Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
49 (4), December 2014

Table of Contents


Zygon: Almost 50 and Healthy by Willem B. Drees

At the threshold of our 50th year of publication, Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science is healthy. We are present in over 10,000 libraries worldwide, with 3,703 libraries having a subscription or license, another 5,217 institutions having free or very low-cost access through Wiley’s philanthropic initiatives, and 4,609 libraries having access to articles published a year ago (EBSCO). In 2013, there were 113,749 full-text downloads from our page at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com. The presentation in the online library has been improved - in addition to the pdf there now is the “anywhere article,” an enhanced form of html that allows one to follow many links to other articles more easily. Our impact factor (counting articles from 2011 and 2012 cited in 2013) went up from 0.274 (2011) to 0.488 (in 2012) to 0.833 (in 2013).
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12140


Divine Glory in a Darwinian World by Christopher Southgate

Faced with the ambiguities of this world, in which ugliness and suffering co-exist with beauty, the article rejects the attribution of disvalues to a Fall-event. Instead it faces God’s involvement even in violence and ugliness. It explores the concept of divine glory, understood principally as a sign of the divine reality. This includes both the great theophanies of the Hebrew Bible and Jesus’ glorification in his Passion and Crucifixion. It then considers the contemplation of the natural world, using the terminology of “inscape” and “instress.” Divine glory can be discerned even in events as tragic as the Indian Ocean tsunami or the activity of the malarial mosquito. A full Christian contemplation of these events will include scientific understanding and poetic apprehension, and consideration of soteriology and eschatology as well as the theology of creation. Glory is understood to include God’s power and sovereignty, and also the divine humility and sacrifice.
evolutionary biology • glory • God • Jesus Christ • natural evil • natural theology • Holmes Rolston, III • semiotics • theodicy
Christopher Southgate is Senior Lecturer in Theology at the University of Exeter, and Principal of the South-West Ministry Training Course. His address for correspondence is Amory Building, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4RJ, UK; e-mail: c.c.b.southgate @ ex.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12126

Uncertainty and God: A Jamesian Pragmatist Approach to Uncertainty and Ignorance in Science and Religion by Arthur Petersen

This article picks up from William James’s pragmatism and metaphysics of experience, as expressed in his “radical empiricism,” and further develops this Jamesian pragmatist approach to uncertainty and ignorance by connecting it to phenomenological thought. The Jamesian pragmatist approach avoids both a “crude naturalism” and an “absolutist rationalism,” and allows for identification of intimations of the sacred in both scientific and religious practices—which all, in their respective ways, try to make sense of a complex world. Analogous to religious practices, emotion and the metaphysics of experience play a central role in science, especially the emotion of wonder. Engaging in scientific or religious practices may create opportunities for individuals to realize that they are co-creators of the world in partnership with God, in full awareness of uncertainty and ignorance and filled with the emotion of wonder.
complexity • emotion • ignorance • William James • metaphysics • phenomenology • pragmatism • religion • science • uncertainty • wonder
Arthur C. Petersen is Professor of Science, Technology and Public Policy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK; e-mail: arthur.petersen @ ucl.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12138

Theistic Evolution in the Post-Genomic Era by Georgi K. Marinov

How to reconcile the theory of evolution with existing religious beliefs has occupied minds since Darwin’s time. The majority of the discourse on the subject is still focused on the Darwinian version of evolutionary theory, or at best, the mid-twentieth century version of the Modern Synthesis. However, evolutionary thought has moved forward since then with the insights provided by the advent of comparative genomics in recent decades having a particularly significant impact. A theology that successfully incorporates evolutionary biology needs to take such developments into account, because range of truly viable options among the many versions of theistic evolution that have been proposed in the past may narrow down when this is done. Here I present these previously underappreciated strains of contemporary evolutionary thought and discuss their potential theological impact.
evolution • intelligent design • neutral and nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution • population genetics • theistic evolution
Georgi K. Marinov is a PhD candidate in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering of the California Institute of Technology, 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125, USA; e-mail: georgi @ caltech.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12130

Challenges to the Traditional Christian Concept of History by Jan-Olav Henriksen

Present knowledge of evolutionary history challenges traditional concepts of the Christian salvation history. In order to overcome these challenges, theology needs to articulate a wider, more open and more universal approach to the understanding of God’s salvific action. One way of doing this is to employ the notion of “deep incarnation” suggested by Danish theologian Niels Henrik Gregersen. His suggestion may also blur the lines that mark a sharp distinction between the history of creation and the history of salvation, in a way that safeguards some of the basic tenets of classical theology.
Augustine • Terrence Deacon • deep incarnation • evolution • Niels Henrik Gregersen • salvation history
Jan-Olav Henriksen is Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy of Religion, (MF) Norwegian School of Theology, PO Box 5144, Majorstua, N-0302 Oslo, Norway; e-mail: jan.o.henriksen @ mf.no.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12128

Ernest Becker’s Psychology of Religion Forty Years On: A View from Social Cognitive Psychology by Jonathan Jong

This article distinguishes between three projects in Ernest Becker’s (1924-1974) later work: his psychology of “religion,” his psychology of religion, and his psychology of Religion (with a capital R). The first is an analysis of culture and civilization as immortality projects, means by which to deny death. The second, which overlaps with the first, is a characterization of religion-as-practiced (e.g., by adherents of the world religions) as a particularly effective immortality project vis-`a-vis death anxiety. The third is less social scientific and more theological; Becker argues for a view of God that is in the tradition of Søren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich (and, arguably, Pseudo-Dionysius, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas). Focusing on the second of these projects—as much has already been written on the first, and little can be said about the third—this article evaluates Becker’s claims about religion-as-practiced in light of recent developments in social cognitive psychology.
Ernest Becker • death • death anxiety • evolutionary psychology • psychology of religion • terror management theory
Jonathan Jong is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, 64 Banbury Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 6PN, UK; e-mail: jonathan.jong @ anthro.ox.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12127

Testing Latour’s App: A User’s Guide by Stefano Bigliardi

I reconstruct Bruno Latour’s ideas about science and religion and compare them to Ian G. Barbour’s and Mikael Stenmark’s models, as well as to the discussion of technology and religion developed by John C. Caiazza and Antje Jackelén. I show how using “Latour’s App” enlightens some aspects of said models which Barbour and Stenmark themselves were seemingly struggling with, and that Caiazza’s and Jackelén’s views can be reconciled despite their apparent opposition. The result of such tests is an overall assessment of Latour’s proposal. I argue that, under the disguise of a flamboyant and original language, Latour’s method is not that distant from those of the other authors analyzed here, and that his discussion might conceal some unwelcome philosophical shortcomings.
Ian G. Barbour • John C. Caiazza • constructivism • Antje Jackelén • Bruno Latour • Mikael Stenmark • technology
Stefano Bigliardi teaches contemporary philosophy, ethics, and critical thinking at Tec de Monterey, Campus Santa Fe, Mexico City, and is an affiliated postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University (CMES); e-mail: stefano.bigliardi @ cme.lu.se.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12129

Biodemocracy and the Earth Charter

The Earth Charter and Biodemocracy in the Twenty-first Century by Matthew T. Riley

This essay introduces the themes that motivate the three articles that follow. Their common aim is to explore the connections between the Earth Charter and the concept of biodemocracy with the intention of highlighting ways of thinking about the relationship between science, religion, and the environment in the twenty-first century. Informed by the science of ecology and written by scholars of religion, the articles included here seek to integrate movements and ideas as diverse as postmodern thought, the much-debated thought of Lynn White, Jr. (his preferred spelling), and the synergy emerging between the Earth Charter and Journey of the Universe.
animism • Christianity • cosmology • ecology; environment • ethics • religion • theology
Matthew T. Riley is a PhD student at Drew University, 36 Madison Ave., Madison, NJ 07940, USA; e-mail: mriley @ drew.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12135

The Earth Charter and the Journey of the Universe: An Integrated Framework for Biodemocracy by Mary Evelyn Tucker

The principles of the Earth Charter and the cosmological story of Journey of the Universe provide a unique synergy for rethinking a sustainable future. The Great Story inspires the Great Work of the transformation of the political, social, and economic orders. Such a synergy can contribute to the broadened understanding of sustainability as including economic, ecological, social, and spiritual well-being. This integrated understanding may be a basis for creating biodemocracies, which will involve long-term policies, programs, and practices for a planetary future that is not only ethically sustainable, but also sustaining for human energies.
cosmology • ecology • environment • religion
Mary Evelyn Tucker is Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar, Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 195 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA. She is also the co-director and co-founder of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale; e-mail: maryevelyn.tucker @ yale.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12132

Global Visions and Common Ground: Biodemocracy, Postmodern Pressures, and the Earth Charter by Heather Eaton

The theme of this article is a rise in notions of a planetary community, and the tensions this evokes in global-local and universal-contextual debates. The primary focus is the realization that new visions are needed to respond to ecological dilemmas in a culturally diverse yet global world and interconnected Earth. Of the many ways to discuss this, I first consider the growing interest in and expansion of biodemocracy as a way to combine these dimensions. Insights and issues from postmodern perspectives follow this, surveying the suspicion of what lurks behind “global.” The next segment turns to ecological postmodernists who realize that a unifying path must be found for a viable planetary future. A brief and final section considers the Earth Charter to be an initiative responsive to postmodern pressures, and yet seeking a global vision and common ground for an emerging world community.
biodemocracy • the Earth Charter • ecological postmodernism • environment • global values • planetary civilization
Heather Eaton is Professor in Conflict Studies, Saint Paul University, 223 Main St., Ottawa K1S 1C4, Ontario, Canada; e-mail: heaton @ ustpaul.ca.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12134

The Democratic Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis: Lynn White, Biodemocracy, and “the Earth Charter” by Matthew T. Riley

Although Lynn White, Jr. is best known for the critical aspects of his disputed 1967 essay, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” this article combines archival research and findings from his lesser-known publications in an attempt to reconcile his thought on democracy with the Earth Charter and its assertion that “we are one human family and one Earth Community with a common destiny” (2000, Preamble). Humanity is first and foremost, White believed, part of a “spiritual democracy of all God’s creatures” in which humans and nonhumans should treat each other with mutual compassion and courtesy. It is argued that the Christian, animal inclusive “biodemocracy” envisioned by White is both compatible with, and potentially in conflict with, the tenets of the Earth Charter. This article also considers further implications of these findings for the larger fields of ecotheology and religion and ecology.
animism • Christianity • ecology • environment • ethics • religion • theology
Matthew T. Riley is a PhD student at Drew University, 36 Madison Ave., Madison, NJ 07940, USA; e-mail: mriley @ drew.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12139

Food Today

Turning Stones into Bread: Developing Synergistic Science/Religion Approaches to the World Food Crisis by Pat Bennett

The Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) has a long history of delivering conferences addressing topics of interest in the field of science and religion. The following papers from the 2013 summer conference on “The Scientific, Spiritual, and Moral Challenges in Solving the World Food Crisis” are, in keeping with the eclectic nature of these conferences, very different in content and approach. Such differences underline the challenges of synergistically combining scientific and religious insights to increase understanding of global problems and their possible solutions. This in turn reflects deeper questions about the purpose and nature of the science/religion dialogue. These papers suggest various ways in which the two perspectives can be combined in the pursuit of building better understandings of food-related issues, as well as highlighting difficulties and limitations which need to be addressed if the fruits of such dialogue are to make a wider impact. As such they serve as useful pointers for how this type of science/religion interaction might be further developed and deployed.
Ralph Wendell Burhoe • connection • food waste • global food crisis • IRAS • relationality • religious paradigms • science/religion dialogue • synergism • J. Wentzel van Huyssteen
Pat Bennett is an independent postdoctoral scholar with a dual background in science and theology living in Gillamoor, North Yorkshire, UK; e-mail: pat @ transversalthinking.com.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12136

