Editorial: Science and Christian Belief – Recent Developments
Religion and the Early Royal Society
The 1663 charter of the Royal Society declares that its activities shall be devoted ‘to the glory of God the Creator, and the advantage of the human race’. Yet other documents associated with the early Royal Society note that its fellows scrupulously avoided ‘meddling with Divinity, Metaphysics, Moralls’. This paper considers these apparently contradictory statements and seeks to offer an account of the roles which religion did, and did not, play in the pursuits and aspirations of the early Royal Society. In doing so, it gives consideration to a range of theories about the influence of religion on seventeenth century English science, including those of R.K. Merton, Charles Webster and Stephen Gaukroger.
Scientific Explanations of Religious Experience and Their Implications for Belief
Leading contemporary philosophers of religion such as Richard Swinburne and Alvin Plantinga have appealed to some sort of religious experience in defending the propriety of religious belief. Recently, best-selling atheistic books such as Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell have popularised new scientific explanations that suggest that religious belief is a natural product of evolution. In this paper, I sketch the views of Plantinga and Swinburne, outline some of the recent scientific explanations of religious experience and belief and discuss their possible implications for the propriety of religious belief.
Is Science Very Different from Religion? A Polanyian Perspective
Polanyi argued that science had to be pursued as a personal passion within a fiduciary framework. His writings are used to demonstrate that science is not completely different from religion, although it is made out to be. Science and religion both use faith in order to act. Science, like religion, has indispensable subjective elements too, but that need not and does not preclude objectivity. In addition, science itself is often dogmatic and has a set of core commitments that do not change, similar to the core beliefs in religions. Finally, although science seeks the assent of all its practitioners while people are divided into many religions, there are times when science is and perhaps should be pursued within differing and even competing schools of thought.
OBITUARY: Vladimir Betina
Substance Dualism or Body-Soul Duality?
The natures of mind and soul have been frequently discussed over the last decade in this journal. The trend has been to move from a dualistic account towards some form of monism, while attempting to avoid the extreme of materialism with its perceived threat to rational and moral freedom. This article queries whether dualism really is dead and whether the new soul to which we are asked to subscribe is the soul of biblical teaching. Philosophical and metaphysical arguments are used to support the thesis that some form of dualism is still scientifically respectable, but the distinction of substance may be based in our ignorance of the nature of both matter and spirit.
Nancy Cartwright’s Rejection of the Laws of Nature and the Divine Lawgiver
Well-known for her thesis that the laws of nature ‘lie’, Cartwright argues for a return to the capacities, conceptually close to Aristotelian natures. The religious references so dispersed in Cartwright’s writings could, at first, lead one to think that her religious influences played a negligible role in the elaboration of her conception of natural order. However, when these few indications are considered alongside biographical information, it becomes clear that the absence of faith in God is of crucial importance, not only to her rejection of laws, but even more so to her adoption of the capacities, and to her preference for the ‘dappled’ world, that is, a world-view that sees unified scientific description as impossible. Thus, Cartwright gives us a significant example of what might well be the paradoxical situation of a certain number of philosophers of science writing in the analytic tradition: the (relative) rareness of references to their religious convictions hides their truly fundamental influence.
Christ and Evolution: Wonder and Wisdom
Celia Deane-Drummond (John Habgood)
Behind the Scenes at Galileo’s Trial
Richard J. Blackwell
The Re-Emergence of Emergence: The Emergentist Hypothesis from Science to Religion
Philip Clayton & Paul Davies (eds.)
(Russell Re Manning)
Responsible Dominion: A Christian Approach to Sustainable Development
Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion
Ronald L. Numbers (ed.)
A Fine-Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology
Alister E. McGrath
Christology and Science
F. LeRon Shults
God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens
John F. Haught
Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution
Denis O. Lamoureux
A Friendly Letter to Sceptics and Atheists – Musings on Why God is Good and Faith isn’t Evil
David G. Myers
Adam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion and the Politics of Human Origins
David N. Livingstone
Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves
James Le Fanu
User’s Guide to Science and Belief
Starlight, Time and the New Physics
(Dr John Martin)
Creation: Law and Probability
Fraser Watts (editor)
God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science
How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist
Mark Robert Waldman
The Believing Primate: Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion
Michael Murray (eds.)
Theology, Psychology and the Plural Self