Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
41 (4), December 2006

Table of Contents

Editorial

Religion and Science: Separateness or Co-inheritance? by Philip Hefner

Much of our talk about “religion and science” portrays their separateness. It is not just the common generic reference to “religion” and “science” that conveys two distinct entities but also such terms as dialogue, engagement, and conversation between religion and science. Some of our most useful categories for exploring this interaction-categories of conflict, independence, dialogue, and integration-are predicated on the separateness of religion from science.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00800.x

Nature, Technology and the Sacred: Dialogue with Bronislaw Szersynski

Mutations of Nature, Technology, and the Western Sacred by Anne Kull

Abstract:
Bronislaw Szerszynski’s book Nature, Technology and the Sacred (2005) challenges us to think of nature, technology, and the sacred in a genuinely novel way. The sacred is the context and the protagonist, not a passive, unchanging, vague phenomenon. Both nature and technology will be better interpreted in the context of the transformations of the sacred.
Keywords:
change • creativity • nature • sacred • techno-demonology • technology
Anne Kull is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Tartu, ülikooli 18 Tartu 50090, Estonia.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00776.x

The Sacred, Nature, and Technology by Eduardo Rodrigues da Cruz

Abstract:
Bronislaw Szerszynski’s Nature, Technology and the Sacred prompts a short reflection on the meaning of “the sacred.” Although it is part of the main thread of the book, the description of traditional and modern sacred does not seem to take into account recent scholarship in the field. In this essay I summarize a few issues in religious studies today regarding “the sacred” and what possible contribution they might have to Szerszynski’s argument and, conversely, how his detailed analysis of the sacred may help this discipline to avoid “philistinism.” The consequences of a universal human nature (from a Darwinian viewpoint) for the concept of the sacred are briefly discussed. In the end, a few suggestions are provided for the ongoing dialogue of science, technology, and religion.
Keywords:
evolution • nature • religion • religious studies • sacred • Bronislaw Szerszynski
Eduardo Rodrigues da Cruz is Professor of Religious Studies at the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, R. Monte Alegre, 984, Sao Paulo, 05014 SP, Brazil; e-mail: erodcruz @ pucsp.br.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00777.x

The Technological Imaginary: Bringing Myth and Imagination into Dialogue with Bronislaw Szersynski’s Nature, Technology and the Sacred by Michael W. DeLashmutt

Abstract:
Bronislaw Szerszynski’s Nature, Technology and the Sacred (2005) offers a fresh look into the historical, cultural, and political implications of technology use in our contemporary situation. By challenging the standard interpretation of the secularization thesis, the book opens the door to a new kind of postmodern ordering of the sacred, which includes our ever-developing perception of the environment and our ongoing use of technology. In my discussion of the text, I suggest that Szerszynski’s argument could have been furthered by exploring the role played by both imagination and myth in creating the postmodern sacred that he describes. I argue that by giving consideration to Friedrich Dessauer’s Christian theology of technology and the mythical imagination of contemporary science fiction literature and film, a more explicitly religious dimension of technology can be allowed to emerge in the form of the technological imaginary.
Keywords:
Friedrich Dessauer • Michel Foucault • imagination • invention • inventiveness • myth • Nature, Technology and the Sacred • philosophy of technology • science fiction • secularization • Bronislaw Szerszynski • technology
Michael W. DeLashmutt is an honorary research associate of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Glasgow, Scotland; e-mail: deLashmutt @ gmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00778.x

A Reply to Anne Kull, Eduardo Cruz, and Michael DeLashmutt by Bronislaw Szerszynski

Abstract:
In my reply to the essays by Anne Kull, Eduardo Cruz, and Michael DeLashmutt, I turn first to Cruz’s charge that my use of “the sacred” is at odds with a growing religious studies mainstream that understands religion in secular terms. I suggest that this latter approach has its own problems, deriving partly from its neglect of the political, constructed nature of the category of “religion.” Second, in relation to Cruz’s suggestion that my lack of attention to explanation compromises my claim to be social scientific, I defend a broader understanding of the human sciences and explore the relationships between understanding, critique, and history, and between sociology and theology. Third, reflecting on DeLashmutt’s suggestion that I neglect the way that technical invention provides a glimpse of divine creativity, and the myth making that goes on around technology in vehicles such as science fiction, I argue that such issues have to be approached in a radically historical way. I conclude by identifying three challenges: to explore more deeply how technological objects form part of human being-in-the-world, to show how my approach might offer practical resources for assessing technological and environmental developments, and to expand my analysis to include non-Western religious traditions.
Keywords:
Eduardo Cruz • Michael DeLashmutt • explanation, understanding, and critique in the human sciences • history and the human • Anne Kull • religious studies • the sacred • science, technology, and religion • technology and creativity
Bronislaw Szerszynski is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Furness College, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 3YG, U.K.; e-mail: bron @ lancaster.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00779.x

Science, Humanism, and Christian Theology: Dialogue with Lluís Oviedo

Is Christian Theology Well Suited to Enter the Discussion between Science and Humanism? by Lluís Oviedo

Abstract:
The last several years have seen the emergence of increasing hostility from philosophers toward some pronouncements on human nature by the biological and cognitive sciences. Theology is also concerned about such matters, even if there have been, until now, few theologians involved in the discussion. This essay examines both the reasons that justify a neutral position of theology in the face of scientific disqualification of human uniqueness and the reasons to engage apologetically in such a debate on the side of humanists. Constructing a synthesis, I propose a greater theological involvement and concern in the discussion already underway, even if it means accepting some trade-offs.
Keywords:
apologetics • cognitive science • humanism • Niklas Luhmann • sociobiology • theology and science
Lluís Oviedo is Professor of Theological Anthropology, The Pontifical University, Antonianum, Rome, Via Merulana 124, 00185 Rome, Italy, and invited Professor of Theology and Culture, The Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; e-mail: loviedo @ ofm.org.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00780.x

Are Science and Humanism Suited to Enter the Ancient Quest of Christian Theology? A Response to Lluís Oviedo by Vítor Westhelle

Abstract:
This response reverses the title of Lluís Oviedo’s essay (2006) while retaining the structure. In the pendulum swing between science and humanism, theology finds its uniqueness not in refuting either but in subverting them: subverting the scientific quest for certainty without denying its pursuit, and subverting the humanist quest for the unique dignity of the human by reducing it to the most despoiled creature, yet finding in it the presence of the divine. Theological pursuit is about reason and its limits, about brokenness and glory in it. Yet the engagement is unavoidable, for without the scientific pursuit of certainty, incompleteness could never be established; without the humanist search for the uniqueness of the human, its admixed and impure character would not be recognized. The concept of hybridity tries to convey that and is presented in three instantiations: the conflation of the human with machine (cyborg), of humans and other animals (oncomouse), and of the human and the divine. Following these ontological cases of hybridity, at the epistemological level theology becomes hybrid “science” in search of the mythos in the midst of logos, and conversely it is hybrid humanism, for it locates God in the greatest depravity of mammalian existence.
Keywords:
created co-creator • cyborg • Donna Haraway • Philip Hefner • humanism • hybridity • logos • mythos • oncomouse • Lluís Oviedo • science • theology
Vítor Westhelle is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615-5199.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00781.x

Theology and the Science Wars: Who Owns Human Nature? by Gregory R. Peterson

Abstract:
Lluís Oviedo examines in his article the current conflict over human nature and the role of the sciences in the debate, suggesting that there may be a role for theology to play as well. In this essay I examine and respond to some aspects of Oviedo’s article and suggest that the nature of the conflict needs to be nuanced to understand it as a conflict not between scientific and philosophical/social-scientific views of human nature but among scientists, social scientists, and philosophers over the role of science in thinking about human nature. I analyze some of the obstacles for theology’s becoming involved and propose that thinking about what are distinctively theological questions as opposed to scientific ones may be an appropriate starting point.
Keywords:
biocognitivism • cognitive science of religion • Lluís Oviedo • science wars
Gregory R. Peterson is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at South Dakota State University and Program Coordinator of the Philosophy and Religion Department, Box 504 Scobey 336, SDSU, Brookings, SD 57007; e-mail: greg.peterson @ sdstate.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00782.x

