Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
44 (3), September 2009

Table of Contents


Zygon, Evolving by Willem B. Drees and Philip Hefner

In forty-four years just three editors have served Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science: Ralph Burhoe, Karl Peters, and Philip Hefner. Ralph Burhoe, the founding father of the journal, was deeply involved with scientists who had a broad view of human responsibility and human flourishing (see Breed 1992). Right from the beginning, the issue was not just the compatibility of scientific insights and religious convictions; the issue was also to draw upon scientific insights in order to understand religion’s role in human evolution (Burhoe 1979) and to promote religious and moral views that would be credible and relevant. The philosopher of religion Karl Peters, editor for ten years and coeditor for development for another twenty, continued the tradition. In his recent work he explores personal meaning in the context of our best scientific understanding, including the best understanding provided by the human sciences (Peters 2008a, b). The editor of the last twenty years, Philip Hefner, is a systematic theologian by profession and equally engaged in religion-and-science, as witnessed by his current writings, such as his Goshen lectures (Hefner 2008).
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01012.x


The Emergence of Transcendental Norms in Human Systems by Mark Graves

Terrence Deacon has described three orders of emergence; Arthur Peacocke and others have suggested four levels of human systems and sciences; and Philip Clayton has postulated an additional, transcendent, level. Orders and levels describe distinct aspects of emergence, with orders characterizing topological complexity and levels characterizing theoretical knowledge and causal power. By using Deacon’s orders to analyze and relate each of the four “lower” levels one can project that analysis on the transcendent level to gain insight into the teleodynamic emergence of transcendent-level systems. I argue that cross-cultural interactions among human cultural-level systems results in the emergence of the “universal” transcendental norms historically characterized as the Greek Good, Beauty, and Truth. These norms require a dynamic existence that I characterize as the emergence of Spirit, using Josiah Royce’s community of interpretation, and that I suggest provides a pragmatic clarification of Clayton’s transcendent level. An understanding of those emergent norms clarifies ethical systems, highlights the importance of aesthetics in understanding scientific systems, and suggests the necessity of community in fruitful science-and-religion dialogue on human systems.
aesthetics • community of scholars • Terrence Deacon • emergence • emergent systems theory • ethics • human systems • orders of emergence • pragmatism • Josiah Royce • science and religion • systems theory • theology and science • transcendentals • transcendent level • universal norms
Mark Graves is Scholar in Residence at the Jesuit School of Theology, 1735 Le Roy Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709; e-mail: mgraves @ jstb.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01013.x

Divine Action and Divine Transcendence

Theistic Naturalism and “Special” Divine Providence by Christopher C. Knight

Although naturalistic perspectives are an important component of their accounts of divine action, most participants in the current dialogue between science and theology eschew a purely naturalistic model. They believe that certain events of divine providence require a special mode of divine action, over and above that inherent in naturalistic processes. The analogy of human providential action suggests, however, that a strong theistic naturalism can account for these events. This model does not depend on a particular notion of God’s relationship to time and is not inherently implausible from a scientific perspective. Although it can be interpreted deistically, the model also is consonant with a nondeistic theology that may be described as involving a pansacramental or incarnational naturalism.
divine action • naturalism • panentheism • pansacramentalism • providence
Christopher C. Knight is Executive Secretary of the International Society for Science and Religion and a research associate of the Von Hügel Institute at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, England. His mailing address is ISSR Office, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge CB3 0BN, Great Britain.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01014.x

Divine Agency and the Principle of the Conservation of Energy by Robert Larmer

Many contemporary thinkers seeking to integrate theistic belief and scientific thought reject what they regard as two extremes. They disavow deism in which God is understood simply to uphold the existence of the physical universe, and they exclude any view of divine influence that suggests the performance of physical work through an immaterial cause. Deism is viewed as theologically inadequate, and acceptance of direct immaterial causation of physical events is viewed as scientifically illegitimate. This desire to avoid both deism and any positing of God as directly intervening in the physical order has led to models of divine agency that seek to defend the reality of divine causal power yet affirm the causal closure of the physical. I argue, negatively, that such models are unsuccessful in their attempts to affirm both the reality of divine causal power acting in the created world and the causal closure of the physical and, positively, that the assumption that underlies these models, namely that any genuine integration of theistic and scientific belief must posit the causal closure of the physical on pain of violating well-established conservation principles, is mistaken.
chaos • conservation of energy • divine agency • Nancey Murphy • panentheism • Arthur Peacocke • John Polkinghorne • quantum indeterminacy • supervenience • theism • top-down causality • Thomas Tracy
Robert Larmer is Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of New Brunswick, P.O. Box 4400, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada E3B 5A3; e-mail: rlarmer @ unb.ca.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01015.x

John Polkinghorne and Bernard Lonergan on the Scientific Status of Theology by Edward M. Hogan

On the basis of his acquaintance with theoretical elementary particle physics, and following the lead of Thomas Torrance, John Polkinghorne maintains that the data upon which a science is based, and the method by which it treats those data, must respect the idiosyncratic nature of the object with which the science is concerned. Polkinghorne calls this the “accommodation” (or “conformity”) of a discipline to its object. The question then arises: What should we expect religious experience and theological method to be like if they are accommodated to the idiosyncratic nature of God? Polkinghorne’s methodological program is typical of postcritical positions in the theology-science dialogue in holding that the fiduciary element in theological method is simply a species of the fiduciary element that is a de facto part of all knowing—in other words, theological method does not differ in fundamental kind from the methods of the natural sciences. But this program may contain the seeds of an alienation of theological method from the transcendence of God similar to the double self-alienation of theology described by Michael Buckley in At the Origins of Modern Atheism. I contend that something like Bernard Lonergan’s position on how the method of faith seeking understanding is related to the methods of the natural sciences is exactly the sort of thing that one should expect on the supposition of Polkinghorne’s principle of accommodation, at least if the God who is the object of theological science is transcendent. The way in which the divine differs from all other objects ought to be disclosed or reflected in religious experience and theological method. Polkinghorne charts the course for an accommodated theology, but it seems to be Lonergan who is more intent on following it.
accommodation • At the Origins of Modern Atheism • Bernard Lonergan • John Polkinghorne • theological method • transcendence
Edward M. Hogan works for the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, 5800 Weiss St., Saginaw, MI 48603.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01016.x

Love in the “Unidiverse”: A Salesian Perspective on Chance by Daniel P. Wisniewski, O.S.F.S.

The notion of the universe evolving through an interplay of law and chance raises numerous theological questions. In particular, scientific evidence of chance confronts images of God and divine action within this emerging worldview. To interpret Christian faith within a scientific world, figures from church tradition are drawn into the conversation, and a particular spirituality is appropriated to highlight the relationship between science and religion. The personal, practical, accessible spirituality of Saint Francis de Sales is retrieved for the discussion. This Christian humanist recognized the love of God as paramount to a human-divine relationship. The themes of divine providence and the will of God illustrate a spirituality of the heart that provides relevant insights into the theological implications of chance. An overview of how the reality of chance has posed numerous questions is considered before drawing on the spirituality of de Sales. Various theological views on chance are presented. As Salesian thought enhances an understanding of divine action in a world of chance, contemporary theologies of chance provide a framework for understanding the teachings of the saint in a new way.
chance • Christian humanism • Francis de Sales • human-divine relationship • love of God • natural providence • natural theology • relationship between religion and science • Salesian spirituality • signified will of God • supernatural providence • theology of nature • unidiverse • will of God’s good pleasure
Daniel P. Wisniewski is an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, is Instructor of Mathematics at DeSales University, 2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley, PA 18034; e-mail: Daniel.Wisniewski @ desales.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01017.x

Social Apes in God’s Image

Embodied Transcendence: Bonobos and Humans in Community by Nancy R. Howell

Multiple dimensions and textures of transcendence are evoked not just by reflection on humans in their relationship with God and community but also by encounter with bonobos—primates that are very close genetic kin with humans. The promise for theological reflection is rooted in bonobo social adaptation as a highly cooperative species. Bonobo sexual behavior accompanies and expresses a high level of social intelligence. The point of my project is not a scientific one intended to argue persuasively for individual self-awareness or self-transcendence in bonobos. Instead, it emphasizes connectedness, interdependence, and sociality as windows on transcendence. Such a view does not require consciousness or intellectual recognition of self-in-relation, but it certainly presumes embodiment of self-in-relation. Various textures of transcendence reflect multidirectional relationships among Pan paniscus (bonobos), Homo sapiens, and the Sacred.
bonobo • immanence • language acquisition • panentheism • process thought • social organization • transcendence
Nancy R. Howell is Professor of Theology and Philosophy of Religion at Saint Paul School of Theology, 5123 E. Truman Road, Kansas City, MO 64127; e-mail: howellnr @ spst.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01018.x

Moral Apes, Human Uniqueness, and the Image of God by Oliver Putz

Recent advances in evolutionary biology and ethology suggest that humans are not the only species capable of empathy and possibly morality. These findings are of no little consequence for theology, given that a nonhuman animal as a free moral agent would beg the question if human beings are indeed uniquely created in God’s image. I argue that apes and some other mammals have moral agency and that a traditional interpretation of the imago Dei is incorrectly equating specialness with exclusivity. By framing the problem in terms of metaphor, following the work of Paul Ricoeur and Sallie McFague, I propose that the concept of the imago Dei could be extended to accommodate moral species other than our own.
cognitive ethology • evolution • great apes • human uniqueness • image of God • moral agency • nonhuman animals
Oliver Putz is a student at the Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA 94709; e-mail: oputz @ ses.gtu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01019.x

The Extended Mind and Religious Thought

Mindscapes and Landscapes: Exploring the Extended Mind by Leslie Marsh

This brief article introduces a symposium discussing the extended mind thesis and its suggestive relation to religious thought. Essays by Mark Rowlands, Lynne Rudder Baker, Teed Rockwell, Joel Krueger, Leonard Angel, and Matthew Day present a variety of perspectives.
David Chalmers • Andy Clark • extended mind
Leslie Marsh is a researcher at the Centre for Research in Cognitive Science, Department of Informatics, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QH, United Kingdom; e-mail: l.marsh @ sussex.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01020.x

The Extended Mind by Mark Rowlands

The extended mind is the thesis that some mental—typically cognitive—processes are partly composed of operations performed by cognizing organisms on the world around them. The operations in question are ones of manipulation, transformation, or exploitation of environmental structures. And the structures in question are ones that carry information pertinent to the success or efficacy of the cognitive process in question. This essay examines the thesis of the extended mind and evaluates the arguments for and against it.
environment • extended mind • functionalism • mark of the cognitive
Mark Rowlands is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, 1252 Memorial Drive, Ashe 721, Coral Gables, FL 33124-4670; e-mail: mrowlands @ mail.as.miami.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01021.x

Persons and the Extended-Mind Thesis by Lynne Rudder Baker

The extended-mind thesis (EM) is the claim that mentality need not be situated just in the brain, or even within the boundaries of the skin. Some versions take “extended selves” be to relatively transitory couplings of biological organisms and external resources. First, I show how EM can be seen as an extension of traditional views of mind. Then, after voicing a couple of qualms about EM, I reject EM in favor of a more modest hypothesis that recognizes enduring subjects of experience and agents with integrated bodies. Nonetheless, my modest hypothesis allows subpersonal states to have nonbiological parts that play essential roles in cognitive processing. I present empirical warrant for this modest hypothesis and show how it leaves room for science and religion to coexist.
bionic • constitution view • EM • enduring persons • evolution • extended minds • externalism • intentional agents • neural prostheses • parts • personal • quasi-naturalism • religion • science • subjects of experience • subpersonal • vehicle
Lynne Rudder Baker is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy, 352 Bartlett Hall, University of Massachusetts, 130 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003-9269; e-mail: lrbaker @ philos.umass.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01022.x

Minds, Intrinsic Properties, and Madhyamaka Buddhism by Teed Rockwell

Certain philosophers and scientists have noticed that there are data that do not seem to fit with the traditional view known as the Mind/Brain Identity theory (MBI). This has inspired a new theory about the mind known as the Hypothesis of Extended Cognition (HEC). Now there is a growing controversy over whether these data actually require extending the mind out beyond the brain. Such arguments, despite their empirical diversity, have an underlying form. They all are disputes over where to draw the line between intrinsic and relational causal powers. The second-century Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna deals with similar issues when he argues for a middle way between the two positions that were known in his time by the terms eternalism and nihilism. Eternalism, like MBI, asserts that the mind is a permanent enduring substance (although the two theories disagree as to how long mind endures). Nihilism argued that the mind had no intrinsic existence, and today some argue that HEC could lead us to a similar conclusion. Nagarjuna’s argument for a middle way between these two extremes is similar to an argument that can be made for HEC. We can accept that neither the brain nor any other single physical item is identical to the mind without falling down the slippery slope that leads to “The mind does not really exist, and therefore we are one with everything.” Nagarjuna was correct to say that the mind has conventional reality—that the mind exists even though there is no sharp border between the mind and the world.
extended mind • hypothesis of extended cognition • mind/brain identity theory • Nagarjuna
Teed Rockwell is Lecturer in Philosophy, Sonoma State University, Nichols 363, 1801 East Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA 94928; e-mail: mcmf @ sfo.com.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01023.x

Empathy and the Extended Mind by Joel W. Krueger

I draw upon the conceptual resources of the extended mind thesis (EM) to analyze empathy and interpersonal understanding. Against the dominant mentalistic paradigm, I argue that empathy is fundamentally an extended bodily activity and that much of our social understanding happens outside of the head. First, I look at how the two dominant models of interpersonal understanding, theory theory and simulation theory, portray the cognitive link between folk psychology and empathy. Next, I challenge their internalist orthodoxy and offer an alternative “extended” characterization of empathy. In support of this characterization, I analyze some narratives of individuals with Moebius syndrome, a kind of expressive deficit resulting from bilateral facial paralysis. I conclude by discussing how a Zen Buddhist ethics of responsiveness is helpful for articulating the practical significance of an extended, body-based account of empathy.
empathy • extended mind • intersubjectivity • Moebius syndrome • phenomenology • simulation theory • social cognition • theory theory • Zen Buddhism
Joel W. Krueger is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Danish National Research Foundation, Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen, Njalsgade 140-142, 5th Floor, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark; e-mail: joelk @ hum.ku.dk.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01024.x

Quintuple Extension: Mind, Body, Humanism, Religion, Secularism by Leonard Angel

Extension of the system that includes the key substrates for sensation, perception, emotion, volition, and cognition, and all representational sources for cognition, supports the view that there is an extended mind and an extended body. These intellectual views can be made practical in a humanist system based on extensions and in religious systems based on extensions. Independently, there is also an institutional extension of secularism. Hence, I maintain, there are five principal forms of extension.
body • extended body • extended mind • extension • humanism • mind • religion • secular wisdom institute • secularism
Leonard Angel is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Institute for Ethics and Global Justice at Douglas College, P.O. Box 2503, New Westminster, BC, V3L 5B2, Canada; e-mail: Leonard_Angel @ douglas.bc.ca.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01025.x

Constructing Religion without The Social: Durkheim, Latour, and Extended Cognition by Matthew Day

I take up the question of how models of extended cognition might redirect the academic study of religion. Entering into a conversation of sorts with Emile Durkheim and Bruno Latour regarding the “overtakenness” of social agency, I argue that a robust portrait of extended cognition must redirect our interest in explaining religion in two key ways. First, religious studies should take up the methodological principle of symmetry that informs contemporary histories of science and begin theorizing the efficacy of gods as social actors. Second, theorists of religion should begin noting how the work required to construct spaces in which the gods appear depends on the construction of disciplined and capable subjects.
Emile Durkheim • extended cognition • Bruno Latour • sociology of associations
Matthew Day is Assistant Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion, Florida State University, 641 University Way, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1520; e-mail: mday @ fsu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01026.x


Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel C. Dennett, reviewed by Jerome A. Stone

Jerome A. Stone, Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago, IL. 60637
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01027.x

Panentheism—The Other God of the Philosophers: From Plato to the Present by John W. Cooper, reviewed by George Tsakiridis

George Tsakiridis, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 E. 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615; scienceandtheology @ yahoo.com
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2009.01028.x

Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts