In the June 2005 issue of Zygon, several authors (William Schweiker, Barbara Strassberg, Lluís Oviedo, and Norbert Samuelson) reminded us that understanding culture is essential if we are to deal adequately with either religion or science or the relations between the two. This is in itself an insight that scientific knowledge imposes on us. Without going into the details, the relevant sciences demonstrate that nothing human takes place apart from culture. We are intrinsically cultural creatures in that our brains have made culture possible and our survival depends on it. The world around us was not created by culture, but all of our understandings and interactions with that world are mediated through our culture. Even though biological heredity plays a role in enabling culture, the specific character of culture as it appears in any individual or society is acquired by imitation, training, and learning in interaction with other human beings. Our biology bestows the capability for language, for example, but it is culture that determines which particular languages we speak.
Journals are like humans. If they reach the age of 40, their chances for a long life are excellent. I predict that this will be the case with the journal Zygon. Predictions for longevity at 40 are favorable partly because anyone who has made it that far has learned much about the dos and donts of life and how to handle them. This also is true of journals, or at least of their editors and sponsors. In addition to the congratulations and praise that Zygon at this time rightly deserves, it is an occasion for assessing the past and envisioning the future. Allow me, along with others, to try my hand at these two tasks.
By way of homework to prepare for writing this editorial, I gave myself the job of examining the annual indexes for the years 1966 (the first year of publication), 1976, 1986, 1996, and 2004, the last year for a full index. What was I looking for? I simply tabulated very loosely the number of articles on various topics in the field of science and religion. Here is what I found. In addition to an even sprinkling of investigations into the philosophy of science, the philosophy of religion, and theological method, there were some interesting shifts in other subjects. A dialogue with physics and its implications for cosmology was quite visible in the beginning but gradually faded in prominence. Biology, sociobiology, and evolutionary psychology became dominant concerns in the 1970s and 1980s. The relevance of these areas of science to philosophical and theological ethics were central interests of Zygon during this period.
John Caiazzas essay raises important controversial issues regarding the contemporary debates between science and religion. His arguments are largely presented in a dichotomous and rather adversarial mode with which I strongly disagree. Unable to present a detailed counterargument in this brief reflection, I ask, What is being spoken about, and who is speaking? What is meant by science and religion here? Neither term can be taken as a unified, essentialist category; both comprise many historical layers, possess numerous internal complexities, and invite a diversity of interpretations. I refer to the science of China, India, and the ancient Near East, all of which have fed into modern science, so that the sciences cannot be restricted to those of the modern West. Nor can religion be limited to the religious beliefs and practices of Western Christianity. I discuss the position/location/context of the author- Caiazzas as well as my own- after introducing Hans-Georg Gadamers idea of the fusion of horizons, which provides a rich vein for enhancing the debate between science and religion. To expand the respective horizons of their dialogue it will be important to move away from an adversarial, exclusionary spirit to a more collaborative and communicative framework that allows for the development of new ideals, new questions, new ways of knowing, and an ethical and socially responsible stance more centered on human needs and concerns. We may have to build an altogether new Athens and Jerusalem for this.
adversarial approach • Athens and Jerusalem • biosphere • essentialist categories • fusion of horizons • hiddenness of the author • human flourishing • magic • mystic rose • nature and culture • noosphere • Walter Ong • social responsibility of science • techno-secularism • transdisciplinary dialogue • transformative power of love
Ursula King is Professor Emerita and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, an associate member of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bristol, and a professorial research fellow of the Centre for Gender and Religions Research at the school of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. In Fall 2005 she will serve for a semester as Bingham Professor of Humanities at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. Her mailing address is 1 Salisbury Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 7AL, U.K.
