Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
47 (3), September 2012

Table of Contents


Science and the Religions of the World by Willem B. Drees

The German theologian Adolf Harnack (later “Von Harnack,” 1851-1930) was a liberal German theologian and a great scholar of Christian history. He was among the founders of the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft (the predecessor of the Max Planck Gesellschaft, the most prominent organization of German research institutes) and its first president (1911-1930, succeeded by the physicist Max Planck). By the way, that a theologian could have this role corresponds with the broad sense of “science” captured in the German term “Wissenschaft.” Harnack was open-minded and critical in his theological engagement and well connected with scientists and scholars of all fields. In his time, as in our time, the study of other religions was discussed. Harnack was not dogmatic about Christianity; he rather was a great critic of entrenched positions and well aware of the plurality of perspectives. He had published on various disputes in early Christianity, including Gnosticism and also the challenge of Marcion (a form of dualism, distinguishing the creator of the world and the Father of Jesus Christ).

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01270.x


Spirituality for Naturalists by Jerome A. Stone

The views of eleven writers who develop a naturalized spirituality, from Baruch Spinoza and George Santayana to Sam Harris, AndrŽe Comte-Sponville, Ursula Goodenough, and Sharon Welch and others are presented. Then the writer’s own theory is developed. This is a pluralistic notion of sacredness, an adjective referring to unmanipulable events of overriding importance. The difficulties in using traditional religious words, such as God and spiritual are addressed.
God • naturalism • religion • religious naturalism • reverence • sacred • spirituality
Jerome A. Stone is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at William Rainey Harper College, Palatine, IL; affiliated community minister with the Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL; and on the adjunct faculty of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. He may be contacted at 2323 McDaniel, #4116, Evanston, IL 60201, USA; e-mail: Jersustone @ aol.com.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01279.x

Barbour’s Typologies and the Contemporary Debate on Islam and Science by Stefano Bigliardi

Despite various criticisms, Ian Barbour’s fourfold classification of the possible relationships between religion and science remains influential. I compare Barbour’s taxonomy with the theories of four authors who, in the last four decades, have addressed the relationship between science and religion from a Muslim perspective. The aim of my analysis is twofold. First, I offer a comparative perspective to the debate on science and Islam. Second, following Barbour’s suggestion, I test the general applicability of his categories by comparing them with a discourse on science and religion that is not focused on Christianity. In the first section, I reconstruct Barbour’s typologies, recalling some major objections to them, and arguing why despite the latter, Barbour’s model is employed for the present analysis. I also reconstruct Barbour’s parallel model for the relationships between different religions. In the second section, I reconstruct the discourse on science and religion developed by the Palestinian-American scholar Ismail Raji al-Faruqi. The third section is devoted to the ideas of the Persian-American scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr. In the fourth section, I examine the views of the Iranian author Mehdi Golshani. The fifth section reconstructs the theories of the Algerian author Nidhal Guessoum. In the final section, I argue that a generalized use of the “integration” concept to refer to the entire debate on Islam and science is unhelpful. While these positions do not appear to instantiate Barbourian integration of science and religion, they do move toward what Barbour (skeptically) describes as integration between religions.
Ismail Raji al-Faruqi • Ian Barbour • Mehdi Golshani • Nidhal Guessoum • integration • Islam and science • Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Stefano Bigliardi is a researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), Lund University, Finngatan 16, 223 62, Sweden; e-mail: stefano.bigliardi @ cme.lu.se.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01269.x

Religion and Science through the Ages: Response to Marangudakis by John Caiazza

This paper is in response to an article by Professor Marangudakis in Zygon in which he presented a “grand narrative” that predicted the coming of a new “axial age” (Marangudakis, 2012). In his article, Marangudakis criticized parts of my article in Zygon, “Athens, Jerusalem and the Arrival of Techno-Secularism” (Caiazza, 2005). Two issues separate us: first, whether the Athens/Jerusalem dilemma can or should be overcome in a new axial age, and second, how benign future technological developments will be. Marangudakis thinks that the Athens/Jerusalem dichotomy will be overcome, whereas I think that the dichotomy should and will persist in future ages. I am suspicious of the future effects of current technologies, since they give political elites increased control over the individual, while Marangudakis generally applauds the new technologies (especially biotechnology). The Athens/Jerusalem dichotomy arises as an inevitable part of monotheistic religious belief.
Athens/Jerusalem • axial age • John Caiazza • eutopia • grand narrative • Manussos Marangudakis • religion and science • technosecularism • world history
John Caiazza is an Independent Scholar and currently Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Rivier University in New Hampshire. He can be reached at 6 Cogswell Lane, Atkinson, NH 03811, USA; e-mail: jjcaiazza @ gmail.com.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01271.x

The Boyle Lecture 2012

Christ and Evolution: A Drama of Wisdom? by Celia Deane-Drummond

This paper argues that a genuine engagement of Christianity with evolution needs to include a discussion of Christology. Further, it develops a particular approach to Christology through a theo-dramatic account of incarnation. The somewhat static post-Chalcedon theological categories of divine and human natures are hard to square with contemporary evolutionary accounts of human origins. Once the divine Logos is portrayed in the active categories of Wisdom it becomes easier to envisage divine and creaturely wisdom coexisting in the person of Christ. I argue, in particular, that a focus on God’s agency through a modified version of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s account of theo-drama invites participation and affirms human agency in a way that grand narratives do not. More particularly, drawing on examples from hominid evolution, contemporary discussion of paleontology and cooperative evolutionary theories, I suggest that the most convincing accounts of evolutionary biology fit into this theodramatic account more readily than alternatives. As such, in the spirit of Robert Boyle, this paper deliberately blurs the categories of revealed and natural theology by arguing that we can make sense of the former through concentration on the latter.
Hans Urs von Balthasar • Robert Boyle • Christology • convergence • cooperation • epic • evolution • grand narrative • hominid • incarnation • kenosis • religious evolution • Sophia • theo-drama • wisdom
Celia Deane-Drummond is Professor of Theology in the Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame, 130 Malloy Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA; and her post is concurrent between the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Science; e-mail: Celia.Deane-Drummond.1 @ nd.edu.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01272.x

Wising Up: The Evolution of Natural Theology by F. LeRon Shults

This essay is in response to Professor Celia Deane-Drummond’s 2012 Boyle lectures. The first part calls attention to the value and significance of her “sophianic theo-drama hypothesis” for the contemporary engagement between Christian theology and evolutionary science. In a sense, her proposal itself is a religious “adaptation” to changes within an international, interdisciplinary academic environment. The second part of the essay explores the rapidly shrinking “niche” of Christian natural theology and briefly summarizes an alternative set of hypotheses from the biocultural sciences of religion.
biology • Robert Boyle • Christology • cognitive science • evolution
F. LeRon Shults is Professor of Theology and Philosophy at the Institute of Religion, Philosophy and History, University of Agder in Kristiansand, Servicebox 422, Lundsiden, 4604 Kristiansand, Norway; e-mail: leron.shults @ uia.no.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01273.x

Hinduism and Science: Contemporary Considerations

Hinduism and Science: Some Reflections by Varadaraja V. Raman

In recent decades scholars in every major religious tradition have been commenting on the relationship between their own tradition and science. The subject in the context of Hinduism is complex because there is no central institutionalized authority to dictate what is acceptable Hindu belief and what is not. This has resulted in a variety of perspectives that are touched upon here. Historical factors in the introduction of modern science in the Hindu world have also influenced the subject. The reflections in this paper are based on these.
affirmative agnosticism • aparā • avatāra • Cārvāka • parā • polyodosism • postcolonial • postmodern • Ādi Shankara • Rāmānuja • Upanishads • Vaishṇava • Vedānta • Vedas
Varadaraja V. Raman is Emeritus Professor of Physics and Humanities at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 14623, USA; e-mail: vvrsps @ rit.edu.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01274.x

Science and the Hindu Tradition: Compatibility or Conflict? by David L. Gosling

While much has been written about science and the Abrahamic religious traditions, there is little about the Hindu tradition and science. We examine two recent authors who have explored the relationship between the two, in one case across the full spectrum of Indian history, and in the other with a specific focus on the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, a ninth- to eleventh-century CE document centered on the Lord Krishna.
These two publications are compared with a symposium of articles by scientists and scholars of the Hindu tradition that consider both science and religion heuristically in terms of “knowing the unknowable.” Each contribution explores this concept in accordance with the scientific or religious topic’s internal self-understanding, without any cross-fertilization (“cherry picking”) across the boundaries.
Finally, we consider the author’s own approach, which is intermediate between the previous mentioned in that it reviews the work of Hindu scientists who shaped the course of their research in accordance with their Vedāntic beliefs. These include Satyendra Nath Bose, who collaborated with Einstein on his quest for a unified field theory, and gave his name to a class of fundamental particles called bosons.
design • evolution • Hindu literature • Krishna • Vedānta
David L. Gosling was until recently Principal of Edwardes College, University of Peshawar, Pakistan and is a Life Member and former Spalding Fellow of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 9AL, UK; e-mail: dlg26 @ cam.ac.uk.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01275.x

Growing Up Amid the Religion and Science Affair: A Perspective from Indology by Thomas B. Ellis

This article identifies the tropes of “maturity” and “immaturity” in the dialogue between religion and science. On both sides of the aisle, authors charge, either directly or indirectly, that their dissenting interlocutors are not mature enough to see the value of their respective positions. Such accusations have recently emerged in discussions pertaining to Hindu theology, Indology, and science. Those who dismiss the substance dualism of Hindu yoga, according to Jonathan B. Edelmann, evince immaturity. Appeals to Hindu yoga are yet one more appeal to religious experience. Indeed, what we find in Edelmann’s text is an appeal to appreciate the private, unverifiable—or falsifiable, for that matter—“insights” of Hindu yogis. Yogic experience is interminably steeped in motivated perception and confirmation bias. There is simply no good evidence or rational argument to take yogic claims seriously. Insofar as that is the case, Indology must achieve consilience with the natural and human sciences, remaining thereby reductive of such supernatural claims.
cognitive science • Hinduism • naturalism • religious experience • Sāṃkhya-Yoga • strong agnosticism • yogic perception
Thomas B. Ellis is an Associate Professor of South Asian Religions and Philosophies, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA; e-mail: ellistb @ appstate.edu.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01276.x

