Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
40 (1), March 2005

Table of Contents


Forty Years: Hope in the Midst of Contradiction by Philip Hefner

Thirty-nine years ago, persons of insight and courage sent the first issue of this journal on its way into the world. They were sensitive to the challenges of the social and cultural situation in which they lived, and they formulated a vision within that situation that pointed the journal toward the future. Even though so much has changed in the forty years since they launched their project that we might say today we live in a different world, the fundamental challenges and the mission remain—urgently demanding our attention.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00637.x

Fortieth Anniversary Symposium: Science, Religion, and Secularity in a Technological Society

Athens, Jerusalem, and the Arrival of Techno-secularism by John C. Caiazza

Western civilization historically has tried to balance secular knowledge with revealed religion. Science is the modern world’s version of secular knowledge and resists the kind of integration achieved by Augustine and Aquinas. Managing the conflict between religion and evolution by containing them in separate “frames,” as Stephen J. Gould suggested, does not resolve the issue. Science may have displaced religion from the public square, but the traditional science-religion conflict has become threadbare in intellectual terms. Scientific theories have become increasingly abstract, and science has been attacked from the left as a source of objective knowledge. However, technology, not science, has displaced religious belief, a phenomenon I call techno-secularism. Robert Coles’s suggestion that secularism is a form of doubt inevitably attached to religious belief, and William James’s reduction of religious experiences to psychological states, evaluating them according to their “cash value,” are unhelpful. Technology enables us to remake our environment according to our wishes and has become a kind of magic that replaces not just revealed religion but also theoretical science. Techno-secularism has an ethical vision that focuses on healthful living, self-fulfillment, and avoiding the struggles of human life and the inevitability of death.
evolution and religion • Stephen J. Gould • psychology and religion • religion • science • science and religion • secularism • technology • techno-secularism
John C. Caiazza is adjunct professor of philosophy at Rivier College, Nashua, NH 03060; e-mail: jcaiazza @ Rivier.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00638.x

The Religion-Science Discussion at Forty Years: “Reports of My Death Are Premature” by Philip Clayton

The startling success of the religion-science discussion in recent years calls for reflection. Have old walls been broken down, old antagonisms overcome? Have science and religion finally been reconciled? Or is all the activity just so much sound and fury, signifying nothing? Postmodern equations of scientific and religious beliefs disregard a number of enduring differences that help make sense of the continuing tensions. Yet the skepticism of authors such as John Caiazza is also ungrounded. I describe five major types of approaches that are being employed in the recent literature. These methods have led to a deeper understanding of the commonalities between science and religion and have produced new productive partnerships between them.
John Caiazza • ethics and values • phenomenology of science and religion • postmodernism • religion-science debate • research programs • science and metaphysics • sociology of science • spirituality • theory of knowledge
Philip Clayton is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Claremont Graduate University and Ingraham Professor at the Claremont School of Theology, 1325 N. College Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00639.x

Rethinking the Past and Anticipating the Future of Religion and Science by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson

John Caiazza presents the current technoculture as the latest development in the ongoing conflict of science and religion that began with Tertullian in the third century. I argue that his presentation is historically inaccurate, because for most of Western history science and religion interacted with and cross-fertilized each other. Contrary to Caiazza’s misleading presentation, Western thought did not follow the dichotomous model polemically posed by Tertullian. I take issue with Caiazza’s portrayal of postmodernism and his claim that technology is the foundation of an inherently secularist culture. I conclude by highlighting certain ethical challenges engendered by the prevalence of new technologies and present the dialogue of science and religion as uniquely qualified to address these challenges.
Thomas Aquinas • church fathers • double-truth theory • feminism • paideia • pictorialism • postmodernism • Leo Strauss • Tertullian • University of Paris
Hava Tirosh-Samuelson is a professor of history at Arizona State University, P.O. Box 874302, Tempe, AZ 85287-4302; e-mail: hava.samuelson @ asu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00640.x

The Continuing Interaction of Science and Religion by John Polkinghorne

Stephen J. Gould’s notion of non-overlapping magisterial (NOMA) is neither experientially supported nor rationally justifiable. Influence flows between science and religion, as when evolutionary thinking encouraged theology to adopt a kenotic view of the Creator’s act of allowing creatures to be and to make themselves. Alleged simplistic dichotomies between science and religion, such as motivated belief contrasted with fideistic assertion, are seen to be false. Promising topics in the currently vigorous dialogue between science and religion include relational ontology, eschatological credibility, and ethical issues relating to advances in human genetics.
John Caiazza • embryo research • eschatology • kenosis • NOMA • relational ontology • trinitarian theology
John Polkinghorne is the retired President of Queens’ College, Cambridge, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and an Anglican priest. His mailing address is Queens’ College, Cambridge, CB3 9ET, U.K.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00641.x

The Debate between Science and Religion: Exploring Roads Less Traveled by Harold Morowitz

The confrontation between Hellenism and Judaism goes back to the invasion of the Middle East by the armies of Alexander the Great. The differing ideologies, first rationalized by Philo of Alexandria, have emerged repeatedly for the past 2,000 years. The inability to resolve the differences can be traced to the differing epistemologies of religious fundamentalists and scientists with views that can be traced to Karl Popper, Immanuel Kant, and, ultimately, Aristotle.
Alexander • constructs • ding an sich (thing in itself) • epistemology • evolution • Immanuel Kant • Philo • transcendence
Harold Morowitz is professor and former director of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, MS 2A1, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 22030, and co-chairman of the Science Advisory Board at the Santa Fe Institute.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00642.x

Religion versus Science: The Conflict in Reference to Truth Value, Not Cash Value by Ervin Laszlo

The rift between science and religion needs to be assessed not merely on pragmatic grounds, on the basis of the effect of scientific versus religious beliefs on people’s behavior, as John Caiazza’s essay does, but also and above all in regard to the cogency of the respective beliefs in reference to what we can reasonably assume is the true face of reality. About such truth value, the conflict is not irremediable; there are elements of belief regarding the nature of reality that are strikingly similar regardless of whether one arrived at them on the basis of faith in revealed knowledge or on the basis of knowledge acquired by reasoning from or in reference to experience. Two such items are selected here by way of example: belief that in certain states of mind and consciousness individuals can experience union with something larger or deeper than themselves, and belief that the universe we inhabit is the result of an original creative act.
cash value versus truth value • revealed versus acquired knowledge • states of consciousness
Ervin Laszlo is president of The Club of Budapest, founder of the General Evolution Research Group, and at the time of writing Visiting Professor at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. His mailing address is Villa Frantoni, 56040 Montescudaio, Italy.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00643.x

Michael Polanyi’s Search for Truth

Michael Polanyi’s Daring Epistemology and the Hunger for Teleology by Richard Gelwick

The linking of Michael Polanyi’s name with a center (now changed to another name) at Baylor University that espoused intelligent-design theory calls for examination of Polanyi’s teleology. This examination attempts to put Polanyi’s epistemology in the perspective of his total philosophical work by looking at the clarification of teleology in philosophy of biology and in the framework of three major features of Polanyi’s thought: open and truth-oriented, purposive but open to truth, and transcendent yet intelligible. The conclusion is that Polanyi would not support intelligent design according to the nature of his own theory.
William Dembski • freedom of thought • heuristic field • intelligent design • Michael Polanyi • potential stable open system • reality • teleonomic, teleology
Richard Gelwick is Professor Emeritus of the University of New England and Adjunct Professor at Bangor Theological Seminary. He served as Coordinator of The Polanyi Society and Editor of Tradition & Discovery from 1978 to 1999. His mailing address is 12 Prosser Rd., Harpswell, ME 04079.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00644.x

The Discovery of Meaning through Scientific and Religious Forms of Indwelling by John V. Apczynski

Because of similarities between some implications of Michael Polanyi’s theory of personal knowledge and intelligent design, claims have been made that his theory provides support to the project of intelligent design. This essay contends that, when Polanyi’s reflections on a teleological framework for contextualizing evolutionary biology are properly understood as a heuristic vision, his position contrasts sharply with the empirical claims made on behalf of intelligent design.
emergence • evolution • intelligent design • personal knowledge • Michael Polanyi • teleology
John V. Apczynski (http://web.sbu.edu/theology/apczynski) is a professor in the Department of Theology at St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY 14778-0012; e-mail: APCZYNSK @ sbu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00645.x

Polanyi on Teleology: A Response to John Apczynski and Richard Gelwick by Walter B. Gulick

Michael Polanyi criticized the neo-Darwinian synthesis on two grounds: that accidental hereditary changes bringing adaptive advantages cannot account for the rise of discontinuous new species, and that a teleological ordering principle is needed to explain evolutionary advance. I commend the previous articles by John Apczynski and Richard Gelwick and also argue, more strongly than they, that Polanyi’s critique of evolutionary theory is flawed. It relies on an inappropriate notion of progress and untenable analogies from the human process of scientific discovery and the fact that in physical systems minimal potential energy is most stable. Yet within a life of commitment to transcendent values humans can directly experience purpose and meaning, and in developing this notion Polanyi makes his greatest contribution to teleology.
evolution • field theory • organizing and ordering principles • Michael Polanyi • religious satisfactions • teleology
Walter B. Gulick is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Humanities and Religious Studies, Montana State University-Billings, Billings, MT 59101; e-mail: wgulick @ msubillings.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00089.x


Eternity, Time, and Space by Wolfhart Pannenberg

The concepts of space and time are important in physics and geometry, but their definition is not the exclusive prerogative of those sciences. Space and time are important for ordinary human experience, as well as for philosophy and theology. Samuel Clarke, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Isaac Newton, Immanuel Kant, and Albert Einstein are important figures in shaping our understandings of space, time, and eternity. The author subjects their arguments to critical examination. Space is neither an infinite and empty receptacle (Newton) nor a system of relations in the mind (Leibniz). Infinite space and time can be interpreted as expressing God’s eternity and omnipresence in relating to the creation (Clarke), but such an interpretation is enhanced by Kant’s thinking, to clarify that even though time and space are differentiated in individual events, the whole is at the same time present. Even human experience recognizes this wholeness, and for God eternity is the simultaneous presence and possession of the wholeness. The temporal existence of finite entities is also related to a future participation in God’s eternal life. Concepts of contingency are brought into the discussion as well.
Samuel Clarke • contingency, Albert Einstein • God’s eternity and omnipresence • Immanuel Kant • space • spacetime • time
Wolfhart Pannenberg is Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus at the Protestant Theological Faculty of the University of Munich. His mailing address is Sudetenstrasse 8, 82166 Gräfelfing, Germany.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00647.x

The Epic of Personal Development and the Mystery of Small Working Memory by Robert B. Glassman

A partial analogy exists between the lifespan neuropsychological development of individuals and the biological evolution of species: In both of these major categories of growth, progressive emergence of wholes transcends inherently limited part-processes. The remarkably small purview of each moment of consciousness experienced by an individual may be a crucial aspect of maintaining organization in that individual’s cognitive development, protecting it from combinatorial chaos. In this essay I summarize experimental psychology research showing that working memory capacity comprises the so-called magical number 7±2 items, not only for words and digits but for spatial items and other sorts of cognitive materials, and not only in humans but also in other species. This is so to such an extent that 7±2 may be a “constant of nature.” The small quantity range 7±2 independent items, which builds upon a more elementary, instantaneous working memory capacity of three or four items, is surprisingly independent of the time duration of a cognitive task. Moreover, it is largely independent of ontogeny. Explanations of these powerful facts about working memory are offered here within both a functionalistic framework and a framework of hypothetical neural processes. At the neural level, working memory dynamics may comprise certain brain wave harmonics or topological relationships in the sheetlike cortex. Within the functionalistic framework, I suggest an additional analogy, pertaining to cultural evolution, with Tom Gilbert’s work on risk analysis and “the global problematic” that follows from unforeseen consequences of the expansiveness of human ambition. Several connections are drawn with ideas presented by participants in the Chicago Religion and Science Group about how theologies and sciences try to understand the possibility of adaptive exercises of human freedom in the face of the extreme finiteness of each human individual.
brain waves • cerebral cortex • cognitive science • comparative psychology • evolution • Thomas Gilbert • history • journey metaphor • limit problems • short-term memory
Robert B. Glassman is a professor in the Department of Psychology, Box E1, Lake Forest College, 555 N. Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045-2399; e-mail: glassman @ lakeforest.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00648.x

Human Individuality and the Gap between Science and Religion by Steven Reiss

Personality may play a role in disputes between religion and science. Personality is influenced by sixteen basic desires and core values, which provide the psychological foundation of meaningful experience. How we prioritize these sixteen desires is what makes us individuals. Religious persons may place a low priority on the desire for self-reliance (they enjoy being in need of others), whereas nonreligious scientists may place a high priority on self-reliance. These differences may motivate religious persons to find meaning in images of psychologically supportive deities and may motivate nonreligious intellectuals to find meaning in abstract scientific principles. To bridge the schism between religion and science, we need to appreciate the extent to which spirituality is an individual experience.
evolution • religion • science • sixteen basic desires
Steven Reiss is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Director of the Nisonger Center, The Ohio State University, 1581 Dodd Drive, Columbus, OH 43210-1296; e-mail: reiss.7 @ osu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00649.x

Christian and Buddhist Perspectives on Neuropsychology and the Human Person: Pneuma and Pratityasamutpada by Amos Yong

Recent discussions of the mind-brain and the soul-body problems have been both advanced and complexified by the cognitive sciences. I focus explicitly here on emergence, supervenience, and nonreductive physicalist theories of human personhood in light of recent advances in the Christian-Buddhist dialogue. While traditional self and no-self views pitted Christianity versus Buddhism versus science, I show how the nonreductive physicalist proposal regarding human personhood emerging from the neuroscientific enterprise both contributes to and is enriched by the Christian concept of pneuma (spirit) and the Buddhist concept of pratityasamutpada (codependent origination).
Christian-Buddhist dialogue • codependent origination • emergence • nonreductive physicalism • spirit • supervenience
Amos Yong is Associate Professor of Theology, Bethel University, 3900 Bethel Drive, St. Paul, MN, 55112; e-mail: a-yong @ bethel.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00650.x

Minding God/Minding Pain: Christian Theological Reflections on Recent Advances in Pain Research by Jacqueline R. Cameron

As Gregory Peterson’s book Minding God illustrates, an ongoing encounter between theology and the cognitive sciences can provide rich insights to both disciplines. Similarly, reflection on recent advances in pain research can prove to be fertile ground in which further theological insights might take root. Pain researchers remind us that pain is both a sensory and an emotional experience. The emotional component of pain is critically important for the clinical management of people in pain, as it serves a communicative function-human connection occurs more readily through the expression of and response to emotion than through the sterile exchange of “objective” descriptions of sensory phenomena. But emotion, pain and communication also figure prominently in Christian theology. For example, doctrines of incarnation and eschatology raise questions about suffering, healing, and hope as well as about the nature of the divine-human relationship. In addition, there seems to be scientific evidence for (admittedly subtle) gender differences in the perception of and response to pain. Several feminist theologians have noted that a habitual theological emphasis on God’s rationality tends to reinforce masculine images of God and demeans the validity of emotion in the divine-human relationship. Potential theological implications of the emotional and communicative aspects of pain and how this might affect women’s religious experience-with a particular focus on Teresa of Avila-are explored.
emotional or affective • gender • healing • pain • plasticity • redemption • suffering • transformation
Jacqueline R. Cameron is an associate medical director at Palliative CareCenter and Hospice of the North Shore and an assisting priest at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 2120 Lincoln Street, Evanston, IL 60201; e-mail: jcameron @ carecenter.org.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00651.x

Examining the Structure and Role of Emotion: Contributions of Neurobiology to the Study of Embodied Religious Experience by Rebecca Sachs Norris

Certain properties of the body and emotions facilitate the transmission of religious knowledge and the development of religious states through particular qualities of perception and memory. The body, which is the ground of religious experience, can be understood as transformative: the characteristic that recalled emotion is “refelt” in the present enables emotion to be cultivated or developed. Emotions and the stimuli that evoke them are necessarily culturally specific, but the automatic nature of this process is universal. Religious traditions have made use of these processes to educate the feeling toward certain qualities and to develop religious experience, through the use of sacred images, ritual posture and gesture, and repetition of ritual acts. Neuroscience contributes to our understanding of the emotional processes that take place when emotions are evoked, refelt, and developed; the neurobiological processing of emotion parallels experience. Keeping experience central makes it possible to bring religion and neuroscience together in a nonreductive examination of spiritual experience.
body • cognitive science • culture • embodiment • emotion • experience • gesture • identity • memory • neuroscience • nonverbal • posture • religious experience • ritual • transcendence • transmission
Rebecca Sachs Norris is an assistant professor of religious studies at Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike Street, North Andover, MA 01845, and a lecturer at the Boston University School of Medicine; e-mail: rebecca.norris @ merrimack.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00652.x

Defending Ethical Naturalism: The Roles of Cognitive Science and Pragmatism by Andrew Ward

In various essays, Paul Churchland explores the relevance of studies in cognitive science to issues in ethics. What emerges is a kind of ethical naturalism that has two components. The first component is a descriptive-genealogical one whose purpose is to explain how people come to have their ethical beliefs. The second component is a normative one whose purpose is to explain why some values are better than other values. Given this distinction, the problem of integrating ethics with beliefs about the world is a consequence of the traditional view that it is possible to naturalize descriptive-genealogical ethics but not normative ethics. With this distinction as background, I critically examine Churchland’s exploration of cognitive science’s contribution to our understanding of the values and purposes that should direct our lives. The conclusion is twofold. First, using concepts from the American pragmatists, I argue that, pace Churchland, it is possible to bridge the descriptive-normative gap in order to articulate an ethical naturalism that addresses the so-called naturalistic fallacy but is not committed to an unpalatable relativism. Second, I argue that the sort of ethical naturalism that emerges has affinities to the postmodern ethics of Jean-François Lyotard.
Paul Churchland • cognitive science • John Dewey • ethics • Jean-François Lyotard • pragmatism
Andrew Ward is Community Faculty Member in the Department of Practical Philosophy and Ethics, Metropolitan State University, 700 East 7th Street, Saint Paul, MN 55106-5000; e-mail: andrew.ward @ metrostate.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00653.x

Inevitable Humans: Simon Conway Morris’s Evolutionary Paleontology by Holmes Rolston, III

Simon Conway Morris, noted Cambridge University paleontologist, argues that in evolutionary natural history humans (or beings rather like humans) are an inevitable outcome of the developing speciating processes over millennia; humans are “inherent” in the system. This claim, in marked contrast to claims about contingency made by other prominent paleontologists, is based on numerous remarkable convergences-similar trends found repeatedly in evolutionary history. Conway Morris concludes approaching a natural theology. His argument is powerful and informed. But does it face adequately the surprising events in such history, particularly notable in unexpected co-options that redirect the course of life? The challenge to understand how humans are both on a continuum with other species and also utterly different remains a central puzzle in paleontology.
convergence • Simon Conway Morris • co-option • evolution • human uniqueness • natural theology • nature and culture • origin of humans • possibility space • self-organizing complexity
Holmes Rolston, III is Professor of Philosophy at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523; e-mail: rolston @ lamar.colostate.edu.

This article reviews Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe by Simon Conway Morris.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00654.x


Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate by Ullica Segerstrale and The Triumph of Sociobiology by John Alcock, reviewed by Daniel K. Brannan

Daniel K. Brannan; Professor of Biology; Abilene Christian University; ACU Box 27868; Abilene, TX 79699
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00655.x

Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, 25th Anniversary Edition by Edward O. Wilson, reviewed by Gregory R. Peterson

Gregory R. Peterson; Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion; South Dakota State University; Scobey 336; Box 504; Brookings, SD 57006
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00655.x

Reenchantment without Supernaturalism: A Process Philosophy of Religion by David Ray Griffin, reviewed by John F. Haught

John F. Haught; Thomas Healey Professor of Theology; Georgetown University; Washington, D.C. 20057
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00655.x

Reductionism: Analysis and the Fullness of Reality by Richard H. Jones, reviewed by Holmes Rolston III

Holmes Rolston, III; University Distinguished Professor; Department of Philosophy; Colorado State University; Fort Collins, CO 80523
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00655.x

Paths from Science towards God: The End of All Our Exploring by Arthur Peacocke, reviewed by James E. Huchingson

James E. Huchingson; Professor of Religious Studies; Florida International University; Miami, FL 33199
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00655.x

Endmatter: Formative Moments in Zygon’s History

“Hello, World”: The First Editorial, March 1966

Zygon, the Greek term for anything which joins two bodies, especially the yoking or harnessing of a team which must effectively pull together, is a symbol for this journal whose aim is to reunite the split team, values and knowledge, where co-ordination is essential for a viable dynamics of human culture.

We respond to the growing fears that the widening chasm in twentieth-century culture between values and knowledge, or good and truth, or religion and science, is disruptive if not lethal for human destiny. In this split, the traditional faiths and philosophies, which once informed men of what is of most sacred concern for them, have lost their credibility and hence their power. Yet human fulfilment or salvation in the age of science requires not less but more insight and conviction concerning life’s basic values and moral requirements.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00656.x

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