Over the course of human history, the sciences, and biology in particular, have often been manipulated to cause immense human suffering. For example, biology has been used to justify eugenic programs, forced sterilization, human experimentation, and death camps—all in an attempt to support notions of racial superiority. By investigating the past, the contributors to _Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins_ hope to better prepare us to discern ideological abuse of science when it occurs in the future. Denis (...) R. Alexander and Ronald L. Numbers bring together fourteen experts to examine the varied ways science has been used and abused for nonscientific purposes from the fifteenth century to the present day. Featuring an essay on eugenics from Edward J. Larson and an examination of the progress of evolution by Michael J. Ruse, _Biology and Ideology_ examines uses both benign and sinister, ultimately reminding us that ideological extrapolation continues today. An accessible survey, this collection will enlighten historians of science, their students, practicing scientists, and anyone interested in the relationship between science and culture. (shrink)
For many of us, the great scientific discoveries of the modern age--the Big Bang, evolution, quantum physics, relativity--point to an existence that is bleak, devoid of meaning, pointless. But in The Sacred Depths of Nature, eminent biologist Ursula Goodenough shows us that the scientific world view need not be a source of despair. Indeed, it can be a wellspring of solace and hope. This eloquent volume reconciles the modern scientific understanding of reality with our timeless spiritual yearnings for reverence and (...) continuity. Looking at topics such as evolution, emotions, sexuality, and death, Goodenough writes with rich, uncluttered detail about the workings of nature in general and of living creatures in particular. Her luminous clarity makes it possible for even non-scientists to appreciate that the origins of life and the universe are no less meaningful because of our increasingly scientific understanding of them. At the end of each chapter, Goodenough's spiritual reflections respond to the complexity of nature with vibrant emotional intensity and a sense of reverent wonder. A beautifully written celebration of molecular biology with meditations on the spiritual and religious meaning that can be found at the heart of science, this volume makes an important contribution to the ongoing dialog between science and religion. This book will engage anyone who was ever mesmerized--or terrified--by the mysteries of existence. (shrink)
Religion is intrinsically social, and hence irretrievably organizational, although organization is often seen as the darker side of the religious experience--power, routinization, and bureaucracy. Religion and secular organizations have long received separate scholarly scrutiny, but until now their confluence has been little considered. This interdisciplinary collection of mostly unpublished papers is the first volume to remedy the deficit. The project grew out of a three-year inquiry into religious institutions undertaken by Yale University's Program on Non-Profit Organizations and sponsored (...) by the Lilly Endowment. The scholars who took part in this effort weree challenged to apply new perspectives to the study of religious organizations, especially that strand of contemporary secular organizational theory known as "New Institutionalism." The result was this groundbreaking volume, which includes papers on various aspects of such topics as the historical sources and patterns of U.S. religious organizations, contemporary patterns of denominational authority, the congregation as an organization, and the interface between religious and secular institutions and movements. The contributors include an interdisciplinary mix of scholars from economics, history, law, social administration, and sociology. (shrink)
Studies concerning the relationship between religion and mental health have provided substantial evidence for the existence of a positive relationship. Nevertheless, it remains largely unclear which aspects of both religion and mental health take part in this relationship. The present study uses multiple measures of religion and of mental health to obtain a more refined view of this relationship. The results show the importance of distinguishing between if a person believes and how a person believes . Religious persons (...) who have a symbolic attitude towards religion scored higher on positive aspects of mental health . No significant results were found for negative mental health. (shrink)
La comprensión de la muerte varía según la época, la cultura, la religión y la edad. Con anterioridad al desarrollo que la ciencia médica ha experimentado desde finales del siglo XIX, en la mayoría de las culturas y religiones había una aceptación de la muerte y se consideraba como parte del ciclo vital de la persona donde se trascendía a una forma celestial y puramente sobrenatural. Los avances científicos de la medicina han venido a cambiar esta situación. La muerte se (...) empezó a ver como un enemigo y dio comienzo a una lucha encarnizada entre ambas. El concepto de "muerte natural" se sustituyó por el de "muerte intervenida," dando origen a numerosas cuestiones relacionadas con la toma de decisiones y actuaciones a realizar en pacientes ingresados y en situación terminal. En este trabajo se realiza una reflexión teórica que tiene como objetivo el análisis bioético acerca de las diferencias entre los aspectos religiosos y culturales relacionados con la práctica de la limitación del esfuerzo terapéutico. The understanding of death varies according to time, culture, religion, and age. Previous to the development that medical sciences has undergone since the end of the XIX Century, in most cultures and religions there have been an acceptation of death and considered as part of the person vital cycle in which one would transcend to a celestial and purely supernatural form. The scientific advances in medicine have emerged to change this situation. Death began to be seen as an enemy and gave rise to an enraged struggle between both of them. The concept of natural death was changed into intervened death, which originated numerous related questions with decision and action taking to be performed in hospitalized patients and those in terminal situation. In this work a theoretical reflection is performed whose objective is the bioethical analysis on the differences among religious and cultural aspects related to the practice of therapeutic effort limitation. (shrink)
The various schools of the Indian classical philosophy have discussed the issue how we understand the meaning from an utterance. In the present paper, I analyse the ancient controversy on this issue between two schools, Naiyāyikas and Vaiśeṣikas, and attempt to show that it has two aspects of religious and epistemological natures. Vaiśeṣikas, on the ground that the process of the verbal understanding is identical with that of the inference, claim that the verbal understanding is merely a type (...) of the inference. Naiyāyikas oppose this and assert that the former is distinct from the latter. I summarise Vaiśeṣikas’ argument into two points: (1) the similarity of the objects of the cognition and (2) that of the relations between the object and what denotes it. Naiyāyikas rejects both thesimilarities. The above discussion, which may stimulate our epistemological interest, has a close connection with the issue of scriptures. The utterance as a source of knowledge seems to have stood, in the early period, only for the scriptures, as pointed out by Hiryanna. Taking this into consideration, Vaiśeṣikas’ thesis can be understood to imply that they deny the intrinsic authority of scriptures and reduce it to the rational faculty of human beings. Naiyāyikas also deny itsintrinsic authority, but their view on the cognitive process of the verbal understanding is different from that of Vaiśeṣikas. The reason of this divergence may lie in how they treat the reliability of the speaker in respect to the cognitive process. (shrink)
Recent interest in the social and ethical aspects of biology raises the question of the disciplinary status of the study of these aspects of biology . In the traditional interpretations of theoretical biology the social and ethical aspects are usually not explicitly mentioned. In this article arguments are given for inclusion of the study of these aspects of biology within a broadened conception of theoretical biology.
Are there trans-religious, trans-cultural constants in psychological aspects of religion across different religions and cultures? An excessively culturalistic approach may overlook this possibility, putting an emphasis on the uniqueness of the religious phenomenon studied as emerging from a complex of multiple contextual factors. This article reviews empirical studies in psychology of religion in the 1990s that mainly include participants from different Christian denominations, but also from other religions: Muslims, Jews and Hindus. It appeared, at first, that several (...) cross-cultural/religious differences can be documented , but the interpretation of these differences is not simple, as other factors may interfere. Secondly it turned out that an impressive series of psychological constants also exist across different denominations, religions, and cultures. These constants include personality correlates, gender and gender orientation, positive and negative values, cognitive and affective aspects, identity formation, social attitudes and consequences. (shrink)
Evolution - both the fact that it occurred and the theory describing the mechanisms by which it occurred - is an intrinsic and central component in modern biology. Theodosius Dobzhansky captures this well in the much-quoted title of his 1973 paper 'Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution'. The correctness of this assertion is even more obvious today: philosophers of biology and biologists agree that the fact of evolution is undeniable and that the (...) theory of evolution explains that fact. Such a theory has far-reaching implications. In this volume, eleven distinguished scholars address the conceptual, metaphysical and epistemological richness of the theory and its ethical and religious impact, exploring topics including DNA barcoding, three grand challenges of human evolution, functionalism, historicity, design, evolution and development, and religion and secular humanism. The volume will be of great interest to those studying philosophy of biology and evolutionary biology. (shrink)
We cannot disregard that the neuroscientific research on religious phenomena such as religious experiences and rituals for example, has increased significantly the last years. Neuroscientists claim that neuroscience contributes considerably in the process of understanding religious experiences, because neuroscience is able to measure brain activity during religious experiences by way of brain‐imaging technologies. No doubt, those results of neuroscientific research on religious experiences are an important supplement to the understanding of some types of religious (...) experiences. However, some conclusions drawn from neuroscientific research on religious experiences are arguable. For example, one such conclusion is that religious experiences are actually nothing but neural activity, i.e. there is nothing ‘religious’ to the experiences at all. Another such conclusion is that a person’s religious experiences actually derive from some ultimate reality, meaning that religious experiences are real. It is the latter assertion that will be analyzed in the present paper. The question is asked whether neuroscience alone is able to affirm that religious experiences are real or whether there are, besides neuroscientific issues, also cultural‐religious assumptions that underlie this conclusion. (shrink)
Synthetic biology is a new biotechnology that is developing at an impressive pace and attracting a considerable amount of attention from outside the scientific community as well. In this article, two main philosophically and ethically relevant characteristics of this field of research will be laid bare, namely its reliance on mechanistic metaphors to denominate simple forms of life and its appeal to the semantic field of creativity. It is argued that given these characteristics synthetic biology can be understood (...) as a prime example of a kind of human interference with reality that German philosopher Hannah Arendt called “fabrication.” This kind of self-world-relation contrasts to “action,” a relation that introduces, among other things, the idea of an inherent value of the object acted upon. Taking up this latter perspective, one scientific and two ethical challenges to synthetic biology’s take on the realm of life are identified. (shrink)
Originally published: c2000. With new pref. An award-winning biologist argues that the intersection of scientific creativity and religious insight is a prerequisite for the emergence of a more humane medical science.
In the present paper, I shall argue that quantum theory can contribute to reconciling evolutionary biology with the creation hypothesis. After giving a careful definition of the theological problem, I will, in a first step, formulate necessary conditions for the compatibility of evolutionary theory and the creation hypothesis. In a second step, I will show how quantum theory can contribute to fulfilling these conditions. More precisely, I claim that (1) quantum probabilities are best understood in terms of ontological indeterminism, (...) but (2) reflect nevertheless causal openness rather than divine indifference or arbitrariness, and (3) such a genuinely creative universe can be considered as the work of a loving Creator. I ask subsequently whether these necessary conditions are also sufficient for the compatibility of evolutionary theory and the creation hypothesis. Finally, I will show that relating evolutionary biology with theology via quantum theory could also shed some light on the nature of life. (shrink)
In the above article endeavours have been made to outline the development of Biology in the Netherlands during the last 20 years. At Utrecht under the supervision of A. A. Pulle studies have been made of the flora in the Malayan Archipelago. Internationally Dirks and Verdoorn in particular have acquired great merit in Botany. In 1935 the sixth International Botanical Congress was organised in Amsterdam.
The phenomenon of aspect recognition is at the core of Wittgenstein's later views on logic and language; it is also central to his reflections on religious language and experience. In both contexts, the uptake and use of pictures is the critical element in concept formation and in understanding. Clarity and confusion in religious thought lie in a domain defined by the structure, aesthetics, and functions of the pictures religious people use, and by the relations among them. The (...) argument is conveyed through analyses of experiences of characters in _The Wind in the Willows and Homer's _Odyssey. (shrink)
This paper discusses some aspects of foreign language learning within the divided school system of Northern Ireland. It is argued that an improvement of foreign language learning must be seen in a sociocultural context whereby a change in attitudes to languages in general, including Irish, may lead not only to a balanced interest among girls and boys in the language classroom, but also to a more tolerant approach to the cultural differences among the Catholic and Protestant communities.
The fifteen essays in this volume are taken from a symposium held in July 2008 at the University of Bologna, with contributions coming from ethology, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology, and with some sophisticated psychology of religion. The essays are of such high caliber and so free of wooden materialism that they are well positioned to invoke or provoke ongoing query.If one simply grows weary of the creationism vs. neo-Darwinian battles, it comes as a liberating moment when you can cast (...) your Darwin-friendly eyes "downward" into the realms where evolutionary traits are observable in a roughly delineated way. Yes, and you can get predictions too. Peirceans will note that these scientists are .. (shrink)