April 1998
volume 10 (1)

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Editorial: Of Christians and Information Technology

Lawrence Osborn
Pages: 2-2


Infanticide: An Ethical Battlefield

D Gareth Jones
Pages: 3-19


This article examines the historic and modern contexts of infanticide and its links with passive and active euthanasia, and with abortion. Current debate on the treatment or non-treatment of imperilled newborns, most commonly those suffering from Down’s syndrome or spina bifida, is the result of shifts in ethical perception brought about in part by technological advance and also by the focus of many in modern society on good health and normality. These have led to an ethic of perfectionism whereby infants are viewed as the property of parents, to be disposed of if they so choose. Arguments in favour of infanticide and those opposing it are presented and discussed. The Christian perspective proposed explores our valuation of human infants and the care and protection to be afforded to disabled newborns. Based on the belief that all are created in the image of God, it is suggested that all human beings should be valued irrespective of disease or disability. From this basis, the withholding or withdrawal of treatment may only be justified where a case can be made that the best interests of the debilitated infant will not be served by its continued provision.


Criteria of Success in Science and Theology

Robert O’Connor
Pages: 21-40


In this paper I asses the merits of the strategy by which theologians explicitly borrow criteria from the sciences for justification of religious belief-systems. In particular, I examine the standards according to which scientists affirm the reality of those unobservable, explanatory components of their best theories . A survey of the most promising arguments for scientific realism reveals those standards: a parallel survey of explanatory theology provides an analysis of the claim that relevantly similar considerations support the belief that God actually exists. Of particular interest is the claim that explanatory theology fails because it lacks the predictive resources to support a realist interpretation. In the end, I offer a favourable assessment of the prospects for an argument for the existence of God based on the explanatory adequacy of specifically Christian beliefs.


Response to O’Connor: Inference to the Best Explanation and Predictive Power

Phil Dowe
Pages: 41-47


William Paley Confronts Erasmus Darwin: Natural Theology and Evolutionism in the Eighteenth Century

David Burbridge
Pages: 49-72


This article examines the relations between natural theology and evolutionary theories in the eighteenth century, and in particular William Paley’s response to the Zoonomia of Erasmus Darwin. It discusses the status of the argument from design, and suggests that in eighteenth century Britain the argument became less prominent after about 1730 when the threat of atheism, as distinct from deism, was felt to have receded. Paley should be seen as successfully reviving and updating natural theology to counter new philosophical and scientific threats, and in particular Erasmus Darwin’s evolutionary theory, the first to give a systematic account of biological adaptation. In his response Paley showed the inadequacy of any theory that explains adaptation by the active exertions of organisms. The article concludes with suggestions for further study of Paley’s influence in the nineteenth century.


A Berkeleyan Approach to the Problem of Induction

James Spiegel
Pages: 73-84


The problem of induction has plagued scientists and philosophers of science ever since Hume’s famous critique. Specifically, it seems that any attempt to reason from observed phenomena to future or otherwise unobserved events is destined to beg the question. Traditional attempts to solve the problem seem inadequate to avoid circularity. In this essay, I elucidate an approach to the problem of induction which might have been taken by one of Hume’s immediate predecessors, George Berkeley. I show how a Berkeleyan model offers a theistic justification of inferences about unobserved events. First, the existence of a benevolent God is inferred from the numerous helpful regularities in nature. Second, based on the trustworthiness of God, it is concluded that nature is uniform (that the future will resemble the past). In addition to explaining the Berkeleyan model, a variety of implications about the nature and practice of science are noted. The paper concludes with a discussion of objections to a Berkeleyan approach.


Book reviews

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Plan and Purpose in Nature

George C Williams (Arthur Jones)
Pages: 85-86

Survival and Religion: Biological Evolution and Cultural Change

Eric Jones and Vernon Reynolds (editors) (Lawrence Osborn)
Pages: 86-87

Reality through the Looking-Glass: Science and awareness in the postmodern world

C J S Clarke (Revd Nicholas Moir)
Pages: 87-88

How Brains Think—Intelligence then and now

William H Calvin (Diana Briggs)
Pages: 88-89

What is Life? The Next Fifty Years: Speculations on the Future of Biology

Michael P. Murphy and Luke A. J. O’Neill (editors) (J. N. (Tim) Hawthorne)
Pages: 90-91

God and the Biologist: Faith at the Frontiers of Science

R. J. Berry (John A Bryant)
Pages: 91-92

Energy and Environment

Peter E Hodgson (Sir John Houghton)
Pages: 93-93

The Prehistory of the Mind

S. Mithen (Mike Alsford)
Pages: 93-94

Religion and Creation

Keith Ward (Graham McFarlane)
Pages: 94-95

The Fabric of Reality

David Deutsch (John Polkinghorne)
Pages: 95-96

But is it Science?: The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Michael Ruse (Ed) (Oliver Barclay)
Pages: 96-96

Super, Natural Christians: How we should love nature

Sallie McFague (Ron Elsdon)
Pages: 97-97

Religion and the Order of Nature

Seeyed Hossein Nasr (Celia Deane-Drummond)
Pages: 98-99

The Earth Under Threat: A Christian Perspective

Ghillean Prance (Steve Bishop)
Pages: 99-99

Monad to Man; The Concept of Progress in Evolutionary Biology

Michael. J Ruse (Michael Roberts)
Pages: 99-100

Pythagoras’ Trousers: God, physics and the gender wars

Margaret Wertheim (Revd Nicholas Moir)
Pages: 100-102

Reinventing Darwin

Niles Eldredge (Michael Roberts)
Pages: 102-102

River Out of Eden & Climbing Mount Improbable

Richard Dawkins (Mike Poole)
Pages: 102-105

Testing Darwinism

Phillip E. Johnson (Paul Helm)
Pages: 105-106

Uncertain Knowledge: An image of science for a changing world

R G A Dolby (Lawrence Osborn)
Pages: 106-108

In Search of Personality: Christianity and Modern Psychology

Peter Morea (Dr. Robert Innes)
Pages: 108-108

Impossibility: Thoughts About the Unknowable, the Undoable and the Unthinkable

John D. Barrow (John Polkinghorne)
Pages: 109-109

God And The Scientists

Michael Poole el al (Adrian Brown)
Pages: 109-110

Soul Searching

Nicholas Humphrey (Andrew Briggs)
Pages: 110-111

Human Nature at the Millennium. Reflections on the Integration of Psychology and Christianity

Malcolm A. Jeeves (D. A. Booth)
Pages: 111-112