Zygon. His address is 30 Barn Door Hills Road, Granby, CT 06035; e-mail: kpeters909 @ aol.com.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00503

Risk and Religion: Toward a Theology of Risk Taking by Niels Henrik Gregersen

Historically the concept of risk is rooted in Renaissance lifestyles, in which autonomous agents such as sailors, warriors, and tradesmen ventured upon dangerous enterprises. Thus, the concept of risk inseparably combines objective reality (nature) and social construction (culture): Risk = Danger + Venture. Mathematical probability theory was constructed in this social climate in order to provide a quantitative risk assessment in the face of indeterminate futures. Thus we have the famous formula: Risk = Probability (of events) × the Size (of future harms). Because the concept of harm is always observer relative, however, risk assessment cannot be purely quantitative. This leads to the question, What are the general conditions under which risks can be accepted? There is, after all, a difference between incurring a risk and bearing the costs of risks selected for by other agencies. Against this background, contours of a theology of risk emerge. If God creates a self-organizing world of relatively autonomous agents, and if self-organization is favored by cooperative networks of autopoietic processes, then the theological hypothesis of a risk-taking God is at least initially plausible. Moreover, according to the Christian idea of incarnation, God is not only taking a risk but is also bearing the risks implied by the openness of creation. I thus argue for a twofold divine kenosis—in creation as well as in redemption. I discuss some objections to this view, including the serious counterargument that risk taking on behalf of others remains, even for God, a morally dubious task. What are the conditions under which the notion of a risk-taking God can be affirmed without leaving us with the picture of God as an arbitrary, cosmic tyrant? And what are the practical implications for the ways in which human agents of faith, hope, and love can learn to cope with the risks of everyday life and of political decisions?
autopoiesis • Ulrich Beck • complexity • incarnation • Niklas Luhmann • Providence • religion • risk theory • theodicy • Trinity • trust
Niels Henrik Gregersen is a research professor in theology and science at the University of Aarhus, Taasingegade 3, 8000, DK-Denmark; e-mail: nhg @ teologi.au.dk.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00504

On Brain, Soul, Self, and Freedom: An Essay in Bridging Neuroscience and Faith by Palmyre M. F. Oomen

The article begins at the intellectual fissure between many statements coming from neuroscience and the language of faith and theology. First I show that some conclusions drawn from neuroscientific research are not as firm as they seem: neuroscientific data leave room for the interpretation that mind matters. I then take a philosophical-theological look at the notions of soul, self, and freedom, also in the light of modern scientific research (self-organization, neuronal networks), and present a view in which these theologically important notions are seen in relation both to matter (brain) and to God. I show that religious insights expressed with soul and free will bear a remarkable resemblance to certain insights from neuroscience and the science of complex, self-organizing systems, including emphasis on corporeality and emphasis on organization as a form of that corporeality, and that they also show an interesting parallel—albeit described in different terms—concerning the crucial role of a valuation principle that generates attraction. With that, the commonsense idea that freedom simply is the same as indeterminism is refuted: freedom primarily means self-determination. I bring to the fore that the self is not a static thing but a “longing.” Such longing springs from something, and it is the relationship to this source that constitutes the self. The main concern is to point out the crucial role of attraction with respect to being and to life, and to draw attention not only to the astonishing parallel on this point between Thomas Aquinas and Alfred North Whitehead but also to a surprising—albeit more implicit—analogy between these philosophical-theological views and scientific theories of self-organization (such as those concerning neuronal networks). In short, being attracted toward what appears as “good” is what constitutes us as selves and what thereby signifies the primary meaning of our freedom.
Thomas Aquinas • attraction • consciousness • corporeality • fitness function • free will • neuronal network • neuroscience • self • self-determination • self-organizing system • soul • supervenience • valuation principle • Alfred North Whitehead
Palmyre M. F. Oomen is Radboud Professor in Philosophy at the Eindhoven University of Technology and Director of the Theology and Science Section of the Heyendaal Institute, University of Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9103, NL-6500 HD Nijmegen, The Netherlands; e-mail: p.oomen @ hey.kun.nl.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00505

Relativity and Religion: The Abuse of Einstein’s Theory by Peter E. Hodgson

Einstein’s special theory of relativity has had a wide influence on fields far removed from physics. It has given the impression that physics has shown that there are now no absolute truths, that all beliefs are relative to the observer, and that traditional stable landmarks have been washed away. We each have our own frame of reference that is as good as any other frame, so that there are no absolute standards by which our actions may be judged. The predictions of relativity theory, such as the elimination of simultaneity, the variation of mass with velocity, and the equivalence of mass and energy, are all highly counterintuitive and yet are precisely confirmed by detailed measurements. The clear rocklike mechanical physics of Newton seems to have dissolved into a swirling mist of unintelligible concepts, and familiar certainties seem to have disappeared.

A detailed analysis of relativity theory shows, however, a completely different picture. Properly understood, it is a logical extension of Newtonian physics that expresses the relations of space and time in a more exact and elegant way and in the process shows forth more clearly the invariant features of the world. The apparently counterintuitive features appear as natural consequences that extend and refine our classical concepts. The traditional landmarks remain, but God’s world is more subtle than we had previously imagined.
Albert Einstein • Lorentz transformation • Isaac Newton • relativity • space and time
Peter E. Hodgson is head of the Nuclear Physics Theoretical Group of the Nuclear Physics Laboratory, University of Oxford, and Emeritus Fellow of Corpus Christi College. His mailing address is 61, The Garth, Yarnton, Kidlington, Oxon, OX5 1NB, United Kingdom; e-mail: p.hodgson1 @ physics.oxford.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00506

The Emergent Order by Kevin Sharpe and Jonathan Walgate

We examine the phenomenon of emergence, referring particularly to Arthur Peacocke’s ideas on emergence, the self, and spirituality. He believes that the whole of an emergent structure influences the way its parts cohere and that emergent structures (including minds and persons) and their effects are very important. He thereby hopes to remove the reductionist challenge that seeks to understand a whole fully in terms of its parts. We argue that emergent phenomena are not influential in the above sense. The holistic completeness of these structures at their own theoretical level does not substitute for the causal independence Peacocke suggests by the idea of influence. Some computer simulations that generate emergent complexity follow simple and self-contained sets of rules. Peacocke also adheres to a hierarchical account of reality as a series of levels into which matter is organized, running from atoms through molecules to cells and eventually to whole ecosystems. But influential behavior does not respect this ordering. Further, Peacocke’s opposition to reductionism is unnecessary; any “completeness” of lower-level models does not imply the redundancy of higher-level descriptions. Emergence transforms reductionism into a constructive and positive principle.
chaos • divine-universe interaction • downward influence • emergence • hierarchies of levels • holism • Nancey Murphy • Arthur Peacocke • reductionism • scientific models • self-organizing criticality • supervenience • whole-part influence
Kevin Sharpe is Core Professor in the Graduate College, Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, and a member of Harris Manchester College, Oxford University. His address is 10 Shirelake Close, Oxford OX1 1SN, United Kingdom; e-mail: kevin.sharpe @ tui.edu. Jonathan Walgate is a graduate student in physics at Oxford University. His address is 31 Littlemore Road, Oxford, OX4 3SS, United Kingdom; e-mail: jon.walgate @ qubit.org.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00507

Relational and Contextual Reasoning: A Symposium on Helmut Reich’s Book Developing the Horizons of the Mind

Helmut Reich’s Proposal by John R. Albright

A form of logic called relational and contextual reasoning is put forward as an improvement over other, more familiar types of logic. Developmental ideas are used to show how maturity ordinarily leads people away from binary (true/false) logic to systems of reasoning that are more subtle and better suited to making decisions in the face of ambiguity.
antinomy • dualism • duality • fuzzy logic • human development • logic • paradox • quantum logic
John R. Albright is Professor of Physics at Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, IN 46323-2094.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00508

Varieties of Reasoning: Assessing Adequacy by John A. Teske

Helmut Reich’s theory of relational and contextual reasoning is a courageous initiative for the resolution of cognitive conflicts between apparently incompatible or incommensurable views. Built upon Piagetian logico-mathematical reasoning, cognitive complexity theory, and dialectical and analogical reasoning, it includes the development of a both/and logic inclusive of binary either/or logic. Reich provides philosophic, theoretical, and even initial empirical support for the development of this form of reasoning along with a heuristic for its application. A valuable step beyond the limits of binary, static, and formal reasoning, it takes relationship, context, and perspectival variations seriously in an explicitly reflective and iterative system. We can and do address conflicts not resolvable by conventional appeals to logic or evidence, including those at epistemic boundaries or produced by belief-commitment differences. Although this form of reasoning has real promise, including stepping beyond complementarity in the religion-science dialogue, it seems better directed to causally explanatory theories than to other forms of rendering meaning. Finally, its coextension requirement may render it problematic where functionally coherent explananda cannot be identified or are themselves produced or constituted by a belief system.
complementarity • epistemology • explanandum • explanation • logic • meaning • rationality
John A. Teske is Professor of Psychology, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022; e-mail: teskeja @ etown.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00509

Relational and Contextual Reasoning: Philosophical and Logical Aspects by Varadaraja V. Raman

This essay is a commentary on Helmut Reich’s recently published book on relational and contextual reasoning (RCR). Reich’s ideas are relevant in contexts of conflict, and they enable us to consider the notion of objectivity differently. He makes us see the constraints in individual perspectives. His book also can enable people to formulate problems of human concern in a wider and richer framework, which may lead to solutions not obtainable on the basis of binary logic.
contextual • objective • realism • reasoning • relational • RCR
Varadaraja V. Raman is Emeritus Professor of Physics and Humanities at the Rochester Institute of Technology. His mailing address is 20 Sutton Point, Pittsford, NY 14534; e-mail: vvrsps @ rit.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00510

Developing the Horizons of the Mind: Reich’s Response to the Commentators by K. Helmut Reich

Some aspects of my writing the monograph Developing the Horizons of the Mind (2002) are highlighted, the central characteristics of relational and contextual reasoning (RCR) are explained, and the contributions to this symposium by John Albright, Varadaraja V. Raman, and John Teske are discussed.
John Albright • forms of thought • logic • Varadaraja V. Raman • relational and contextual reasoning (RCR) • science and religion • John Teske
K. Helmut Reich (http://www.unifr.ch/pedg/staff/reich/reich.htm) is Professor at the School of Consciousness Studies and Sacred Traditions at the Stratford University International, headquartered at Evanston, Wyoming, and Richmond, British Columbia, and a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Education, University of Fribourg, Switzerland. For twenty-eight years he was a physicist at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. His mailing address is Departement Erziehungswissenschaften, Rue de Faucigny 2, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland; e-mail: Helmut.Reich @ unifr.ch.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00511


Biotheology: A New Synthesis of Science and Religion by Michael Cavanaugh, reviewed by Barry Boggs

Barry Boggs, Applied Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, PC, 6679 Kirby Trace Cove, Memphis, TN 38119
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00512

Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts