April 1992
volume 4 (1)

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Denis Alexander
Pages: 2-2


Scientific Truth and New Age Thinking

Ernest Lucas
Pages: 13-25


Proponents of the ‘New Age Movement’ adopt an epistemology that is opposed to that of science. Fritjof Capra’s critique of the classical scientific method epitomises their attitude. However, some New Age writers claim that modern physics supports their view of reality and the nature of truth. Some examples of their argument are given. It is proposed that their criticisms of science are really criticisms of ‘scientism’, a metaphysical construct based on the assumption that the scientific method is the only way to truth. The New Age appeal to modem physics is assessed. It is argued that Christianity provides a metaphysical framework that is more compatible with science than the metaphysical framework of New Age thinking.


The Machine and the Mother Goddess: the Gaia Hypothesis in Comtemporary Scientific and Religious Thought

Lawrence Osborn
Pages: 27-41


James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis has received widespread publicity as a popular explanatIon of the development of the global ecosystem. The article examines its credibility as a scientific hypothesis and examines some of the more common criticisms levelled against it. It has come under suspicion because of its apparent affinity with recent mystical approaches to the natural world. The article argues that a clear distinction must be drawn between its use as a scientific hypothesis and the attempts to associate it with such concepts as planetary consciousness and earth goddess. It is suggested that the hypothesis may have a limited role in contemporary Christian theologies of nature provided certain safeguards are maintained.


Gaia, Science and the New Age

Tom Hartman, Bimal Theophilus and Ross Williams: response to Lawrence Osborn
Pages: 43-48


Animal Rights: a Critique

Oliver R. Barclay
Pages: 49-61


The concept of animal rights and the difficulty of defining it is examined. The positions of the leading thinkers of the animal rights movement are reviewed. Neither the criteria of ‘the ability to suffer’ or ‘being the subject of a life’ are found satisfactory. Christian thinkers in this area often do not use the concept of rights, but the position of Andrew Linzey, who does so, is criticised. It is argued that a broader and more soundly established Christian approach in terms of responsibilities for and duties to animals and to the whole creation is much more satisfactory. The term animal rights is best abandoned in favour of these other concepts. A brief outline is given of a Christian approach.


Review Article. Behind the Eye: Logic and Coherence in the Writings of Donald MacKay

D. Gareth Jones
Pages: 63-68


In his book ‘Behind the Eye’ Donald MacKay sets forth an approach to brain science based on a number of hypothetical schemes emanating from information theory. This leads him to distinguish between the I-story and the brain-story, and as a basic hypothesis to view the brain in mechanistic terms. He develops the concept of logical indeterminacy, according to which, even if the brain is physically determinate, it is logically indeterminate and persons have freedom of choice. Theologically, he distinguishes between God as creator and God as he deals personally with his creatures (God-in-dialogue). In the light of this, he discusses randomness, religious knowledge, and eternal life.


Book reviews

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God and the Cosmologists

Stanley L. Jakl (Jonathan Topham)
Pages: 69-70

Divine Actions

Keith Ward (Lawrence Osborn)
Pages: 70-71

Cosmic Odyssey

Jean Heidman (E. J. Squires)
Pages: 71-72

Creation of the Universe

Fang Li Zhi and Li Shu Xian (E. J. Squires)
Pages: 72-72

Genetic Engineering: An Introduction to Gene Analysis and Exploitation in Eukaryotes

S. M. Kingsman & A. J. Kingsman (Darryl Macer)
Pages: 72-73

Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism

James Rachels (D. C. Spanner)
Pages: 73-75

Can Scientists Believe?

Nevill Matt (Ed.) (Roland Dobbs)
Pages: 75-77

Theories of Everything–The Quest for Ultimate Explanation

John D. Barrow (Robert Boyd)
Pages: 77-78

Pathways in Medical Ethics

Alan G. Johnson (Caroline Berry)
Pages: 78-79

The New Medicine & The Old Ethics

Albert R. Jansen (Caroline Berry)
Pages: 78-79

Greening Business: Managing for sustainable development

John Davis (Oliver R. Barclay)
Pages: 79-80