Are science and religion compatible when it comes to understanding cosmology (the origin of the universe), biology (the origin of life and of the human species), ethics, and the human mind (minds, brains, souls, and free will)? Do science and religion occupy non-overlapping magisteria? Is Intelligent Design a scientific theory? How do the various faith traditions view the relationship between science and religion? What, if any, are the limits of scientific explanation? What are the (...) most important open questions, problems, or challenges confronting the relationship between science and religion, and what are the prospects for progress? These and other questions are explored in Science and Religion: 5 Questions--a collection of thirty-three interviews based on 5 questions presented to some of the world's most influential and prominent philosophers, scientists, theologians, apologists, and atheists. Contributions by Simon Blackburn, Susan Blackmore, Sean Carroll, William Lane Craig, William Dembski, Daniel C. Dennett, George F.R. Ellis, Owen Flanagan, Owen Gingerich, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, John F. Haught, Muzaffar Iqbal, Lawrence Krauss, Colin McGinn, Alister McGrath, Mary Midgley, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Timothy O'Connor, Massimo Pigliucci, John Polkinghorne, James Randi, Alex Rosenberg, Michael Ruse, Robert John Russell, John Searle, Michael Shermer, Victor J. Stenger, Robert Thurman, Michael Tooley, Charles Townes, Peter van Inwagen, Keith Ward, Rabbi David Wolpe. (shrink)
When we read books or essays about the dialogue between “religion and science,” or when we attend conferences on the theme of “religion and science,” we cannot avoid the impression that they actually are dealing, almost without exception, not with a dialogue between “religion and science,” but with a dialogue between “Christianity and science.” This could easily be affirmed by looking at the major publications in this field. But how can the science– (...) class='Hi'>religion dialogue take place in a world where conventional Christian concepts of God, religion, and science are foreign and unfamiliar? Is the critique that the scientist plays God still valid when there is no “God” at all? This article tries to answer the questions mentioned above, and seeks to sketch out some aspects of the science–religion dialogue in Japan which I believe could contribute a new paradigm for understanding and describing ultimate reality. (shrink)
The Institute on Religion in an Age of Science has a long history of delivering conferences addressing topics of interest in the field of science and religion. The following papers from the 2013 summer conference on “The Scientific, Spiritual, and Moral Challenges in Solving the World Food Crisis” are, in keeping with the eclectic nature of these conferences, very different in content and approach. Such differences underline the challenges of synergistically combining scientific and religious insights to (...) increase understanding of global problems and their possible solutions. This in turn reflects deeper questions about the purpose and nature of the science/religion dialogue. These papers suggest various ways in which the two perspectives can be combined in the pursuit of building better understandings of food-related issues, as well as highlighting difficulties and limitations which need to be addressed if the fruits of such dialogue are to make a wider impact. As such they serve as useful pointers for how this type of science/religion interaction might be further developed and deployed. (shrink)
This is an English translation of my essay: Alfred Gierer Wissenschaft, Religion und die deutungsoffenen Grundfragen der Biologie. Mpi for the History of Science, preprint 388, 1-21, also in philpapers. Range and limits of science are given by the universal validity of physical laws, and by intrinsic limitations, especially in self-referential contexts. In particular, neurobiology should not be expected to provide a full understanding of consciousness and the mind. Science cannot provide, by itself, an unambiguous interpretation (...) of the natural order at the philosophical, cultural and religious level. The diversity of interpretations, however appears as a positive factor of cultural dynamics. Historically, the revival of the philosophy of nature in the middle ages included remarkable biological thoughts such as those of Eriugena and Thierry of Chartres. In this essay, emphasis is placed on basic issues of modern biology – the distinction of man and animal, the evolution of human mental capabilities, the physics of the universe as precondition for biological evolution, and the intricasies of the brain-mind-relation. They are open to agnostic as well as religious interpretations, the individual choice being mainly a matter of wisdom and not just of knowledge. -/-. (shrink)
Do the same epistemic standards govern scientific and religious belief? Or should science and religion operate in completely independent epistemic spheres? Commentators have recently been divided on William James’s answer to this question. One side depicts “The Will to Believe” as offering a separate-spheres defense of religious belief in the manner of Galileo. The other contends that “The Will to Believe” seeks to loosen the usual epistemic standards so that religious and scientific beliefs can both be justified by (...) a unitary set of evidentiary rules. I argue that James did build a unitary epistemology but not by loosening cognitive standards. In his psychological research, he had adopted the Comtian view that hypotheses and regulative assumptions play a crucial role in the context of discovery even though they must be provisionally adopted before they can be supported by evidence. “The Will to Believe” relies on this methodological point to achieve a therapeutic goal—to convince despairing Victorians that religious faith can be reconciled with a scientific epistemology. James argues that the prospective theist is in the same epistemic situation with respect to the “religious hypothesis” as the scientist working in the context of discovery. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: * I Refutation: some preliminaries * II Foundations â Deep Conflict? * III Epistemic Undertows: Dissolving Rationality * IV Conflicting Mindsets * V Historical Erosion * VII Conflict and Rational Justification * VII Conclusion * Acknowledgments * Notes.
This article deals with phenomena occurring at the interface of the existential, the religious, and scientific inquiry. On the basis of in-depth interviews with Polish physicists and biologists, I examine the role that science and religion play in their narrative of the meaning of the Universe and human life. I show that the narratives about meaning have a system-related character that is associated with responses to adjacent metaphysical questions, including those based on scientific knowledge. I reconstruct the typical (...) amalgam questions of Polish scientists and come to a conclusion about the stability of religious and nonreligious amalgams in this group. Critically referring to the thesis concerning the secularizing impact of science, I conclude that science by itself does not have a destructive effect on Polish scientists’ confidence that life and the Universe are meaningful, but is rather an exacerbating factor of the existing worldview system. (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)
[from the publisher's website] Questions about the existence and attributes of God form the subject matter of natural theology, which seeks to gain knowledge of the divine by relying on reason and experience of the world. Arguments in natural theology rely largely on intuitions and inferences that seem natural to us, occurring spontaneously—at the sight of a beautiful landscape, perhaps, or in wonderment at the complexity of the cosmos—even to a nonphilosopher. In this book, Helen De Cruz and Johan De (...) Smedt examine the cognitive origins of arguments in natural theology. They find that although natural theological arguments can be very sophisticated, they are rooted in everyday intuitions about purpose, causation, agency, and morality. Using evidence and theories from disciplines including the cognitive science of religion, evolutionary ethics, evolutionary aesthetics, and the cognitive science of testimony, they show that these intuitions emerge early in development and are a stable part of human cognition. -/- De Cruz and De Smedt analyze the cognitive underpinnings of five well-known arguments for the existence of God: the argument from design, the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the argument from beauty, and the argument from miracles. Finally, they consider whether the cognitive origins of these natural theological arguments should affect their rationality. (shrink)
This article offers a vision for work at the intersection of science and religion over the coming seven years. Because predictions are inherently risky and are more often than not false, the text first offers an assessment of the current state of the science-religion discussion and a quick survey of the last 50 years of work in this field. The implications of the six features of this vision for the future of the field are then presented (...) in some detail. Rather than bemoaning the current diversity of approaches and conclusions as a negative result, I endorse it as a healthy sign—if acknowledged honestly and managed well. (shrink)
This article aims to delineate a model of religion-science relationship from an East Asian perspective. The East Asian way of thinking is depicted as nondualistic, relational, and inclusive. From this point of view, most current Western discourses on the religion-science relationship, including the interconnected models of Pannenberg and Haught, are hierarchical, intellectually centered, and have dualistic tendencies. Taking religion and science as mapping activities, “a multi-map model” presents nonhierarchical, historical, social, multidimensional, communal, and intimate (...) dimensions of the religion-science relationship. (shrink)
This article introduces a model of levels of analysis applied to statements found in philosophical, scientific, and religious discourses in order to facilitate a more accurate description of the relation between science and religion. The empirical levels prove to be the most crucial for the relation between science and religion, because they include statements that are important parts of both scientific and religious discourse, whereas statements from metaphysical levels are only important in terms of religion (...) and are neutral in relation to particular scientific theories. In particular, the rejection of certain ontological assumptions behind special divine action logically entails the rejection of the literal meaning of empirical statements describing special open expression of supernatural factors in nature. Such a rejection also entails an essential revision of many religious systems of beliefs, including traditional Christian theism. (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)
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)
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.
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)
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. (shrink)
This article discusses “explaining away” arguments in the cognitive science of religion. I distinguish two rather different ways of explaining away religion, one where religion is shown to be incompatible with scientific findings and one where supernatural entities are rendered superfluous by scientific explanations. After discussing possible objections to both varieties, I argue that the latter way offers better prospects for successfully explaining away religion but that some caveats must be made. In a second step, (...) I spell out how CSR can be used to spell out an argument of the second kind. One argument renders religion superfluous by claiming that it results from a cognitive bias and one does the same by claiming religion was a useful evolutionary adaptation. I discuss some strengths and weaknesses of both arguments. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Beginning with our cosmic ancestors and the 1950s ancestors of Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, this essay highlights the wider, post-World War II cultural context, including other science and religion organizations, in which IRAS was formed. It then considers eight challenges from today's context. From the context of science there are the challenge of scale that leads us to question our place in the scheme of things and can lead to a challenge (...) to morale concerning whether we make any difference; the challenge of human variability that leads to the question whether there is a single human moral nature; and the challenge of detailed explanation that leads to the question of what is the task of theology in relation to detailed scientific explanation. From the religion context there are the challenge of objectivity—studying religion without practicing religion; and the challenge of pluralism and the variety of cultural and religious perspectives. From the context of the growing and diverse science-and-religion enterprise, considered from the perspective of IRAS developed in the first part of this essay, there are the challenges of apologetics and intellectualization. Finally, from the context of our growing, worldwide consumerist culture that is contributing to the radical alteration of the planetary environment, leading to much suffering, there is the challenge of becoming more motivated to act for the long-term global good. (shrink)
The state of the debate surrounding issues on science and religion in Latin America is mostly unknown, both to regional and extra-regional scholars. This article presents and reviews in some detail the developments since 2000, when the first symposium on science and religion was held in Mexico, up to the present. I briefly introduce some features of Latin American academia and higher education institutions, as well as some trends in the public reception of these debates and (...) atheist engagement with it in Mexico and Argentina. The primary conclusion of this article is that, even though the discussion is new to Latin American academic circles, it is gaining traction and will certainly grow in the coming years. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: * The Problem of Induction * Reid’s Common-Sense Realism * Tradition and Reason in the Principles of Informal Inference * Back to the Rationality of Religion * Notes * Bibliography.
Hume was a cognitive scientist of religion avant la lettre. His Natural History of Religion (1757 ) locates the origins of religion in human nature. This paper explores similarities between some of his ideas and the cognitive science of religion, the multidisciplinary study of the psychological origins of religious beliefs. It also considers Hume’s distinction between two questions about religion: its foundation in reason (the domain of natural theology and philosophy of religion) and (...) its origin in human nature (the domain of cognitive science of religion). (shrink)
This article aims at a constructive and argumentative engagement between the cognitive science of religion (CSR) and philosophical and theological reflection on the imago Dei. The Swiss theologian Emil Brunner argued that the theological notion that humans were created in the image of God entails that there is a “point of contact” for revelation to occur. This article argues that Brunner's notion resonates quite strongly with the findings of the CSR. The first part will give a short overview (...) of the CSR. The second part deals with Brunner's idea of the imago Dei and the “point of contact.” The third and final part of the article outlines a model of revelation that is in line with Brunner's thought and the CSR. The aim of this article is to show how the naturalistic methodology of the CSR provides a fertile new perspective on several theological issues and thereby enriches theological reflection. (shrink)
Intrigued by Robinson and Southgate's 2010 work on “entering a semiotic matrix,” we expand their model to include the juxtaposition of all signs, symbols, and mental categories, and to explore the underpinnings of creativity in science, religion, and art. We rely on an interdisciplinary review of human sentience in archaeology, evolutionary biology, the cognitive science of religion, and literature, and speculate on the development of sentience in response to strong selection pressure on the hominin evolutionary line, (...) leaving us the “lone survivors” of complex, multiple lines of physical and cultural evolution. What we call Matrix Thinking—the creative driver of human sentience—has important cognitive and intellectual features, but also equally important characteristics traced to our intense sociability and use of emotionality in vetting rational models. Scientist, theologian, and artist create new cultural knowledge within a social context even if alone. They are rewarded by emotional validation from group members, and guided by the ever present question, “Does it feel right?”. (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)
This essay explains the rationale behind a series of reviews on interactions between knowledge and values, science and religion, in different countries or regions around the world. The series will run in Zygon for the whole of 2015 and beyond. In the literature, it may seem that discussions in the United States and to a lesser extent the United Kingdom are typical of the issues, but they need not be. David Livingstone showed that the reception of evolution differed, (...) even among Calvinists in different countries. Thus, rather than an export model, we should take time to learn from scholars rooted in different contexts how in their situation issues on knowledge and values arise and are dealt with. In this interplay of global processes and local contexts, indicated with the term glocalization, we should be alert to the migration of concepts and the transformations that ideas undergo. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: * Introduction * The Cognitive Science of Religion * The Internal Witness: The Sensus Divinitatis * Reformed Epistemology * Reformed Epistemology and Cognitive Science * Obstinacy in Belief * The External Witness: The Order of the Cosmos * The External Witness and the Cognitive Science of Religion * Conclusion * Notes * Bibliography.
This paper places “Islam and bioethics” within the framework of “religion and science” discourse. It thus may be seen as a complement to the paper by Henk ten Have () with which this thematic section in Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science opens, which places “Islam and bioethics” in the context of contemporary bioethics. It turns out that in Zygon there have been more submitted articles on Islam and bioethics than on any other Islam-related topic. This (...) may be a consequence of the global nature of the bioethical issues, driven by advancement in science and technology, which allows for conversation across cultural and religious boundaries even when the normative references and argumentative methods are tradition-specific. (shrink)