A Place for God?

Article by Stanley Hauerwas

Had I been able to read Larry Witham’s book before I delivered the Gifford Lectures at St. Andrews, I would have been able to make my argument more compelling by locating the story I told in relation to Witham’s account of addressing the challenges of science. Witham has managed the impossible: to tell a coherent …

Biology Meets Theology

Article by Philip Clayton

Genes, Genesis and God: Values and Their Origins in Natural and Human history. By Holmes Rolston. Cambridge University Press, Taking Darwin Seriously: A Naturalistic Approach to Philosophy. By Michael Ruse. Prometheus. Evolutionary and Molecular Biology: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action Series (Vol. 3). Edited by Robert J Russell, William Stoeger and Francisco Ayala. When conservative …

Chapter 1: Arguments for Panpsychistic Identism by Bernhard Rensch and Response by Charles Hartshorne  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

All psychic phenomena (sensations, mental images, feelings, thoughts and processes of volition) are merged in our stream of consciousness. All psychic experience is therefore part of a process. Many considerations speak in favor of this “panpsychistic identism.”

Chapter 1: Dualism  in  Nature and Purpose

Book Chapter by John F. Haught

The dizzying advances in molecular biology blur the former distinctions between man, animal, plant and mineral; and the recent "reductions" of mind to brain are fruits of the methodological imperative to explain the animate and mental in terms of the inanimate and the unconscious.

Chapter 1: Some Main Philosophical Issues in Contemporary Scientific Thought by Ivor Leclerc  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

Previously, biology was conceived as reductive to chemistry and chemistry as reductive to physics. But today these sciences have distinct features. Biology, as an example, by virtue of its structure, makes possible the requisite degree of conceptual origination, having the characteristic of “life,” which is not true of chemistry or physics.

Chapter 1: The Frontiers of Biology — Does Process Thought Help? by W. H. Thorpe and Response by Bernhard Rensch.  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

The reduction of chemistry to physics, of biology to chemistry, of animal conscious or subconscious experience to biology, and of consciousness itself and the creativeness of the human mind to animal experience, are all problems that are unlikely if not impossible to succeed.

Chapter 11: Science and Religious Symbolism  in  The Cosmic Adventure: Science, Religion and the Quest for Purpose

Book Chapter by John F. Haught

The complementarity of science and religion may be formulated in terms of our hierarchical conception. Science is a mode of knowing adequate to grasp what lies below consciousness in the hierarchy. Religion, on the other hand, complements science by relating us to fields, dimensions or levels that lie above, or deeper than, consciousness in the cosmic hierarchy.

Chapter 12: Christianity and the Cosmos  in  The Cosmic Adventure: Science, Religion and the Quest for Purpose

Book Chapter by John F. Haught

In fostering the necessity of human bonding in the image of the “body of Christ” or “the people of God,” Christianity promotes the preparation of a base suitable for a deeper incarnation of God in the cosmos. For this reason being a Christian is an acceptable way of endorsing and fostering the scientific discoveries of modernity.

Chapter 2: Can Evolution be Accounted for Solely in Terms of Mechanical Causation? by L. Charles Birch  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

The metaphysical background of process thought is far more germane to the evolutionary picture provided by biology than is the mechanistic philosophy. The only sort of universe in which evolution of organisms can occur is one in which the entities have subjective aim.

Chapter 2: Physical Reality  in  Nature and Purpose

Book Chapter by John F. Haught

There is no decisive line of demarcation in the universe that segregates experience on the one side from insensitive objects on the other. Rather, the universe is ultimately and pervasively made up of “units of experience.” Following Whitehead, the author avoids the dualism that puts nature in one arena and subjective experience in another.

Chapter 2: Whitehead and the Philosophy of Science by Ann Plamondon and Response by Bernard Rensch  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

Metaphysics has an essential role in the philosophy of science — that of the understanding and the grounding of scientific concepts and methodology. That is, the fundamental concepts of a metaphysical system should give an analysis of the foundational concepts of the sciences in such a way that these concepts themselves provide a grounding — a general logic — of the methodology of the sciences.

Chapter 2. Panpsychism and Science by Sewall Wright  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

In addition to the necessarily deterministic and probabilistic interpretations of the material world of science, there is the primary but private knowledge which each of us has of his own stream of consciousness, more or less continually directed toward the finding of an acceptable course through the difficulties of the external world by means of voluntary actions.

Chapter 3: Perception  in  Nature and Purpose

Book Chapter by John F. Haught

When “perception” is limited to the material presented to our minds by the five senses we are by no means dealing yet in a fundamental way with the reality of the world. Perception may be understood as having two poles, primary and secondary. With primary perception there is a pervasive and vague feeling of the influence of the world upon our being and becoming. Secondary perception deals with spatially clear and distinct objects of sense perception.

Chapter 3: Physics and Psychics: The Place of Mind in Nature by Charles Hartshorne  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

Since physics and chemistry have demonstrated how limited in penetration our mere sense perceptions are, how radically they fail to disclose what is really there in nature, it follows that the entire traditional foundation for both materialism and dualism has been destroyed by the advance of knowledge. All concrete or physical things (a) are minds of some high or low kind, or (b) are composed of minds. However, only active singulars are individually sentient.

Chapter 3: Temporal Order and Spatial Order: Their Differences and Relations by Milic Capek  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

Our instinctive tendency is to believe that the relations of succession can be adequately symbolized by geometrical relations. The persistence of this belief has had disastrous influence through the centuries on philosophical and theological thought, and upon physical theories as well.

Chapter 3: The World is to be Saved  in  Regaining Compassion for Humanity and Nature

Book Chapter by L. Charles Birch

The transition to an ecologically sustainable society requires reduced consumption of goods, the efficient recycling of materials, a move away from the use of fossil fuels to the use of renewable sources of energy, zero global population growth, a reduced standard of living for the rich, an increased standard of living for the poor and an appeal to quality of life instead of materialism.

Chapter 3: Whitehead’s Philosophy and Some General Notions of Physics and Biology by David R. Griffin  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

A discussion of Whitehead’s understanding of: 1) metaphysics and it’s relation to science; 2) the fundamental categories to all of reality; 3) the implications in his understanding of fundamental categories in the objects of physics; and 4) non-reductionistic biology which avoids dualism, including vitalism.

Chapter 4: Emergence  in  Nature and Purpose

Book Chapter by John F. Haught

Beginning with the conviction that the inanimate world of subatomic particles and molecules described by physics and chemistry constitutes the basic construction material of the plant, the animal organism and the human brain, many scientific thinkers have questioned the “reality” of any other realm than that accessible to physics and chemistry. These reductionist methods contradict the most basic elements of simple logic. Can an essentially careless universe produce beings whose most admirable attribute is their propensity to care? Can a radically impersonal arranging and rearranging of molecules produce persons? Can a non-purposive movement of matter eventuate in beings whose very vitality depends upon their being animated by purpose?

Chapter 4: Emergence in Evolution: (Response to Birch and Dobzhansky) by Ann Plamondon  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

In materialistic philosophy, “higher order” is an aggregate, and it cannot be said to be of greater complexity than its constituents. But the author proposes that in evolutionary development the higher-level order must have been contained in some sense in the lower-level constituent(s). Thus when higher levels of order exhibit properties not belonging to their lower-level constituents, the correct inference is not that something has been added to the lower-level constituents but, rather, that they exhibit different properties when they organize the higher-level order.

Chapter 4: Free Will in a Hierarchic Context by Arthur Koestler, Responses by Charles Hartshorne and Bernhard Rensch  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

The degrees of freedom in the hierarchy increase with ascending order, and each upward shift of attention to higher levels, each handing over of decision to higher echelons, is accompanied by the experience of free choice. But is it merely a subjective experience? The author thinks not, since freedom cannot be defined in absolute, only in relative, terms, as freedom from some specific constraint.

Chapter 5: Astronomy and Creation  in  Religion in an Age of Science

Book Chapter by Ian Barbour

Within a theistic framework it is not surprising that there is intelligent life on earth; we can see here the work of a purposeful Creator. Theistic belief makes sense of this datum and a variety of other kinds of human experience, even if it offers no conclusive proof. We still ask: Why is there anything at all? Why are things the way they are?

Chapter 5: Complementary Models  in  Myths, Models and Paradigms: A Comparative Study in Science and Religion

Book Chapter by Ian Barbour

Possible parallels exist between the role of models in twentieth century physics and religious thought. Can one continue to employ two very different models within either science or religion? Can an electron be thought of as both a wave and a particle? Can one use both personal and impersonal models of Ultimate Reality? An extended discussion includes Paul Tillich’s use of personal and impersonal symbols.

Chapter 5: Purpose  in  Nature and Purpose

Book Chapter by John F. Haught

From the very limited vantage point that each of us occupies within the emerging universe, discord often seems to be dominant over harmony. We are often even inclined to take our individual experiences of tragedy as the key to the whole universe. However, the aesthetic model of cosmic purpose suggests that our own experiences may be lacking in perspective. There is perhaps a perspective on the universe that we do not ourselves have, but which would be able to unify into an aesthetic whole even those contradictions and absurdities that we deem most insurmountable. The author thinks the word “God” may in part be understood as pointing to such a perspective.

Chapter 5: The Process Theory of Evolution and Notes on The Evolution Of Mind by C. H. Waddington  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

The author proposes a solution to the dilemma of considering the beginning of the evolutionary process as, on one end, depending on nothing but atoms, forces and physicochemical factors, and the other end, as involving something of a totally different character we call ‘mind.’

Chapter 6: Concluding Editorial Comments by John B. Cobb, Jr.  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

From the sixteenth through the eighteenth century, philosophy and science developed in close connection. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries they have become quite separate. The disciplines of cosmology and philosophy of nature have fallen between the stools. Alfred North Whitehead is the major twentieth-century exception to this breakdown of an ancient and fruitful relation. C.H. Waddington believes that scientific thought is “just about now beginning to catch up with the first phase of Whitehead’s thought,” and that science will proceed in the general direction Whitehead moved in his later work. The editors believe that the advance of science can be facilitated by an ongoing discussion with Whitehead’s philosophy of nature, and hope that more philosophers and scientists will join in the discussion.

Chapter 6: Evolution and Continuing Creation  in  Religion in an Age of Science

Book Chapter by Ian Barbour

The contingency of existence and of boundary conditions is consistent with the meaning of ex nihilo, while the contingency of laws and of events is consistent with the idea of continuing creation. Theism does provide grounds for the combination of contingent order and intelligibility that the scientific enterprise presupposes, though these are limit-questions that do not arise in the daily work of the scientist.

Chapter 6: Paradigms in Science  in  Myths, Models and Paradigms: A Comparative Study in Science and Religion

Book Chapter by Ian Barbour

All data are theory-laden. Comprehensive theories are highly resistant to falsification, and there are no rules for choice between research programmes. Three assertions are essential for objectivity in science: 1. Rival theories are incommensurable; 2. Observation exerts some control over theories; 3. There are criteria of assessment independent of particular research programmes.

Chapter 6: Some Whiteheadian Comments by John Cobb, and Response by W. H. Thorpe  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

The most complex machine will not exhibit any purposiveness, yet the determinist and the teleological arguments are intertwined into the very roots of nature. Self-conscience human purpose is found in the higher orders, thus the author opposes a reductionist interpretation of emergent novelties.

Chapter 7: Adventure  in  Nature and Purpose

Book Chapter by John F. Haught

Had God not lured the world on to the creation of beings with the capacity for conscious, rational self-determination, the distinctively human forms of evil on our planet would not occur. We risk suffering that we might have a shot at intense enjoyment.

Chapter 8: Process Thought  in  Religion in an Age of Science

Book Chapter by Ian Barbour

Process philosophy has developed a systematic metaphysics that is consistent with the evolutionary, many-leveled view of nature. Here are developed ways in which Whitehead applies various categories to diverse entities in the world — from particles to persons — and an evaluation of the adequacy of process philosophy from the viewpoint of science.

Conclusion  in  Nature and Purpose

Book Chapter by John F. Haught

We would be overburdening science’s limited methodological possibilities were we to expect it to set forth any statements concerning natures purpose. In addition, we tend to carry around ridiculously outworn pictures of nature that resist not only teleological interpretations but even the insights of contemporary science.

