Religious naturalism is an emerging construct that relies greatly on science and yet affirms attitudes and practices that are distinctly religious in nature. This article explores the meaning of the term as it is used by various proponents, contrasts it to some similar constructs , and examines some objections andoutstanding issues from within the science‐religion community: postmodernist objections; whether religious naturalism is sufficiently respectful of traditional religious expression; and whether religious naturalism seeks to be a descriptive or a prescriptive enterprise (...) or both. Overall, religious naturalism is affirmed as a potentially productive new variant of naturaltheology, one that can preserve religious sensibilities without relying on supernatural constructs while maintaining a basic affirmation of other religious traditions. (shrink)
This detailed and enlightening work synthesizes modern biology and traditional religious doctrines. The result of this synthesis is the creation of a cohesive worldview, and, from there, the emergence of a compelling morality. The author argues that as individuals and as groups, we have the opportunity to change old beliefs and to embrace more plausible ones that can help us to establish a secure existence.
Many of us not part of the “old Burhoe gang” are nonetheless deeply influenced by the ideas of Ralph Wendell Burhoe, albeit in indirect ways. This remembrance summarizes six such ways: Three are “procedural” influences, namely (1) that dialogue is most valuable, especially in the science/religion interface, when carried on among those who may not agree; (2) that scholarship is necessary to refine and improve preliminary opinions; and (3) that organizations are crucial to accomplishing the first two tasks. The three (...) “substantive” influences are (4) Burhoe's focus on human values; (5) his work in defining God; and (6) his contribution to defining what it means to be human. As is well known, his emphasis in all three substantive cases was on the power and nuances of biological and social evolution, especially on the dynamics of natural selection. (shrink)
The forty‐ninth annual IRAS conference on Star Island pursued the science‐religion dialogue primarily in terms of two concepts: nature and transcendence. Robust Yes responses and likewise robust No responses were presented by both scientists and theologians to the theme question, “Is Nature Enough? The Thirst for Transcendence.” After this introductory survey of the definitional landscape, representative papers from the conference are presented.
In his prophetic book Amythia, Loyal Rue calls for the construction of bold new myths. Responding to his call in light of scientific arguments for global population equilibrium, this article proposes a model that may function as a surrogate form of myth, one that can motivate our age and future ages. Fortunately, the model is not only powerful but achievable, because policy makers have finally begun to realize how thoroughly the human population impacts on other world dynamics. The problem is (...) reviewed, the relevance of scientific and theological studies bearing on it is shown, and the new model is described. Above all, an effort is made to show how global equilibrium can support Rue's twin requirements for the myth he commissions: namely, a foundation in plausible descriptions of reality, and a compelling normative status. (shrink)
Zygon has been discussing the implications of sociobiology for twenty‐five years, ever since E. O. Wilson's book by that name first burst upon the stage. In the course of that discussion there have been many heated exchanges, but in this journal, at least, the heat has also generated light. Thus it is now timely and useful to review and consolidate Zygon's approach to the sociobiology construct, not only as it was originally presented but as it has changed over time. The (...) goal of this article is to recapitulate and summarize the dialogue that has taken place here. But my aim is not merely to rehash the discussion; it is more precisely to extend and continue it. Specific proposals are offered that are designed to ground future conversations on the solid foundation that has been established over the last quarter century. (shrink)
Recent reports of the discovery of a “God module” in the human brain derive from the fact that epileptic seizures in the left temporal lobe are associated with ecstatic feelings sometimes described as an experience of the presence of God. The brain area involved has been described as either (a) the seat of an innate human faculty for experiencing the divine or (b) the seat of religious delusions.In fact, religious experience is extremely various and involves many parts of the brain, (...) including some that are prehuman in their evolutionary history and some that are characteristically human. In the continuing integration of such experiences, spiritual formation takes place. Thus the entire human brain might be described as a “God module.”Such a process is only possible because of the brain's complexity. The human brain is the most complex entity for its size that we know of. As used here, complexity is a specialized term denoting the presence of a web of interlinked and significant connections—the more intricate the web, the more complex the entity. Complex systems develop only in a milieu that provides both lawfulness and freedom, and they tend to be self‐organizing, becoming more complex and more effective as a result of both inward and outward experience. The evidence suggests that both personal growth and spiritual growth are processes of complexification of character, and of the brain itself. This thesis is tested in light of the work of William James and James W. Fowler. (shrink)
Laudan's "progress and its problems" is of two, incompatible, minds. proto-laudan argues that science is indexed to historical contexts, such that scientific rationality depends on progress and not vice-versa. deutero-laudan claims that sociology assumes "a rationality" and so misunderstands science. the latter is confused and offers no argument against sociology which does not also apply against historical approaches to philosophy of science, proto-laudan included. such tribal warfare is unprogressive, and best abandoned.