Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
43 (3), September 2008

Table of Contents


Theory and Practice: Neural Buddhism, Ethics, and Cultural Captivity by Philip Hefner

Does our work on the issues of religion and science focus more on theoretical concepts or on practical issues of embodied life in the world? My sense is that more is written on theory in our field than on practice. Most thinking about science and religion today takes place among academics who devote much effort to theoretical concepts that explain the nature of things. When they do reflect on practical situations—as for example we find in the fields of medical practice, feminism, and environmentalism—their work forms quite a different genre than when they work with theoretical concepts alone.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00936.x

Sacrificial Agape

Sacrificial Agape and Group Selection in Contemporary American Christianity by J. Jeffrey Tillman

Human altruistic behavior has received a great deal of scientific attention over the past forty years. Altruistic-like behaviors found among insects and animals have illumined certain human behaviors, and the revival of interest in group selection has focused attention on how sacrificial altruism, although not adaptive for individuals, can be adaptive for groups. Curiously, at the same time that sociobiology has placed greater emphasis on the value of sacrificial altruism, Protestant ethics in America has moved away from it. While Roman Catholic ethics has a longstanding tradition emphasizing an ordering of love, placing love of self second only to love for God, Protestant ethics in America has adopted a similar stance only recently, replacing a strong sacrificial ethic with one focusing on mutual regard for self and others. If sociobiology is correct about the significance of sacrificial altruistic behaviors for the survival of communities, this shift away from sacrificial agape by American Christianity may cut the community off from important resources for the development of a global ethic crucial for the survival of that faith community and humankind itself.
agape • altruism • Christian love • evolutionary ethics group selection • Protestant ethics • sacrifice • sociobiology
J. Jeffrey Tillman is Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Wayland Baptist University, Wichita Falls, Texas. His address is 4423 Old Windthorst Rd., Wichita Falls, TX 76310.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00937.x

Love as Sacrifice, Love as Mutuality: Response to Jeffrey Tillman by Don Browning

Jeffrey Tillman is perceptive in noticing that certain Protestant theologians have used evolutionary theory to become more sympathetic to Roman Catholic views of Christian love. But he is incorrect in saying that these formulations deemphasize a place for self-sacrifice in Christian love. Christian love defined as a strenuous equal-regard for both other and self also requires sacrificial efforts to restore love as equal-regard when finitude and sin undermine genuine mutuality and community.
Christian love • equal-regard • group selection • kin altruism • neo-Thomism • psychotherapy • sacrificial love • self-regard survival
Don Browning is Alexander Campbell Professor of Religious Ethics and the Social Sciences Emeritus, Divinity School, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637; e-mail: dsbrowni @ midway.uchicago.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00938.x

Theology, the University, Metaphysics, and Respectability

In Praise of Folly? Theology and the University by Gregory R. Peterson

To suppose the possibility of dialogue between theology and science is to suppose that theology is an intellectually worthy partner to engage in dialogue with science. The status of theology as a discipline, however, remains contested, one sign of which is the absence of theology from the university. I argue that a healthy theology-science dialogue would benefit from the presence of theology as an academic discipline in the university. Theology and theologians would benefit from the much closer contact with university disciplines, including the sciences. The university and the sciences would benefit from the presence of theology, providing a department of ultimate concern, where big questions may be asked and ideologies critiqued. A university theology would need to meet standards of academic integrity.
theological method • theology • ultimate concern • university
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.1467-9744.2008.00939.x

Is Theology Respectable as Metaphysics? by Nicholaos Jones

Theology involves inquiry into God’s nature, God’s purposes, and whether certain experiences or pronouncements come From God. These inquiries are metaphysical, part of theology’s concern with the veridicality of signs and realities that are independent from humans. Several research programs concerned with the relation between theology and science aim to secure theology’s intellectual standing as a metaphysical discipline by showing that it satisfies criteria that make modern science reputable, on the grounds that modern science embodies contemporary canons of respectability for metaphysical disciplines. But, no matter the ways in which theology qua metaphysics is shown to resemble modern science, these research programs seem destined for failure. For, given the currently dominant approaches to understanding modern scientific epistemology, theological reasoning is crucially dissimilar to modern scientific reasoning in that it treats the existence of God as a certainty immune to refutation. Barring the development of an epistemology of modern science that is amenable to theology, theology as metaphysics is intellectually disreputable.
epistemology • evidentialism • falsification • metaphysics • modern science • rationality • respectability • scientific method • scientific reasoning • theological reasoning • theology
Nicholaos Jones is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, 332 Morton Hall, Huntsville, AL 35899; e-mail: Nick.Jones @ uah.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00940.x

Maintaining Respectability: Response to Nicholaos Jones by Gregory R. Peterson

Nicholaos Jones argues that theology is not a respectable discipline because of its inability to meet the standards of contemporary science. Although Jones makes a bold claim, I suggest that he has not made his case by focusing on the question of defining science and metaphysics appropriately, the analysis of the literature he cites, and his central claim that theology presupposes the absolute certainty of God.
Philip Clayton • Imre Lakatos • Nancey Murphy • scientific method • theological method
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.1467-9744.2008.00941.x

Evidence and Falsification: Challenges to Gregory Peterson by Nicholaos Jones

In this reply to Gregory Peterson’s essay “Maintaining Respectability,” which itself is a response to my “Is Theology Respectable as Metaphysics?” I elaborate upon my claims that theology treats God’s existence as an absolute certainty immune to refutation and that modern science constitutes the canons of respectable reasoning for metaphysical disciplines. I conclude with some comments on Peterson’s “In Praise of Folly? Theology and the University.”
evidentialism • falsification • metaphysics • scientific method • theology
Nicholaos Jones is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, 332 Morton Hall, Huntsville, AL 35899; e-mail: Nick.Jones @ uah.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00942.x

Philosophy of Science—Nineteenth-Century Developments

Naturalistic Methodology in an Emerging Scientific Psychology: Lotze and Fechner in the Balance by Patrick McDonald

The development of a methodologically naturalistic approach to physiological and experimental psychology in the nineteenth century was not primarily driven by a naturalistic agenda. The work of R. Hermann Lotze and G. T. Fechner help to illustrate this claim. I examine a selected set of central commitments in each thinkers philosophical outlook, particularly regarding the human soul and the nature of God, that departed strongly from a reductionist materialism. Yet, each contributed significantly to the formation of experimental and physiological psychology. Their work was influenced substantively by their respective philosophical commitments. Nevertheless, the evaluation of the merits of their specific proposals, Fechner’s psychophysics and Lotze’s local sign hypothesis respectively, did not depend upon sharing their metaphysical views regarding the human soul or the nature of God. A moderate, but significant, distinction between the contexts of discovery and of justification aids in understanding this balancing act.
G. T. Fechner • local signs • R. Hermann Lotze • Ernst Mach • methodological naturalism • neo-Kantianism • physiological psychology • psychophysics • spatial perception
Patrick McDonald is associate professor of philosophy at Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave. W, Ste. 109, Seattle, WA 98119; e-mail: mcdonp @ spu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00943.x

Man of Science, Man of Faith: Pierre Duhem’s “Physique de Croyant” by Robert J. Deltete

The essay “Physique de croyant” is an important statement of Pierre Duhem’s position on the relation between his science and his religion. Duhem trod a difficult path, some might say an impossible one, in Republican France because he was both a physicist and a devout Catholic. In this essay, using “Physique de croyant” as a touchstone, I explore the way in which he tried to reconcile his conflicting allegiances. There are several strands in Duhem’s strategy that need to be teased out. First, Duhem sought to defend his science against the charge that it was materialist and atheist. He did this with his claim, usually called the autonomy thesis, that physics and metaphysics are fundamentally different enterprises—that physics, properly conducted, has no metaphysical implications and requires no metaphysical support. This did not deny metaphysics its rightful territory. Second, Duhem used his segregationist position to defend the Roman Catholic Church against the assaults of the positivist scientism then in favor with the Republicans. Third, he also sought to protect his science against fellow Catholics who wanted to use it for polemical purposes. I develop and evaluate these lines of defense.
Pierre Duhem • natural classification • Abel Rey
Robert J. Deltete is Professor of Philosophy and Director of Catholic Studies at Seattle University, 901 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122-1090.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00944.x

How the Philosophy of Science Changed Religion at Nineteenth-Century Harvard by David K. Nartonis

Nineteenth-century Harvard faculty and students looked to philosophical ideas about the proper and effective study of nature as the model of rationality to which their religion must conform. As these ideas changed, notions of rationality changed and so did Harvard religion.
nineteenth-century Harvard • philosophy of science rational religion
David K. Nartonis is an independent scholar. His mailing address is 1200 Washington Street #218, Boston, MA 02118.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00945.x

Questioning Scientific Faith in the Late Nineteenth Century by Frederick Gregory

The late nineteenth century was not only a time in which religious faith was questioned in light of increasing claims of natural science. It is more accurate to see the familiar Victorian crisis of faith as but one aspect of a larger historical phenomenon, one in which the methods of both religion and science came under scrutiny. Among several examinations of the status of scientific knowledge in the waning decades of the century, the treatment of the subject by the German theologian Wilhelm Herrmann and philosopher Hans Vaihinger rejected its objective nature and denied that either scientists or theologians had access to the truth of nature. Although this stance regarding the nature of science, religion, and their relationship was limited to intellectuals in German society at the time, it foreshadowed developments in our own day in which the traditional search for truth has been problematized.
correspondence theory of truth • crisis of faith • fictions • Wilhelm Herrmann • hypotheses • irrationality of nature • knowledge as the body’s mechanism • metaphysics • Naturbeherrschung • objective knowledge • positivism • pragmatism • skepticism • unified worldview • Hans Vaihinger
Frederick Gregory is Professor of History of Science, Department of History, University of Florida, P.O. Box 117320, Gainesville, FL 32611-7320; e-mail: fgregory @ ufl.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00946.x

Perspectives on Evil

Structures of Evil Encountered in Pastoral Counseling by Marjorie Hall Davis

This essay explores some relationships between social structures or systems and the internal psychological structures or systems of individuals. After defining evil, pastoral counseling, and structures or systems, I present examples of persons affected by social systems of power who have sought counseling. I present a form of counseling known as Internal Family System Therapy (IFS) and show with an extended example how I have worked with clients using this approach. In this process the client is guided to use “Self-leadership” in healing and transforming inner conflict between various subpersonalities or “parts.” I then compare the IFS approach to one used by mediators in community conflict transformation and peacebuilding.
behavioral sciences • conflict transformation • creative transformation • domination systems • evil • healing • internal family systems • mediation • Mennonite • pastoral care • pastoral counseling • pastoral psychotherapy • peace • Plowshares Institute • principalities and powers • Richard C. Schwartz • Self • spiritual transformation • spirituality • systems • Walter Wink
Marjorie Hall Davis is a minister of the United Church of Christ and a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. Her address is 30 Barn Door Hills Road, Granby, CT 06035; e-mail: mhdavis283 @ aol.com.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00947.x

Understanding and Responding to Human Evil: A Multicausal Approach by Karl E. Peters

One task of religion is delivering human beings from evil within and between themselves. Defining good as well-being or functioning well, evil as impaired functioning, and doing evil as impairing the functioning of others, this essay explores how religions in consort with other social institutions might understand and respond to evil in light of contemporary scientific knowledge. To understand evil I use a multicausal approach that includes both biological and sociocultural environmental causes. I illustrate the use of this approach by analyzing how we might understand and respond to human rage and violence.
anger • brain • evil • evolution • good • Melvin Konner • limbic system • Andrew Newberg • rage • Sacred center • violence • well-being
Karl E. Peters is professor emeritus of philosophy and religion, Rollins College. His address is 30 Barn Door Hills Road, Granby, CT 06035; e-mail: kpeters396 @ cox.net.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00948.x


Science-and-Religion/Spirituality/Theology Dialogue: What For and By Whom? by K. Helmut Reich

In recent years the science-and-religion/spirituality/theology dialogue has flourished, but the impact on the minds of the general public, on society as a whole, has been less impressive. Also, religious believers and outspoken atheists face each other without progressing toward a common understanding. The view taken here is that achieving a more marked impact of the dialogue would be beneficial for a peaceful survival of humanity. I aim to argue the why and how of that task by analyzing three possible purposes of the dialogue and their logical interdependence, suggest conceivable improvements of the quality and extent of the current efforts toward a negotiated action plan, and consider an enlargement of the circle of the actors involved. The dialogue that has been carried on between science and religion/spirituality/theology could be expanded and usefully applied to some major problems in the present world.
actors • art involvement • humanity’s present situation • method • objectives • participants • purpose • science-religion/spirituality/theology dialogue
K. Helmut Reich is professor in the School of Consciousness Studies and Sacred Traditions, Rutherford University, and a Senior Research Fellow Emeritus, University of Fribourg. His mailing address is Route des Chemins de Fer 3, CH-1823 GLION (Switzerland); e-mail: helmut.reich @ tele2.ch.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00949.x

