Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
54 (4), December 2019

Table of Contents


Teilhard’s Silencing, Mutual Enhancement, and Historical Europe by Arthur C. Petersen

Teilhard and the Holy Office Revisited In the June 2018 issue of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, an article was published on the French Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Grumett and Bentley 2018), which provided new information on and insights into the theological and political dynamics of the 1920s. Specifically, it laid down the context for the six propositions on human origins and original sin that Teilhard had to sign on July 1, 1925. This article became by far the most downloaded (>3,000 times by April 2019) article of the 2018 volume of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. And it has triggered follow-up archival research in Rome, which is reported and reflected on in the present issue. In his article, Kenneth Kemp questions whether the six propositions did indeed originate from the Holy Office, as has been reported elsewhere and was also assumed by Grumett and Bentley. Kemp concludes that where Grumett and Bentley’s account may have been wrong about the specific involvement of the Holy Office in this specific case, they were not wrong about the Holy Office’s concerns about questions of human origins. In his response, David Grumett addresses the reasons why we should still maintain that the Holy Office did have a role in the silencing of Teilhard. Together, despite the unresolved question concerning the role of the Holy Office, the articles add more flesh to the bones of the recently discovered six propositions.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12570


Climate Engineering from Hindu-Jain Perspectives by Pankaj Jain

Although Indic perspectives toward nature are now well documented, climate engineering discussions seem to still lack the views from Indic or other non-Western sources. In this article, I will apply some of the Hindu and Jain concepts such as karma, nonviolence (Ahiṃsā), humility (Vinaya), and renunciation (Saṃnyāsa) to analyze the two primary climate geoengineering strategies of solar radiation management (SRM) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR). I suggest that Indic philosophical and religious traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism offer ethical concepts to call for humility in all acts of climate engineering leading to a favoring of CDR over SRM and a favoring of lifestyle changes (particularly vegetarianism) over both. I demonstrate these concepts by introducing the five great elements from the Hindu philosophy, two Hindu legends from Hindu mythology, the Indic ethical ideas of karma, renunciation, and humility, and the moral authority of Gandhi.
Buddhism • carbon dioxide removal • climate engineering • dharma • geoengineering • Hinduism • Indian ethics • Jainism • karma • nonviolence • solar radiation management • vegetarianism
Pankaj Jain is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA; e-mail: pankaj.jain @ unt.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12568

Harun Yahya’s Influence in Muslim Minority Contexts: Implications for Research in Britain, Europe and Beyond by Glen Moran

In 2006, the Turkish Harun Yahya Enterprise published and distributed thousands of copies of its anti-evolutionary text Atlas of Creation to educational institutes in the West. Although this was little more than a publicity stunt, it resulted in Harun Yahya becoming a mainstay in discussions about creationism in Europe. Although Yahya is often presented as the go to representative of European Muslim perceptions of evolution, one would be hard pressed to find the literature about Islamic creationism in Europe that does not engage in a discussion of Harun Yahya. However, little evidence exists to support the notion that Harun Yahya warrants such extensive attention, or that Harun Yahya has a substantive influence among European Muslims. This article will explore existing claims about the popularity of Harun Yahya, before drawing on recent research into Muslim perceptions of evolution to argue that Harun Yahya is relatively unknown among Muslims, at least in the British context, and is not influential even among those who are familiar with his work.
creationism • evolution • evolutionary biology • Islam • Harun Yahya
Glen Moran is a research fellow at the Department of Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK; e-mail: g.m.moran @ bham.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12555

Aesthetics, Creativity, and Mysticism: An Investigation of Three Modes of Consciousness by Michael Frishkopf

This essay explores the universal nature of aesthetic, creative, and mystical experience, tracing some essential interrelations among the three. Enlarging upon the work of anthropologist Jacques Maquet, I speculate that sensory fixedness is both necessary and sufficient to achieve aesthetic experience, and that the unification of mind engendered by sensory fixedness is the essential source of aesthetic power. Therefore, the role of the aesthetic object (construed broadly) is either as an arbitrary sensory focusing mechanism, or as the physical embodiment of a gestalt facilitating fixedness; the first category is merely attractive, while the second contains all that is truly great in art (visual and auditory). I suggest further that as both creative inspiration and mystical experience result from fixedness, both are related to aesthetic experience. However, while aesthetic experience is rooted in sensation, mystical and creative experience, though often prepared by sensory fixedness, may transcend the sensory domain altogether toward more abstract forms of mental fixedness.
aesthetics • creativity • mysticism
Michael Frishkopf is Professor of Music, Director of the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology, Adjunct Professor of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; e-mail: michaelf @ ualberta.ca.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12557

Science and Religion as Languages: Understanding the Science-Religion Relationship Using Metaphors, Analogies, and Models by Amy H. Lee

Many scholars often use the terms metaphors, analogies, and models interchangeably and inadvertently overlook the uniqueness of each word. According to recent cognitive studies, the three terms involve distinct cognitive processes using features from a familiar concept and applying them to an abstract, complicated concept. In the field of science and religion, there have been various objects or ideas used as metaphors, analogies, or models to describe the science-religion relationship. Although these heuristic tools provided some understanding of the complex interaction, they failed to address the broad nature of science and religion as well as the multifarious relationship between the two in a sociocultural context. Unlike the previous candidates, the concept of language, including the notions of linguistic worldview, linguistic identity, dialects, power, and bilingualism, offers a unique and comprehensive window through which science, religion, and the relationship between the two are seen with clarity.
analogy • bilingualism • cognitive science • language • mapping • metaphor • model • religion • science
Amy H. Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in Theology at the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; e-mail: amy.lee @ theology.ox.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12569

The Blurred Line between Theistic Evolution and Intelligent Design by Mikael Leidenhag

It is often assumed that there is a hard line between theistic evolution (TE) and intelligent design (ID). Many theistic evolutionists subscribe to the idea that God only acts through natural processes, as opposed to the ID assertion that God, at certain points in natural history, has acted in a direct manner; directly causing particular features of the world. In this article, I argue that theistic evolutionists subscribe to what might be called Natural Divine Causation (NDC). NDC does not merely provide a nonsupernaturalist and noninterventionist model of divine action, it provides a line of demarcation between TE and ID. I make the critique that NDC is philosophically untenable and argue, consequently, that the line between TE and ID is blurred.
causal overdetermination • intelligent design • interventionism • supernaturalism • theistic evolution
Mikael Leidenhag is research fellow at the School of Natural and Built Environment, Belfast, UK; e-mail: m.leidenhag @ qub.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12556

Teilhard and the Holy Office Revisited

Teilhard de Chardin, the Six Propositions, and the Holy Office by Kenneth Kemp

Between 1924 and 1937, the Jesuit Curia in Rome repeatedly placed restrictions on what Jesuit priest-paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was allowed to write on those aspects of human origins that, in the view of the Curia, had theological as well as scientific aspects. In 2018, David Grumett and Paul Bentley published an account of the first of those restrictions, together with a previously undiscovered document associated with that restriction. This article corrects a relatively important error in their historical narrative, offers an alternative to their comments about the case, and concludes by embedding the events of 1924-1925 in a slightly larger history of Teilhard’s relations with the Jesuit Curia and with the Holy Office. That larger narrative shows that, while Grumett and Bentley’s account was mistaken about the involvement of the Holy Office in the case they discuss, it was not wrong about the concerns of that Congregation in questions of human origins.
Catholicism • evolution • original sin • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Kenneth W. Kemp is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, USA; e-mail: KWKemp @ StThomas.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12562

Teilhard, the Six Propositions, and Human Origins: A Response by David Grumett

Recent archival research has uncovered material that usefully explains why the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was required to remain in China for so long, despite assenting to the Six Propositions. However, the context in Rome, existing narrative evidence, and aspects of the archival evidence make it more likely than not that the Holy Office had a role in his silencing. Proposition 4 advocated monogenism, whereas Teilhard was developing a monophyletic understanding of human origins, which is consistent with recent attempts to situate Adam and Eve within an evolutionary account of these. The content of Proposition 4 exceeded existing magisterial teaching and requiring Teilhard’s subscription to it suppressed legitimate theological debate.
Christianity • evolution • origin of life • original sin • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
David Grumett is Senior Lecturer in Theology and Ethics, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK; e-mail: david.grumett @ ed.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12552

Mutual Enhancement between Science and Religion

Mutual Enhancement between Science and Religion: In the Footsteps of the Epiphany Philosophers by Fraser Watts

This article describes some key features of the distinctive approach to issues in science and religion of the Epiphany Philosophers (EPs), and introduces a set of articles from a recent meeting. The objective of the EPs is not merely to establish harmonious coexistence between science and religion. Rather, they are dissatisfied with both, and have a reformist agenda. They see science as unduly constrained by arbitrary metaphysical assumptions, predominantly of an atheist kind, and wish to see it liberated from such constraints. They are also interested in the potential contribution of contemplative enquiry to scientific research. They see no reason why science should not engage with the transcendent, but they do not support any simplistic argument from scientific research to religious belief. They wish to see an approach to religion that is rooted more firmly in the contemplative path.
contemplation • metaphysics • religion • science • transcendence
Fraser Watts was formerly Reader in Theology and Science at the University of Cambridge, and is now Visiting Professor of Psychology and Religion at the University of Lincoln, and Executive Secretary of the International Society for Science and Religion, Cambridge, UK; e-mail: fraser.watts @ cantab.net.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12558

Transformation and the Waking Body: A Return to Truth via our Bodies by William Beharrell

This article considers the kind of knowledge that is constituted through embodied sensory perception and makes the case for a form of knowledge that is embodied, relational, and potentially transformational. Such knowledge is encountered through our physiological senses and cultivated by reestablishing connections to our bodies. The discussion starts by exploring the literature on sensory perception and interoception and moves on to the role of human agency, which is implicit in the idea of top-down causation. It is argued that this process can be explained by a top-down predictive model within which a sense of greater interoceptive accuracy may be cultivated while reducing interoceptive perturbation. The roles of active and perceptual inference are discussed with regard to the regulatory opportunities that these types of attention yield. By being more interoceptively aware, through a practice of contemplation, it is argued, we open ourselves to an encounter with divine presence that is immanent in the world around us.
contemplation • interoception • perception • sense
William H. Beharrell is a medical doctor training in psychiatry in the National Health Service, Cambridge, UK; e-mail: william.beharrell @ cantab.net.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12553

Moral Orthoses: A New Approach to Human and Machine Ethics by Marius Dorobantu and Yorick Wilks

Machines are increasingly involved in decisions with ethical implications, which require ethical explanations. Current machine learning algorithms are ethically inscrutable, but not in a way very different from human behavior. This article looks at the role of rationality and reasoning in traditional ethical thought and in artificial intelligence, emphasizing the need for some explainability of actions. It then explores Neil Lawrence’s embodiment factor as an insightful way of looking at the differences between human and machine intelligence, connecting it to the theological understanding of embodiment, relationality, and personhood. Finally, it proposes the notion of artificial moral orthoses, which could provide ethical explanations for both artificial and human agents, as a more promising unifying approach to human and machine ethics.
artificial companions • artificial intelligence • embodiment • ethics • explainable AI • David Hume • Neil Lawrence • machine learning • relationality • theology
Marius Dorobantu is a PhD candidate in Theology at the University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France; e-mail:marius.dorobantu @ gmail.com. Yorick Wilks is emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Sheffield, Oxford, UK; e-mail: ywilks @ ihmc.us.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12560

Religion, Science, and Disenchantment in Late Modernity by Galen Watts

Late modernity has witnessed a growing semantic shift from religion to spirituality. In this article, I argue what underlies this shift is a cultural structure I call the religion of the heart. I begin with an explication of what I mean by the religion of the heart, and draw on the work of Ernst Troeltsch and Colin Campbell to identify what I take to be its historical antecedents. Second, I analyze the ambiguous relationships fostered between the religion of the heart and the discourses of science and religion, respectively, in late modernity. I illuminate how the social conditions of late modernity undermine or challenge what we conventionally think of as scientific and religious authorities, while at the same time creating existential needs that the religion of the heart is well adapted to meet. I conclude with a brief discussion of the implications of this process, especially as it relates to the sustainability of science and religion, as independent enterprises, in the twenty-first century.
Colin Campbell • disenchantment • late modernity • spirituality • Ernst Troeltsch
Galen Watts is a PhD Candidate in the Cultural Studies Graduate Program at Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada; e-mail: galen.watts @ queensu.ca.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12554

Epiphany Philosophers: Afterword by Rowan Williams

Being a theist makes a difference, but not so much to what propositions we assent to, nor to an expanded ontology of spiritual entities. Rather, it is concerned with what commitments we enter into, and involves a participatory engagement with a broader reality then we might have supposed was possible. Embodied practices are a crucial part of the contemplative path, which draws on the wisdom of the body. This leads on to a labor of culture. Our present culture is not obviously as secular as supposed to be, but what has now become sacred is a strong sense of the individual ego, around which many ethical and political commitments are built, and which sits uneasily with our widely accepted mechanistic view of life. The crucial challenge to artificial intelligence is whether it can find ways of enhancing the mutual recognition that is crucial to the ethical life.
artificial intelligence • body • contemplation • culture • individuality • knowing • participation • relating • secularization • spiritual practices
Rowan Williams has a long-standing association with the Epiphany Philosophers. He was formerly Archbishop of Canterbury and is now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK; e-mail: jeh34 @ cam.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12561

The Historiography of Science and Religion in Europe

Science and Religion in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Non-Anglo-American Perspectives by Jaume Navarro and Kostas Tampakis

This is an introduction to the thematic section on The Historiography of Science and Religion in Europe, which resulted from a symposium held at the eighth Conference of the European Society for the History of Science, University College London, UK, from September 14-17, 2018. The introduction provides a brief argument for the decentering of science and religion from the Anglo-American discourse. It concludes by previewing the contributions of the section’s essays.
Catholic • European periphery • Islam • nation building • orthodox • science and religion
Jaume Navarro is Ikerbasque Research Professor at the University of the Basque Country, Donostia, Spain; e-mail: jaume.navarro @ ehu.es. Kostas Tampakis is Associate Researcher in the Institute of Historical Studies, the National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece; e-mail: ktampakis @ eie.gr.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12551

Science, Religion, and Science-and-Religion in the Late Ottoman Empire by M. Alper Yalçinkaya

Many intellectuals wrote texts on the relations between Islam and science in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire. These texts not only addressed the massive social and cultural changes the Empire was going through, but responded to European authors’ claims about the extent to which Islam was compatible with the modern world. Focusing on several texts written in the second half of the nineteenth century by the influential Muslim Ottoman authors Namik Kemal, Ahmed Midhat, and Şemseddin Sami, this article shows the influence of these exigencies on arguments on Islam and science. In order to represent Islam as a respectable religion in harmony with science, these intellectuals defined a pure Islam that was a set of basic principles that could be found in the Qur’an. Rather than an embedded way of life, Islam in these texts was an objectified, delimitable entity that could be imagined as having relations with other entities, such as science.
Islam • Qur’an • science • secularism
M. Alper Yalçinkaya is Associate Professor of Sociology at Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH, USA; e-mail: mayalcin @ owu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12563

High Science and Natural Science: Greek Theologians and the Science and Religion Interactions (1832-1910) by Kostas Tampakis

What was science for the Orthodox Greek theologian of the nineteenth century? How did it feature in his (theologians were all men at the time) own work? This article is an attempt to describe the science and religion interactions by placing Greek Orthodox theologians of the nineteenth century in the center of the historical narrative, rather than treat them as occasional deuteragonists in the scientists’ historiography. The picture that emerges is far more complicated than one of antagonism, indifference, conflict, or coexistence. Greek theologians saw themselves as scientists and treated theology as a positive, rational science. They developed strategies to delineate their disciplinary borders and safeguard their identity as expert scholars by harnessing their university and academic credentials. For that reason, they had to invoke famous German and other Western theologians, while ensuring that they were seen as true defenders of Orthodox Christianity. The idea of science was an integral part of this achievement.
Greece • natural sciences • nineteenth century • Orthodox theology
Kostas Tampakis is Associate Researcher in the Institute of Historical Studies, the National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece; e-mail: ktampakis @ eie.gr.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12566

Serving God, Fatherland, and Language: Alcover, Catalan, and Science by Agustín Ceba Herrero and Joan March Noguera

This article intends to contribute to the science-religion historiography with two topics—philology and the construction of national identities—that can help provide a more complex picture of the relations between science and religion. We use the life and work of the Mallorcan Catholic priest Antoni Maria Alcover (1862-1932) as a case study that puts language, linguistics, and nationalism on the board of science and religion studies. Alcover was the main driving force of the Catalan Dictionary, a collective enterprise that set out to inventory the complete oral and literary lexicon of this language, and which mobilized thousands of people, many of which were clergymen, from all over the Catalan-speaking territories. In the article, we will explore Alcover’s education; the way he established a link between language, religion, and fatherland; the shaping of his identity as a philologist in the image mainly of new German notions and practices; as well as his role in the institutionalization process of the Catalan language as a scientific language, as a language for science and for religion.
Catalan • Catalonia • Catholicism • language • linguistics • Mallorca • nationalism • philology • Spain
Agustín Ceba Herrero and Joan March Noguera are members of a research group on modern and contemporary scientific and philosophical thought at the University of the Balearic Islands, Palma Mallorca, Isles Balears, Spain; e-mail: agustinceba @ gmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12565

Draper in Spain: The Conflicting Circulation of the Conflict Thesis by Jaume Navarro

This article delves into the reception of John W. Draper’s History of the Conflict between Religion and Science in Spain. With two translations into Spanish appearing almost simultaneously in 1876, the conflict became a weapon in a long political dispute. The tensions between conservatives and liberals, between monarchists and republicans had the university and pedagogical reforms as one of the main battlefields. One of the chief reformist movements was informed by Krausism, an ideology that had academic freedom as one if its central tenets. The similarities between the educational agenda of Draper and that of Krausists explain why the former’s book resonated among members of the latter group. The article argues that in order to understand the reception of Draper in Spain, one should pay attention to the disputes about national identity and educational reforms, so as to place the so-called conflict thesis in the context of opposing Spanish patriotisms.
conflict thesis • John W. Draper • history of science and religion • nationalism • science and religion in Spain
Jaume Navarro is Ikerbasque Research Professor at the University of the Basque Country, Donostia/SanSebastián, Spain; e-mail: jaume.navarro @ ehu.es.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12564

Science, Religion and Italy’s Seventeenth-Century Decline: From Francesco de Sanctis to Benedetto Croce by Neil Tarrant

Historians have often argued that from the mid-sixteenth century onward Italian science began to decline. This development is often attributed to the actions of the so-called Counter-Reformation Church, which had grown increasingly intolerant of novel ideas. In this article, I argue that this interpretation of the history of science is derived from an Italian liberal historiographical tradition, which linked the history of Italian philosophy to the development of the modern Italian state. I suggest that although historians of science have appropriated parts of this distinctive narrative to underpin their account of Italy’s seventeenth-century scientific decline, they have not always fully appreciated its complexity. In this article, I consider the work of two scholars, Francesco de Sanctis and Benedetto Croce. Both explicitly suggested that although the actions of the Church caused Italy to enter into a period of decline, they in fact argued that science represented one of the few areas in which Italian intellectual life actually continued to thrive.
censorship • Benedetto Croce • Francesco de Sanctis • historiography • Italy • Roman inquisition
Neil Tarrant is Research Associate in the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of York, York, UK; e-mail: Neil.Tarrant @ york.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12567


Navigating Post-Truth and Alternative Facts: Religion and Science as Political Theology edited by Jennifer Baldwin reviewed by Arthur C. Petersen

Arthur C. Petersen; Department of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Public Policy, University College London, London, UK; e-mail: arthur.petersen @ ucl.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12559

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