Struggling to Keep Faithful: Response to Gregory R. Peterson and Vítor Westhelle by Lluís Oviedo

Abstract:
Some comments are offered to my respondents. Concerning Peterson, I suggest a rather distinct description of humanists as those who stress a differential character of human beings or some discontinuity with the rest of the reality, in contrast to naturalists; at the same time I try to cope with difficulties derived from theological “weakness” and pluralism. Concerning Westhelle, I recall the need to keep some boundaries and limits, despite all the positive outcomes of hybridity he proposes.
Keywords:
boundaries • humanism • hybridity • pluralism • theology
Lluís Oviedo is Professor of Theological Anthropology, The Pontifical University, Antonianum, Rome, Via Merulana 124, 00185 Rome, Italy, and invited Professor of Theology and Culture, The Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; e-mail: loviedo @ ofm.org.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00783.x

Spiritual Transformation, Healing, and Altruism

Spiritual Transformation, Healing, and Altruism: Introduction to the Symposium by Joan D. Koss-Chioino

Abstract:
This essay introduces the five articles that follow, whose aim is to show how altruism emerges out of spiritual transformation and is integral to healing process in four kinds of ritual healing systems-popular, folk, an indigenous religious healing tradition, and complementary and alternative medicine represented by consciousness transformation movements. In this introduction I situate these largely marginalized religious and spiritual practices within the context of the religion-science discourse, which has focused for the most part on the relationship between the established, mainstream religions and the dominant biomedical system. Antecedents of two of these types of religious practices, Spiritism and consciousness transformation movements, were part of the development of the psychological sciences in the nineteenth century but lost ground in the twentieth. Despite discrimination and persistent negative attitudes on the part of the established religions and biomedicine, these healing traditions have not only survived through the twentieth century but appear to have gained both followers and interest in the twenty-first. In future decades, at least for complementary and alternative medical practices and perhaps also for spirit healing centers, there may be a reversal in status through greater acceptance of their unique combination of scientific and religious perspectives.
Keywords:
altruism • complementary and alternative medicine • curanderismo • religion-science discourse • ritual healing • spirit healing • Spiritism • spiritual transformation
Joan D. Koss-Chioino is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Arizona State University and Research Professor of Psychology at George Washington University, 2753 Bon Haven Lane, Annapolis, MD 21401; e-mail: jdkoss @ gwu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00784.x

Spiritual Transformation, Ritual Healing, and Altruism by Joan D. Koss-Chioino

Abstract:
Based on studies of spirit healing in Puerto Rico and the United States, this essay proposes a model of ritual healing process focused on the core components of spiritual transformation and empathy. It describes the central role of spiritual transformation in healers from which emerges their capacity for relation, empathy, and altruism. Many spirit healers, following a spiritual transformation, begin to exercise what I label here radical empathy, in which individual differences between healer and sufferer are melded into one field of feeling and experience. This produces a type of altruism in which spirit healers feel compelled to be altruistic in responding to suffering whenever they encounter it. The model is compared and contrasted with aspects of healing process in some psychotherapeutic and analytic therapies. These comparisons are offered in the light of the growing interest in incorporating spirituality into psychological and medical treatments.
Keywords:
altruism • empathy • healing process • ritual healing • spiritual transformation
Joan D. Koss-Chioino is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Arizona State University and Research Professor of Psychology at George Washington University, 2753 Bon Haven Lane, Annapolis, MD 21401; e-mail: jdkoss @ gwu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00785.x

A Mother’s Love: Gender, Altruism, and Spiritual Transformation by Bonnie Glass-Coffin

Abstract:
This article explores the concepts of altruism, spiritual connection, and shamanic healing as practiced by female curanderas in northern Peru. It suggests how coessence rather than transcendence is at the heart of the shamanic journey that both healers and patients embark upon in order to transform suffering. Using ethnographic and case-study research, it describes how the metaphors of maternal care, shared suffering, and compassionate love are used by female healers in this region to shape their patients’ understandings of illness and health as well as to construct their own understandings of the shaman’s role in their healing process. The healers studied adopt attitudes of acceptance, empathy, spiritual connection, and altruism as integral to their work and encourage their patients to do the same in order to regain a sense of mastery over their own suffering. Parallels are presented between the model of spiritual connection and healing described here and that described by both scholars of feminist theology and feminist spirituality such as Rosemary Radford Ruether and popular lecturers/authors such as Marianne Williamson.
Keywords:
altruism • gender • motherhood • Peru • Rosemary Radford Ruether • shamanism • spiritual transformation • Marianne Williamson
Bonnie Glass-Coffin is Professor of Anthropology at Utah State University, Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology, Old Main Hill 0730, Logan, UT 84322-0730; e-mail: glasscob @ cc.usu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00786.x

Ipseity, Alterity, and Community: The Tri-unity of Maya Therapeutic Healing by T. S. Harvey

Abstract:
Taking K’iche’ Maya therapeutic consultations in Guatemala as its focus, this essay explores some astonishing indigenous accounts of “healing-at-a-distance” and “pain passing” between healers and wellness-seekers. Rather than exoticizing or dismissing such reports, we attempt to understand what it means to conceive of the bodily boundaries of healers and wellness-seekers (self and other) as sympathetically defiable and transgressable in healing. Within the moral space of K’iche’ healing, when one cares to feel, if one dares to feel with another or others, the experiential space between healer and wellness-seeker is transformed as the alterity (otherness) of what is felt and who feels becomes (through a sympathy in ipseity) but one thing. I argue that Maya therapeutic healing may be seen as a triunity, involving a movement from an enfolded illness experience (alterity) to an unfolding sickness experience (ipseity), passing through empathy until participants together arrive at sympathy (community) to experience healing.
Keywords:
alterity • cultural psychology • healing • ipseity • Maya • medical anthropology • self/other concepts • sympathy • wellness-seeker
T. S. Harvey is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University, 238 Mather Memorial, 11220 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106; e-mail: tsh8 @ case.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00787.x

I to We: The Role of Consciousness Transformation in Compassion and Altruism by Cassandra Vieten, Tina Amorok, and Marilyn Mandala Schlitz

Abstract:
It is clear that human consciousness can be transformed through spiritual experiences and practices. Little is known, however, about what the predictors, mediators, and outcomes are of such transformations in consciousness. In-depth structured interviews were conducted with forty-seven teachers and scholars from religious and spiritual traditions and modern transformative movements to identify factors common to the transformative process across traditions. Compassion and altruism were almost universally identified as important outcomes of positive consciousness transformation. Results of our analysis suggest that altruism and compassion may arise as natural consequences of experiences of interconnection and oneness. These experiences appear to lead to shifts in perspective and changes in one’s sense of self and self in relationship to others. Based on these findings, we suggest several mechanisms by which transformative experiences and practices might influence the development of compassion and altruism.
Keywords:
altruism • compassion • consciousness • consciousness transformation • religion • spiritual development • spiritual experience • spiritual practice • spirituality • transformative practice • worldview
Cassandra Vieten is Research Psychologist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, 101 San Antonio Road, Petaluma, CA 94952, and Associate Scientist in the Complementary Medicine Research Group at California Pacific Medical Center’s Research Institute, 2200 Webster Street, #516, San Francisco, CA 94115; e-mail: cassivieten @ noetic.org org. Tina Amorok is a Research Associate at the Institute of Noetic Sciences; e-mail: tinaamorok @ noetic.org. Marilyn Schlitz is Vice-President for Research and Education at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Senior Scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute; e-mail: marilynschlitz @ noetic.org.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00788.x

Discussion: Altruism, Spiritually Merging with a Fellow Human Being’s Suffering by Edith L. B. Turner