Conciliation, Conflict, or Complementarity: Responses to Three Voices in the Hinduism and Science Discourse by C. Mackenzie Brown

This essay is a response to three review articles on two recently published books dealing with aspects of Hinduism and science: Jonathan Edelmann’s Hindu Theology and Biology: The Bhāgavata Purāṇa and Contemporary Theory, and my own, Hindu Perspectives on Evolution: Darwin, Dharma and Design. The task set by the editor of Zygon for the three reviewers was broad: they could make specific critiques of the two books, or they could use them as starting points to engage in a broad discussion of Hinduism and science, or religion and science in general. In my response, I first provide a fairly detailed reply to David Gosling’s many critiques of my book, and in the process call into question his Advaitic conciliation of Hinduism and science. Thomas Ellis’s thesis of basic incompatibility between Hinduism and science is much closer to my own viewpoint. One of the main objectives of my book was to explain and illustrate this incompatibility with specific regard to Hindu and Darwinian perspectives on evolution. In this essay I provide a few examples in support of Ellis’s incompatibility thesis, encompassing both epistemological and metaphysical dissonances. Finally, I reflect upon Varadaraja V. Raman’s wide-ranging exposition on the all-encompassing nature of the Hindu tradition that readily accommodates both religious and scientific quests for knowledge. Raman uses the two books only as starting points for his own thoughts, without reference to my book. I confine myself, accordingly, to a brief critique of his complementarity approach to Hinduism and science, and of his radical inclusivism that enfolds basically all philosophical positions into the warm embrace of the Hindu tradition, including even the extreme antireligious materialism of the Cārvāka.
Advaita Vedānta • Darwinism • design argument • epistemology • evolution • Hinduism and science • Hindu theism • scientific method
C. Mackenzie Brown is Professor of Religion at Trinity University, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA; e-mail: mbrown @ trinity.edu.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01277.x

The Role of Hindu Theology in the Religion and Science Dialogue by Jonathan B. Edelmann

I respond to three articles about my book, Hindu Theology and Biology, from David Gosling, Thomas Ellis, and Varadaraja Raman. I attempt to clarify misconceptions about Hindu intellectual history and the science and religion dialogue. I discuss the role of Hindu theologies in the contemporary world in response to the three articles, each of which highlights important areas of future research. I suggest that Hindu theology should be a critical discipline in which Hindu authors are interpreted in their own terms and in conversation with contemporary authors. I argue that Hinduism and science can find an intellectual space between New Atheism (which denies the intellectual value of religion) and Neo-Hinduism (which neglects the critical discourse within the history of Hindu thought).
Bhāgavata Purāṇa • dispassion in science and religion • Hindu theology • Indian intellectual history • Neo-Hinduism • New Atheism • nonphysical consciousness • reductionism and physicalism
Jonathan B. Edelmann is Assistant Professor of Religion in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Mississippi State University, 449 Hardy Road, MS 39762, USA; e-mail: je374 @ msstate.edu.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01278.x


The Double Truth Controversy: An Analytical Essay by Bartosz Brożek, reviewed by Willem B. Drees

Willem B. Drees; Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics; Leiden University; PO Box 9515; 2300 RA Leiden; The Netherlands; w.b.drees @ hum.leidenuniv.nl
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01280.x

The Sense of Life and the Sense of the Universe: Studies in Contemporary Theology by Michael Heller, reviewed by Willem B. Drees

Willem B. Drees; Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics; Leiden University; PO Box 9515; 2300 RA Leiden; The Netherlands; w.b.drees @ hum.leidenuniv.nl
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01281.x

Piercing the Veil: Comparing Science and Mysticism as Ways of Knowing Reality by Richard H. Jones, reviewed by Willem B. Drees

Willem B. Drees; Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics; Leiden University; PO Box 9515; 2300 RA Leiden; The Netherlands; w.b.drees @ hum.leidenuniv.nl
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01282.x

Resurrection—Theological and Scientific Assessments edited by Ted Peters, Robert John Russell, and Michael Welker, reviewed by Christoffer H. Grundmann

Christoffer H. Grundmann; Department of Theology; Valparaiso University; Huegli Hall 328; 1409 Chapel Drive; Valparaiso, IN 46383-6493; Christoffer.Grundmann @ valpo.edu
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01283.x

The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life edited by Robert Trivers, reviewed by Mladen Turk

Mladen Turk; Assistant Professor of Religious Studies; Elmhurst College; 190 S Prospect Ave; Elmhurst, IL 60126; turkm @ elmhurst.edu
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01284.x

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