Food: Its Many Aspects in Science, Religion, and Culture by Varadaraja V. Raman

Food is a sine qua non for life on Earth. It has more significance than nutrition and sustenance, more variety than many aspects of human culture. Food has religious as well as historical dimensions. The complexity of the food chain and of the related ecological balance is one of the wonders of the biological world. In the human context, food has found countless expressions and regional richness. Food has provoked feasts, as its lack and maldistribution have caused famines. While being a source of physical satisfaction food has also had environmental impacts. Some of these matters are explored in these reflections.
food • history • religious practice
Varadaraja V. Raman is Professor (Emeritus) of Physics and Humanities, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 14623, USA; e-mail: vvrsps @ rit.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12137

Why We Need Religion to Solve the World Food Crisis by A. Whitney Sanford

Scholars and practitioners addressing the global food crisis have rarely incorporated perspectives from the world’s religious traditions. This lacuna appears in multiple dimensions: until recently, environmentalists have tended to ignore food and agriculture; food justice advocates have focused on food quantities, rather than its method of production; and few scholars of religion have considered agriculture. Faith-based perspectives typically emphasize the dignity and sanctity of creation and offer holistic frameworks that integrate equity, economic, and environmental concerns, often called the three legs of sustainability. Faith-based perspectives can provide new paradigms through which to assess food, consumption, and production and the attendant social relations; assess our scientific, economic, and social approaches; and acknowledge the moral and religious dimensions of the world food crisis.
agriculture • Buddhism • Christianity • ethics • food • meat • religion • social justice • sustainability
A. Whitney Sanford is Associate Professor, Department of Religion, University of Florida, P.O. Box 117410, Gainesville, FL 32611-7410, USA; e-mail: wsanford @ ufl.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12133

Valuing Our Food: Minimizing Waste and Optimizing Resources by Steven M. Finn

The magnitude of the global food waste problem is staggering, yet it receives little mainstream attention. We waste nearly half of all food produced—more than one billion tons annually—yet nearly one billion global citizens are hungry. Our values are out of balance; we need to properly value our food. Urgent change is needed, beginning with heightened awareness and a sense of responsibility to people and planet. Feeding nine billion people by 2050 is a tremendous challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity to develop new levels of innovation and collaboration to eradicate hunger, improve the environment for future generations, and create a more unified, secure world. A new, durable, multifaceted approach to reducing food waste is needed in the form of a global network. This global network should be anchored by a sense of shared responsibility among consumers, businesses, governments, and global institutions to optimize resources in the quest to provide for nine billion people by 2050.
environment • global food waste • hunger • opportunity • optimizing resources • partnerships • sustainability
Steven M. Finn is Affiliated Faculty in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania and co-founder and Managing Director at ResponsEcology Consulting, 171 Strawberry Lane, Ivyland, PA 18974, USA (www.responsecology.com); e-mail: finnsm @ sas.upenn.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12131


Should We Live Forever? The Ethical Ambiguities of Aging by Gilbert Mailaender, reviewed by Willem B. Drees

Professor of Philosophy of the Humanities, Dean; Tilburg School of Humanities, Tilburg University, the Netherlands; w.b.drees@tilburguniversity.edu
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12141

Religion, Science, and Democracy: A Disputational Friendship by Lisa L. Stenmark, reviewed by Willem B. Drees

Professor of Philosophy of the Humanities, Dean; Tilburg School of Humanities, Tilburg University, the Netherlands; w.b.drees@tilburguniversity.edu
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12143

Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts