Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
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Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
49 (3), September 2014

Table of Contents


Zygon @ 49: A Child of the Sixties? by Willem B. Drees

With this issue, we continue our 49th year of publication. Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science is a child of the sixties, as we started in 1966. Thus, it may be quite appropriate that in this issue we have a set of articles on “entheogens,” drugs that bring one “into the divine,” or at least seem to induce religious experiences. Ron Cole-Turner introduces the section; William A. Richards informs us on empirical work he and others at Johns Hopkins University do; William Barnard writes on the way the use of such substances is embedded in the Santo Daime tradition, while Leonard Hummel reflects on the practical bearings, drawing on his involvement with research on spiritual transformations, work with cancer patients, and experience in Christian communities. Tolle lege, Augustine heard according to his conversion narrative—“take and read,” if not the substances, perhaps these articles.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12122


The Sociology and Theology of Creationist Objections to Evolution: How Blood Marks the Bounds of the Christian Body by Eugene F. Rogers, Jr.

The staying power of creationist objections to evolution needs explanation. It depends on the use of “blood” language. Both William Jennings Bryan and, a century later, Ken Ham connect evolution with the blood of predation and the blood of apes, and both also connect evolution with the blood of atonement. Drawing on Mary Douglas and Bettina Bildhauer, I suggest that blood becomes important to societies that image the social body on the human body. Blood reveals the body as porous and vulnerable and therefore needing social work to be constructed as whole and bounded. Blood is the place where society conducts this work. I conclude that blood language is ineliminable from Christian discourse and indeed from discourses that model the social on the individual body. The solution, I suggest, is not to avoid the language of blood, but to continue to use it in ways that broaden its focus from human sin to human and animal suffering.
Bettina Bildhauer • blood • William Jennings Bryan • creationism • Mary Douglas • Emile Durkheim • Eucharist • evolution • Ken Ham • theology and science • totemism
Eugene F. Rogers, Jr. is Professor of Religious Studies and Program Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies, University of North Carolina in Greensboro. He may be contacted at 909 Magnolia Street, Greensboro, NC 27401-1526, USA; e-mail: efrogers @ uncg.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12102

The Trees, My Lungs: Self Psychology and the Natural World at an American Buddhist Center by Daniel Capper

This study employs ethnographic field data to trace a dialogue between the self-psychological concept of the self object and experiences regarding the concept of “interbeing” at a Vietnamese Buddhist monastery in the United States. The dialogue develops an understanding of human experiences with the nonhuman natural world which are tensive, liminal, and nondual. From the dialogue I find that the self object concept, when applied to this form of Buddhism, must be inclusive enough to embrace relationships with animals, stones, and other natural forms. The dialogue further delineates a self-psychological methodology for examining religions in their interactions with natural forms.
human interactions with nature • religion • self psychology • Vietnamese Buddhism
Daniel Capper is Associate Professor of Religion, University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive, #5015, Hattiesburg, MS 39406, USA; e-mail: Daniel.Capper @ usm.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12101

Affected by Nature: A Hermeneutical Transformation of Environmental Ethics by Francis Van den Noortgaete and Johan De Tavernier

The value-action gap poses a considerable challenge to normative environmental ethics. Because of the wide array of empirical research results that have become available in the fields of environmental psychology, education, and anthropology, ethicists are at present able to take into account insights on what effectively motivates proenvironmental behavior. The emotional aspect apparently forms a key element within a transformational process that leads to an internalization of nature within one’s identity structure. We compare these findings with studies on environmental activists, which appear to a significantly lesser degree hampered by the value-action gap, thereby attempting to understand what provides them with the drive to act more consistently on their moral attitudes. Hermeneutics is found to play a crucial role in the processes that lead to lasting and consistent motivation toward proenvironmental behavior. An empirically informed hermeneutical approach could therefore provide a promising impetus for contemporary environmental ethics.
emotion • environmental ethics • hermeneutics • motivation • proenvironmental behavior • transformative learning • value-action gap
Francis Van den Noortgaete is a Doctoral Researcher, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Research Unit of Theological and Comparative Ethics, University of Leuven, Sint-Michielsstraat 4, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; e-mail francis.vandennoortgaete @ theo.kuleuven.be. Johan De Tavernier is Professor of Theological Ethics, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Research Unit of Theological and Comparative Ethics, University of Leuven, Sint-Michielsstraat 4, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; e-mail johan.detavernier @ theo.kuleuven.be.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12103

A Peircean Response to the Evolutionary Debunking of Moral Knowledge by Gary Slater

The evolutionary debunking argument advanced by Sharon Street, Michael Ruse, and Richard Joyce employs the logic of Paul Griffiths and John Wilkins to contend that humans cannot have knowledge of moral truths, since the evolutionary process that has produced our basic moral intuitions lacks causal connections to those (putative) truths. Yet this argument is self-defeating, because its aim is the categorical, normative claim that we should suspend our moral beliefs in light of the discoveries about their non-truth-tracking origins, when it is precisely this claim that relies upon the normativity under attack. This article cites Charles S. Peirce (1839-1914) to argue that such self-defeat can be avoided by expanding upon the basic structure of the argument put forth by Griffiths and Wilkins, provided that one embraces a version of realism that corresponds with Peirce’s doctrine of final causation. So construed, final causation reconciles real generals (including real moral values) with natural selection and undergirds further speculation of moral facts within values per se.
Darwinism • epistemology • ethics • final causation • Charles S. Peirce • realism • semiotics • values
Gary Slater is Doctoral Candidate in Theology and Religion at Oxford University, currently researching at St. Edwards University, Austin, Texas, He may be contacted at 1510B Newning Avenue, Austin, TX 78704, USA; e-mail: garyslater @ gmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12104

Zygon @ 49

The Changing Cultural Context of the Institute on Religion in and Age of Science and Zygon by Karl E. Peters

Since Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science was founded 49 years ago and since one of its co-publishers, the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS), was founded 60 years ago, there have been significant developments in their various cultural contexts—in science, in religion, in culture, in academia, and in the science and religion dialogue. This article is a personal remembrance and reflection that compares the context of IRAS in 1954 when it was first organized with the context of IRAS and Zygon today. It considers the contemporary niche of IRAS in relation to the developments that have occurred over the past 60 years.
Ralph Wendell Burhoe • context • Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) • religion and science • Harry Nelson Wieman • Zygon
Karl E. Peters is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion, Rollins College, and a former editor and coeditor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. He may be reached at 30 Barn Door Hills Road, Granby, CT 06035, USA; e-mail: kpeters396 @ cox.net.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12121

Ralph Burhoe: Reconsidering the Man and his Vision of Yoking Religion and Science by Philip Hefner

Ralph Wendell Burhoe was a leading figure in relating religion and science in the second half of the twentieth century. His autodidactic style and character as a public intellectual resulted in a vision that is comprehensive in its concern for the salvation of society. He does not fit easily into academic frameworks, even though he has been influential upon scholars who work in academia. This article discusses some conundrums posed by his work. There are also brief presentations of the concerns that motivated Burhoe, his style of work, and the content of his vision.
altruism • autodidact • Ralph Wendell Burhoe • public intellectual • religion • science • society • yoking • zygon
Philip Hefner is Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He was editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science (1989-2009) and founding director of the Chicago Center of Religion and Science (now the Zygon Center). His address is 5550 S. Shore Dr., Apt. 902, Chicago, IL 60637, USA; e-mail: philnevahefner @ gmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12123

The Potential Religious Relevance of Entheogens

Entheogens, Mysticism, and Neuroscience by Ron Cole-Turner

Entheogens or psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin are associated with mystical states of experience. Drug laws currently limit research, but important new work is under way at major biomedical research facilities showing that entheogens reliably occasion mystical experiences and thereby allow research into brain states during these experiences. Are drug occasioned mystical experiences neurologically the same as more traditional mystical states? Are there phenomenological and theological differences? As this research goes forward and the public becomes more widely aware of its achievements, religious scholars and experts in science and religion will be called upon to interpret the philosophical and theological presuppositions that underpin this research and the significance of the findings that flow from it.
cognitive science • entheogen • mystical experience • mysticism • neuroscience • psilocybin • psychedelic
Ron Cole-Turner holds the H. Parker Sharp Chair of Theology and Ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He can be reached at 616 North Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15206 USA; e-mail: coleturn @ pts.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12110

Here and Now: Discovering the Sacred with Entheogens by William A. Richards

Renewed research with entheogens (psychedelic substances) has been able to facilitate the occurrence of mystical forms of consciousness in healthy volunteers with a high degree of reliability. This article explores the potential significance of this development for religious scholars, especially those interested in the study of mysticism. The definition of “mystical consciousness” employed in this research is presented and differentiated from visionary/archetypal and other types of alternative mental states. The ways in which entheogens may be employed with skill and maximum safety are discussed. Implications for clarifying confusion in the study of mysticism are considered, along with suggestions for future religious research on this frontier of knowledge.
consciousness • entheogen • hallucinogen • interspirituality • mysticism • psilocybin • psychedelic
William A. Richards is a theologically trained clinical psychologist in the Psychiatry Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, USA. He may be contacted at 2516 Talbot Road, Baltimore, MD 21216, USA; e-mail: wrichar6 @ jhmi.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12108

Entheogens in a Religious Context: The Case of the Santo Daime Religious Tradition by G. William Barnard

This essay first draws upon the work of William James and others to propose a nonphysicalistic understanding of the relationship between the brain and consciousness in order to articulate a philosophical perspective that can understand entheogenic visionary/mystical experiences as something other than hallucinations. It then focuses on the Santo Daime tradition, a religious movement that began in Brazil in the early part of the twentieth century, to provide an example of the personal and social ramifications of taking an entheogen (ayahuasca) within a disciplined religious context. The essay claims that the Santo Daime is one example of a contemporary mystery school; gives a brief history of the development of this religion; discusses the key theological assumptions of this movement; investigates the important role played by visionary/mystical experiences within this religion; underscores the centrality of healing and spiritual transformation for members of this tradition; and ends with an examination of the crucial significance of spiritual discipline within this entheogenically based religion.
ayahuasca • consciousness • entheogen • William James • mystery school • Santo Daime • Huston Smith • spiritual disciplines • transformation • visionary/mystical experiences
G. William Barnard is Professor of Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University, P. O. Box 750202, Dallas, TX 75275-0202, USA; e-mail: bbarnard @ smu.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12109

By Its Fruits? Mystical and Visionary States of Consciousness occasioned by Entheogens by Leonary Hummel

A new era has emerged in research on entheogens largely due to clinical trials conducted at Johns Hopkins University and similar studies sponsored by the Council for Spiritual Practices. In these notes and queries, I reflect on implications of these developments for psychological studies of religion and on what this research may mean for Christian churches in the United States. I conclude that the aims and methods of this research fit well within Jamesian efforts of contemporary psychology of religion to assess religious practices by their fruits for life. Furthermore, some communitarian religious concerns that religious experiences occasioned by entheogens pose risks to the integrity of religious community are shown to be largely unfounded. However, it is suggested that certain risks for religious life posed by all investigations/interventions by knowledge experts—in particular, the colonization of the religious life world and the commodification of its practices—also attend these developments for Christian churches. Additionally, risks of individual harm in the use of entheogens appear to be significant and, therefore, warrant earnest ethical study.
churches • colonization • communitarian • entheogens • fruits • William James • life-world • mysticism • psychology of religion
Leonard M. Hummel is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Care, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, 61 Seminary Ridge, Gettysburg, PA 17325, USA; e-mail: lhummel @ ltsg.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12112

Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not: A Conversation with Robert McCauley

Religion is Easy, But Science is Hard … Understanding McCauley’s Thesis by James A. Van Slyke

Robert N. McCauley’s new book Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not (2011) presents a new paradigm for investigating the relationship between science and religion by exploring the cognitive foundations of religious belief and scientific knowledge. McCauley’s contention is that many of the differences and disagreements regarding religion and science are the product of distinct features of human cognition that process these two domains of knowledge very differently. McCauley’s thesis provides valuable insights into this relationship while not necessarily leading to a dismissive view of theology or religious belief. His paradigm allows the research lens to focus on cognitive differences in processing scientific versus religious information and the important role of automatic, unconscious, and intuitive cognitive processes in understanding both the natural and supernatural worlds.
cognitive science • cognitive science of religion • philosophy of religion • philosophy of science • psychology of religion
James A. Van Slyke is Assistant Professor of Psychology, Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, CA, USA. He may be contacted at Fresno Pacific University, North Hall 117, School of HRSS, 1717 South Chestnut Avenue, Box 2301, Fresno, CA 93702; email: james.vanslyke @ fresno.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12113

Defining “Religion” as Natural: A Critical Invitation to Robert McCauley by Andrew Ali Aghapour

Previous critics have argued that Robert McCauley defines religion and science selectively and arbitrarily, cutting them to fit his model in Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not. McCauley has responded that final definitions are “overrated” and that artificial distinctions can serve an important role in naturalistic investigation. I agree with this position but argue that a genealogy of the category of religion is crucial to the methodology that McCauley describes. Since the inherent ambiguity of religion will undermine any essential claims about its cognitive naturalness, I invite McCauley to consider how his research might investigate scientific and religious cognition in new terms.
cognitive science of religion • epistemology • genealogy of religion • naturalism • naturalistic accounts of religion • philosophy of science
Andrew Ali Aghapour is a PhD student in the Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, 125 Saunders Hall, CB# 3225, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA; e-mail: aghapour @ email.unc.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12114

On McCauley’s Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not: Some Further Observations by Gregory R. Peterson

Robert McCauley’s Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not provides a summary interpretive statement of the standard model in cognitive science of religion, what I have previously called the HADD + ToM + Cultural Epidemiology model, along with a more general argument comparing religious cognition to scientific thinking and a novel framework for understanding both in terms of the concept of the maturationally natural. I here follow up on some observations made in a previous paper, developing them in light of McCauley’s own response to my previous arguments.
Justin Barrett • cognitive science of religion • HADD • maturationally natural • Robert McCauley
Gregory R. Peterson is Professor of Philosophy and Religion in the Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy, and Religion, Box 504, Scobey 336, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA; e-mail: greg.peterson @ sdstate.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12115

Explanatory Modesty by Robert N. McCauley

Although I certainly have differences with some of my commentators, I am grateful for the time, effort, and attention that each has devoted to my book, Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not. They have helpfully pointed out features of my positions that need clarification and elaboration. I am also grateful to the editor of Zygon, Willem Drees, for this opportunity to undertake that task here.
cognitive science of religion • philosophy of religion • religion and science • religious studies
Robert N. McCauley is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. University Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture at Emory University. He may be contacted at the Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building, 36 Eagle Row, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA; e-mail: philrnm @ emory.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12116

On Animals: Responses to David Clough’s Systematic Theology

God, Christ, and Animals by David Fergusson

One of the most significant contributions to the field in recent times, David Clough’s work On Animals: Volume 1, Systematic Theology, should ensure that theologies of creation, redemption, and eschatological fulfillment give proper attention to animals. In a landmark study, he draws upon resources in Scripture and tradition to present a systematic theology that is alert to the place of animals in the divine economy. Amidst his relentless criticism of all forms of anthropocentrism, however, it is asked whether some unresolved tensions emerge in relation to the traditional doctrine of God, the use of the category of the “personal” in theology, and the incarnation of the Word of God as a human creature.
animals • anthropocentrism • person • work of Christ
David Fergusson is Professor of Divinity and Principal of New College, University of Edinburgh, School of Divinity, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LX, UK; e-mail: David.Fergusson @ ed.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12111

The Particularity of Animals and of Jesus Christ by Margaret B. Adam

Clough’s theological account of animals critiques the familiar negative identification of animals as not-human. Instead, Clough highlights both the distinctive particularity of each animal as created by God and the shared fleshly creatureliness of human and nonhuman animals. He encourages Christians to recognize Jesus Christ as God enfleshed more than divinely human, and consequently to care for nonhuman animals as those who share with human animals in the redemption of all flesh. This move risks downplaying the possibilities for creaturely specific forms of redemption; limiting the cosmic efficacy of salvation in Christ; and losing the particularity of Christ’s divine and human natures. Another, possibly less risky, direction to take Clough’s insights about creatureliness and well-formed theological ethics might attend to the perverse ways that humans assess the worthiness of human and nonhuman animals by substituting particularities of use and abuse for the particularities of creation and salvation.
animals • creatures • flesh • particularity • redemption • salvation • theological ethic • two-nature Christology
Margaret B. Adam convenes the Doctrine portion of ministerial education for the Scottish Episcopal Church and is an Honorary Academic Associate at St. Stephen’s House, University of Oxford. She may be contacted at 34 James St., Oxford OX4 1ET, UK; e-mail: margaret.adam @ ssho.ox.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12118

The Imago Dei as the Mind of Jesus Christ by Christopher Carter

In this essay I examine David Clough’s interpretation of the imago Dei and his use of “creaturely” language in his book On Animals: Volume 1, Systematic Theology. Contrary to Clough, I argue that the imago Dei should be interpreted as being uniquely human. Using a neuroscientific approach, I elaborate on my claim that while Jesus is the image of God perfected, the imago Dei is best understood as having the mind of Christ. In regards to language, I make the case that using terms such as “creature” when referring to nonhuman animals is problematic in that it can serve to alienate human beings from their capacity to image God. In addition I argue that “creaturely” language raises concerns for the African American community given Western Christianity’s history as it relates to their valuation of black bodies and human enslavement.
African American • animal theology • human uniqueness • imago Dei • mindfulness • neuroscience • race • systematic theology
Christopher Carter is a PhD student at Claremont School of Theology. He may be contacted at 1325 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA, 91711, USA; e-mail: christopher.carter @ cst.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12117

Toward a Weak Anthropocentrism by Stephen H. Webb

In his work on the moral status of nonhuman animals, David Clough rejects the theory of anthropocentrism while accepting its practical importance. He thus leaves theology in a dilemma: reflection on animals should not support the very concept that practical approaches to animals require. An alternative is a “weak anthropocentrism” along the line of Gianni Vattimo’s “weak ontology.” A weak anthropocentrism is better suited to a Neoplatonic theory of participation, not the traditional framework of creation out of nothing, and it also can give new meaning to the idea of imago Dei and a Christocentric affirmation of nonhuman value.
anthropocentrism • Christocentrism • Neoplatonism • participation • weak anthropocentrism • weak ontology
Stephen H. Webb taught philosophy and religion for 25 years at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He can be contacted at 1547 Redsunset Dr., Brownsburg, IN 46112, USA; e-mail: webbstephenh @ gmail.com.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12120

On Thinking Theologically about Animals: A Response by David Clough

In response to evaluations of On Animals: Volume 1, Systematic Theology by Margaret Adams, Christopher Carter, David Fergusson, and Stephen Webb, this article argues that the theological reappraisals of key doctrines argued for in the book are important for an adequate theological discussion of animals. The article addresses critical points raised by these authors in relation to the creation of human beings in the image of God, the doctrine of the incarnation, the theological ordering of creatures, anthropocentrism, and the doctrine of God. It concludes that, given previous neglect, much more discussion by theologians is required in order to think better concerning the place of animals in Christian theology, but acting better toward fellow animal creatures is an important next step toward this goal.
animals • anthropocentrism • creation • image of God • incarnation • theology
David Clough is Professor of Theological Ethics, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Chester, Parkgate Road, Chester CH1 4BJ, UK; e-mail: d.clough @ chester.ac.uk.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12119


Religion without God by Ronald Dworkin, reviewed by James F. Moore

James F. Moore; Professor of Theology; Valparaiso University; Valparaiso, IN 46383; james.moore @ valpo.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12107

Ecology and Religion by John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, reviewed by James F. Moore

James F. Moore; Professor of Theology; Valparaiso University; Valparaiso, IN 46383; james.moore @ valpo.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12105

Evolution, Religion, and Cognitive Science edited by Fraser Watts and Leon Turner, reviewed by James F. Moore

James F. Moore; Professor of Theology; Valparaiso University; Valparaiso, IN 46383; james.moore @ valpo.edu.
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12106

Tables of Contents, Articles & Abstracts