Religion and Science as Advocacy of Science and as Religion versus Religion by Willem B. Drees
Religion and science often is understood as being about the relationship between two given enterprises, religion and science. I argue that it is more accurate to understand religion and science in different contexts differently. (1) It serves as apologetics for science in a religious environment. As apologetics for technology the role of religion-and-science is more ambivalent, as competing and contrary responses to modern technology find articulation in religious terms. (2) In the political context of the modern university, some invoke religion-and-science in arguing for a place of theology alongside the sciences. In this context, secular studies of religion are a major challenge, which is hardly addressed. (3) Within the religious communities, religion-and-science is a battleground between revisionist and traditionalist ways of understanding religion.
apologetics • intrareligious competition • religion and science • secular study of religion
Willem B. Drees is Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics, Department of Theology, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands, and president of the European Society for Science and Theology (ESSSAT); e-mail: w.b.drees @ let.leidenuniv.nl.
A New Look at the Science-and-Religion Dialogue by E. Thomas Lawson
Cognitive science is beginning to make a contribution to the science-and-religion dialogue by its claims about the nature of both scientific and religious knowledge and the practices such knowledge informs. Of particular importance is the distinction between folk knowledge and abstract theoretical knowledge leading to a distinction between folk science and folk religion on the one hand and the reflective, theoretical, abstract form of thought that characterizes both advanced scientific thought and sophisticated theological reasoning on the other. Both folk science and folk religion emerge from commonsense reasoning about the world, a form of reasoning bequeathed to us by the processes of natural selection. Suggestions are made about what scientists and theologians can do if they accept these claims.
cognitive science of religion • cognitive science of science • commonsense reasoning • creationism • evolutionary psychology • folk biology • folk physics • folk psychology • folk science • off-line reasoning • on-line reasoning
E. Thomas Lawson is Distinguished International Fellow at the Institute of Cognition and Culture at Queens University, Belfast BT 7 1NN, Northern Ireland, and the editor of The Journal of Cognition and Culture; e-mail: t.lawson @ qub.ac.uk.
Islam and Science: Contradiction or Concordance by Fatima Agha Al-Hayani
Many question whether Islam and science can be compatible. In the first six hundred years of Islam, Muslims addressed all fields of knowledge available to them with unprecedented zeal and contributed immensely to the knowledge that became the precursor of the Renaissance in Europe. The Tatar invasion in the thirteenth century and the total destruction of Baghdad, the Muslim capital of knowledge and science, followed by the crusades, the ensuing hostility between East and West, and Western colonialism of Muslim countries led to a distrust of all knowledge emanating from the West. Such distrust closed the doors to ijtihad, a dynamic method in Islamic jurisprudence for addressing change, new demands, and new acquired knowledge, even though the Quran challenges Muslims to think, contemplate, understand, comprehend, and examine everything around them?tasks that bring humankind closer to God as they find methods to apply Gods laws of justice and equity to the benefit of all humankind. Islam is the religion of yusr (ease) and not usr (hardship). The creation of the world was for human benefit and use. Innovation for such beneficial use and application is a must.
Keywords: ijtihad (reason) • Islam and science • Islamic law and interpretations • mafsadah (harm) • masahah (benefit) • Quran • scientific knowledge • Shariah (Islamic law) • Sunnah • tradition
Fatima Agha Al-Hayani is a lecturer and court expert on Islamic Jurisprudence, particularly Islamic Family Law, and a presenter of workshops on Islam, Islamic Law, Women in Islam and in the Arab World, the Middle Eastern History, Society, and Culture. Her mailing address is 2323 E. Grecourt Dr., Toledo, OH 43615.
God versus Technology? Science, Secularity, and the Theology of Technology by Alan G. Padgett
In debate with John Caiazza, we clarify the meaning of the terms technology and secular, arguing that technology is not really secular. Only when combined with antireligious secularism do we get the modern techno-secular worldview. Science is not secular in the strong sense, nor does its practice automatically lead to the techno-secular. As a complete worldview, techno-secularism is antireligious, but it also is dehumanizing and destructive of our environment. Religion may provide a transcendent source for a humanizing morality that might move technology in a more ecofriendly, humane direction. The alternative is not a happy one for our posthuman technological future.
John Caiazza • ethics of technology • Martin Heidegger • secularism • technology • techno sapiens • worldview
Alan G. Padgett is Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN 55108; e-mail: apadgett @ luthersem.edu.
Notes on the Alleged Conflict between Religion and Science by Wolfhart Pannenberg
I interpret several key events in the history of the relationship between Christianity and science and conclude that there is no reason for assuming a fundamental conflict between science and religion. Christian theologians should feel confident in using the science of our day to retell the story of Gods creation of the world.
Christianity • conflict between science and religion • contingency • emergent evolution • mechanistic description • science • technology
Wolfhart Pannenberg is Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus at the Protestant Theological Faculty of the University of Munich. His mailing address is Sudetenstr. 8, 82166 Gräfelfing, Germany.
Science Looks at Spirituality
Spirituality as a Natural Phenomenon: Bringing Biological and Psychological Perspectives Together by David Hay and Pawel M. Socha
Working in Britain and in Poland, the authors independently arrived at an interpretation of spirituality as a natural phenomenon. From the point of view of the British author, spirituality is based on a biological predisposition that has been selected for in the process of evolution because it has survival value. In several important ways this approach is in harmony with the psychological perspective of the Polish author that sees spirituality as a socioculturally structured and determined attempt to cope with the existential human situation. Thus interpreted, spirituality is a human universal appearing in many secular as well as religious forms, although its most typical manifestations have been in religious experience. In this essay we discuss research data in support of this theoretical point of view and highlight some of the issues in bringing the two theoretical perspectives together.
biological evolution • psychology of religion • relational consciousness • religious experience • social construction • social evolution • spiritual awareness • spirituality
David Hay is Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Divinity and Religious Studies at Kings College, University of Aberdeen, Scotland; e-mail: j.d.hay @ abdn.ac.uk. Pawel M. Socha is Senior Lecturer in the Psychology and Sociology of Religion Unit at the Institute for the Study of Religion, Jagiellonian University, Rynek Glowny 34, 31-010 Krakow, Poland; e-mail: Pawel.socha @ uj.edu.pl.
Cognitive science and hathayoga both make emphatic claims about the relationship between the body and the mind. To examine this complementary relationship I draw upon the five main approaches currently being used by cognitive science and then consider their implications within the context of three specific points of contact with hathayoga theory: the rejection of dualism, the nature of consciousness, and the role of the nervous and circulatory systems in religious experience. This type of comparative analysis can provide additional information about the nature of consciousness and the potential practices that heighten our awareness or knowledge of it. Consequently, cognitive science offers a new and provocative way to dialogue with Indian yoga traditions in terms of the methods and theories of modernity.
cognitive science • cognitive theory of religion • hathayoga • religious studies • yoga
Ellen Goldberg is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario K7L3N6, Canada.
Dancing with the Sacred?Dialogue with Karl Peters
Dancing with the Sacred: Excerpts by Karl E. Peters
In excerpts from my Dancing with the Sacred (2002), I use ideas from modern science, our worlds religions, and my own experience to highlight three themes of the book. First, working within the framework of a scientific worldview, I develop a concept of the sacred (or God) as the creative activity of nature, human history, and individual life. Second, I offer a relational understanding of human nature that I call our social-ecological selves and suggest some general considerations about what it means to live meaningfully and morally in an evolutionary world. Third, I explore how we might be at home in a universe that is constantly changing and in which suffering and death are interwoven with life and new creation.
change • creativity • ecological • evolution • God • meaning • morality • sacred • science • self • suffering
Karl E. Peters is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, Adjunct Professor of Religion and Science at Meadville/Lombard Theological School, Chicago, and coeditor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. His mailing address is 30 Barn Door Hills Road, Granby, CT 06035; e-mail: kpeters909 @ aol.com. This article consists of excerpts from Dancing with the Sacred: Evolution, Ecology, and God (2002), reprinted with permission of the publisher, Trinity Press International.