Crisis in Science and Spirit

Article by Kenneth Vaux

In both cases realism and even honesty were overshadowed by our desire for unbridled movement onward in a quest for success and publicity. Neither Baby Fae’s parents nor the public were adequately informed of the double-barreled danger of host-graft rejection and organ destruction from medication. Neither Schroeder nor the public were adequately informed of the …

God in Evolution

Article by Amy Johnson Frkyholm

While controversies over evolution continue to arise in some sectors of American Christianity, most mainline Christians have made their peace with Darwin. We may not grasp all the nuances of the scientific debate, but we have concluded that evolutionary theory is good science and therefore must be compatible with good theology. Darwin’s name doesn’t send …

Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

(ENTIRE BOOK) A collection of essays by prominent physicists, biologists, geneticists, zoologists, philosophers and other thinkers about the relationship between science and philosophy, particularly the teleological versus the mechanistic explanation of the universe. Special emphasis is given to the writings of Alfred North Whitehead and Process Theology. Contributors include John Cobb, Jr., Theodosius Dobzhansky, Charles Hartshorne, and Arthur Koestler.

Myths and Metaphors

Article by Rupert Shortt

Janet Martin Soskice of Cambridge University has been at the forefront of a theological movement (largely inspired by Karl Barth) that asserts a renewed confidence in the intelligibility of theology. Her book Metaphor and Religious Language (Oxford University Press) argues for taking biblical metaphors seriously and for not translating them into some other idiom. She …

Nature and Purpose

Book by John F. Haught

(ENTIRE BOOK) The author deals with the question: Do we carry out our projects on a stage that is blind, neutral and indifferent? Or do we have the “backing of the universe”? His answer is based Whitehead’s analysis. On one hand, religion represents, in a mythic and symbolic way, some of the qualitative data given to us in primary perception (intuition). Science, on the other hand, seeks to express correlations among the objects sensed through secondary perception (observation). Neither necessarily contradicts the other.

Preface  in  Mind in Nature: the Interface of Science and Philosophy

Book Chapter by John B. and David R. Griffin Cobb, Jr.

These papers come from a conference held in Bellagio, Italy in June, 1974. The hope underlying the conference was that, if aspects of Whitehead’s form of process philosophy were effectively communicated to scientists who in turn could help philosophers understand the nature of their current problems, both philosophers and scientists would benefit. Although communication between the two communities is far from easy, this volume suggests that it is possible and that, when it occurs, it is mutually fructifying.

Preface  in  Religion in an Age of Science

Book Chapter by Ian Barbour

What is the place of religion in an age of science? How can one believe in God today? What view of God is consistent with the scientific understanding of the world? My goals are to explore the place of religion in an age of science and to present an interpretation of Christianity that is responsive to both the historical tradition and contemporary science.

References  in  Regaining Compassion for Humanity and Nature

Book Chapter by L. Charles Birch

References Adams, Chris (1989 September 11) ‘AIDS and changing realities’ Christianity arid Crisis pp. 257-9. Anon, (1991) ‘Measuring human development’ South Letter of the South Centre. 11 18-9. Barr, James (1975) Fundamentalism. London: SCM Press, Barr, James (1984) Escaping from Fundamentalism. London: SCM Press. Bartlett, Robert (1991) ‘Witch hunting’ New York Review of Books 38 …

Religion in an Age of Science

Book by Ian Barbour

(ENTIRE BOOK) An excellent and readable summary of the role of religion in an age of science. Barbour’s Gifford Lectures — the expression of a lifetime of scholarship and deep personal conviction and insight — including a clear and helpful analysis of process theology.

Science under Siege

Article by Michael Ruse

Chris Mooney has written a stinging indictment of the Republican Party’s attitudes toward science, focusing particularly on the manipulative and dismissive thinking and policies of the current administration. Even if only a part of what he says is true, he documents an appalling state of affairs. Although in terms of scientific know-how and capability the …

Ways of Knowing God: Gender and the Brain

Article by James B. Ashbrook

Neuroscience research has established that the two hemispheres in the brain make different contributions to what we know and how we act, although complex activity requires the entire brain. Left-half cognition involves formal logic; it uses language to interpret what it observes in consistent ways. The left hemisphere’s analytic processing — item by item, step …