Abstract:
This discussion focuses on the details of the wellsprings of altruism. The preceding articles in this section portray how spirit figures in various cultural guises appear in human lives with the gift of altruism, in a kind of seeding of the willing healer with the spirit’s presence and its accompanying power of love, altruism, and healing. The word altruism is related to the French autre and autrui, “other,” with a special meaning here implying a relationship of identification.
Keywords:
altruism • healing • pain • spiritual transformation • work of spirits
Edith L. B. Turner is editor of the journal Anthropology and Humanism and a member of the faculty of the Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400120, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4120; e-mail: elt9w @ virginia.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00789.x

Einstein, God, and Time

“If I Were God”: Einstein and Religion by John Hedley Brooke

Abstract:
Designed as an introductory lecture for the conference “Einstein, God and Time,” this essay provides a brief survey of three sets of relations-between Einstein and time, God and time, and Einstein and God. The question is raised whether Einstein’s rejection of absolute time held any implications for theology. It is argued that, despite Einstein’s denial and his exemplary caution, the fact that Isaac Newton had associated absolute space and absolute time with a deity who constituted them meant that a revisitation of theological questions was inevitable. Consideration is then given to the timelessness and changelessness of God, with a brief reference to eschatological issues. The question whether there might be parallels between the renunciation of Newtonian time by physicists and by Christian theologians is discussed with reference to recent commentary on the eschatological thinking of Jürgen Moltmann. Whether Einstein himself would have sympathized with these theologies is to be doubted, given his antipathy to anthropomorphic and anthropopathic concepts of deity. Finally, in exploring Einstein’s sometimes whimsical use of theological language, it becomes necessary to acknowledge that his well-known affirmation of the complementarity of science and religion rested on a distinctive construction of religion that allowed him to say he was a “deeply religious unbeliever.” Attempts to categorize his convictions, or to appropriate them for conventional theistic purposes, miss their subtlety and their apophatic resonances.
Keywords:
anthropomorphism • atheism • beauty • complementarity between science and religion • “cosmic religious feeling” • determinism • eschatology • free will • Judaism • pantheism • quantum theory • relativism • relativity • time • unity of nature
John Hedley Brooke is Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre at the University of Oxford, where he is also a Fellow of Harris Manchester College, Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TD; e-mail: john.brooke @ theology.ox.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00790.x

A Relativistic Eschatology: Time, Eternity, and Eschatology in Light of the Physics of Relativity by Antje Jackelén

Abstract:
Unique epistemological challenges arise whenever one embarks on the critical and self-critical reflection of the nature of time and the end of time. I attempt to construct my preference for an eschatological distinction between time and eternity from within a middle way, avoiding both the hubris that claims complete comprehension and the resignation that concedes readily to know nothing. Surveying the history of reflection on this multifaceted question of time, with its ephemeral and everlasting dimensions, I argue that the eschatological interplay between the “already” and the “not yet” has much to offer: promise for the religion-science dialogue as well as hope for humanity, especially for those on society’s bleakest edges. But understandings of time, to be authentically theological, must be also informed by cosmology and the physics of relativity. My proposal seeks to respect the theological and scientific interpretations of the nature of time, serving the ongoing, creative interaction of these disciplines. Between physics and theology I identify four formal differences in analyzing eschatology, all grounded in the one fundamental difference between extrapolation and promise. Discussion of what I term deficits in both the scientific and theological approaches leads to further examination of the complex relationship between time and eternity. I distinguish three models of such relationships, which I label the ontological, the quantitative, and the eschatological distinction between time and eternity. Because of the way it embraces a multiplicity of times, especially relating to the culmination and the consummation of creation, I opt for the eschatological model. The eschatological disruption of linear chronology relates well to relativistic physics: This model is open, dynamic, and relational, and it may add a new aspect to the debate over the block universe.
Keywords:
already and not yet • apophatic surplus • Christian eschatology • Oscar Cullmann • differentiated relationality • Freeman Dyson • Albert Einstein • eschatological difference between time and eternity • futurity • hope • modes of time • physics • potentiality • scientific eschatology • special relativity • time and eternity • time and space • Frank Tipler
Antje Jackelén is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology/Religion and Science at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 E. 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615, and director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science; e-mail: ajackele @ lstc.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00791.x

