Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
37 (1), March 2002

Table of Contents


March 2002 Editorial by Philip Hefner

Let me advise the reader that the images of this editorial may have been directly influenced by the gift of a National Geographic globe that arrived just as I was pondering this first issue of Zygon’s thirty-seventh year of publication. It prompted me to coin a word—“multilocationality.” This word should be read with the image of the globe in mind.

Who are the players in the engagement of science and religion? Who are the thinkers who are coining the new ideas and elaborating the old ones? Where are the participants “coming from”? These questions are not the theme for discussion in this issue of Zygon, but the articles that follow provide testimony to the fact that the players are coming from every point on the compass, representing a staggering variety of worldviews and commitments. To be sure, it is our authors’ ideas that we focus on for our discussion, but the ideas are inseparable from their broad range of backgrounds and perspectives. Furthermore, the breadth of that range reminds us that the ideas at the center of the science-religion discussion do not emerge from a single crucible of intellectual ferment—nor even from just a few. It is not geographical nearness, similarity of education, or even a common literature that has produced the discussion in our journal.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2002.00405.x


The Intelligent-Design Movement: Science or Ideology? by Gregory R. Peterson

The past decade has seen the rise of a new wave of criticism of evolutionary biology, led by claims that it should be replaced by a new science of intelligent design. While the general question of inferring design may fairly be considered worthy of attention, claims that intelligent-design theory (IDT) constitutes a biological science are highly problematic. This article briefly summarizes the assertions made about IDT as a biological science and indicates why they do not stand up to analysis. While claiming that IDT is a biological science, its advocates have failed to actually produce a research program that merits serious attention. As such, it is clear that IDT is more driven by ideological considerations than by attention to actual scientific research.
Michael Behe • demarcation • William Dembski • evolutionary theory • intelligent-design theory • Imre Lakatos
Gregory R. Peterson is Assistant Professor of Religion and codirector of the Global Institute at Thiel College, Greenville, PA 16125; e-mail: gpeterso @ thiel.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00406

Globalization and the Soul—According to Teilhard, Friedman, and Others by Thomas M. King, S.J.

Thomas L. Friedman’s recent book on globalization, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, sees a religious value in globalization: “globalization emerges from below … from people’s very souls and from their deepest aspirations” (1999, 338). Pierre Teilhard de Chardin made similar claims in 1920, calling globalization the “deep-rooted religious movement of our age” (Teilhard 1979, 211). He came to this awareness through his experience in World War I. There he began connecting globalization to its roots in evolution and to the mystics’ desire for the “All,” a desire he saw animating the work of believing and unbelieving scientists. He found confirmation of his ideas in the letters of Saint Paul, who told of God eventually filling all things. Teilhard used the vocabulary of mysticism to describe global developments in technology, industry, politics, and the environment, and the ardor of his texts has led to their being widely used for secular gatherings on global subjects.
Kenneth Boulding • Michel Camdessus • contemplation • Thomas L. Friedman • globalization • Al Gore • Ignatius of Loyola • Marshall McLuhan • mystics • Saint Paul • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin • United Nations • World War I
Thomas M. King, S.J., is Professor of Theology at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. 20057. He is cofounder and codirector of Cosmos & Creation, an annual gathering of scientists concerned with religion.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00407

Science and the Religions—A Symposium

Science and the Religions: Introduction to the Symposium by Philip Hefner

Seven of the nine papers in this symposium originated at a session of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, 5 December 1999, in Cape Town, South Africa. The symposium was a cooperative effort of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science (ZCRS). Karl Peters (representing IRAS) and Philip Hefner (representing ZCRS) were the organizers of the symposium, which included the papers published here by Solomon Katz, Philip Hefner, Viggo Mortensen, Varadaraja Raman, Pinit Ratanakul, Ingrid Shafer, and Norbert Samuelson. Others who played important roles in the symposium were Haman Hadi (public health, University of Gadjah Mada, Yogakarta, Indonesia), William Lesher (United Religious Initiative, San Francisco, California), and Ursula Goodenough (biology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri) …
Philip Hefner is Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615-5199; e-mail: p-n-hef @ worldnet.att.net.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00408

Interfaith Dialogue and the Science-and-Religion Discussion by James F. Moore

The science-and-religion dialogue has so often assumed that the key issues for discussion are those that have arisen within the Western Christian religious and intellectual tradition that little interest has been devoted to the possible insights that the presence of non-Christian voices in the dialogue might bring. In the following I explore the benefits of a truly multireligious dialogue on science and religion and offer a model for integrating various religious perspectives into the science-and-religion dialogue. Of course, taking the multifaith perspectives of the religions seriously also means making a dialogue between religions a component of the science-and-religion dialogue, and I discuss how such a dialogue might unfold along with key ideas that might emerge in ever more interesting ways once the dialogue begins.
design • dialogue • ethics • mystery • pluralism
James F. Moore is Professor of Theology at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 46383, and director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science’s Interfaith Project; e-mail: James.Moore @ valpo.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00409

Questions for a Millennium: Religion and Science from the Perspective of a Scientist by Solomon H. Katz

This essay addresses a series of eight questions about what religion can do for science. It explores the secular role of religion in contemporary science and the need for greater synthesis between science and religion. It concludes that, for survival in the twenty-first century, religion cannot exist without acknowledging and using the enormous information pool of science, and science can no longer shun or ignore religion. Humankind will always need the large, synthetic explanations that religion provides of why we are here and what we ought to do and believe. The world needs to mark this new millennium with a sense of respect, cooperation, and even synthesis between science and religion.
experimental approach • interpretation • moral systems • religion • science • synthesis • universal ontology
Solomon H. Katz is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, director of the Krogman Growth Center, and editor in chief of the forthcoming Scribners Encyclopedia of Food. His mailing address is 4019 Irving St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-3531; e-mail: skatz2001 @ aol.com.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00410

How Science Is a Resource and a Challenge for Religion: Perspective of a Theologian by Philip Hefner

Religion is characterized by the attempt to create a worldview, which is in effect the effort of worldbuilding. By this I mean that religion aims to focus on all of the elements that make up a person’s world or a community’s world and put those elements together in a manner that actually constructs a total picture that gives meaning and coherence to life. In this activity of worldbuilding, science and religion meet each other at the deepest level. Science makes a fundamental contribution to this worldbuilding effort and also poses a challenge. There are good grounds for this twofold role of science: (1) scientific knowledge is basic to any worldview in our time, and (2) science and its related technology engender new and often confusing experiences that require inclusion in any worldbuilding. The challenge of science is that its contribution does not easily accommodate worldbuilding because of the factors of chance, indeterminacy, blind evolution, and heat death that are ascertained through scientific knowledge. Science is a resource for us in that the features of its knowledge can lend actuality and credibility to worldbuilding. Religion needs science for its worldbuilding if its interpretations are to be credible and possess vivid actuality. Science needs religion because, unless its knowledge is incorporated into meaningful worldbuilding, science forfeits its standing as a humanistic enterprise and instead may count as an antihuman methodology and body of knowledge.
religion • science • unity of science and religion • worldbuilding • worldview
Philip Hefner is Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615-5199; e-mail: p-n-hef @ worldnet.att.net.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00411

The Dialogue between Science and Religion and the Dialogue between People of Different Faiths: Areopagus Revisited by Viggo Mortensen

Christianity finds itself in a new situation, one that resembles its first-century experience in that it will be shaped by a new dominant world culture. This culture is marked by three factors—the economy, the multireligious situation, and science. The author’s discussion deals with the issues that arise in this engagement with culture under three rubrics: dialogue between science and religion, globalization of the religious encounter, and interreligious dialogue in a globalized world. The major assertions are: (1) Science and religions must avoid restrictive and expansionist relationships and work for reciprocal interaction. (2) Globalization is an unavoidable, but ambiguous, historical development; religions should reject responses of “ethnification” and “primitivism” and rather engage in strategies that encourage both productive encounter and critical distance. (3) Interreligious dialogue includes dialogues of life, of intellectual exchange, of religious experience, of common action, and of confrontation; this dialogue will seek to embrace truth (which involves science) and wisdom (which includes the various religious traditions) in the reciprocal interaction that is marked by love.
dominant culture • economy • globalization • interreligious dialogue • love • reciprocal interaction • science-religion dialogue • truth • wisdom
Viggo Mortensen is Professor and Chair in Global Christianity and Ecumenical Concerns at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00412

Science and the Spiritual Vision: A Hindu Perspective by Varadaraja V. Raman

Every religious tradition has a spiritual basis. Hinduism is no exception. In this paper the spiritual framework of Hinduism is discussed, after a brief historical background, with reference to scientific worldviews. Particular attention is paid to the notions of objective knowledge, transcendental reality, and the Hindu view on the meaning of human existence.
Brahman • objectivity • prakritipurusha • quantum inseparability • Upanishads • Vedanta • Vedas
Varadaraja V. Raman is Professor of Physics and Humanities Emeritus at Rochester Institute of Technology, 20 Sutton Point, Pittsford, NY 14534; e-mail: vvrsps @ rit.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00413

Hindu and Christian Creationism: “Transposed Passages” in the Geological Book of Life by C. Mackenzie Brown

Antievolution arguments of Christian and Hindu creationists often critique Darwin’s metaphor of the geological record as an ill-preserved book of life, while highlighting the problem of anomalous fossils. For instance, Bible-based young-Earth creationists point to anomalous humanlike prints alongside authenticated dinosaur tracks to argue for the creation of all life some few thousand years ago. But Vedic-based ancient-hominid creationists view the same sort of evidence as indicating the existence of all species, including the hominids, billions of years ago. I examine the roots of this Hindu Vedic creationism and its recent elaboration among scientifically minded members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Similarities in the methods and rhetorical strategies of the two creationist groups are considered, as well as the underlying motives that have brought together such otherwise disparate religious worldviews.
creationism • Darwinism • evolution • fossil prints • Hindu creationism • International Society for Krishna Consciousness • scientific creationism • young-Earth creationism
C. Mackenzie Brown is Professor and Chair of Religion at Trinity University, 715 Stadium Drive, San Antonio, TX 78212; e-mail: mbrown @ trinity.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00414

Buddhism and Science: Allies or Enemies? by Pinit Ratanakul

Buddhist teachings and modern science are analogous both in their approach to the search for truth and in some of the discoveries of contemporary physics, biology, and psychology. However, despite these congruencies and the recognized benefits of science, Buddhism reminds us of the dangers of a tendency toward scientific reductionism and imperialism and of the sciences’ inability to deal with human moral and spiritual values and needs. Buddhism and science have human concerns and final goals that are different, but as long as the boundaries between them are not trespassed, they can be mutually corrective and allied to benefit humankind. Buddhism must be open to the discoveries of science about the physical world as must all religions today, but no matter how much it may have to modify some of its ancient beliefs, its basic truths—the truths about human suffering and its release—will remain untouched.
boundaries • law of conditionality • moral law • open enquiry • release from suffering • verifiable truth
Pinit Ratanakul is Professor of Philosophy at Mahidol University. His mailing address is Center for Religious Studies, 45/3Ladphrao 92, Bangklapi, Bangkok, Thailand; e-mail: pinitratanakul @ hotmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00415

What Does It Mean to Be Human? A Personal and Catholic Perspective by Ingrid Shafer

A philosopher-poet-theologian ponders the implications of the multimillion-year biogenetic process that produced Homo sapiens and is beginning to reveal itself ever more clearly as evolution of the mind and consciousness. As meaning trappers and makers, called to actualize the divine image imprinted upon us, we are now facing biological and cultural evolution with deliberate human input as well as the evolution of evolution. As communicating animals that are becoming ever more aware of our adaptive behavior, we have the potential of affecting our own destiny by listening to the spirit within and nurturing the genes and memes that give rise to physical, intellectual, creative, and moral excellence. In the matrix of cyberspace we have the opportunity to heal the two-culture split, to reinvent ourselves, to incubate/weave the emergent religions of the future, and to create our multiple “Ways” appropriate to the dawning Age of Global Dialogue.
axial period • biological evolution • cultural evolution • cyberspace • divinization • emergence of consciousness • four nucleotides • genes • Incarnation • information exchange • interactivity • interconnectivity • intuition • Logos • love energy • meaning • memes • mysticism • noogenesis • overcoming mind-body dualism • overcoming two-culture split • process philosophy • synchronicity • Tetragrammaton • transformation
Ingrid Shafer is Professor of Philosophy and Religion as well as Mary Jo Ragan Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, 511 Minnesota Avenue, Chickasha, OK 73018; e-mail ihs @ ionet.net.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00416

Creation and the Symbiosis of Science and Judaism by Norbert M. Samuelson

It seems to me that the critical questions that science and natural philosophy raise for Jewish theology are the following: Does God evolve? Does the universe have or even need an interpretation, specifically with reference to the fact that most of the universe most of the time is uninhabitable, and there may be many more than one universe? Does the universe need a beginning? What is distinctive about human consciousness, intelligence, and ethics in the light of evidence for evolution from all of the life sciences? Finally, will both life and the universe end?

These questions are not only modern. They contain all the primary issues that have dominated rabbinic thought. That agenda can be summarized in six topics: How should we model what we believe about (1) God, (2) the world, and (3) the human being; and how should we understand the relations between them, that is, between (4) God and the world (or, creation), (5) God and the human (or, revelation), and (6) the human and the world (or, redemption)? In this paper I focus on the fourth issue, creation. My answer is presented in detail in my Judaism and the Doctrine of Creation (Samuelson 1994). Here I shall summarize my conclusions there concerning science, Jewish texts, and the correlation between them.
asymptote • creation • René Descartes • ethics • Genesis • good • Hebrew Scriptures • inflationary universe • Jewish philosophy • Emmanuel Levinas • Moses Maimonides • motion • nothing • ontology • or (light) • quantum mechanics • rabbinic authorities • redemption • science • singularity • space • thing • time • tohu and • universe • John Wheeler • will of God
Norbert M. Samuelson holds the Harold and Jean Grossman Chair in the Religious Studies Department at Arizona State University, Box 873104, Tempe, AZ 85287-3104; e-mail: norbert.samuelson @ asu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00417


The Motivational Origins of Religious Practices by Patrick McNamara

I hypothesize that people engage in religious practices, in part, because such practices activate the frontal lobes. Activation of the frontal lobes is both intrinsically rewarding and necessary for acquisition of many of the behaviors that religions seek to foster, including self-responsibility, impulse and emotion modulation, empathy, moral insight, hope, and optimism. Although direct tests of the hypothesis are as yet nonexistent, there is reasonably strong circumstantial evidence (reviewed herein) for it. Recent brain-imaging studies indicate greater anterior activation values and increased blood flow to frontal sites during prayer and meditation. Regular prayer is positively correlated with better overall mental health. Religiosity is correlated with higher levels of self-monitoring, empathy, and moral insight and other positive behaviors and negatively correlated with depression and impulsive and risky behaviors. Independent data show that self-monitoring, empathy, hope, and moral insight are all selectively associated with intact frontal function, whereas depression, impulsiveness, and drug and alcohol abuse are associated selectively with frontal dysfunction. If religious practices do indeed preferentially activate and stimulate development of the frontal lobes, (a) religious practices should be considered as possible adjuncts for some patients in treatment for mental health disorders, and (b) the frontal lobes (rather than the temporal lobes) should be considered the major brain site that supports the core components of religious experience.
catecholamines • dopamine • executive functions • frontal lobes • localization • neuropsychology • religious cognition • reward systems
Patrick McNamara is Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology (127), Veterans Administration New England Healthcare System, Boston University School of Medicine, 150 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130; e-mail: mcnamar @ bu.edu or mcnamarapj @ earthlink.net.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00418

Pragmatic Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Intersection of Human Interests by Victor Anderson

This paper elicits a twentieth-century American story that is deeply rooted in the legacy of American philosophical pragmatism, its impact on a particular school, and its reconstruction of American theology. The paper focuses on three generations of American theologians, and it centers on how these theologians reconstruct theology in light of the science of their day and how they maintain a true plurality of insights about human life in the world. The pragmatic theologian regards the creative exchange between theology and natural science as an opportunity for renewing our understanding of religious life and appreciating the various commitments of scientists and theologians as they meet at the juncture of human interests. The first voice is that of the early Chicago School of Theology represented by Shailer Mathews, Gerald Birney Smith, and George Burman Foster. The second voice is that of Henry Nelson Wieman, a second-generation theologian at Chicago. The final theologian discussed is James M. Gustafson, former Professor of Theological Ethics at Chicago.
American pragmatism • Chicago School of Theology • human interests • pragmatic theology • theology and empirical sciences • vitalist theory of Christian theology
Victor Anderson is Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00419