The Power of Religious Naturalism in Karl Peters Dancing with the Sacred by Charley D. Hardwick
This essay is an appreciative engagement with Karl Peterss Dancing with the Sacred (2002). Peters achieves a naturalistic theology of great power. Two themes are covered here. The first is how Peters gives ontological footing for a naturalistic conception of God conceived as the process of creativity in nature. Peters achieves this by conceiving creativity in terms of Darwinian random variation and natural selection combined with the notion of nonequilibrium thermodynamics. He gives ontological reference for a conception of God similar to Henry Nelson Wiemans idea of creative transformation. The second theme is how Peters succeeds in translating this nonpersonal conception of God into a powerful view of naturalistic religion that can shape a religious form of life. The key is that Peterss God can be understood as present in experience. Peters provides naturalistic interpretations of grace and the cruciform structure of creativity; the latter addresses the problem of evil in a nuanced fashion. I conclude with three critical comments about Peterss environmental ethics, his use of the notion of mystery, and his failure to have a robust conception of human fault or sin.
creative transformation • creativity • cruciform structure • Darwinian structure • evolutionary theory • existentialist interpretation • experience • God • God • grace • humanism • Gordon Kaufman • materialism • mystery • naturalism • naturalistic theology • nonequilibrium thermodynamics • ontology • personal God • physicalism • pragmatism • purpose • random variation • serendipitous creativity • sin • valuational theism • Henry Nelson Wieman
Charley D. Hardwick is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Department of Philosophy and Religion, American University, Washington, D.C. 20016; e-mail: chardwi @ attglobal.net.
Karl Peters: Theology as a Confessing Discipline by Ann Milliken Pederson
Karl Peterss book Dancing with the Sacred brings together his insights from evolutionary biology and ecology, world religions, and process thought into an integrated autobiographical reflection on his thoughts, teaching, and life. The book simultaneously engages readers in their own reflections about religion and science and reminds them that their reflections are freighted with moral responsibility. For Peters, self-understanding correlates with understanding the world. The celebration of diversity coincides with the universal concerns that all face living together on this planet. Our future depends on how we live in the present tense.
Enlightenment • medicine • moral responsibility • spiritual transformation
Ann Milliken Pederson is Professor of Religion at Augustana College, 2001 S. Summit, Sioux Falls, SD 57197 and also Adjunct Associate Professor in the Section of Ethics and Humanities at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine.
Abstract: Dancing with the Sacred by Karl Peters provides a coherent and at times moving portrait of the religious naturalist position. I highlight three broad issues that are raised by the kind of religious naturalism that Peters develops: (1) the meaning of the term natural, (2) the nature of God in Peterss naturalistic framework, and (3) the question of eschatology. In each area, I believe that Peterss work raises many questions that need to be addressed and also provides openings for further dialogue.
creativity • eschatology • God-talk • Karl Peters • religious naturalism
Gregory R. Peterson is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at South Dakota State University, Scobey 336, Box 504, Brookings, SD 57007; e-mail: greg_peterson @ sdstate.edu.
Confessions of a Practicing Naturalistic Theist: A Response to Hardwick, Pederson, and Peterson by Karl E. Peters
In my response to the comments of Charley Hardwick, Ann Pederson, and Greg Peterson, I continue the narrative, confessional mode of my writing in Dancing with the Sacred. First, I sketch some methodological decisions underlying my naturalistic, evolutionary, practical theology. I then respond to the encouraging suggestions of my commentators by further developing my ideas about naturalism, mystery, creativity as God, the place of ecological responsibility in my thinking, sin, and eschatology. I offer suggestions as to how I might widen the practical applications of my theology beyond environmental and medical ethics to other areas of moral responsibility in relation to the creative process. I do all this with much appreciation for the care and careful critical reflection that my commentators have devoted to my thinking.
creativity • ecological • emergence • empiricism • eschatology • evolution • God • methodology • mystery • practical theology • pragmatism • sin • transcendence
Karl E. Peters is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, Adjunct Professor of Religion and Science at Meadville/Lombard Theological School, Chicago, and coeditor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. His mailing address is 30 Barn Door Hills Road, Granby, CT 06035; e-mail: kpeters909 @ aol.com.
Looking Again at Teilhard, Tillich, and Haught
Teilhards Two Energies by Harold J. Morowitz, Nicole Schmitz-Moormann, and James F. Salmon, S.J.
Resolution of the entropy-evolution problem was a significant issue for Pierre Teilhard de Chardin throughout his scientific career. Although never truly satisfied with his solution, he proposed that all energy must be psychic and contain two components. Tangential energy is related to physical energy. Radial energy in some way accounts for increasing complexity and consciousness in evolution. Analysis of developments in thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory show that Gibbs free energy contains both calorimetric and noetic components, thus validating Teilhards intuition.
complexification and centrogenesis • entropy and negentropy • free energy • hyperphysics • information • tangential • radial • and psychic energies
Harold J. Morowitz is Clarence Robinson Professor of Biology and Natural Philosophy at George Mason University and former director of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, Fairfax, Virginia 22030; e-mail: morowitz @ gmu.edu. Nicole Schmitz-Moormann is Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, Washington, D.C. 20057-1137. James F. Salmon, S.J., is a member of the chemistry and theology departments at Loyola College in Maryland and a Senior Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington, D.C. His mailing address is 4603 Millbrook Rd., Baltimore, MD 21212; e-mail: jsalmon @ loyola.edu.
A Theology for Evolution: Haught, Teilhard, and Tillich by Paul H. Carr
Paul Tillich and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin both have made contributions to a theology of evolution. In a 2002 essay John Haught expresses doubt that Tilllichs rather classical theology of being is radical enough to account for the becoming of evolution. Tillichs ontology of being includes the polarity of form and dynamics. Dynamics is the potentiality of being, that is, becoming. Tillichs dynamic dialectic of being and nonbeing is a more descriptive metaphor for the five mass extinctions of evolutionary history than Teilhards progress. This dialectic is also a more realistic description of cosmic evolution. Tillichs Kingdom of God within history as well as the End of History, in contrast to Teilhards Omega Point, does not appear to contradict the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which predicts that the universe will ultimately disintegrate. Haughts contrast/contact modes of relating science and religion would regard Teilhards Omega Point as an expression of spiritual hope and purpose rather than a scientifically verifiable principle. The contrast/ contact position is consonant with Tillichs description of religion as part of the vertical dimension of ultimate concern and science as part of the horizontal dimension of relationships between finite objects. Tillich did not share Teilhards optimistic vision of the future.
being and nonbeing • dynamic dialectic • End of History • horizontal dimension and vertical dimension • Kingdom of God • Omega Point • science and religion
Paul H. Carr (http://MirrorOfNature.org) led the Component Technology Branch of the Air Force Research Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, MA 01731, where he is emeritus. e-mail: paul.carr2 @ comcast.net.
Syncretism or Correlation: Teilhard and Tillichs Contrasting Methodological Approaches to Science and Theology by Michael W. DeLashmutt
I revisit Paul Tillichs theological methodology and contrast his practice of correlation with the syncretistic methodological practices of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. I argue that the method of correlation, as referred to in Robert John Russells 2001 Zygon article, fails to uphold Tillichs self-limitation of his own methodology with regard to Tillichs insistence upon the theological circle. I assert that the theological circle, as taken from Tillichs Systematic Theology I, is a central facet within his methodology and that this often-ignored concept needs to be resuscitated if one is to remain authentically Tillichian in ones approach to the science-and-theology dialogue.
Christology • cosmology • Albert Einstein • evolution • David Klemm • method of correlation • religion • Robert John Russell • science • syncretism • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin • theological circle • theological method • theology • Paul Tillich
Michael W. DeLashmutt is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Glasgow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. His mailing address is No. 4 The Square, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, United Kingdom; e-mail: mwdelashmutt @ yahoo.co.uk.
Dimensions of Life: A Systems Approach to the Inorganic and the Organic in Paul Tillich and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin by James E. Huchingson
Systems theory provides a surprisingly fruitful approach to several important ideas held in common by Paul Tillich and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. These include complexity or organization as the key to understanding the distinction between the inorganic and the organic, and hierarchy or levels in complex systems. Teilhard and systems theorists accept hierarchy as fundamental. Tillich questions the concept and prefers dimensions, including the inorganic, organic, psychological, spiritual, and historical dimensions. Tillichs rejection of hierarchy is questioned, but significant correlations are discovered in the systems interpretation of the psychological and spiritual dimensions as well as in the use of centeredness by both thinkers.
centeredness • complexity • dimensions • hierarchy • levels • life • potentiality • self-awareness • spirit • systems theory • Ludwig von Bertalanffy
James E. Huchingson is Professor of Religious Studies at Florida International University, Miami FL 33199; e-mail: Huchings @ fiu.edu.
Is Nature Enough? Robert Frost Replies in The Most of It by Matthew Orr
In his poem The Most of It Robert Frost explores whether nature alone is sufficient to satisfy human spiritual yearnings. At first pass, the poem reads like a dark statement about the absence of any higher intelligence in the natural world, and it has been interpreted this way by many, including the person who inspired Frost to write it, Wade Van Dore. However, on careful reading Frosts poem also contains a subtle celebration of natures spiritual assets. By creating a work with two possible meanings, Frost indicates that the answer to whether nature is enough is in the eye of the beholder. Because much of the poems hopeful message resides in its meter, Frost also seems to be saying that nature will be enough mainly for those who appreciate nuance and accept ambiguity. For those so predisposed, a spirituality based in the belief that nature is enough requires no unverifiable entity for personal fulfillment and may ameliorate environmental problems that increasingly jeopardize human well-being.
environmentalism • naturalism • paganism • transcendence
Matthew Orr is an instructor in biology at the University of Oregons General Science program in Bend, Oregon. His mailing address is 1027 NW Trenton Ave., Bend, OR 97701; e-mail: matorr @ darkwing.uoregon.edu.
Transcendentalism or Empiricism? A Discussion of a Problem Raised in E. O. Wilsons Book Consilience by Rudolf Brun
E. O. Wilson writes that the choice between transcendentalism and empiricism is this centurys version of the struggle for mens soul (1998, 240). The transcendentalist argues for theism?that there is a God, a creator of the world. The empiricist instead makes the point that the notion of God, including morality and ethics, are adaptive structures of human evolution. Before entering the debate of the transcendentalist/empiricist controversy I analyze how things exist and suggest that all that is exists as united diversity, as identity in difference. I argue that oneness by itself is intangible because wholes are concrete only through their tangible parts. I briefly discuss this understanding of existence in the realm of art to show that transcendence and immanence are not mutually exclusive but constitute each other. I conclude that existence, the hypostasis of unity in diversity, might be seen as a gift from absolute existence. In this view, the world might reveal itself as a gift that reflects the trinitarian existence of the Giver.
Christianity • complexity • cosmogenesis • creation • emergentism • empiricism • evolution • natural law • origin of religion • racism • transcendentalism
Rudolf Brun is Professor Emeritus at Texas Christian University. His address is 3006 Tanglewood Park W., Fort Worth, TX 76109; e-mail: rambrun @ yahoo.com.
In this article I review the efforts of eighteen scientists and theologians, recorded in this book, to describe the relation of God to the universe during a conference sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation at Windsor Castle in 2001. Theologians from several branches of Christian faith articulate their understanding of panentheism, revealing a considerable diversity. I deal with each author in relation to six issues: the way God acts, how Gods intimate relation to the world is to be described, the relation of God to spacetime, whether God is dependent upon the world, what type of language is used, and the problem of dipolar panentheism. I identify significant differences between these authors, suggest where fruitful dialogue is possible, and distinguish between intelligibility and plausibility in comparing dipolar panentheism with other types.
analogy • body of God • cosmology • dipolar panentheism • divine agency • evil and God • God • God-world relation • Charles Hartshorne • John Templeton Foundation • metaphor • metaphysics • naturalism • panentheism • pansyntheism • process-relational thought • relativity physics • science • spacetime • theism • theology • Trinity • Alfred North Whitehead
Edgar A. Towne is Professor of Theology Emeritus, Christian Theological Seminary, 5129 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis, IN 46208.