Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
38 (3), September 2003

Table of Contents


September 2003 Editorial by Philip Hefner

Religious thinking (and much thinking that emerges in what we call the humanities) insists that empirical studies cannot exhaustively account for all that is real. William James spoke of the factor of “over-belief” that religion entails, while Paul Ricoeur refers to the same phenomenon with the phrase “surplus of meaning.” This over-belief poses a fundamental issue in the interaction between religion and science. On the one side, how should religious thought articulate this surplus of thought and meaning—are there not criteria that assess more and less adequate ways of expressing it? On the other side, how are the sciences to react to even the most careful statements of over-belief? If the scientist’s responsibility demands critical skepticism toward such statements, must these also lead to outright dismissal of over-belief as wishful thinking or even self-delusion?
DOI: 10.1111/0591-2385.661997515


Is there More? A Dialogue Between Sight and Insight by Alan Nordstrom

Alan Nordstrom is Professor of English at Rollins College, Box 2672, Winter Park, FL 32789; e-mail: anordstrom @ rollins.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00516

Dialogue on Theological Models

Constructing and Testing Theological Models by David E. Klemm and William H. Klink

In order for theology to have a cognitive dimension, it is necessary to have procedures for testing and critically evaluating theological models. We make use of certain features of scientific models to show how science has been able to move beyond the poles of foundationalism, represented by logical positivism, and antifoundationalism or relativism, represented by the sociologists of knowledge. These ideas are generalized to show that constructing and testing theological models similarly offers a means by which theology can move beyond confessionalism and postmodernism. Our starting point is Paul Tillich’s concept of God as the ground of being and the different levels of consciousness and thinking that accompany his understanding of theology. The ontological argument of Anselm is shown to play a key role, not as a proof for the existence of God but as a means for testing theological models. An example of a theological model, drawn from the domain of philosophy of science, is presented to show how theological models are constructed and tested.
depth • model • nesting of paradigms • structure • theological model
David E. Klemm is Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, 314 Gilmore Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242; e-mail: david-klemm @ uiowa.edu. William H. Klink is Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa, 203 Van Allen Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242; e-mail: william-klink @ uiowa.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00517

Problems and Possibilities of Theological Models: Responding to David Klemm and William Klink by Langdon Gilkey

This essay is a response to the proposals of David Klemm and William Klink concerning the construction and testing of theological models. A number of issues are raised for critical attention. (1) The exclusive attention to Christian theology, with no discussion of other religions, poses some significant problems, not the least of which is that cognitive claims of religious thinking are not universal but rather are defined by the particularities of the religious context in which they are made. (2) Although the authors wish to transcend confessionalism, their focus on Christianity and on the concept of God as a basic assumption can be construed as a kind of confessionalism. (3) The argument that theological and scientific models stand in analogy to each other requires more critical examination, particularly with respect to the issues of explanation, prediction, falsification, nesting, and openness. (4) While the argument is persuasive when referred to certain theologians, such as Paul Tillich, it requires some adjustment if it is to apply to other theological systems, such as Process theology.
confessional theology • depth • God • models • naturalistic theology • Process theology • Paul Tillich
Langdon Gilkey is Professor Emeritus of Theology, the Divinity School, University of Chicago, and Visiting Professor, University of Virginia. His address is 123 Cameron Lane, Charlottesville, VA 22903.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00518

Models Clarified: Responding to Langdon Gilkey by David E. Klemm and William H. Klink

We respond to concerns raised by Langdon Gilkey. The discussion addresses the nature of theological thinking today, the question of truth within the situation of pluralism, the identity and difference between theological models and scientific models, and the proposed methods for testing theological models.
pluralism • revelation • scientific models • symbol of God • theological models • theology
David E. Klemm is Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, 314 Gilmore Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242; e-mail: david-klemm @ uiowa.edu. William H. Klink is Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa, 203 Van Allen Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242; e-mail: william-klink @ uiowa.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00519


Challenging Design: How Best to Account for the World as It Really Is by Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair

Evolutionary psychology and intelligent-design theory both need to be able to account for the empirical world, or the world as it is. This essay is an attempt to clarify the challenges these theories need to meet, if the relevant empirical findings are replicable. There is evidence of change in the biological world and of modularity of mind, and there is a growing body of work that finds evolutionary theory a convincing and fruitful account of the “design” of the mind. Three major empirical findings within evolutionary psychology are presented and discussed. The author claims that Cartesian dualism, as it is usually meant within psychology—a split between body and mind—is false, but that Descartes’ original division between body and soul has not been challenged and is not challenged by the evidence that the mind is also a biological entity. The article concludes that the convergence of theology and science is to be found in the onus to discover the truth about the world as it really is, and this calls for an ability on both parts to account for the empirical world.
cheater detection • dualism • evolutionary psychology • evolutionary theory • homicide • human nature • intelligent-design theory • mate selection • stepchildren
Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair is chief psychologist at Nordfjord Psychiatric Centre, Nordfjord Psykiatrisenter, N-6771 Nordfjordeid, Norway; e-mail: leiedoke @ online.no. He teaches at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Royal Norwegian Airforce Academy, and the College of Sogn and Fjordane.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00520

Are There Intimations of Divine Transcendence in the Physical World? by Lawrence W. Fagg

This essay, suggesting two physical phenomena that might serve as meaningful analogies to divine transcendence, is a theological complement to two earlier Zygon articles that show how the underlying ubiquity of electromagnetic phenomena in all of nature is a compelling physical analogy to divine immanence. My perception of transcendence and its relation to immanence are specified to provide a context for the discussion. A description of our being ensconced in what I term a cosmic cocoon introduces the discussion of how the finite limit of the speed of light and quantum non-locality could be considered as physical analogies of, or pointers to, God’s transcendence. The relevance of our cosmologic future to transcendence is also treated. Selected examples of transcendence found in spiritual experiences and in religious scriptures are presented that complement the physical discussion. Finally, the relevance of this study to a theology of nature as well as a natural theology is examined.
analogy • cosmologic future • eschatology • immanence • natural theology • quantum non-locality • speed of light • theology of nature • transcendence
Lawrence W. Fagg is a research professor on the active retired faculty of the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064. His mailing address is 905 Canterburg Road, Stephens City, VA 22655; e-mail: lfagg @ shentel.net.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00521

Brain Science and the Biology of Belief: A Theological Response by Ilia Delio

Exploration of brain pathways involved in religious experience has been the focus of research by Andrew Newberg and colleagues. Although the import of this work sheds new light on the human capacity to experience divine reality, the theological implications drawn from this research are vague and lack an appropriate methodology to provide critical distinctions. This paper offers a theological response to Newberg’s work by highlighting several aspects of this research including the relationship between theological judgments and empirical observations, the uniqueness of human transcendence, and the appropriateness of measuring mystical experience.
Absolute Unitary Being • consciousness • God • mysticism • reality • transcendence
Ilia Delio, O.S.F., is Associate Professor in the Department of Ecclesiastical History at the Washington Theological Union, 6896 Laurel Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20012.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00522

Theological Implications of Possible Extraterrestrial Life by Sjoerd L. Bonting

Bible and tradition remain silent on intelligent extraterrestrial life, and few modern theologians have expressed themselves on this topic. Scientific insight suggests the possibility, even likelihood, of the development of life on extrasolar earthlike planets. It is argued that such life forms would resemble earthly life (biochemistry, genetic system, neuronal processes) and also develop a religious and moral life. As creatures with free will they would be prone to sin and in need of salvation. It is argued that this would not require multiple incarnations, since Jesus is the cosmic Christ.
chaos theology • cosmic Christ • extraterrestrial beings • incarnation • multiple incarnations
Sjoerd L. Bonting is Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, Catholic University of Nijmegen, and an Anglican priest-theologian in the Diocese in Europe. His address is Specreyse 12, 7471 TH Goor, the Netherlands; e-mail: s.l.bonting @ wxs.nl.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00523

The Conflict between Religion and Science in Light of the Patterns of Religious Belief among Scientists by C. Mackenzie Brown