Totemism, Metaphor, and Tradition: Incorporating Cultural Traditions into Evolutionary Psychology Explanations of Religion by Craig T. Palmer, Lyle B. Steadman, Chris Cassidy, and Kathryn Coe

Totemism, a topic that fascinated and then was summarily dismissed by anthropologists, has been resurrected by evolutionary psychologists’ recent attempts to explain religion. New approaches to religion are all based on the assumption that religious behavior is the result of evolved psychological mechanisms. We focus on two aspects of Totemism that may present challenges to this view. First, if religious behavior is simply the result of evolved psychological mechanisms, would it not spring forth anew each generation from an individual’s psychological mechanisms? Yet, Australian Totemism, like other forms of Totemism, is profoundly traditional, copied by one generation from the prior ones for hundreds of generations. Regardless of personal inclinations, individuals are obligated to participate. Second, it is problematic to assume that all practitioners of Totemism actually believe their religious claims. We propose an alternative explanation that accounts for the persistence of Totemism and that does not rely on an assumption that its practitioners are preliterate or naive because they have strange beliefs. We focus on Totemism as a cultural mechanism aimed at building and sustaining social relationships among close and distant kinsmen.
evolutionary psychology • religion • Totemism • tradition
Craig T. Palmer is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri-Columbia, 107 Swallow Hall, Columbia, MO 65211-1440; e-mail: PalmerCT @ missouri.edu. Lyle B. Steadman is an Emeritus Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, 539 W 15th St. Tempe, AZ 85281; e-mail: lyle.steadman @ asu.edu. Chris Cassidy is a freelance writer, 1529 Spring Street, Bethleham, PA 18018; e-mail: yavl4 @ aol.com. Kathryn Coe is Associate Professor, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, PO Box 245209, Room A250, Tucson, AZ 85724-5209; e-mail: kcoe @ email.arizona.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00950.x

Development of Objective Criteria to Evaluate the Authenticity of Revelation by Tariq Mustafa

Science has been dazzlingly successful in explaining nature. Scientific advances also have led to certain undesirable, though unintended, side effects, one of which is alienation from the spiritual. Revelation comes from the Divine. But what is the status of authenticity of a particular piece claimed to be revelation? What is its historical validity and current state of preservation? This essay proposes to develop a list of rational criteria, in consultation with all stakeholders, for addressing the subject. The aim is to bring objectivity into this discourse by placing it more on the turf of reason rather than basing it on considerations of faith and prior allegiance.
authentic revelation • Creator • evaluative framework • falsifiable statements • logical criteria • rational evidence • reason • revelation • SETI project • unfavorable side effects of science
Tariq Mustafa worked with the United States Atomic Energy Commission (USAEC) at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and with NASA at their Wallop’s Island Range, Virginia. He led the building of Pakistan’s first rocket range and retired as Federal Secretary after heading a number of ministries of the Government of Pakistan, including the Ministry of Science and Technology; e-mail: mustafatariq @ hotmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00951.x


Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1500: From Aristotle to Copernicus by Edward Grant, reviewed by William E. Carroll

William E. Carroll; Blackfriars Hall; University of Oxford; 64 St. Giles; Oxford OX1 3LY; England
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00952.x

Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will by Nancey Murphy and Warren S. Brown, reviewed by Daniel Lim

Daniel Lim; 12327 Essex Street; Cerritos, CA 90703
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00953.x

Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Life by Paul Davies, reviewed by Holmes Rolston, III

Holmes Rolston, III; Dept. of Philosophy; Colorado State University; Fort Collins, CO 80523
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00954.x

Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist by Joan Roughgarden, reviewed by Lisa L. Stenmark

Lisa L. Stenmark; San Jose State University; Dept. of Humanities; One Washington Square; San Jose, CA 95192-0092
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2008.00955.x

Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts