April 1994
volume 6 (1)

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Denis Alexander
Pages: 2-2


The Human Embryo: Between Oblivion and Meaningful Life

D. Gareth Jones
Pages: 3-19


The status of the human embryo continues to be the subject of intense debate. although many discussions concentrate on the status of the embryo per se, Ignoring other morally-relevant considerations. In the present article, a variety of scenes (destruction of a laboratory, married couples wanting a child, response to the embryo/foetus during pregnancy) is used in order to emphasize the context within which decisions regarding what is to be done with embryos takes place. It is argued that the moral value ascribed to the human embryo has to be placed alongside the moral value ascribed to humans involved in decision-making processes affecting both pre- and postnatal parties. An attempt to throw light on the status of the embryo leads to consideration of doomed embryo and embryo destruction syndromes, and of embryos as persons, non-persons, and potential persons. Emphasis is placed on embryos as protectable beings, and this perspective is enhanced by reference to biblical guidelines on fetal life.


Ecofeminism and the Problem of Divine Immanence/Transcendence in Christian Environmental Ethics

Susan Power Bratton
Pages: 21-40


Ecofeminism, a combination of feminist concern for justice for humans with environmentalist concern for care of the earth, has produced both cosmological and ethical criticisms of Christianity. Although a number of influential ecofeminists wish to abandon Christianity completely and replace it with goddess worship, animism or witchcraft, other ecofeminist leaders wish to retain Christianity, while revising its theology. On the grounds that divine transcendence is innately hierarchial and encourages theologies of oppression, several ecofeminists have attempted to place a greater emphasis on divine immanence, or to incorporate goddess images into Christianity. These efforts are often historically or Biblically uninformed. Notwithstanding, ecofeminism is doing a service for Christian environmental ethics by emphasizing the relationship between the oppression of humans and the destruction of the natural world.


A critique of Aspects of the Philosophy and Theology of Richard Dawkins

Michael Poole
Pages: 41-59


Pronouncements made by scientists about religion are frequently seen as carrying some special authority. Undue weight may therefore be attached to their views on matters outside of their own fields of expertise. This possibility seemed to be particularly acute during Richard Dawkins’ 1991 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, both on account of the number of antireligious assertions and of the youth of the audience. It is because of the widespread attempts which Dawkins has made to disseminate his personal world-view in the name of science, that a paper examining his claims seems called for. For those unfamiliar with his works, this paper offers a commentary on scientific naturalism.


Scientific Fraud and Scientific Method: A Comment on J. N. Hawthorne’s Paper

R. J. Berry
Pages: 61-64


A recent paper by Tim Hawthorne in this Journal appeals for Christian standards to be applied in scientific practice. One of the examples of apparent scientific fraud quoted by Hawthorne is the work of Gregor Mendel on the inheritance of variation in peas. This may be too harsh: clearly Mendel’s results have stood the test of time, and it may have been that Mendel’s pea experiments were merely intended as a demonstration of concepts previously established by Mendel, but unreportable for reasons irrelevant to the science. Although we must be ruthlessly honest in our research, we must also recognise that scientific hypotheses do not arise (inductively) from simply collecting and organizing data. The conventional methods of publishing scientific results do not give scope for describing the reason for carrying out the investigation described.


Book reviews

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Genetically Modified Organisms: Benefits and Risks

J. R. S. Fincham and J. R. Ravertz (Darryl Macer)
Pages: 65-66

Miracles: Science, the Bible and experience

Michael Poole (Oliver Barclay)
Pages: 66-67

God is Green: Christianity and the Environment

Ian Ronald (Alastair Grant)
Pages: 67-68

Cruelty and Christian Conscience: Bishops say no to Fur

Andrew Linzey (ed.) (Oliver Barclay)
Pages: 68-68

Fearful Symmetry, Is God a Geometer?

I. Stewart and M. Golubitsky (Peter Landsberg)
Pages: 68-68

Real Science, Real Faith (Sixteen leading British Scientists discuss their science and their personal faith)

R. J. Berry (Ed.) (D. C. Spanner)
Pages: 69-69

The Discovery of Subatomic Particles

S. Weinberg (Peter Landsberg)
Pages: 69-69

From Apocalypse to Genesis: Ecology, Feminism and Christianity

Ann Primavesi (Lawrence Osborn)
Pages: 70-71

The Creationists

R. L. Numbers (M. B. Roberts)
Pages: 71-73

Portraits of Creation

Van Till et al. (M. B. Roberts)
Pages: 71-73

Science held Hostage

Van Till (ed.) (M. B. Roberts)
Pages: 71-73

The Seven Pillories of Wisdom

David R. Hall (D. C. Spanner)
Pages: 73-74

Practical Medical Ethics

A. Campbell, G. Gillet and G. Jones (Caroline Berry)
Pages: 74-75

One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought

Ernst Mayr (D. C. Spanner)
Pages: 75-76

Leaving Eden: To protect and manage the Earth

E. G. Nisbet (Julian Evans)
Pages: 76-77

Interpreting the Universe as Creation: A Dialogue of Science and Religion

Vincent Brümmer (Lawrence Osborn)
Pages: 77-78

Wonderwoman and Superman

John Harris (Caroline Berry)
Pages: 78-79

Physics and Metaphysics: Theories of Space and Time

Jennifer Trusted (D. A. Wilkinson)
Pages: 79-80

The Threat and the Glory

P. B. Medawar (M. B. Roberts)
Pages: 80-80