Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science

June 2003 Editorial

[Zygon, vol. 38, no. 2 (June 2003).]
© 2003 by the Joint Publication Board of Zygon. ISSN: 0591-2385
DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.1896.tb00393.x

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This is Zygon’s one hundred fiftieth issue. Just to write that sentence is exciting. We are halfway through our thirty-eighth year of continuous publication. In that time three editors have served the journal (Ralph Burhoe was the founding editor, Karl Peters, his successor), and each presided over approximately one-third of the total issues. Looking back over these years gives satisfaction, and it is good to remember and honor those whose achievements make our present work possible.

Zygon has always put its gaze on the future rather than on the past, however, and this issue is no exception.

Antje Jackelén sets the tone for this issue by providing her own checklist of what is necessary for “getting ready for the future.” Marc Bekoff and Gregory Peterson follow with discussions of Bekoff’s research on animals, with particular emphasis on carnivores. Their concerns are seldom featured in religion-and-science literature and, as such, will certainly become more prominent in the future—including in the pages of this journal.

Although spirituality receives considerable emphasis in recent discussions of religion and science, it has not figured so frequently in these pages. Thomas Maxwell (ecology) and Ronald Glasberg (communications) describe differing entrees to spirituality and different tasks to which it may be addressed: Maxwell begins with ecology and addresses environmental challenges, while Glasberg deals with interdisciplinarity through the medium of mathematical ideas.

Following these two specific theme sections, seven articles follow, each of which has the potential to become a classic discussion. Robert Schaible (literature) gives his own view of “what poetry brings to the table of science and religion.” Don Browning (religious studies, social science) presents a version of his widely respected interdisciplinary methodology for moving from theoretical issues to practical outcomes, in the context of family and women’s rights. Karl Peters (religious studies, philosophy) brings a distinctive perspective to the issues of the evolution of morality, which is another approach to the task of moving from theory to practice.

The work of Niels Henrik Gregersen (theology), on another theme—risk and religion—that is rarely discussed in the religion-science conversation, is also the harbinger of more attention in the future. One of the most important issues in our field concerns the relation between theological ideas and neuroscientific theories. Palmyre Oomen (philosophy, theology) approaches the daunting task of clarifying the relationships and resemblances between theological discussions of soul and free will and certain insights from the neurosciences and the science of complexity.

Physicist Peter Hodgson argues for an interpretation of Einstein’s importance for religious thinking that stands as a critique of much of what he finds in the literature. Kevin Sharpe (theology, mathematics) and Jonathan Walgate (physics) reopen the discussion of the idea of emergence and in the process offer their alternative to Arthur Peacocke’s proposals for understanding the idea. Their alternative, we hasten to add, has roots in their own personal conversations with Peacocke.

This issue concludes with a symposium on Helmut Reich’s new book, Developing the Horizons of the Mind. Reich himself has the last word in this conversation as he responds to the commentaries of two physicists, John Albright and V. V. Raman, and a psychologist, John Teske. This is the third in an annual series of book discussions organized by the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science at its summer Star Island conference.

We echo the words of Antje Jackelén at the beginning: Read these articles, and get ready for the future!

Philip Hefner

Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts