The separation of science and religion in modern secular culture can easily obscure the fact that in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe ideas about nature were intimately related to ideas about God. Readers of this book will find fresh and exciting accounts of a phenomenon common to both science and religion: deviation from orthodox belief. How is heterodoxy to be measured? How might the scientific heterodoxy of particular thinkers impinge on their religious views? Would heterodoxy in (...) class='Hi'>religion create a predisposition towards heterodoxy in science? Might there be a homology between heterodox views in both domains? Such major protagonists as Galileo and Newton are re-examined together with less familiar figures in order to bring out the extraordinary richness of scientific and religious thought in the pre-modern world. (shrink)
Have evolution, science and the trappings of the modern world killed off God irrevocably? And what do we lose if we choose not to believe in him? From Newton and Descartes to Darwin and the discovery of the genome, religion has been pushed back further and further while science has gained ground. But what fills the void that religion leaves behind? This book is an attempt to look at these questions and to suggest a third way (...) between the easy consolations of religion and the persuasive force of science that the everyday modern reader can engage with. (shrink)
. For moral guidance we human beings may be tempted to turn toward the past (scripture, tradition), toward present science, or toward future consequences. Each of these approaches has strengths and limitations. To address those limitations, we need to consider how these various perspectives can be brought togetherâand âreligion and scienceâ is an area in which this may happen. That makes the question of where to look for guidance potentially a central one for religion and science, (...) setting the agenda differently from apologetic questions with respect to religion or to science. However, âreligion and scienceâ does not solve the issues, leading to a single normative perspective; the way that current knowledge is integrated with past wisdom is highly dependent upon ideals that relate to the future. Thus, rather than resolving the need for guidance, the religion-and-science conversation becomes one way of addressing our need for guidance, bringing into the conversation past, present, and future. (shrink)
Humankind : a limited company? -- From volume to point: 1. Philosophy, 2. Religion -- Science : specialised but not special -- Cosmic hierarchies -- Consciousness -- Cognition -- In theory -- Back to Genesis -- The beautiful union.
are the two most important things in the world. A student promptly objected: "No, Professor, you are wrong. that's sex and money." I convinced him otherwise by the time the semester was over. But I am still trying to convince most of the world- Science is the firss Iact of modern life, and religion is the perennial carrier of meaning. Seen in depth and in terms of their long-range personal and cultural impacts, science and religion are (...) the two most important &scca in today's world;. Here are six reasons why the dialogue is vitaL r. Science cannot teach sss svhat sva mod nsost to knsnv abogr nasss~has.. (shrink)
This is the first major response to the new challenge of neuroscience to religion. There have been limited responses from a purely Christian point of view, but this takes account of eastern as well as western forms of religious experience. It challenges the prevailing naturalistic assumption of our culture, including the idea that the mind is either identical with or a temporary by-product of brain activity. It also discusses religion as institutions and religion as inner experience of (...) the Transcendent, and suggests a form of spirituality for today. (shrink)
The cultural transmission of theological concepts remains an underexplored topic in the cognitive science of religion (CSR). In this paper, I examine whether approaches from CSR, especially the study of content biases in the transmission of beliefs, can help explain the cultural success of some theological concepts. This approach reveals that there is more continuity between theological beliefs and ordinary religious beliefs than CSR authors have hitherto recognized: the cultural transmission of theological concepts is influenced by content biases (...) that also underlie the reception of ordinary religious concepts. (shrink)
Todd argues for the integration of science and religion to form a new paradigm for the third millennium. He counters both the arguments made by fundamentalist Christians against science and the rejection of religion by the New Atheists, in particular Richard Dawkins and his followers. Drawing on the work of scientists, psychologists, philosophers, and theologians, Todd challenges the materialistic reductionism of our age and offers an alternative grounded in the visionary work taking place in a wide (...) array of disciplines including Jungian archetypal psychology, quantum mechanics, evolutionary biology,epistemology, neuroscience and an incarnational theology implicit in the evolutionary process. (shrink)
Miracle and Machine is a sort of "reader's guide" to Jacques Derrida's 1994 essay "faith and knowledge," his most important work on the nature of religion in general and on the unprecedented forms it is taking today through science and the ...
Can one call nature 'evil'? Or is life a matter of eating and being eaten, where value judgments should not be applied? Is nature beautiful? Or is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Scientists often pretend that their disciplines only describe and analyze natural processes in factual terms, without making evaluative statements regarding reality. However, scientists may also be driven by the beauty of that which they study. Or they may be appalled by suffering they encounter, and look for (...) technical or medical means 'to improve nature'. Outside of the scientific community, value judgments are even more common. Humans evaluate nature and natural processes in moral, aesthetic and religious terms as cruel, beautiful, hopeful or meaningless. Is nature ultimately good, with all suffering and evil justified in the context of the larger evolutionary process? Or is nature to be improved, via culture or technology, as it is considered less adequate than it could be? In this book, some major scientists, theologians, and philosophers discuss these issues. As a study on the relations between religion and science, this is unique in emphasizing the evaluation of nature, rather than treating religion and science as competing or complementary casual explanations. (shrink)
We live in a culture which, while largely dependent on science for its material welfare, is largely ignorant of the new ideas and perspectives on which science is based. This book examines the true significance of science and technology for society over the last three hundred years. Professor Hanbury Brown's insight and experience have resulted in a novel approach to the discussion of the cultural role of science. After reviewing the history of how science grew (...) to be both useful to, and feared by society, the book traces the same period in the context of new ideas and concepts in scientific research. Later chapters deal with society's current view of science and the need for attitudes to be changed, and then a discussion of the religious dimensions of science. This book aims to clear away some of the popular misconceptions about science and to put in their place a wider and deeper understanding of the nature of science and its value to society. (shrink)
The editorial stance of this book is that mysticism and science offer a way forward here, but only if they abandon the idol of a single logical synthesis and acknowledge the diversity of different ways of knowing. The contributors from disciplines as diverse as music, psychology, mathematics and religion, build a vision that honours diversity while pointing to an implicit unity.
Science as Salvation discusses the high spiritual ambitions which tend to gather round the notion of science. Officially, science claims only the modest function of establishing facts. Yet people still hope for something much grander from it--namely, the myths by which to shape and support life in an increasingly confusing age. Our faith in science is abused by some scientists whose adolescent fantasies have spilled over into their professional lives. Salvation, immortality, mastery of the universe, humans (...) without bodies, and intelligent self-reproducing computers are just some of the notions and speculations that are now found--not on the pages of science fiction--but on the pages of science itself. The danger is that these concepts are given to a myth-hungry public who turn to science now that religion has lost its ability to create myth. Science as Salvation discusses the function and meaning of such fantasies. Midgley examines the need for and the use of myth in science, and how science and religion are related. She argues that we need to develop a realistic understanding of scientific imagination and its importance. Taking them seriously as symptoms of a genuine myth-hunger, it suggests that the proper function of science may need to include wider perspectives, which would make it plain that such desperate, compensatory dramas are unnecessary. (shrink)
Science and religion today Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-11 DOI 10.1007/s11153-011-9316-3 Authors Michael Ruse, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
This essay focuses on the cognitive tension between science and religion, in particular on the contradictions between some of the claims of current science and some of the claims in religious texts. My aim is to suggest how some work in the philosophy of science may help to manage this tension. Thus I will attempt to apply some work in the philosophy of science to the philosophy of religion, following the traditional gambit of trying (...) to stretch the little one does understand to cover what one does not understand. My own views on science and religion are hardly views from nowhere. My scientific perspective is that of a hopeful realist. Scientific realism is the view that science, though fallible through and through, is in the truth business, attempting to find out about a world independent of ourselves, and it is the view that business is, on the whole, going pretty well. My religious perspective is that of a progressive Jew. The problem I am worrying in this essay is my own problem. I take my other philosophical problems seriously too, but for the me the question of the relationship between science and religion has a personal edge I do not feel in my other philosophical obsessions with the likes of the problems of induction or the content of ceteris paribus laws. My reply to a charge of self-indulgence would be that my cognitive predicament is, I believe, widely shared. (shrink)
In the 2005 Kitzmiller v Dover Area School Board case, a federal district court ruled that Intelligent Design creationism was not science, but a disguised religious view and that teaching it in public schools is unconstitutional. But creationists contend that it is illegitimate to distinguish science and religion, citing philosophers Quinn and especially Laudan, who had criticized a similar ruling in the 1981 McLean v. Arkansas creation-science case on the grounds that no necessary and sufficient demarcation (...) criterion was possible and that demarcation was a dead pseudo-problem. This article discusses problems with those conclusions and their application to the quite different reasoning between these two cases. Laudan focused too narrowly on the problem of demarcation as Popper defined it. Distinguishing science from religion was and remains an important conceptual issue with significant practical import, and philosophers who say there is no difference have lost touch with reality in a profound and perverse way. The Kitzmiller case did not rely on a strict demarcation criterion, but appealed only to a “ballpark” demarcation that identifies methodological naturalism (MN) as a “ground rule” of science. MN is shown to be a distinguishing feature of science both in explicit statements from scientific organizations and in actual practice. There is good reason to think that MN is shared as a tacit assumption among philosophers who emphasize other demarcation criteria and even by Laudan himself. (shrink)
While the influential analytical philosopher Hilary Putnam has made significant contributions to philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and philosophy of science, he isn't generally regarded as a philosopher of religion or a theologian. Nonetheless, I argue that his work should be of great interest to philosophers of religion and theologians. Focusing on the relationship between science and religion, this paper explores the importance of Putnam's attempt to reconcile his anti-metaphysical stance and his commitment to (...) a religious form of life for theology. I first demonstrate why an anti-metaphysical stance and a commitment to Judaism can be deemed contradictory, and then characterize Putnam's anti-metaphysical stance as a modus vivendi to avoid both of what I call analytic and scientistic metaphysics. In a third step I offer my interpretation of Putnam's way of relating science and religion without metaphysics in the qualified sense, and subsequently spell out some important consequences of the emerging picture for theology. In my conclusion I give an account of Putnam as a transitional thinker, and draw a parallel between some of his work and Kierkegaard's “leap of faith”. (shrink)
No one has explored the implications of cognitive theories and findings about religion for understanding its history with any more enthusiasm or insight than Luther Martin. Although my focus here is not historical, I assume that I will be employing cognitive tools in ways that he finds congenial. In the paper’s first section, I will make some general comments about standard comparisons of science and religion and criticize one strategy for making peace between them. In the second (...) section of the paper, I will delineate two cognitive criteria for comparing science, religion, theology, and commonsense explanations. Finally, in the third section, I will suggest that such a comparison supplies grounds for thinking that our longstanding interest in the comparison of science and religion is, oddly, somewhat misbegotten from a cognitive perspective. (shrink)
This paper questions and criticizes the employment of critical realism in the field of ‘science and religion’. Referring to the texts of four main actors in this field, I demonstrate how the choice of critical realism is justified by a (disguised) apologetic interest in defending the epistemic privilege of the theological enterprise against that of the natural sciences. I argue that this is possible thanks to the reactivation of ‘theological potential’ latent in some under-examined assumptions and conceptual structures (...) still at work within philosophy of science and scientific epistemology. (shrink)
Michael Oakeshott reflected on the character of religious experience in various writings throughout his life. In Experience and Its Modes (1933) he analyzed science as a distinctive "mode," or account of experience as a whole, identifying those assumptions necessary for science to achieve its coherent account of experience in contrast to other modes of experience whose quests for coherence depend on different assumptions. Religious experience, he thought, was integral to the practical mode. The latter experiences the world as (...) interminable tension between what is and what ought to be. The question, Is there a conflict between science and religion? is, in Oakeshott's approach, the question, Is there a conflict between the scientific mode of experience and the practical mode? Insofar as we tend to treat every question as a practical one, these questions seem to make sense. But Oakeshott's analysis leads to the view that scientific experience and religious experience are categorically different accounts of experience abstracted from the whole of experience. They are voices of experience that may speak to each other, but they are not ordered hierarchically. Nor can either absorb the other without insoluble contradictions. (shrink)
One of today's most controversial and heated issues is whether or not the conflict between science and religion can be reconciled. In Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?, renowned philosophers Daniel C. Dennett and Alvin Plantinga expand upon the arguments that they presented in an exciting live debate held at the 2009 American Philosophical Association Central Division conference. An enlightening discussion that will motivate students to think critically, Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? opens (...) with Plantinga's assertion that Christianity is compatible with evolutionary theory because Christians believe that God created the living world, and it is entirely possible that God did so by using a process of evolution. Dennett vigorously rejects this argument, provoking a reply from Plantinga, another response from Dennett, and final statements from both sides. As philosophers, the authors possess expert skills in critical analysis; their arguments provide a model of dialogue between those who strongly disagree. Ideal for courses in philosophy of religion, science and religion, and philosophy of science, Science and Religion is also captivating reading for general readers. (shrink)
Abstract: A 1991 article by psychologist John D. Carter offers an underdeveloped insight that typologies for relating science and religion might be fruitfully formulated in discipline-specific perspectives. This essay thus covers a specifically theological perspective only briefly outlined in Carter, and it expands four models that theologians have used to relate religion and science. This essay renames these models and expands their implications, especially for addressing the behavioral sciences. (1) The contrarian model generally opposes science, (...) (2) the apologetic makes theology congenial to science, (3) the correlational holds both disciplines in tension, and (4) the synthetic attempts a grand unification of them. Arguing from the theologian's perspective, this essay is intended to demonstrate that different models/methods for relating science and religion are really reflections of deeper religious attitudes and argues that the task for which a method is employed ultimately determines its adequacy within that attitude's constraints. (shrink)
Abstract. The science and religion discourse in the Western academy, though expansive, has not paid significant enough attention to South Asian views, particularly those from Hindu thought. This essay seeks to address this issue in three parts. First, I present the South Asian standpoint as it currently relates to the science and religion discourse. Second, I survey and evaluate some available literature on South Asian approaches to the science and religion discourse. Finally, I promote (...) three possible steps forward: (1) the literature must shift from high Hindu philosophical religion to the more prevalent bhakti traditions, (2) the Indian context must be understood in its own right without metaphysical assumptions attached to the concepts of science and religion, and (3) most importantly, concepts unique to the Indian worldview, such as dharma, maya, and cit, must receive better treatment in translation in order to facilitate a more accurate exchange of ideas across cultural boundaries. (shrink)
In recent years the science-and-religion/spirituality/theology dialogue has flourished, but the impact on the minds of the general public, on society as a whole, has been less impressive. Also, religious believers and outspoken atheists face each other without progressing toward a common understanding. The view taken here is that achieving a more marked impact of the dialogue would be beneficial for a peaceful survival of humanity. I aim to argue the why and how of that task by analyzing three (...) possible purposes of the dialogue and their logical interdependence, suggest conceivable improvements of the quality and extent of the current efforts toward a negotiated action plan, and consider an enlargement of the circle of the actors involved. The dialogue that has been carried on between science and religion/spirituality/theology could be expanded and usefully applied to some major problems in the present world. (shrink)
Abstract This call to think, to feel, to read about the title subject and to act first lists five hurdles on the way to a more peaceful and sustainable human society. A number of successful solutions are then presented, such as the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea. There follow sections on potential contributions by religion and by collaboration between science and religion. My plea is for a widespread participation at all levels of society and (...) an attitude of cautious, critical yet determined and creative advancement toward said society. (shrink)
Abstract. A possible consequence of the dialogue between science and religion is a revived religious humanism—a firmer grasp of the historical and phenomenological meanings of the great world religions correlated with the more accurate explanations of the rhythms of nature that natural science can provide. The first great expressions of religious humanism in the West emerged when Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scholars sat in the same libraries in Spain and Sicily, studying and translating the lost manuscripts of (...) Aristotle in the ninth and tenth centuries to understand his ethics, epistemology, and psychobiology. In our day, the science-religion dialogue—exemplified by interaction among psychology, spirituality, and psychotherapy—will best support such a revival if guided by the philosophical resources of critical hermeneutics (sometimes called hermeneutical realism) supplemented by William James's brand of phenomenology and pragmatism. Here, I develop primarily the contributions of Paul Ricoeur to hermeneutic realism and his unique ability to find a place for the natural sciences within hermeneutic phenomenology in his formula of understanding-explanation-understanding. (shrink)
Woolcock, Peter G A topic much exercising the minds of religious believers at the moment is whether or not science and religion are natural enemies. The Religion and Ethics program on the ABC's Radio National, for example, has recently provided access on its website to a series of articles on the topic, with titles such as Science or Naturalism? The Contradictions of Richard Dawkins; Christianity and the Rise of Western Science; Did Darwin Defeat God?; Does (...)Science Make Belief in God Obsolete?; Does Science Preclude Belief in Science; Genesis Created Science; Lawrence Krauss's Deficiencies; Theology Must Save Science from Naturalism, just to mention a few. As these titles suggest, the Religion and Ethics program is clearly on a mission to defend religion against the onslaught of philosophical materialism, presenting (as it does) only articles that argue either for the compatibility of science and religion or for the dependence of science on religion. My aim here is to redress the balance. Yes, science and religion are best understood as natural enemies. (shrink)
There is a kinship between Owen Flanagan's The Really Hard Problem and William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience that not only can help us to understand Flanagan's book but also can help scholars, particularly scholars of religion, to be attentive to an important development in the realm of the "spiritual but not religious." Specifically, Flanagan's book continues a tradition in philosophy, exemplified by James, that addresses questions of religious or spiritual meaning in terms accessible to a broad audience (...) outside the context of organized religions. Both James and Flanagan are concerned to refute the popular perception that the sciences of the mind pose a threat to meaning and particularly to meaningful processes of human growth and transformation. Where James used the subconscious to bridge between science and religion and persuade his readers of the reality of the More, Flanagan uses a scientifically grounded understanding of transcendence to enchant his readers into believing in Less. Although I think that Flanagan's attempt to link the psychological and sociocultural levels of analysis via the concept of transcendence is scientifically premature, his attempt at a naturalistic spirituality raises questions of definition that scholars of religion need to take seriously. (shrink)
This essay provides practical tips for effective teaching in science-and-religion courses. It offers suggestions for dealing with difficult questions and creating a climate of shared learning. Along with pedagogical advice, it covers fundamental principles for teaching broadly integrative religion-and-science courses. Instructors are encouraged to reflect on their purpose(s) in offering their course and to formulate specific objectives using the techniques and resources outlined here.
Abstract: I argue that for psychological and social reasons, the traditional “Conflict Model” of science and religion interactions has such a strong hold on the nonexpert imagination that counterexamples and claims that interactions are simply more complex than the model allows are inadequate to undermine its power. Taxonomies, such as those of Ian Barbour and John Haught, which characterize conflict as only one among several possible relationships, help. But these taxonomies, by themselves, fail to offer an account of (...) why different relationships prevail among different communities and how they succeed one another within particular communities—that is, they contain no dynamic elements. To undermine the power of the “Conflict Model,” we should be seeking to offer alternative models for science and religion interactions that can both incorporate the range of stances articulated by scholars like Barbour and which can offer an account of the process by which differing attitudes succeed one another. As a step toward this goal, I propose a general “interacting subcultures model” and illustrate its applicability in a small number of mini-case studies from Early Modern Britain and France and with glances toward contemporary America. (shrink)
Science-and-religion must be cognizant of the future on several fronts. A challenge that remains central to our endeavor is the issue of diversity—not topical diversity, but participant diversity. As a way of initially addressing this problematic, I suggest a threefold tactic. First, there needs to be a refocus of primary attention toward the realm of public/ethical issues. Second, with this shift comes the need to avoid extreme positions by finding a middle ground. Third, a highly promising path worth (...) pursuing toward this end is paved by the once-again burgeoning theory of emergence. (shrink)
Thirteen theology/religious studies students were interviewed while studying science-and-religion courses at four different institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom. They held a range of views about science and religion, their respective ontological status, and their science-and-religion studies. The interviews reveal that it may be possible to assign individuals to one of four different religioscientific conceptual frameworks and, furthermore, to relate differences in their approach when studying science-and-religion to their conceptual framework. (...) The implications for course designers are discussed, including how the frameworks may enable teachers to be more aware of the range of possible reactions students may have while being introduced to science-and-religion topics. (shrink)
Philip Hefner identifies three settings in which to assess the future of science and religion: the academy, the public sphere, and the faith community. This essay argues that the discourse of science and religion could improve its standing within the secular academy in America by shifting the focus from theology to history. In the public sphere, the science-and-religion discourse could play an important role of promoting tolerance and respect toward the religious Other. For a (...) given faith community (for example, Judaism) the discourse of science and religion can ensure future intellectual depth by virtue of study and ongoing interpretation. The essay challenges the suggestion to adopt irony as a desirable posture for science-and-religion discourse. (shrink)
. To achieve peace on our planet we must bridge the gap not only between science and religion but also among faith traditions. Accepting the doctrine of multiple paths can reduce interreligious tensions. Every view of the Divine is partial, every faith system rests upon supreme spiritual experiences, and each one provides fulfillment in the yearning to connect with the Cosmic Mystery.
. The high degree of specialization in society and compartmentalization in education have resulted in increasing difficulty in communicating across different fields of study. I propose that these gaps in communication across disciplines must be addressed to ensure a fruitful ongoing science-and-religion dialogue.
People discussing science and religion usually frame their conversations in terms of essentialist assumptions about science, assumptions requiring the existence (but not the specification) of criteria according to which science can be distinguished from other forms of inquiry. However, criteria functioning at a level of generality appropriate to such discussions may not exist at all. Essentialist assumptions may be avoided if science is understood within a broader context of human practices. In a philosophy of practices, (...) to label a practice as “scientific” is to make a practically motivated provision for a way of speaking. Charles Taylor and Joseph Rouse have produced complementary philosophies of practice that promote this kind of understanding. In this essay I review the work of Taylor and Rouse, identify apparent residues of essentialism that each seems to harbor, and offer a resolution to some of their disagreements. I also criticize a form of essentialism commonly employed in Christian circles and outline an anti-essentialist view of science that may be helpful in science-and-religion discussions. (shrink)
While many have claimed that there is a conflict between science and religion, it is not often noted that they share a number of assumptions. Here, I work toward identifying and clarifying some of these shared assumptions. I focus on some of the common commitments to metaphysical, epistemological and moral priorities which are necessary for human life in a democratic society. While this will not eliminate all conflict between science and religion, it will remind the disputants (...) of their common goals and even common enemies. (shrink)
Ever since Plato’s famous attack on artists and poets in Book 10 of The Republic, lovers of literature have felt pressed to defend poetry, and indeed from ancient times down to the present, literature and art have had to fight various battles against philosophy, religion, and science. After providing a brief overview of this conflict and then arguing that between poetry and science there are some noteworthy similarities---that is, that some of the basic mental structures with which (...) the scientist studies the “text‘ of nature (facts, laws, theories) find their counterparts in ways an informed reader studies the poetic text, I develop what I see as the most important differences between poetry, on the one hand, and science, philosophy, and theology, on the other. These differences lie chiefly in two areas: (1) in the stance that each takes toward language itself and (2) in the stance each takes toward that ancient polarity between the one and the many. The aim of my argument is neither to privilege poetry over the other modes of knowing the world nor to grant, particularly to science in its reductive “objectivity,‘ a higher epistemological status than that accorded to poetry and the arts. Instead, I wish to argue that science, by pushing the boundaries of knowledge about the material world, shows the poet, as well as the theologian, some of the more important work to be done and that poetry, with its emphasis on the particular over the abstract and on the ambiguities and paradoxes of language as inherently metaphorical, serves science and religion by providing a caution against the naive acceptance of language as literal and the consequent enthrallment to the power of absolutes and totalizing abstractions. (shrink)
AbstractIslam's Quantum Question by Nidhal Guessoum offers a sophisticated approach to reconciling the results of modern science with Islamic tradition. The book provides a valuable critique of existing literature on Islam and science and advocates the promotion of good science and science education in the Muslim world. A central tension in the book revolves around Guessoum's efforts to promote a version of theistic science, while at the same establishing a clear boundary for science and (...) scientific methodology. Although the latter works very well, the project of theistic science presented in the book is, at the very least, contentious. However, Islam's Quantum Question is a milestone in the literature on Islam and science and should be valuable for anyone interested in the search for meaning in both science and religion. (shrink)
Turning Images in Philosophy, Science, and Religion: A New Book of Nature brings together new essays addressing the role of images and imagination recruited in the perennial debates surrounding nature, mind, and God. -/- The debate between "new atheists" and religious apologists today is often hostile. This book sets a new tone by locating the debate between theism and naturalism (most "new atheists" are self-described "naturalists") in the broader context of reflection on imagination and aesthetics. The eleven essays (...) will be of interest to anyone who is fascinated by the power of imagination and the role of aesthetics in deciding between worldviews or philosophies of nature. Representing a variety of points of view, authors include outstanding philosophers of religion and of science, a distinguished art historian, and a visual artist. -/- The book begins with Martin Kemp's essay on the work of the biologist, mathematician and classical scholar D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson in which Kemp develops the idea of "structural intuitions and a critique of reductive thinking about the natural world. This is followed by Geoffrey Gorham's overview and analysis of images of nature and God found in early modern science and philosophy. Anthony O'Hear questions a reductive, naturalist account of the origin of mind and values. Dale Jacquette offers a thoroughgoing naturalistic philosophy of the emergence of intentionality and a unique argument about the emergence of art and the aesthetic appreciation of nature. E.J. Lowe brings to light some challenges facing naturalistic approaches to human imaginative sensibility. Douglas Hedley articulates and defends a cognitive account of imagination, highlighting some of the difficulties confronting naturalism. Daniel N. Robinson offers a sweeping treatment of nature and naturalism, historically engaging Aristotle, Kant, Hegel and others. Conor Cunningham provides an aggressive critique of contemporary naturalism. Gordon Graham investigates the resources of naturalism in accounting for our sense of the sacred. Mark Wynn provides a subtle understanding of imagination and perception, suggesting how these may play into the theism - naturalism debate. The book concludes with Jil Evans' reflections on how images of the Galapagos Islands have been employed philosophically to picture either a naturalist or theistic image of nature. (shrink)
Although much has been written about the vigorous debates over science and religion in the Victorian era, little attention has been paid to their continuing importance in early twentieth-century Britain. Reconciling Science and Religion provides a comprehensive survey of the interplay between British science and religion from the late nineteenth century to World War II. Peter J. Bowler argues that unlike the United States, where a strong fundamentalist opposition to evolutionism developed in the 1920s (...) (most famously expressed in the Scopes "monkey trial" of 1925), in Britain there was a concerted effort to reconcile science and religion. Intellectually conservative scientists championed the reconciliation and were supported by liberal theologians in the Free Churches and the Church of England, especially the Anglican "Modernists." Popular writers such as Julian Huxley and George Bernard Shaw sought to create a non-Christian religion similar in some respects to the Modernist position. Younger scientists and secularists—including Rationalists such as H. G. Wells and the Marxists—tended to oppose these efforts, as did conservative Christians, who saw the liberal position as a betrayal of the true spirit of their religion. With the increased social tensions of the 1930s, as the churches moved toward a neo-orthodoxy unfriendly to natural theology and biologists adopted the "Modern Synthesis" of genetics and evolutionary theory, the proposed reconciliation fell apart. Because the tensions between science and religion—and efforts at reconciling the two—are still very much with us today, Bowler's book will be important for everyone interested in these issues. Contents: Illustrations Preface Introduction: A Legacy of Conflict? Confrontation, Cooperation, or Coexistence? Victorian Background Science and Religion in the New Century Part One: The Sciences and Religion 1. The Religion of Scientists Changing Patterns of Belief Scientists and Christianity Scientists and Theism Method and Meaning Science and Values 2. Scientists against Superstition Science and Rationalism Religion without Revelation Marxists and Other Radicals Science, Religion, and the History of Science 3. Physics and Cosmology Ether and Spirit The New Physics The Earth and the Universe 4. Evolution and the New Natural Theology Science and Creation Evolution and Progress The Role of Lamarckism Darwinism Revived 5. Matter, Life, and Mind The Origin of Life Vitalism and Organicism Mind and Body Psychology and Religion Part Two: The Churches and Science 6. The Churches in the New Century The Challenge of the New The Churches’ Response 7. The New Theology in the Free Churches Precursors of the New Theology Campbell and the New Theology Modernism in the Free Churches 8. Anglican Modernism Modernism and the New Natural Theology Charles F. D’Arcy E. W. Barnes W. R. Inge Charles Raven 9. The Reaction against Modernism Evangelicals against Evolution Liberal Catholicism The Menace of the New Psychology Science and Modern Life Theology in the Thirties Roman Catholicism Part Three: The Wider Debate 10. Science and Secularism Against Idealism Popular Rationalism The Social Reformers 11. Religion’s Defenders From Idealism to Spiritualism Creative and Emergent Evolution Evolution and the Human Spirit Progress through Struggle The Christian Response Epilogue Biographical Appendix Bibliography Index. (shrink)
One of today's most controversial and heated issues is whether or not the conflict between science and religion can be reconciled. In Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?, renowned philosophers Daniel C. Dennett and Alvin Plantinga expand upon the arguments that they presented in an exciting live debate held at the 2009 American Philosophical Association Central Division conference. -/- An enlightening discussion that will motivate students to think critically, Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? (...) opens with Plantinga's assertion that Christianity is compatible with evolutionary theory because Christians believe that God created the living world, and it is entirely possible that God did so by using a process of evolution. Dennett vigorously rejects this argument, provoking a reply from Plantinga, another response from Dennett, and final statements from both sides. As philosophers, the authors possess expert skills in critical analysis; their arguments provide a model of dialogue between those who strongly disagree. Ideal for courses in philosophy of religion, science and religion, and philosophy of science, Science and Religion is also captivating reading for general readers. (shrink)
Though it is commonplace in discussions of science and religion to make the distinction between scientific explanations of how and religious explanations of why, the distinction does not hold up under close examination. In recent discussions of big bang cosmology, scientists are more and more addressing of the questions of why, particularly in discussions of the role of symmetry in contemporary physics and in debates about the relevance of the anthropic principle.
Reformed epistemology and cognitive science have remarkably converged on belief in God. Reformed epistemology holds that belief in God is basic—that is, belief in God is a natural, non-inferential belief that is immediately produced by a cognitive faculty. Cognitive science of religion also holds that belief in gods is (often) non-reflectively and instinctively produced—that is, non-inferentially and automatically produced by a cognitive faculty or system. But there are differences. In this paper, we will show some remarkable points (...) of convergence, and a few points of divergence, between Reformed epistemology and the cognitive science of religion. (shrink)
Differences of understanding in science and in religion can be explored via the distinction between paradigmatic and narrative modes of explanation. Although science is inclusive of the paradigmatic, I propose that in explaining the behavior of complex adaptive systems, and in the human sciences in particular, narratives may well constitute the best scientific explanations. Causal relationships may be embedded within, and expressions of higher-order constraints provided by, complex system dynamics, best understood via the temporal organization of intentionalities (...) that constitute narrative. Complex adaptive systems, out of which intentions emerge, have behavioral trajectories that are in principle unique, contingent, and nondeterministic even in stable states and unpredictable across phase transitions. Given such unpredictability, the only explanation can be an interpretive story that retrospectively retraces the actual changes in dynamics. Without narrative, personality traits and human actions are incomprehensible. Such phenomena do not permit a reduction of purposive acts to nonpurposive elements or of reasons to the causes they constrain. Causality does not exhaust meaning. Given the role of narratives in human lives, religion and mythology provide larger stories within which individual stories make sense. Differences between narrative and historical truth suggest how we can be constituted by what we imagine ourselves to be. (shrink)
The role of empirical evidence in scientific and in religious discourse has been revisited in a recent paper by John Worrall, who argues for the overlap between these two types of discourse and for the superiority of the former. His main thesis is that the epistemic attitude of natural science is superior because it is essentially related to evidence and falsifiability, whereby the search for counter-evidence is taken as the primary driving force for research. The epistemic attitude of (...) class='Hi'>religion, on the contrary, is essentially related to faith, whereby the effects of counter-evidence are always minimized or neutralized. In this paper, I question Worrall’s analysis of the role of evidence in the two kinds of discourse. I argue that the debate has systematically neglected the question of holism of meaning. When such holism is taken into consideration, the very idea of a purely given experience becomes questionable. I argue that this neglected area is as pivotal in our understanding of religious discourse as it has been acknowledged to be in philosophy of science. I then propose a refined account of religious language, illustrating thereby that between the role of evidence in science and its roles in religion there is a lot in common. (shrink)
The distinguished theologian, David Ray Griffin, has advanced a set of thirteen theses intended to characterize (what he calls) “Neo-Darwinism” and which he contrasts with “Intelligent Design”. Griffin maintains that Neo-Darwinism is “atheistic” in forgoing a creator but suggests that, by adopting a more modest scientific naturalism and embracing a more naturalistic theology, it is possible to find “a third way” that reconciles religion and science. The considerations adduced here suggest that Griffin has promised more than he can (...) deliver. On his account, God is in laws of nature; therefore, any influence He exerts is natural rather than supernatural. But if the differences God makes are not empirically detectable, then Griffin’s account is just as objectionable as a theory of supernatural intervention. And Griffin has not shown that evolution as distinct from his idiosyncratic sense of Neo-Darwinism is incompatible with theism. (shrink)
The German theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer is not widely known for engaging with scientific thought, having been heavily influenced by Karl Barth's celebrated stance against natural theology. However, during the period of his maturing theology in prison Bonhoeffer read a significant scientific work, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker's The World View of Physics. From this he gained two major insights for his theological outlook. First, he realized that the notion of a "God of the gaps" is futile, not just in (...)science but in other areas of human inquiry. Second, he felt that an infinite universe, as considered by science, would be self-subsistent and could exist as if there were no God. Bonhoeffer replaced Barth's radical critique of religion with the even more extreme view that it is a mere passing phase in history that grown-up humanity can dispense with. At the same time Bonhoeffer began an important critique of Barth's reaction, namely, the latter's retreat to a "positivism of revelation." While Bonhoeffer did not go quite as far as one might like, his approach opened up hopeful avenues for an answer to "the liberal question" and even a revived place for some kind of natural theology. (shrink)
Abstract I respond to three articles about my book, Hindu Theology and Biology, from David Gosling, Thomas Ellis, and Varadaraja Raman. I attempt to clarify misconceptions about Hindu intellectual history and the science and religion dialogue. I discuss the role of Hindu theologies in the contemporary world in response to the three articles, each of which highlights important areas of future research. I suggest that Hindu theology should be a critical discipline in which Hindu authors are interpreted in (...) their own terms and in conversation with contemporary authors. I argue that Hinduism and science can find an intellectual space between New Atheism (which denies the intellectual value of religion) and Neo-Hinduism (which neglects the critical discourse within the history of Hindu thought). (shrink)
It's hard to say exactly when modern science began. Many scholars would date it at roughly 1600, when both Kepler and Galileo started using precision measurement to map the universe. But one thing is certain: starting from whatever date we choose, modern science was, in many important ways and right from the start, deeply antagonistic to established religion.
Abstract Stephen Jay Gould's NOMA (nonoverlapping magisteria) theory was meant to be an alternative to the traditional “conflict model” regarding the relationship between science and religion. But NOMA has been plagued with problems from the beginning. The problem most acutely felt was that of demarcating the disciplines of science and theology. This paper is an attempt to retain the insights of NOMA and the conflict model, while eliminating their shortcomings. It acknowledges with the conflict model that the (...) conflict is real, but not necessarily a fight unto death. It agrees with the NOMA that the two are different kinds of disciplines, and it goes on to spell out the difference in some detail. They turn out to be so radically different that the two cannot be reconciled by keeping one away from the other's turf, as NOMA suggests, but may be reconciled through a fusion of horizons in the Gadamerian sense. (shrink)
. Michael Polanyi saw his epistemology as restoring the capacity of a scientific age to believe again in the reality of God known through religion. This central feature of Polanyi’s thought, discussed in my book The Way of Discovery, is disputed by Harry Prosch, co-author with Polanyi of Meaning. Prosch’s argument is that while in Polanyi’s view science deals with an independent reality, religion and theology do not and are only works of our imagination. This article answers (...) Prosch with a review of Polanyi’s Christian affiliations, his conceptions of the common ground of science and religion, the levels of reality to which both science and religion provide access, and his expressed aim to liberate faith from scientific dogmatism. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas is an acknowledged model for anyone who wants to understand the dynamics of faith and reason as compatible and collaborative partners in the search for Truth. Further, his extensive reflections over the course of his intellectual development on the theme of Creation make him a fruitful source for understanding the contemporary science and religion dialogue on the origins and development of the universe. What follows is a discussion of Aquinas’s views on Creation with an eye toward (...) contemporary scientific theory. It would be wrong-headed to attempt to “discover” that Aquinas was “the first Evolutionist/Big Bang Theorist” (as Lord Acton found him the “First Whig”), and yet we might be surprised to find how open his philosophical speculations are in this regard. And hopefully the lovers of Truth who wrongly reject Christianity as a result of this love are willing to be surprised by his perennial philosophy. (shrink)
The estrangement between genetic scientists and theologians originating in the 1960s is reflected in novel combinations of human thought (subject) and genes (investigational object), paralleling each other through the universal process known in chaos theory as self-similarity. The clash and recombination of genes and knowledge captures what Philip Hefner refers to as irony, one of four voices he suggests transmit the knowledge and arguments of the religion-and-science debate. When viewed along a tangent connecting irony to leadership, journal dissemination, (...) and the activities of the "public intellectual" and the public at large, the sequence of voices is shown to resemble the passage of genetic information from DNA to mRNA, tRNA, and protein, and from cell nucleus to surrounding environment. In this light, Hefner's inquiry into the voices of Zygon is bound up with the very subject matter Zygon covers. (shrink)
Abstract This article explores how religion and science, as worlding practices, are changed by the processes of globalization and global climate change. In the face of these processes, two primary methods of meaning making are emerging: the logic of globalization and planetary assemblages. The former operates out of the same logic as extant axial age religions, the Enlightenment, and Modernity. It is caught up in the process of universalizing meanings, objective truth, and a single reality. The latter suggests (...) that the processes of globalization and climate change break open any universalizing attempt at meaning onto a proliferation of different, evolving planetary contexts. Both science and religion are affected by these changes, and the ways in which they shape our understandings of and relationship to the rest of the natural world are changed. (shrink)
The cognitive sciences may be understood to contribute to religion-and-science as a metadisciplinary discussion in ways that can be organized according to the three persons of narrative, encoding the themes of consciousness, relationality, and healing. First-person accounts are likely to be important to the understanding of consciousness, the "hard problem" of subjective experience, and contribute to a neurophenomenology of mind, even though we must be aware of their role in human suffering, their epistemic limits, and their indirect causal (...) role in human behavior and subsequent experience. Second-person discussions are important for understanding the empathic and embodied relationality upon which an externalist account of mind is likely to depend, increasingly uncovered and supported by social neuroscience. Third-person accounts can be better understood in uncovering the us/them distinctions that they encode and healing the dangerous tribalisms that put an interdependent and communal world increasingly at risk. (shrink)
The cognitive science of religion is a multi-disciplinary research program that attempts to integrate the study of religion with behavioural sciences such as cognitive sciences. Such integration raises several methodological questions that concern, for example, the nature of the relationship between psychology and social life, the autonomy of the study of religion and the role of causal explanations in social sciences. This article examines the methodological assumptions of the cognitive science of religion and analyses (...) possible drawbacks as well as advantages of a naturalistic study of religion. Finally, this article argues that we should allow different kinds of methodological frameworks in the study of religion. (shrink)
Neither religion nor science is first of all a realm of pure ideas, even though religion-and-science discussions often assume that they are. I propose that a concept of embodied science is more adequate and that religion-and-science should center its attention on science as enabler for improving the world (SEIW). This idea of science is rooted in Jerome Ravetz's concept of industrialized science and Donna Haraway's technoscience. SEIW describes the sociocultural context (...) of science in commercial, government, and university settings. The chief focus of religion-and-science consequently takes into account five basic issues: (1) the kind of world we want, (2) liberating science, (3) human action and ethics, (4) religion and the world's possibilities, and (5) recovering myth. An underlying presupposition of the discussion is that understanding the world always involves as well an understanding of our being-in-the-world. (shrink)
Karl Giberson and Mariano Artigas offer an informed analysis on the views of Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, Edward O. Wilson, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Steven Weinberg; carefully distinguishing science from philosophy and religion in the writings of the oracles.
This essay responds to the question "Where Are We Going? Zygon and the Future of Religion-and-Science" and was first presented on 9 May 2009 at a symposium honoring Philip Hefner's editorship of Zygon. It offers four suggestions for the future of religion-and-science: Ask big questions; encourage cultural literacy in the public sphere; bring a critical voice to other academic disciplines; and include the history of philosophy.
Both science and spirituality search for “ultimate truths.” God, the Big Bang, nirvana, the theory of evolution, relativity, quantum mechanics—these are some of the concepts that have been articulated as a result of that search. But the human capacity for exploring these ultimate sources of truth—the one thing that unites science and spirituality—is often overlooked. Embracing Mind argues (1) that science has hobbled itself by ignoring its unique source of inspiration—the mind—and (2) that the schism between (...) class='Hi'>science and spirituality is unnecessary. In language accessible to any intelligent reader, Embracing Mind first explores the veracity of major scientific “myths,” then presents a viable science of the mind emanating from contemplative spirituality, including Hindu, Christian, Sufi, and Buddhist views. (shrink)
It is an unfortunate fact of academic life that there is a sharp divide between science and philosophy, with scientists often being openly dismissive of philosophy, and philosophers being equally contemptuous of the naivete ́ of scientists when it comes to the philosophical underpinnings of their own discipline. In this paper I explore the possibility of reducing the distance between the two sides by introducing science students to some interesting philosophical aspects of research in evolutionary biology, using biological (...) theories of the origin of religion as an example. I show that philosophy is both a discipline in its own right as well as one that has interesting implications for the understanding and practice of science. While the goal is certainly not to turn science students into philoso- phers, the idea is that both disciplines cannot but benefit from a mutual dialogue that starts as soon as possible, in the classroom. (shrink)
This book is a long-awaited major statement by a pre-eminent analytic philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, on one of our biggest debates -- the compatibility of science and religion. The last twenty years has seen a cottage industry of books on this divide, but with little consensus emerging. Plantinga, as a top philosopher but also a proponent of the rationality of religious belief, has a unique contribution to make. His theme in this short book is that the conflict between (...) class='Hi'>science and theistic religion is actually superficial, and that at a deeper level they are in concord. -/- Plantinga examines where this conflict is supposed to exist -- evolution, evolutionary psychology, analysis of scripture, scientific study of religion -- as well as claims by Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Philip Kitcher that evolution and theistic belief cannot co-exist. Plantinga makes a case that their arguments are not only inconclusive but that the supposed conflicts themselves are superficial, due to the methodological naturalism used by science. On the other hand, science can actually offer support to theistic doctrines, and Plantinga uses the notion of biological and cosmological "fine-tuning" in support of this idea. Plantinga argues that we might think about arguments in science and religion in a new way -- as different forms of discourse that try to persuade people to look at questions from a perspective such that they can see that something is true. In this way, there is a deep and massive consonance between theism and the scientific enterprise. (shrink)
Staying for an answer : the untidy process of groping for truth -- The same, only different -- The unity of truth and the plurality of truths -- Coherence, consistency, cogency, congruity, cohesiveness, &c. : remain calm! don't go overboard! -- Not cynicism, but synechism : lessons from classical pragmatism -- Science, economics, "vision" -- The integrity of science : what it means, why it matters -- Scientific secrecy and "spin" : the sad, sleazy story of the trials (...) of remune -- Truth and justice, inquiry and advocacy, science and law -- Trial and error : the Supreme Court's philosophy of science -- An epistemologist among the epidemiologists -- Fallibilism and faith, naturalism and the supernatural, science and religion -- The ideal of intellectual integrity, in life and literature -- After my own heart : Dorothy Sayers's feminism -- Worthwhile lives -- Why I am not an oxymoron -- Formal philosophy? : a plea for pluralism. (shrink)
Aristotle's observation that all human beings by nature desire to know aptly captures the spirit of "intellectualist" research in psychology and anthropology. Intellectualists in these fields agree that humans' have fundamental explanatory interests (which reflect their rationality) and that the idioms in which their explanations are couched can differ considerably across places and times (both historical and developmental). Intellectualists in developmental psychology (e.g., Gopnik and Meltzoff, 1997) maintain that young children's conceptual structures, like those of scientists, are theories and that (...) their conceptual development--like the development of science--is a process of theory formation and change. They speculate that our explanatory preoccupations result, at least in part, from a natural drive to develop theories. Intellectualists in the anthropology of religion (e.g., Horton, 1970 and 1993) hold that, although it may do many other things as well, religion is primarily concerned with providing explanatory theories. They maintain that religion and science have the same explanatory goals; only the idioms of their explanations differ. The connections between the concern for explanation, the pursuit of science, the persistence of religion, and the cognitive processes underlying each clearly merit further examination. By considering both their cultural manifestations and their cognitive foundations, I hope to clarify not only how science and religion are related but some of the ways their explanatory projects differ. I shall argue that, despite their centuries' old antagonisms, no development in science will ever seriously threaten the persistence of religion or the forms of explanation religion employs or the emergence of new religions. (I strongly suspect that science will never seriously threaten the persistence of particular religions either, but I only aim to defend the weaker, collective claim here.) In this paper's fourth section I shall show that religion and its characteristic forms of explanation 1 are a natural outgrowth of the character and content of human association and cognition.. (shrink)
According to hyper-Humeanism, the world of “fact” is utterly distinct from the realm of “value”-that is, the realm of morality and religion.This is a well-known philosophical position, and it more or less follows from some well-known philosophical doctrines (e.g., logical positivism, and neo-Wittgensteinianism), but its appeal is not limited to philosophers. Indeed, an acceptance of hyper-Humeanism seems to be at the root of Stephen Jay Gould’s recent defense of the thesis that science and religion are utterly distinct. (...) Gould’s stated aim in defending this thesis is to settle, or perhaps reveal as illusory, various conflicts between science and religion. However, I arguenot only that Gould’s version of this thesis is defective, but also that hyper-Humeanism itself is false. If I am right, then “facts” and “values”-science and religion in particular-can overlap in philosophically interesting ways. (shrink)
This essay attempts to lay out the three principal theses of Jacques Derrida’s 1994-1995 “Faith and Knowledge,‘ Derrida’s most sustained but also most challenging work on the nature of religion and the relationship between religion and science. After demonstrating through these three theses that religion and science not only share a common source-or have a common genesis-but are in what Derrida calls an autoimmune relationship to one another, the essay puts these theses to the test (...) by reading a brief passage near the middle of the essay where Derrida recounts the genesis of “Faith and Knowledge‘ itself Derrida’s seemingly anecdotal recounting of this genesis is thus shown to reflect the three theses of “Faith and Knowledge,‘ the way in which, in a word, the breath of creation, or the miracle of religion, is always doubled, supplemented, and thus contaminated by the machine of science and tele-technology. (shrink)
In this timely work, Russell, philosopher, agnostic, mathematician, and renowned peace advocate, offers a brief yet insightful study of the conflicts between science and traditional religion during the last four centuries. Examining accounts in which scientific advances clashed with Christian doctrine or biblical interpretations of the day, from Galileo and the Copernican Revolution, to the medical breakthroughs of anesthesia and inoculation, Russell points to the constant upheaval and re-evaluation of our systems of belief throughout history. In turn, he (...) identifies where similar debates between modern science and the Church still exist today. Michael Ruse's new introduction brings these conflicts between science and theology up to date, focusing on issues arising after the Second World War. This classic is sure to interest all readers of philosophy and religion, as well as those interested in Russell's thought and writings. (shrink)