Recent summaries of psychologist James H. Leuba’s pioneering studies on the religious beliefs of American scientists have misrepresented his findings and ignored important aspects of his analyses, including predictions regarding the future of religion. Much of the recent interest in Leuba was sparked by Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham’s commentary in Nature (3 April 1997), “Scientists Are Still Keeping the Faith.” Larson and Witham compared the results of their 1996 survey of one thousand randomly selected American scientists regarding their religious beliefs with a similar survey published eighty years earlier by Leuba. Leuba’s original studies are themselves problematical. Nonetheless, his notion that different fields of science have different impacts on the religion-science relationship remains valid. Especially significant is his appreciation of religion as a dynamic, compelling force in human life: any waning of traditional beliefs does not mean a decrease in religious commitment but calls for a new spirituality in harmony with modern scientific teachings. Leuba’s studies, placed in proper context, offer a broad historical perspective from which to interpret data about religious beliefs of scientists and the impact of science and scientists on public beliefs, and opportunity to develop new insight into the religion-science relationship.
belief in God • deterministic law • disbelief • future of religion • James H. Leuba • reformation of religion • religion in America • religious beliefs of scientists • supernaturalism
C. Mackenzie Brown is Professor and Chair of Religion at Trinity University, One Trinity Place, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200; e-mail: mbrown @ trinity.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00524

Teaching Genesis: A Present-Day Approach Inspired by the Prophet Nathan by K. Helmut Reich

The prophets Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-15) and John the Baptist (Mark 6:16-28) had comparable tasks before them: to convince their respective kings about the wrongs of taking somebody else’s wife and marrying her. Nathan succeeded, while John failed and furthermore lost his life. What made the difference? One possible explanation is that Nathan proceeded in two steps: (1) Tell an interesting, nonthreatening story that nevertheless makes the point at issue; (2) transfer that message to the case at hand. In contrast, John used a direct approach, which raised apprehension, even fear (on the part of Herodias, the woman involved), and led to failure. That lesson has wider applications, as illustrated here for teaching the biblical Genesis narration. The other ingredient in this teaching is relational and contextual reasoning (RCR), the use of which is also indicated for other issues besides teaching Genesis.
cognitive development as aim of education • differentiating • integrating • logic • Nathan’s detour as shortcut • overcoming cognitive conflict • relational and contextual reasoning (RCR)
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: 10.1111/1467-9744.00525

Symposium on Organ Transplants: Religion, Science, and Global Ethics

Introduction: Organ Transplantation—A Challenge for Global Ethics by Barbara A. Strassberg

A social scientific interpretation of the development of global ethics is offered. Both spontaneous and intended mechanisms of the construction of such an ethics within the broader processes of globalization are analyzed, and possible theoretical foundations are suggested. The scientific and technological achievements that gave rise to the medical procedure of organ transplantation generated new questions and challenges that theologians, scholars of religion, natural scientists, and social scientists are now trying to resolve.
accountability • essentialism • globalization • hybridization • multi-ethicality • pluralism • social movement
Barbara A. Strassberg is Professor of Sociology at Aurora University, 327 S. Gladstone, Aurora, IL 60506; e-mail: bstrass @ aurora.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00526

Where It Hurts: Indian Material for an Ethics of Organ Transplantation by Lawrence Cohen

This article focuses on ethical issues surrounding the selling and buying of human organs. The author argues that most people who sell their organs (mainly kidneys) in India do so in order to pay already existing debts. The transaction is only temporarily an exchange of “life for life,” and most “donors” are back in debt soon after the operation. The author discusses the flexible ethics that reduce reality to dyadic transactions and the purgatorial ethics that collapse real and imaginary exploitation in the service of complex interests. He also offers a sophisticated discussion of the ethics of publicity and public ethics. He emphasizes the lack of factual information, intentional manipulation of information, and the dissemination of kidney panics and kidney scandals, especially by the new developing bioauthorities and bioethical brokers.
debt • India • kidneys • medical ethics • scars • transaction
Lawrence Cohen is a medical doctor and Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology and Medical Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, Medical Anthropology, 319 Kroeber Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720; e-mail: cohen @ uclink.berkeley.edu. He is cofounder of the Organs Watch.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00527

Why We Should Not Pay for Human Organs by Francis L. Delmonico and Nancy Scheper-Hughes

The right to buy and sell human organs is challenged by the authors within the framework of a broad Christian perspective. Opposition to organ sales is argued in the light of the developing underclass of poor organ donors throughout the world who sell their organs to the rich. Very often neither the donors nor the recipients are fully informed about the medical risks involved in the procedure of organ transplantation.
Christian perspective • demand • free market • gift • kidney donation • self-sacrifice • supply
Francis L. Delmonico is Director of the Renal Transplantation Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, the medical director at the New England Organ Bank, and Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St., Wnt 505, Boston, MA 02114; e-mail: francis_delmonico @ neob.com. Nancy Scheper-Hughes is Director of Organs Watch and Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley; Medical Anthropology, 305 Kroeber Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720; e-mail: nsh @ sscl.berkeley.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00528

Transplantation: Biomedical and Ethical Concerns Raised by the Cloning and Stem-Cell Debate by Gayle E. Woloschak

Transplantation is becoming an increasingly more common approach to treatment of diseases of organ failure, making organ donation an important means of saving lives. Most world religions find organ donation for the purpose of transplantation to be acceptable, and some even encourage members to donate their organs as a gift of love to others. Recent developments, including artificial organs, transplants from nonhuman species, use of stem cells, and cloning, are impacting the field of transplantation. These new approaches should be discussed with bioethical considerations in mind, particularly the notion of human beings as a unity of body and spirit.
biomedical ethics • human cloning • organ transplantation • science and religion • stem-cell research • tissue transplantation • xenotransplantation
Gayle E. Woloschak is Professor of Radiology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 303 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611; e-mail: g-woloschak @ northwestern.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00529

Some Must Die by Stuart J. Youngner

The transplantation and procurement of human organs has become almost routine in American society. Yet, organ transplantation raises difficult ethical and psychosocial issues in the context of “controlled” death, including the blurring of boundaries between life and death, self and other, healing and harming, and killing and letting die. These issues are explored in the context of the actual experiences of organ donors and recipients, brain death, the introduction of non-heartbeating donor protocols, and the increasing reliance on living donors. The author draws on a thematic analysis of the way that organ transplantation is presented in the media, films, and science fiction and on his clinical experience as a psychiatrist working with transplant patients, their families, and the nurses and physicians who care for them.
cannibalism • culture • death • Sigmund Freud • myths • nurses • organs • self
Stuart J. Youngner is Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and the Susan B. Watson Professor of Biomedical Ethics, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106-4976; e-mail: sxy2 @ po.cwru.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00530

Islamic Legal and Ethical Views on Organ Transplantation and Donation by Ghulam-Haider Aasi

In Islam, one of the core beliefs is in the life of the hereafter. At the end of time and all that exists, all human beings will be resurrected (in their bodies and souls) and will face the Day of Judgment. Even their body parts or organs will stand witness against them. Furthermore, in Islamic law, every action or thing is categorized either as legitimate or prohibited. This article explores ethico-legal opinions on the issues of organ donation and transplantation in the light of these essential Islamic beliefs.
al-Akhirah (life of the hereafter); Amanah (human body as trust); human accountability; huquq-Allah (rights of God); huquq al-Ibad (rights of fellow creation); Khilafah (human being as a trustee of God on Earth); sacredness of human life; Shari’ah (Islamic law)
Ghulam-Haider Aasi is Associate Professor and Chair of Islamic Studies and History of Religions at American Islamic College, 640 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL 60613-3106, and Adjunct Professor at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; e-mail: ghaideraasi @ hotmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00531

Toward the Construction of a Post-Shoah Interfaith Dialogical Universal Ethic by Steven Leonard Jacobs

The essay is an attempt to construct a new interfaith dialogical universal ethic after the Holocaust/Shoah, after first examining several biblical passages of both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, namely Leviticus 19:13-18; Matthew 22:34-40; Matthew 5:43-48; and Luke 10:25-37. The author contends that the foundational Jewish and Christian scriptural texts can no longer be read, understood, and either interpreted or reinterpreted the way they were prior to the events of 1933-1945. Thus, following an examination of the scriptural passages in question, a new direction in the construction of such an ethic is suggested: that the only kind of holiness that merits our support is one grounded in ethical relations between all human beings, regardless of particularistic identities, and scriptural support for positions that exclude and distance rather than include and embrace must, ultimately, be rejected.
Christian • dialogue • ethics • Hebrew Bible • Holocaust • interfaith • Jewish • New Testament • Shoah
Steven Leonard Jacobs is Aaron Aronov Chair of Judaic Studies at the University of Alabama, Department of Religious Studies, 212 Manly Hall, Box 870264, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0264; e-mail: sjacobs @ bama.ua.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00532

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