Space, Time, and Causality by John Polkinghorne

Abstract:
The characters of space, time, and causality are issues that are constrained by physics but that require also acts of metaphysical decision. Relativity theory is consistent both with the idea of an atemporal block universe and with a temporal universe of true becoming. Science’s account of causal properties is patchy and does not imply the closure of the universe to other forms of causal influence. Intrinsic unpredictabilities offer opportunities for metaphysical conjecture concerning the form that such additional causal principles might take. Different theological understandings of how God relates to time afford legitimate criteria for differing metaphysical decisions about the nature of temporality.
Keywords:
active information • block universe • causality • classical theology • Albert Einstein • metaphysics • open theology • relativity theory • space • temporal universe • time • unpredictability
John Polkinghorne is a Fellow and former President of Queens’ College, Cambridge, CB2 9ET, U.K.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00792.x

Articles

Is Altruism Good? Evolution, Ethics, and the Hunger for Theology by Nancey Murphy

Abstract:
This essay pushes the discussion of biology and altruism in radical directions by highlighting the moral ambiguity of biology itself. The extent to which we draw positive moral implications from animal behavior, and even the extent to which we see positive traits in animals, is shaped by the preconceptions and the purposes one brings to the study. These preconceptions, when examined, involve worldview issues that are all related in one way or another to either a theological position or some nontheistic substitute for an account of ultimate reality. It is arguable that Darwin’s own perceptions of nature were colored by the theological and social-ethical context in which he worked. William Paley’s natural theology, together with Thomas Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population, led many theologians of Darwin’s day to conclude that struggle, inequality, suffering, and death are basic features of the natural world and are the result of divine providence. No wonder, then, that Darwin was able to see competition as the major key to natural selection. The moral ambiguity of biology can be pressed further by contrasting contemporary attempts to find altruism in animal behavior with the conclusions reached by Friedrich Nietzsche, partly in response to his reading of Darwin. Nietzsche concluded that the standard, more or less Christian, morality of his day is best labeled “slave morality.” It is created by the weak in order to coerce the strong to provide for them. In this essay I contend that competing views of morality can be adjudicated only by turning to an account of ultimate reality. Whether Nietzsche is right in arguing against the morality of altruism depends on whether God is indeed dead.
Keywords:
altruism • Charles Darwin • ethics • Alasdair MacIntyre • Friedrich Nietzsche • social Darwinism
Nancey Murphy is Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Seminary, 135 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena, CA 91182.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00793.x

An Inquiry into the Origins of Life on Earth- A Synthesis of Process Thought in Science and Theology by Ross L. Stein

Abstract:
An initiating event in the development of life on earth is thought to have been the generation of self-replicating catalytic molecules (SRCMs). Despite decades of work to reveal how SRCMs could have formed, a chemically detailed hypothesis remains elusive. I maintain that this is due, in part, to a failure of metaphysics and question this research program’s ontologic foundation of materialism. In this essay I suggest another worldview that may provide more adequate ontologic underpinnings: Whitehead’s process philosophy of dynamic, relational becoming. Here we come to see molecules not as unchanging objects but rather as processes that possess the capacity for subjective experience. Molecular transformation is driven by experience, both internal and external. Process thought accounts for the world’s creative impulse by positing a God who lures the becoming of all entities toward greater complexity and value. Chemical evolution is now seen as divine motivation of molecular becoming and, as such, possesses the potential for introducing true novelty into the world. The “causal joint” between God and world is hypothesized to be an energy transduction at the molecular level that allows divine action without violation of chemical principles or physical laws.
Keywords:
abiogenesis • origins • process philosophy • Alfred North Whitehead
Ross Stein is Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Laboratory for Drug Discovery in Neurodegeneration of the Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration and Repair, 65 Landsdowne Street, Cambridge, MA 02139; e-mail: rstein @ rics.bwh.harvard.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2006.00794.x



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