Cosmology, Cosmic Evolution, and Sacramental Reality: A Christian Contribution by Rudolf B. Brun

From the Christian perspective, creation exists through the Word of God. The Word of God does not create God again but brings forth the absolute “otherness” of God: creation. The nature of God is to exist. God is existence as unity in the diversity of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The gift of created existence reflects the triune nature of the Word of God. It is synthesis of diversity into unity that creates. Nature brings forth new existence by unifying what it already brought forth previously. Therefore, the creative process of nature is self-similar and nonlinear: self-similar because at all levels it is synthesis that brings forth novelty; nonlinear because the properties of the new unities are not present in their (isolated) elements. The new properties of the wholes, however, do not destroy the properties of the parts. Rather, the elements integrated into new wholes become creatively transformed. This is because the parts become carriers of the whole, which transforms the parts through its presence. The parts become and express the qualities of the whole, qualities that the parts do not possess in isolation. Synthesis, therefore, transforms the parts creatively, because synthesis is creative. The qualities of the parts become “elevated” because the whole becomes present in and through the parts. The understanding of creation as the result of sequential, creative transformations offers a glance into the mystery of the Word of God present in the Eucharist. Here, too, the elements of bread and wine are not destroyed but elevated, creatively transformed into the Word of God. The elements (bread and wine) become the carrier of a transcendent “quality,” the Word of God. From this perspective, creation and the sacrament of the Eucharist illuminate each other. This is because the Word of God that creates the otherness of creation and the Word of God present in the Eucharist is the same.
Christian doctrine of creation • emergent evolution • Eucharist • sacramental reality of creation
Rudolf B. Brun is Professor of Developmental Biology at Texas Christian University, Box 298930, Fort Worth, TX 76129; e-mail: r.brun @ tcu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00420

Evolution: Journey or Random Walk? by Terence L. Nichols

Though early ideas of evolution saw it as progressive, most modern theories see it as a random walk. The theories of Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Edward O. Wilson, Stuart Kauffman, Steven Rose, and Robert Wesson are surveyed, showing their agreement on the fact of evolution but not on the mechanism. Evolution is an incomplete theory. Any theology should therefore be based only on its broadest features. Generally, evolution is the development of complex forms from simple ancestors. Within a Christian context, it can be seen as a journey toward the unification of all things in Christ, the ultimate complexity.
complexity • context • evolution • mechanism of evolution • progress • Spirit
Terence L. Nichols is Associate Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas, 2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105; e-mail: tlnichols @ stthomas.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.00421


Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by Edward O. Wilson, reviewed by William A. Durbin

William A. Durbin, Assistant Professor of Church History, Washington Theological Union, 6896 Laurel Street N.W., Washington, DC 20012
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.t01-1-00422

Science and Religion: An Introduction by Alister E. McGrath, reviewed by Eugene E. Selk

Eugene E. Selk, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Creighton University, Omaha, NE 68178
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.t01-1-00422

Being Human: The Case of Religion edited by K. Helmut Reich, Fritz K. Oser, and W. George Scarlett, reviewed by John A. Teske

John A. Teske, Department of Psychology, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.t01-1-00422

The Triune Creator: A Historical and Systematic Study by Colin E. Gunton, reviewed by Maurice Wiles

Maurice Wiles, Professor Emeritus of Divinity, University of Oxford, 11 Bay Tree Close, Iffley, Oxford OX4 4DT, U.K.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.t01-1-00422

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind by V. S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee, reviewed by Michael L. Spezio

Michael L. Spezio, Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97401; e-mail: mlspezio @ darkwing.uoregon.edu
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.t01-1-00422

Feuerbach and the Interpretation of Religions by Van A. Harvey, reviewed by Jack Verheyden

Jack Verheyden, Cain Professor of Theology and Ecclesiology, Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA 91711-6160
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9744.t01-1-00422

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