An Analysis of the Field of Spirituality, Religion, and Health, by David J. Hufford

Metanexus Salus. 17,188 Words.

Research on the relationships among religion, spirituality and health has grown dramatically over the past decade. It is clear from the literature that many in research, in health care, in the public, and in government, believe that important positive connections have been established and should be vigorously studied. It is also clear that others are unconvinced and even hostile to the subject. It is not surprising that such a deeply felt subject should be controversial when it makes its way into a field such as medicine. Nor should it be surprising that such a complex topic as spirituality and religion, having been left out of scientific inquiry for so long, should prove difficult to study with the methods of science. Yet there actually can be no serious question about whether religion and spirituality have important connections to health.


AN ANALYSIS OF THE FIELD OF SPIRITUALITY, RELIGION AND HEALTH (S/RH)

By David J. Hufford, Ph.D.

 

OUTLINE

LEXICAL PROLOGUE

ASSIGNMENT

METHOD OF THIS REVIEW

BACKGROUND

CRITICISMS AND RESISTANCE

PROBLEMS AND NEEDS IN SPIRITUALITY, RELIGION AND HEALTH RESEARCH

Scope & Boundaries of the Field

Scholarship

Language

S/RH and Complementary and Alternative Medicine ( CAM )

Dramatic S/R Experiences and Health

Minority Religions Including Roman Catholicism, The Spiritual But Not Religious, And Folk Religions

Description

Assessment Of S/R In Health Settings

Personnel: Who Should Provide Attention To S/R In Health Settings?

Informatics

STRENGTHS OF THE FIELD OF SPIRITUALITY AND HEALTH RESEARCH

Publication Trends

Physical Health and S/R Associations Are Supported by Improved Study Design and Evaluation

Mental Health & S/R

Coping

Instrument Development (Within Christianity)

BIBLIOGRAPHY


 

 

LEXICAL PROLOGUE

 

The difficulty of clearly and concisely stating the distinctions and relationships between spirituality and religion runs through the field of spirituality, religion and health and necessarily through this analysis of the field. The issue will be dealt with in some detail below. But even to begin this essay requires the establishment of a simple and non-controversial convention for the use of the terms. Without suggesting that this solves the problems of terminology I will stipulate the following definitions:

Spirituality = personal relationship to the transcendent

Religion = the community, institutional, aspect of spirituality

Thus spirituality is the more general term, it includes religion, and spirituality is a core aspect of religion. This does not deny that there are spiritual but not religious individuals or that extrinsically religious people may not be especially spiritual. For ease of reference I will use S/R to indicate the broad domain, and I will use S/RH to indicate the field of spirituality, religion and health.

 

ASSIGNMENT

 

The assignment for this review is to discuss the state of the field of S//RH, including successes but emphasizing current limitations, key problems, methodological shortcomings of current research and related issues relevant to moving the field forward. This greater emphasis on problems should not be taken to indicate fundamental flaws in the field. Considering its abrupt and recent emergence as a field, S/RH has a remarkable track record.

 

METHOD OF THIS REVIEW

 

This review began with the assumption that most S/RH studies published through 1999 were identified by Koenig et al. In their Handbook of Religion and Health , given their very thorough search strategy(2001:6) which had yielded approximately 1600 references. (Although a small number of references from the year 2000 are included in their bibliography, it seems that the cut-off for thorough coverage was the end of 1999.) To supplement this material, in February 2005 several searches of Ovid MEDLINE were carried out to identify health outcome studies involving spirituality and/or religion for the year's 2000 to the present . These searches combined the search terms health outcome OR pregnancy outcome OR exp treatment outcome OR Outcome Assessment (Health Care), with either spirituality OR Spiritual Therapies or religion. The spirituality and the religion searches were carried out separately.

The spirituality and health search yielded a total of 323 references. The religion and health search yielded 219. Of the total of 542 references, 103 were duplicates, leaving a set of 439 references on spirituality and/or religion and health outcomes, indexed on MEDLINE for the years 2000 through February 2005. These were compared to Koenig et al.'s bibliography and no overlap was found. Further examination showed that the results from the spirituality search had included 111 hom(o)eopathy references. A separate search of these references located no use of either spiritual or religious terms in the titles or the abstracts, so these were deleted, leaving 328 references. An additional 30 references lacking specific religion or spirituality references were culled, including several referring to traditional African healing practices without specific spiritual references, another topic included by MEDLINE under Spiritual Therapies . Several additional references without explicit spirituality or religion content were found on further examination, including several acupuncture studies. These were also removed, leaving a set of 287. Materials already in my files, results from several tightly targeted additional searches (e.g. spirituality or religion and health), plus selected references from Koenig et al.'s The Handbook of Religion and Health (2001), and Kenneth L. Pargament's Religious Coping (1997) were then added manually to complete the set. It is clear that this strategy does not locate every relevant study. However, it does compile materials that may be said to define the core of the field. The problems involved in searching for all relevant work are discussed below under weaknesses of the field (especially Scope and Informatics ).

 

BACKGROUND

 

A powerful relationship between spirituality and health has been assumed by most societies through history, until the late nineteenth century in the Western world. The emergence of modern scientific medicine was accompanied by the abandonment of vitalism and an explicit and intentional disentanglement from religion. The growing acceptance of the idea of antipathy between science and religion, urged on by polemics such as Draper's History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (1874) and White's A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896), encouraged the idea that religion had no appropriate place within medicine. By the time that American medical schools had been reformed along scientific lines, following the Flexner Report in 1911, and medical research in the modern sense had begun to take shape, religion and spirituality had been either expunged from medical attention or neatly submerged as a variety of psychopathology within the new field of psychoanalysis (Hufford 2003). When religion was discussed within medicine it was typically as a problem, as in the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses about blood transfusions as an obstacle to good care.

But the S/RH connection was resurgent in the United States by the 1960s, as Neo-Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement grew in influence (Harrell 1975). By the mid-1970s Christian healing had a firm place within virtually every denomination. In response to these changes in the larger society, growing consumer pressure, and the implicit connection of spirituality with the emerging interest in complementary and alternative medicine, medicine's relationship with religion and spirituality had become a central issue in medical research and practice by the 1990's. These historical and social factors that have produced the current interest in S/RH are more than the necessary precursors to scientific research on the topic. They are an integral part of what that research must investigate and come to understand.

Research on the relationships among religion, spirituality and health has grown dramatically over the past decade. It is clear from the literature that many in research, in health care, in the public, and in government, believe that important positive connections have been established and should be vigorously studied. It is also clear that others are unconvinced and even hostile to the subject. It is not surprising that such a deeply felt subject should be controversial when it makes its way into a field such as medicine. Nor should it be surprising that such a complex topic as spirituality and religion, having been left out of scientific inquiry for so long, should prove difficult to study with the methods of science. Yet there actually can be no serious question about whether religion and spirituality have important connections to health.

Religious teachings, values and beliefs are powerful influences for many Americans regarding reproductive health, end of life decisions (just consider the recent Terri Schiavo case!), and behaviors such as smoking and drinking alcohol. Sickness and injury immediately elicit prayer and the fundamentally religious question Why me?' from a majority of Americans, as they have for people around the world throughout history. Survey data has made it very clear that these connections are salient and important to most Americans. The question is not whether connections exist, but rather what are those connections and what are their effects. While some of the basics of religion may be metaphysical, the connections between religious behavior and health are empirical. Empirical questions are subject to scientific inquiry, and empirical questions with high value in society that have bearing on mortality and morbidity should be studied scientifically.

 

CRITICISMS AND RESISTANCE

 

As S/RH has emerged and become a robust area of research and publication within mainstream academic circles and in the peer-reviewed literature, there has developed a substantial backlash. Just as some were dissatisfied with the predictions of religion's demise in modernity and its absence from serious public discourse, others found those developments good and hopeful for humankind and the current changes maddening. It should be no surprise to find that there are diverse and strongly held views on religion and related topics. I have put this comment here, because it is hard to know whether to consider the vigorous resistance a strength or a problem for the S/RH field. One often wishes the disputes were less partisan and more civil, but we should be glad that strong opinions are expressed and can be responded to. The resistance that prevented research on S/RH was a bad thing. But now that the field has emerged and found substantial support, resistance can have a salutary effect. Both pro and con positions call for scrupulous scholarship and critical thinking. I have intentionally omitted reference here to examples of what I would consider backlash simply because it seems healthier not to separate these reactions from the rest of the discourse through which we hope to achieve a better understanding of this fundamental aspect of human behavior .

PROBLEMS AND NEEDS IN SPIRITUALITY, RELIGION AND HEALTH RESEARCH

 

Scope & Boundaries of the Field

The greatest strength of the S/RH field is the fact that it arises from and reflects powerful cultural forces in American society, and this is also a source of some of the field's major problems. Neither religion nor spirituality died out in America during the twentieth century, despite confident predictions of its demise, and Christianity faced the twenty-first century as a major force in the modern world. The other religions of the world, both the world religions and local religions, are also showing great vigor. A part of this process has involved the reconnection of health care with spirituality. Historically related on intimate terms and then intentionally divorced as modern biomedicine developed in the latter half of the nineteenth century, the two domains seem to be engaged in a process of reconciliation. The process has not been led by either medical or religious authorities but rather by popular demand. This dramatic change in attitude and its broad popular support have allowed researchers who value religion and spirituality to pursue research and publication that twenty years ago would have cost them their careers, as pointed out by Sherrill and Larson in their 1994 essay, The Anti-Tenure Factor in Religious Research.... This popular demand has powerful political dimensions and has allowed rapid changes from the National Institutes of Health to university faculties to the process of peer review in scientific and medical journals. Whether one applauds this shift (many do) or abhors it (as many others do), it is an undeniable and intensely interesting fact of contemporary life. Such a dramatic contradiction of social science predictions deserves study. The question cannot be whether spirituality and health should be studied, but must rather be how the topic should be studied.

The current configuration of the S/RH field reflects powerful social forces in contemporary America . The rise of religion's salience in American culture allowed those with strong religious commitments an increased voice in public life outside their congregations. This is as true, obviously, of other areas of American life, for example politics, as it is of American health care. In itself this is a good thing as suggested by Stephen L. Carter's provocative work The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion (1993), and in medicine this change has brought to light influential but unexamined aspects of health behavior . But just as in other domains of American life these changes in medicine are shaped by forces of social and cultural construction that are largely invisible to those affected (consider the different impacts in politics and the academic world). These changes have been sudden and dramatic, and the S/RH field has not had an opportunity to develop a rich and critical interdisciplinary discourse. The result is a field that is limited to a few specialties, particularly medicine (speaking broadly, with a special emphasis in psychiatry, primary care, oncology and cardiology) and psychology, and that tends to incorporate the particular religious and spiritual commitments of investigators and their critics in what are intended to be scientific discussions.

The S/RH field is selectively focused on mainline Protestant Christian religion. It emphasizes interventions, but it has carried out primarily epidemiological and other observational research that is difficult to use in the development of specific clinical uses. It has ignored the spiritual and religious interests of large segments of American society in order to remain within what can only be called the most conventional aspects of this new and scientifically unconventional topic. And it has not sought out collaborative intellectual relationships with researchers in obviously relevant fields such as religious studies, the history of religion and the history of medicine, anthropology, philosophy, linguistics and a variety of other disciplines that could be of great assistance to the field. This does not seem to be an intentional exclusion, and it must be said that it has taken those in these related fields a long time to notice the S/RH developments that should have caught their attention at least a decade ago. Perhaps most surprisingly, the S/RH field has not emphasized collaboration in research and practice with the one discipline that has always labored to understand and deliver S/R interventions in health settings, chaplains. This all reflects the sudden, dramatic and unexpected nature of these social and cultural changes. In the sections that follow I will touch on some of the more obvious lacunae in the S/RH field, gaps that must be filled for the field to mature.

NOTE: For the longer sections below I have provided a brief summary of the argument at the beginning.

Scholarship

SUMMARY: Because of the rapid emergence of S/RH as a field, beginning primarily within medicine and psychology, and because disciplines that have traditionally studied religion have not systematically studied issues in terms of relevance to health, S/RH lacks a broad, interdisciplinary base of scholarship. Because of the great cultural and linguistic complexity of S/RH in American society, this lack of scholarship has created serious problems. Many of these are reflected in the shape of the field, which entirely omits topics that are conceptually important to the goals of RH research.

The field of S/RH research is quite new, not much more than a decade old, but growing rapidly. The study of religion, of course, has existed since ancient times and is well represented in several contemporary fields. But those fields, such as theology, religious studies, and the sociology and the history of religion have paid relatively little attention to healing, almost none to issues of direct clinical relevance. Ironically, the recent surge of interest in spirituality and health has come not from the disciplines that have historically studied religion, but rather from medicine and psychology, disciplines that either ignored or stigmatized the topic in the past. The result is a field of inquiry that, unlike medicine or the sciences, has almost no scholarly infrastructure.

Scholarship, though by definition not science in itself 1, is essential to a mature scientific field, especially in the life sciences. Such disciplines as ethics and history do not simply use health data to develop their own methods and theories. The work of such disciplines directly shapes and supports the work of the sciences they study. Medicine has evolved along with such fields as the history of medicine, philosophy of medicine, bioethics and medical sociology. This scholarship has been formative and has been necessary to the maturity of the field. For example, medical research and practice have been changed forever by the development of the doctrine of informed consent, a concept rooted in legal and historical context and articulated in its modern form in the 1960s. Partly in response to the revelations of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, informed consent affected research design and was further refined after the public revelation of what has been called the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Such concepts as clinical equipoise and the inclusion of the patient's view (often largely shaped by religious beliefs and values) in the analysis of risks and benefits, have engaged scholars in both the humanities and the social sciences. And the work of those scholars has shaped medical research and practice in important ways. The maturity of the field of medicine cannot be separated from the scholarship of the humanities and social science fields that comprise its intellectual surround. Today physician scholars, like physician scientists, are increasingly important. Physicians and Ph.D. scholars are colleagues and collaborators, and their disciplines productively engage one another.

Ironically scholarship in the field of S/R and health is scarce, even though it was scholarly research that gave spirituality and health much of its initial impetus. The systematic analyses of religious variables in psychiatric journals by Larson et al. in 1986 and Craigie et al. in 1988 helped to simultaneously establish the importance of religion in the health literature and the inadequacy of its past treatment . But since that time scholars in relevant fields have continued to pay little attention to spirituality and health and spirituality and health researchers have made little progress in broadly incorporating sophisticated scholarship into the field. This should be understood as a natural consequence of the abrupt emergence of the field within medicine, not a criticism of the individuals involved. Nonetheless, those scholars who have studied and written on S/RH topics should receive more attention than they have (for example, Dossey, 1993, 1999, 2000; Frohock 1992; Fuller, 1989, 2001; Gardner 1983).

 

Language

SUMMARY: The S/RH field has experienced major problems in defining and distinguishing religion and spirituality . These problems result from the lack of a solid base of relevant scholarship and the difficulty of coming to terms with those core aspects of spirituality and religion that led so many academics to predict its demise: a focus on the reality of spirit ñ as opposed to simply a higher power or matters of ultimate concern.

Difficulties in dealing with the meaning of the terms religion and spirituality comprise a serious weakness in the S/RH field. To the extent that these core terms are not used appropriately and consistently, the field will face serious shortcomings in validity and coherence. This weakness arises directly from the lack of scholarly infrastructure noted above. For example, in Larson, Swyers and McCullough's (editors) Scientific Research on Spirituality and Health: A Consensus Report (1997) the Definitions of Religion and Spirituality section begins with the following statement:

An immediate consensus among Panel members was the need to ground definitions of religion and spirituality in scientific and historical scholarship. (p. 15)

But of 21 panel members, judging from the contributors list, only one has a humanities appointment (holding an endowed chair of Liberal Arts), one is a sociologist and the remainder hold medical or psychology appointments. The panel members are excellent researchers, but that does not make them linguists, historians or philosophers. The resulting definitional criteria suffer from a lack of broad, interdisciplinary scholarship. Both center on a search for the sacred.... The term ësacred' refers to a divine being or Ultimate Reality or Ultimate Truth as perceived by the individual. (P. 21) Religion is understood to possibly involve non-sacred goals such as meaning in a primarily sacred seeking context plus The means and methods of the search validated and supported by a group. As George et al. say, while approving of them, they are highly abstract definitions that do not lead to straightforward operationalization (2000:105). In The Handbook... Koenig, Larson and McCullough further develop the concepts from the Consensus Report , giving the following definitions:

Religion : Religion is an organized system of beliefs, practices, rituals, and symbols designed (a) to facilitate closeness to the sacred or transcendent (God, higher power, or ultimate truth/reality) and (b) to foster an understanding of one's relationship and responsibility to others living together in a community.

Spirituality : Spirituality is the personal quest for understanding answers to ultimate questions about life, about meaning and about relationship to the sacred or transcendent, which may (*or may not) lead to or arise from the development of religious rituals and the formation of community. (2001:18)

At this point the problem of abstractness and difficulty of operationalizing have not been solved!

There has been a great deal of agonizing over these two terms in the field. It has been recognized that usages in published work are inconsistent, even within the writings of single authors. It has been suggested that due to recent changes religion has come to be viewed too narrowly while the meaning of spiritual has become fuzzy (Zinnbauer et al. 1998). Definitions of the terms have been called vague and contradictory (Egbert, 2004:8). There have been complaints that the meanings of each have changed over time (Pargament 1996; Zinnbauer 1997).

The central problem is one that occurs regularly when scientific fields appropriate natural language terms. Natural language is inherently ambiguous. Meanings shift, expand and contract as words travel in different speech communities . For words employed as technical terms this is a problem. Medicine could not use the words virus and bacteria in the loose, overlapping senses that these technical terms have acquired in ordinary speech. But when the words originate in natural language, and where, as in S/RH, the intent is to understand human behavior through language-based methods (surveys, interviews, etcetera), the issue is different. To the extent that operationalized definitions meet the conceptual criteria of investigators they often lose the meanings that they have in ordinary speech. The result is equivocation and loss of validity. The S/R literature often seems to suggest that investigators are seeking the correct meaning of these terms with the assumption that their colloquial usages are somehow incorrect, mistaken like colloquial use of virus to mean germs in general. But for naturally occurring language the only correct meanings are those found in customary usage, and the correct meaning, as Emblen concisely points out depends on how the ambient community commonly uses the terms (Emblen 1992:41). The community usages are discovered through lexical2 research that is based on the observation of substantial numbers of naturally occurring usages.

Although some of the published literature discussed includes studies of personal meanings of terms (especially Zinnbauer et al. 1997), I have not found a single lexical study in the S/RH literature. Zinnbauer et al. asked a diverse sample of Pennsylvanians to define spirituality and religiousness and to choose the degree with which respondents would apply each term to themselves, using a 5-point Likert-type scale (551-552). The sample, though diverse, is not representative of any specifically identifiable speech community. More importantly, this method, though interesting, is not lexicology. It does not analyze a corpus of naturally occurring speech. Compare the results of asking the average person for a definition of any word in ordinary speech with those of inferring meaning from a sample of actual usage. There is often a relationship, but there is no reliable and consistent unity of meaning. Giving definitions is not an ordinary speech act, and words laden with strong emotional and cultural connotations are those that are most difficult for speakers to accurately define. One need only compare the effort of giving a definition of a term such as love to the task of analyzing naturally occurring uses of the word to understand the difference.

Efforts to arrive at an appropriate definition of spirituality have been most common in the nursing literature (e.g. Emblen, 1992; Dyson, 1997; Narayanasamy, 1999). Several of these have involved the analysis of a corpus of usage by authors of published papers. For instance, Unruh et al. (2002) reviewed the usage of the word spirituality in a variety of disciplines. The investigators inferred the inherent definitions in a variety of published works on spirituality , and then analyzed usages thematically. This approach is a kind of lexical research, but it investigates the usages of professionals as expressed in the peer-reviewed literature. Such studies describe the meanings of experts. But what is needed for validity in studies of patient populations is specifically the meanings of non -experts. This lexical research is more difficult, since a corpus of research articles is more easily obtained than is one of the naturally occurring speech of ordinary speech communities .

One problem that the expert meanings display is the incorporation of a great deal of description into their definitions, and this is what renders them so complex and abstract. Definitions should state minimum characteristics that are always true of what is being defined. Descriptions note aspects of defined things that are often but not always true. Mammals are defined by being warm-blooded vertebrates. They may be described as typically livings on landóbut some, such as whales, do not. Descriptors are generally probabilistic in this way. The descriptive material is not only unnecessary at the point where definition is needed, it misleadingly bundles theory and interpretation into definition, and this creates bias. For example, the definitions of the Consensus Conference and The Handbook noted above both use the term ultimate in their definition of religion. This comes from the definition of religion used by the famous theologian Paul Tillich: the object of ultimate concern (1952). But what if a man is a member of the Methodist Church, but he is more concerned with the wellbeing of his family, or the good of his country, or perhaps even football, than the divine or anything else connected with his church? Would we say that Methodism is not his religion? If you ask him his religion he says Methodist or perhaps Christian. Do we say he is wrong because he doesn't care enough? Maybe he cares quite a bit, but just not ultimately . In a similar vein some authors have suggested that while God is a key element in S/R, religion is whatever an individual takes to be of highest value in his/her life (Dyson, 1997:1183). This takes a long step away from what is meant by God, and by implication spirituality and religion, in the speech of most Americans, reminiscent though it is of AA's higher power. When we say Money is Smith's God, we are speaking metaphorically.

Defining spirituality as a quest encounters the same problem. If a woman has found the sacred and rests comfortably within that, perhaps feeling at home, is this no longer her spirituality? Are only seekers spiritual? It seems right to apply ultimacy descriptively to religion and questing to spirituality, but they do not belong in a definition that will be used in attempting to elicit information from samples whose understandings derive from colloquial usage.

The odd thing about the inconsistency, vagueness and worry by investigators over these terms is that they do have consistent, concise meanings in ordinary speech, and they relate to one another in a perfectly ordinary way. We are accustomed to pairs of words such as learning and education , or health and medicine , where the former word identifies a broad domain and the second word refers to an institutional aspect of that domain. We know that not everything in education is about learning, and not everything in medicine is about health. In each case there are also financial issues, characteristic social roles, and so forth. Not all learning happens in schools and not all health behavior takes place in clinics or hospitals. Spirituality and religion stand in the same relation.

Spirituality refers to the domain of spirit(s) : God or gods, souls, angels, djinni, demons. In short, this is what was once called the supernatural (and still is by many English speakers). When spirituality refers to something else it is by metaphorical extension to other intangible and invisible things, such as ideas, as in team spirit or the spirit of democracy, or as in 17 th century chemistry and anatomy where the animal spirits that move through the nerves are a class of highly refined, invisible particles analogous to those emitted by volatile liquids such as alcoholóthus, wines and spirits.3How can we be confident of this customary meaning? New lexical research would be good, but the existing scholarship is quite adequate. For example, Walter W. Skeat's classic An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language (1909) defines spirit as follows:

breath; the soul, a ghost, enthusiasm, liveliness, a spirituous liquor. (F.ñL.) The lit. sense is ëbreath,' but the word is hardly to be found with this sense in English. ME.

This definition has the additional benefit of clearly indicating a domain that is conceptually distinct from the referents of psychological language. This is important because so many of the definitions that center on ultimacy and meaning tend to erase the distinctions that ordinary speech makes between spirituality and feeling in general. The following definition is a clear example:

I see spirituality as that which allows a person to experience transcendent meaning in life. This is often expressed as a relationship with God, but it can also be about nature, art, music, family, or community--whatever beliefs and values give a person a sense of meaning and purpose in life. (Puchalski, 2000:129)

Another example is the widely used FACIT-SBI, which focuses on purpose and meaning in life, peacefulness and taking comfort in faith. Definitions that focus on broad psychological categories lose specificity and divergent validity, tend to conflate religiosity and spirituality, and they fail to refer directly to what the population at large means by the term.

The distressed patient who feels an illness is punishment by God (a spirit) is referring to a kind of spiritual distress. If they have been cut off from valued opportunities for worship and for pastoral care (institutional sources of spiritual support), they have a religious (and spiritual) problem. It does not matter whether the investigator assumes that all such distress is really psychosocial in origin. Calling the distress spiritual should not commit us to a theory about the ontological status of the human soul! And whether such distress is ever objectively distinguishable from other anguish is an open empirical question. The meaning, for the patient , is spiritual and religious, and that is where our understanding of its causes and remedies has to begin.

It is sometimes suggested that spirit(s) comprise a Western category and that some traditions, Buddhism being an often cited example, lack the concept. But as long as the concept is kept simple in definition this is not a valid criticism. The concept of reincarnation in Buddhism may not involve a concept analogous to the Western idea of a soul in some of its versions, but it nonetheless does involve something invisible and intangible that is a kind of essence of the person that reincarnates.

Part of the complexity of this topic is that its point of reference, spirit(s) , is contested. The investigator can neither observe spirit nor assume that it exists. But that should not be a unique problem. The field has shown the ability to investigate belief in an afterlife and the consequences of that belief, such as its influence on death anxiety (e.g., Alvarado, 1995), without having to take a stand for or against the reality of the afterlife.

Religion , then, is the institutional aspect of spirituality. Religions are institutions organized around the idea of spirit. With this simple definition the criticism that religion, like spirit, is a culture-bound Western term does not hold up. It is sometimes claimed that Buddhism is not a religion , sometimes defended on the basis that it is not theistic. Even apart from the fact that much of Buddhist belief and practice around the world does involve gods, clearly Buddhism is an institution organized around such ideas as reincarnation and Nirvana and it teaches practices that affect the intangible part of the human, the part that progresses or degenerates, that approaches enlightenment and Nirvana.

The simple definitions of spirituality and religion work cross-culturally and they certainly encompass the domains that S/RH research seeks to address. They are what most English speakers mean when using the words. Despite the simple definitions, these concepts are multidimensional and they have many aspects that can be explored. The description of the beliefs, values and behaviors involved in religion and spirituality is enormous. And if one accepts these definitions as referring to a concept that underlies the behaviors of interest in this field, that does not mean that each survey question about spirituality or religion needs to use the word, anymore than every question in a health assessment needs to use the word health. Spirituality under this definition could, for example, be readily explored among people who state sincerely that they are not spiritual, just as surely as we could inquire about a person's affection for his country even if he insisted he was not a patriot.

Concerns about the difference between spirituality and religion often include the historical assertion that the distinction itself is new. George et al, for example, say that it is only recently that spirituality began to acquire meanings separate from religion (2000:103). The source they cite concerning the forces that pried spirituality loose from religion is Philip Sheldrake's book, Spirituality and History (1998) in which he gives as the basic meaning of spirituality the theory and practice of the Christian life (pp. 40-41). This example illustrates why, during times of religious conformity, spiritualityóunderstood as correct or orthodox spiritual belief and practiceówould be coterminous with if not identical to, religion. The development of religious dissent and pluralism lead to a multiplication of spiritual views that, seen from within any orthodox religious framework, will seem eccentric at best and perhaps not authentically spiritual. But we should not exaggerate the newness of this phenomenon in America . As Robert Fuller points out, i n the late 1600's less than 1/3 of colonist adults were church members, and by the time of the Revolutionary War this had dropped to about 15%. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur wrote that religious indifference is...at present one of the strongest characteristics of the American people (cited in Fuller 2001:13). Nonetheless, the colonists were avidly spiritual in their orientation, engaging in astrology, divination, folk healing practices that were fundamentally spiritual, decried by colonial clergy as wicked and heretical, and influenced by the Freemasons (most of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were Masons) and Rosicrucianism. And during the 19 th century movements from Transcendentalism to Mesmerism, New thought and spiritualism flowered in the United States (Fuller 2001:13-44; see also Butler, 1990). Spiritual language was widely used in all of these discourses. Whether anyone used the words, many 18 th and 19 th century Americans clearly were spiritual but not religious, as that phrase is used today. This strand of unchurched American spirituality is what Sydney Ahlstrom has called harmonial piety (1972), and its message, summarized by Fuller as being that spiritual composure, physical health, and even economic well-being are understood to flow from a person's rapport with the cosmos (2001:51) is readily recognizable in today's spiritual but not religious as well in a number of religious messages.

This history, in contrast to the common historical assertions made in discussions of S/R terminology, should raise the concern that to some extent the tension between the terms reflects the diversity of theological points of view among investigators and implicit biases for or against religious orthodoxy. I will return to this below, in connection with the S/RH field's lack of attention to minority religious views.

 

S/RH and Complementary and Alternative Medicine ( CAM )

SUMMARY: Both S/RH and CAM research have recently emerged among health researchers from a history of neglect, marginalization and stigma, and both currently strive with considerable success for legitimacy. Basically all S/R health interventions (not all S/RH practices) fit the conventional definition of CAM . The best quantitative studies of CAM utilization show strong associations between CAM use and use of prayer. Studies of why patients use CAM indicate that a spiritual point of view is among the strongest reasons. Most CAM practices show a variety of affinities to both spirituality and religion. Both S/RH and CAM researchers are engaged in studies of the prevalence, distribution and health impact of the practices that they are investigating. And both groups are working toward the appropriate integration of the practices they study into clinical medicine. Yet there is a clear and apparently intentional divide between the two research domains. For example, in Koenig et al's Handbook of Religion and Health the mention of Eisenberg's survey research summarized below mentions only the figures on the use of prayer and calls the survey topic unconventional therapies (UT) citing only the 1993 study which uses unconventional in the title and not the 1998 study which employs the term alternative medicine . The index entry is under unconventional. There is only one entry under alternative medicine, and this leads one to the statement that public demand for psychosocial-spiritual care that is not being met by traditional sources...has opened the door to a whole host of charlatans and alternative medicine practitioners. (5) Neither the affinities nor the antipathies between these areas is new in America . They are readily traced back to colonial days (Fuller, 1989, 2001). Clearly this situation is itself an important area for future social science investigation, and some resolution is of great importance.

The fields of S/RH and CAM are clearly concerned with domains that overlap extensively, yet the fields are populated by distinct communities of investigators who often do not even cite one another and who sometimes show an actual antipathy toward each other's approaches. This is a serious weakness with important consequences.

The first large quantitative study of CAM was Cassileth et al's Contemporary Unorthodox Treatments in Cancer Medicine (1984). The study, centered on University of Pennsylvania 's oncology clinic, found a surprisingly high rate of utilization of unconventional treatments by Penn's patients. The study categorized treatments into seven categories, including a miscellaneous other grouping. Of the six named practices, one was classified as spiritual, and of 378 patients, 100 received spiritual treatment (p, 108).

The next large quantitative studies, carried out by David Eisenberg and his colleagues at Harvard and published in 1993, inquired concerning CAM use in a representative national sample (Eisenberg, 1993). Five years later he published a follow-up study (Eisenberg, 1998). These two studies, based on data gathered in 1990 and 1997 respectively, asked about utilization of CAM within the past twelve months, using a list of 16 well known varieties of CAM . One of the categories was Spiritual healing (by others). In 1990 this item received positive responses from 4.2% of respondents. In 1997 it received 7.0%. Self prayer for an illness within the past twelve months was asked in both surveys, though not counted in the overall prevalence figures. In 1990 there were 25.2% positive responses, and in 1997 35.1%.

The inclusion of prayer and spiritual healing reflects the standard definition of CAM that has been implicit since the early 1980's and explicit at least since Eisenberg's first study and reinforced by the conclusions of an NIH panel in 1995:

The broad domain of complementary and alternative medicine ( CAM ) encompasses all health systems, modalities, and practices other than those intrinsic to the politically dominant health system of a particular society or culture. CAM includes all practices and ideas self-defined by their users as preventing or treating illness or promoting health and well-being. (O'Connor, 1997:60).

Exclusion from conventional bio-medicine is the one defining characteristic shared by all of the modalities that have come to be referred to as CAM . But another element shared by almost all is a strong undercurrent of spirituality. This is even true of many forms of what are ordinarily considered material modalities, such as herbalism. From the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) understanding of herbal treatments as operating through Qi as well as biochemistry, to folk herbalism found in many parts of the United States, the meaning, selection, preparation and use of botanical medicines is consistently associated with explicitly spiritual concepts. For example, herbalist Norma Meyers says

After 15 years of observing the plants , I have come to believe that herbs work not so much because of biochemistry and nutrition as because of energy fields .... I have two beliefs that have grown out of feeling the energies of the herbs. The first is that these plants were made by the same Creator that made you and me. I was not a religious person when I first came into contact with the plants . But because of their influence on me I have now become a religious, spiritual person. (Conrow and Hecksel 1983:193-95)

The relationship of energy and spirituality in this quote is also common, suggesting the resonance between vitalist theories (including also the TCM concept of Qi, Daniel Palmer's innate intelligence in chiropractic, the energetic aspect of homeopathy, and many others) and spiritual ideas.

In 1998 John Astin published in JAMA a study addressing the question of Why Patients Use Alternative Medicine (Astin, 1998). Based on a national sample, this study concluded that:

the majority of alternative medicine users appear to be doing so not so much as a result of being dissatisfied with conventional medicine but largely because they find these health care alternatives to be more congruent with their own values, beliefs, and philosophical orientations toward health and life. (1548)

The holistic philosophy of health that strongly predicted utilization was The health of my body mind and spirit are related, and whoever takes care of my health should take that into account. (1551).

A second predictive factor obviously associated with spirituality was the statement I have had a transformational experience that causes me to see the world differently than before. (1551)

The most recent and best data on the strong association and overlap between the S/RH domain and CAM utilization is found in Barnes' et al.'s Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States 2002. This study was based on interviews with 31,044 adults using data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), conducted by the CDC and the National Center For Health Statistics. It used a more open-ended strategy than the Eisenberg studies, not restricting CAM to the 16 common categories most surveys have used. The study found that when prayer was included 62% of the sample had used CAM within past 12 months. When prayer was excluded, 36% had. Among the most common varieties of CAM used. five were explicitly spiritual in nature: personal prayer for health (43%), prayer by others (24.4%), natural products (18.9%), breathing exercise (11.6%), participation in prayer group for one's own health (9.6%), meditation (7.6%), chiropractic (7.5%), yoga (5.1%), massage (5.0%), diet-based therapies (3.5%). The other five are often associated with religious and spiritual ideas and groups (e.g., the strong association of Seventh Day Adventism with natural products and diet). Overall, regarding prayer the study concluded that About 45% of (English-speaking, American) adults used prayer specifically for health concerns during the past 12 months. (Barnes, 2004:6) This is even higher McCaffrey et al's smaller study of prayer for health concerns also published in 2004. That study concluded that

An estimated one third of adults used prayer for health concerns in 1998. Most respondents did not discuss prayer with their physicians.... users reported high levels of perceived helpfulness. (Abstract, p. 858) CAM therapies were associated with increased use of prayer for health concerns.... By strength of association these therapies were herbal medicine.... relaxation techniques.... guided imagery.... self-help techniques.... folk remedies.... energy therapy.... and chiropractic. (McCaffrey, 2004:860)

A part of the tendency for S/RH researchers to avoid CAM can be found in the salience of spiritual but not religious CAM modalities. Therapeutic Touch (TT) is a good example. TT, developed in the 1970's by Dolores Krieger, a professor of nursing at New York University , further illustrates this connection and its relevance to issues in the S/RH field. Krieger began studying with spiritual/psychic healer Dora Kunz who perceived subtle energies around living beings and believed that they all possessed an innate healing ability. Kunz had studied Oskar Estebany, a Hungarian healer who used laying-on-of-hands and felt he was a channel for the spirit of Jesus Christ. Estebany believed his healing was a special gift, but Krieger did not agree. She roughly equated his healing energy with Qi, Reiki (Japanese) , prana (Sanskrit) and other spiritual healing ideas from around world, and developed the specifically non-religious healing practice that she called Therapeutic Touch. (Krieger, 1979) I became convinced that healing by the laying-on of hands is a natural potential in man, given at least ... the intent to help heal another, and a fairly healthy body (which would indicate an overflow of prana) (Krieger 1975:786). Prana is a Hindu term for Brahman , for the life-force and breath, and it is an important concept in yoga.

Further evidence of the spiritual and religious ramifications of TT can be seen in some of the opposition to it. For example, Donal O'Mathuna, PhD, (Professor of Bioethics and Chemistry, Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Columbus, Ohio.) wrote a negative assessment of TT in the Physician's Guide to Alternative Medicine (American-Health-Consultants, 1999) based on scientific issues, but in the Journal of Christian Nursing he wrote that the use of TT is wicked and offensive to God because The Evil One has great powers at his disposal. TT introduces practitioner and patient to a spiritual realm forbidden by God.

Although formal religious healing practices fit comfortably within the CAM definition, the attention of the CAM field seems largely focused on spiritual but not religious healing practices such as Therapeutic Touch, Qigong, Reiki and so forth. These are the spiritual health practices that the S/RH field largely avoids. The contrast between this preference and that found in the S/RH field is readily evident in the comparison between the chapters on spiritual healing found in two popular textbooks on CAM .

In Novey's Clinician's Complete Guide to Complementary/ Alternative Medicine (2000) the Spiritual Healing and Prayer chapter is written by psychiatrist Harold Koenig, a leading researcher in the S/RH field. Koenig discusses intercessory prayer and epidemiological evidence that religious behavior , such as Bible reading, have positive health effects. The interventions he mentions (Office Applications, page 133) are prayer and pastoral counseling and possible support for the patient's religious or spiritual beliefs. Apart from one reference to a study of Buddhist meditation, the chapter concerns Christian belief and practice. The interpretations that Koenig explicitly favors are those that he calls local naturalistic rather than supernaturalistic (130-131).

Wayne Jonas and Jeffrey Levin's textbook, Essentials of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (1999) provides a sharp contrast to Koenig's approach. Seven of the twenty chapters devoted to particular CAM approaches include spiritual aspects: Ayurvedic Medicine, Native American Medicine, Tibetan Medicine, Holistic Nursing, Spiritual Healing (Daniel Benor), Qigong, Meditation and Mindfulness.

Chapter 21, Spiritual Healing is written by Daniel J. Benor, M.D. begins with Benor's own definition of spiritual healing: the systematic purposeful intervention by one or more persons aiming to help (an)other living being (person, animal , plant , or other living system) or beings by means of focused intention, by touch, or by holding the hands near the other being, without application of physical, chemical, or conventional energetic means of intervention (p. 369). The same definition is given in the book's Glossary . The Glossary further defines spiritual energy as the cosmic or universal vital force that originates beyond the material level and gives life to physical organisms. (p. 583). Religion is not defined in the glossary. In Appendix A, the list of organizations under Spiritual Healing includes just four: Barbara Brennan School of Healing, Healing Touch International, LeShan Healing, and Nurse Healers--Professional Associates International, Inc. but no religious healing organizations. The five suggested readings are Benor's Healing Research Vols. I-IV, Brennan's Hands of Light (1993), Gerber's Vibrational Medicine (1988), LeShan's The Medium, The Mystic and the Physicist (1974), and The Qigong Institute's Qigong Database .

Benor's overview of spiritual healing is focused on subtle energies (including such as Riechenbach's odyle and Reich's orgone energy , p. 372). Religion's role in spiritual healing is discussed historically, but current religious healing is largely absent. Terms such as Charismatic and Christian Science do not appear in the index or Glossary .

This book is interesting to compare to the Novey book in this regard. Koenig's chapter on spiritual healing in the Novey book is devoted entirely to conventional religious healing. A variety of other spiritual approaches are covered in other chapters, but are not accessible under spiritual in either the index or the table of contents. In the Jonas and Levin book, in contrast, religious approaches are absent, and it is, roughly speaking, spiritual but not religious modalities that are emphasized.

Clearly a major source of the division between the S/RH and CAM fields is the contentious division between religion and health and spirituality and health. This is an interesting cultural clash among investigators, apparently reflecting personal commitments as much as anything else since many have similar professional training. But the conflict is unfortunate because it smuggles personal theological commitments into the scientific discourse and prevents the logical integration of these overlapping fields.

 

Dramatic S/R Experiences and Health

SUMMARY: During the past thirty years research on dramatic spiritual experiences, such as mystical experiences and near death experiences has grown rapidly. Much of the research has been carried out by psychologists and physicians (e.g., Moody [MD], Ring [psychologist], Sabom [MD] Greyson [MD], van Lommel [MD]). Historically such experiences have been related to medicine by being consistently assimilated to psychiatric symptomatology (Hufford 1985). Contemporary research has challenged those assumptions of pathology and have shown new associations with health: 1) some of these experiences are triggered by serious health events, often in medical settings (e.g., near death experiences), and 2) positive impact on emotional health (Rees 1970, 1971; Kass, 1991; van Lommel, 2001). Yet S/RH research tends to ignore these experiences in favor of more ordinary, daily spiritual experiences (Fetzer, 1999). This leaves another gap in the field that parallels the preference for religion over spirituality outside the religious context and avoidance of unconventional topics, even when those topics are receiving serious investigation with studies published in peer reviewed journals.

In 1974 sociologist Andrew Greeley published remarkable findings concerning dramatic spiritual experiences of Americans, findings that were headlined A Nation of Mystics in some newspapers. Greeley 's survey was carried out by the National Opinion Research Center , employing a scientifically selected national sample and in-home interviews with a pre-selected panel of respondents. Two of his questions are of special interest here: Have you ever felt as though you were very close to a powerful spiritual force that seemed to lift you out of yourself? (35% said yes) and Have you ever felt that you were really in touch with someone who had died? (27% said yes). Greeley also used the Bradburn psychological well-being scale (1969) to look for an association between these experiences and emotional health, and found a strong and positive relationship. The following year Raymond Moody's book Life After Life introduced the term near death experience (NDE) and launched a substantial stream of study, much of it carried out by physicians, that linked these experiences to spiritual transformation and psychological health effects (see, for example, van Lommel, 2001 in the Lancet ; and the Journal of Near-Death Studies , passim ).

Greeley's question regarding contact with the dead followed an important turning point in grief literature when Dewi Rees, a physican, published a study in the British Medical Journal (1971; originally his MD Thesis, 1970) showing that compellingly real experiences of a visit by the deceased spouse are very common among the bereaved, that they appear normal and are associated with healthy resolution of grief. By the mid-1970s these experiences had become well know in the grief literature. They are obviously spiritual experiences and are often transforming for those who have them (Rees, 2001).

NDEs and the bereavement visits are just two of the categories that are logically appropriate for S/RH study, but that have been largely ignored. In 1991, Kass and colleagues, published an article in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion entitled Health outcomes and a new index of spiritual experience, in which they presented new instrument which they called Index of Core Spiritual Experience (INSPIRIT). The instrument utilized Greeley 's mysticism question and explicitly referred to near death experiences. It linked scores on INSPIRIT, in a sample of medically ill patients, to emotional and medical outcomes.

In The Handbook (Koenig, 2001) INSPIRIT receives a brief paragraph noting its correlation with religiousness, but there is no discussion of the health implications of the experiences tapped by the instrument. The Handbook also has a section on Measures of Mysticism (507-508, Hood, 1975; Levin, 1993; Mathew, 1995) but again discusses the three instruments noted only in terms of their use as indications of religiosity and/or spirituality. This seems to assume that such experiences are a product of belief, but much of the current data suggests the opposite, that these experiences shape and change belief. The Handbook has few other references to spiritual experiences, and where there are such references they do not refer to the kind of intense experience discussed above. For example, in a section of Religion and Immune Function the study cited which investigated religious experience used watching a film about Mother Teresa as the religious experience. (288).

The documented relationship of intense, even mystical, spiritual experiences to health should make them of great interest in S/RH research, but that is not the case. Literature searches in PYCHInfo and MEDLINE for the period since the Kass article introduced INSPIRIT in conjunction with health outcomes in 1991 yielded only 6 studies (Dedert, 2004; Springer, 2003; Hodges, 2002; Baider, 2001; McBride, 1998; VandeCreek, 1995), although there were 13 dissertations. My initial searches on S/RH yielded only three references to spiritual experience. Two of those referred to the experience of being religious, and one used the Fetzer-NIA instrument with its Daily Spiritual Experience subscale. The Fetzer-NIA Daily Spiritual Experience section states that it is intended to assess aspects of day-to-day spiritual experience for an ordinary person, and should not be confused with measures of extraordinary experiences (such as near-death or out-of-body experiences) which may tap something quite different and have a different relationship to health outcomes (11). The instrument does not contain any measures for the extraordinary experiences, except for the ambiguous Have you had a religious or spiritual experience that changed your life? (68) The ambiguity of this item is underscored by the authors' comment The origin of these items [about life changing experience] is unclear... Researchers disagree about what these items measure, but they do go on to state that further research regarding ... life-changing religious/spiritual events is highly recommended. (66) My analysis of the literature strongly supports their statement!

 

Minority Religions Including Roman Catholicism, The Spiritual But Not Religious, And Folk Religions

SUMMARY: It is widely recognized that the S/RH literature is focused on mainline denominations of Protestant Christianity. This has deflected attention from several areas of importance in health research: the S/RH issues of new immigrants and ethnic minorities in the United States; the ancient and vigorous Roman Catholic tradition of liturgical healing and healing through the intercession of the saints; and most S/RH researchers have shown a negative bias toward the health ideas and practices of the spiritual but not religious. Taken together these trends underemphasize somewhere around half of Americans who have S/RH beliefs and values.

It is not surprising that Protestant Christianity receives most of S/RH researchers' attention. Christianity is the dominant religion in the United States , and Protestants are the largest religious group, generally reported as somewhat more than 50% of the entire population. However, the practice of aggregating most non-Catholic Christians under the heading Protestant is questionable, resulting in a category that is very diverse demographically and doctrinally. If the specifics of S/R belief are important (and if the entire domain is important the specifics seem likely to be also), then the collective categories of Christian and Protestant should be disaggregated. When this is done one finds that Catholics are the largest group, at about 24% compared to Baptists, the next largest denomination, at about 16% (Adherents.com, 2005 (accessed)), making Catholicism the largest religious group in America.

CATHOLICISM : Catholicism has the longest continued tradition of spiritual healing and commentary on medical practice of any branch of Christianity in the world. Its theology and traditions of practice are very distinct. And since the development of the Charismatic movement in Catholicism in the late 1950's, Catholicism also includes most of the healing practices found in Protestant denominations. Catholicism is also recognized as having exerted major influence in a number of medical policy areas such as reproductive health and end-of-life care. Catholics are often included in epidemiological studies, but studies of distinctively Catholic healing practices, such as pilgrimages linked to devotion to the Saints, are largely absent from the S/RH literature. My MEDLINE searches yielded only four references citing Catholicism (Kemkes-Grottenthaler, 2003; Latkovic, 2001; Panicola, 2001; Ryan, 2003), and none of these referred to distinctive Catholic spiritual practices. The Handbook (Koenig, 2001) mentions pilgrimage, a major and well-known aspect of Catholic healing practice, only five times. The first is in the historical timeline referring to Lourdes (46), another is under faith healing referring to pilgrims at Lourdes as desperate (55), and a third is in connection with two debunking books on religious healing (Rose, 1971; Nolen, 1974) (64). But then, remarkably, there are two mentions of the only study of Catholic pilgrimage noted in the book, Morris' 1982 study which, using the Beck Depression Inventory, found that a group of chronically ill pilgrims to Lourdes went from mild depressive symptoms to virtually no symptoms at 10-month follow-up (132, 152). Millions of Americans and others visit healing shrines in the Americas and Europe , and there is a large literature on pilgrimage in the social scientific study of religion and among religion scholars. The differences between faith healing and these Catholic practices are substantial. My own ethnographic work on pilgrimage suggests that the majority of pilgrims find support in coping with illness and many explicitly deny that they are primarily concerned with the possibility of a miraculous physical healing (Hufford, 1985). Yet even Pargament's excellent book on religouos coping (1997) has only asingle reference to Catholicism and coping, and that involves Catholic Charismatic practice. The rich and varied healing practices of Catholics offer a major opportunity for S/RH research, but have as yet received very little attention.

SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS : To return to the prevalence of spiritual viewpoints in America , surveys estimate those who say they are spiritual but not religious at between 20% (Blum, 2001) and 30% ( Gallup -Or, 2001), compared to Baptists, the next largest group at about 16% (Adherents.com, 2005 (accessed)), making the spiritual-but-not-religious second only to Catholicism among spiritual groups in America . It has been suggested that this group is a mere hodgepodge of uninformed opinions, defying analysis. It has also been assumed that this group represents a recent development in American spirituality. I have already discussed the historical depth of this viewpoint in America (above under Language ). Historians and religious studies scholars have also shown that within this group there are consistent themes and shared values (Batson, 1976; Ahsltrom, 1972; Fuller, 1989, 2001). Despite the salience of the spiritual-but-not-religious group in America , the S/RH literature tends to disparage this viewpoint. The Handbook refers to this form of spirituality as unmoored spirituality in contrast to spirituality moored to an established religious tradition (18). The authors subdivide spirituality categories in a way that results in a low estimate of this group's size, and illustrates it with references to crystals, astrology and Shirley MacLaine (19). And George et al. in 2000 stated that

So long as most individuals do not distinguish between religion and spirituality, separating these concepts operationally will be impossible. Of course, we can study individuals who report that they are spiritual but not religiousóthere are a few studies of this kind (e.g. Legere, 1984; Roof, 1993). But such studies will not generate distinct, broadly applicable measures of religiousness and spirituality. (In theory we could also study individuals who describe themselves as religious but not spiritual, but research suggests that the numbers of such persons are too small for meaningful analysis.) (104)

The bias against unmoored spirituality appears linked both to problems defining the terms spirituality and religion and to the disconnect between S/RH and CAM research noted above. The practices of the spiritual-but-not-religious are often those linked to CAM in the literature. But it is important to note that many of the core spiritual practices of this group are also found among church members, constituting a sort of folk religion level that has always existed within congregations despite the best efforts of clergy. Based on my own fieldwork and a careful examination of survey data it seems certain that some who self-identify as spiritual-but-not-religious attend some variety of services regularly and some would even indicate a denominational affiliation or preference if asked.

FOLK RELIGIONS AND HEALTH : The religious and health beliefs of ethnic minorities and new immigrants currently receive substantial attention in the medical and nursing literature, and training in cultural competence has been mandated for medical education. A recent editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine noted pronouncements by the Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Association, among other organizations, that cultural competence is necessary for the effective practice of medicine, and that religion, of course, is an aspect of culture (Betancourt, 2004). All works about diverse cultural groups written for health professionals include prominent attention to the religious dimension and the closely related folk medical practices of each group. One of the most noted recent publications on the topic of cultural diversity and health care was Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child and Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures (1997) which focuses on tragic medical outcomes that center on differences in spiritual belief between the parents of the patient and her doctors. This case, which is factual, is similar to several other cases that have gained prominence in the national media over the past ten years.

Cross-cultural research on religion and health comprises a long-standing research domain in anthropology that could be an important area of S/RH collaboration, especially since much of the work has focused on the operation of religious healing traditions such as the Afro-Cuban santeria and curanderismo(a) as a mental health resource within certain neighborhoods (Baez, 2001; De Cupere, 2001; Forman, 2000; Gomberg, 2003; Hunt, 2000; Luna, 2003; Najm, 2003; Padilla, 2001; Trotter, 2001; Tsemberis, 2000 ). Yet my S/RH search in MEDLINE yielded only one article published since 2000. In The Handbook there is almost no mention of these religious groups, and where they are noted the references are implicitly negative.

This is an area of S/RH that clearly has health consequences, that requires both study and the development of ethically sound interventions, and that is supported by most major medical and nursing education organizations. It is not necessary to consider these religious beliefs and practices as positive forces in health, although cultural competence would suggest that we ought not assume the opposite either! But whether their effects are a net positive or negative value regarding health outcomes, there is no doubt that they do have such effects and that those effects are investigable. Yet this topic has received almost no attention in the standard S/RH literature.

Description

The S/RH field suffers from several gaps in description. The specific beliefs of S/R groups and their particular effects on health have received cursory treatment . Beliefs tend to be described globally (e.g., belief in God), and in general, though often included in survey instruments, belief has not received much attention as a specific variable. For example, George et al. note that the Fetzer/NIA conference group that developed the Fetzer/NIA multidimensional measurement did not recommend religious/spiritual belief as particularly important for understanding the links between religion/spirituality and health (2000: 106). Although the relationship of prayer to various health measures has frequently been investigated, the S/RH literature devotes little attention to the specifics of prayer belief and practice, although there is solid social science research that suggests the scope, variety and importance of the distinct forms (Poloma & Gallup, 1991). Also the very high prevalence among Americans of the belief that healing prayer is effective (generally well above 60% of respondents stating this belief in most relevant surveys) has elicited little attention among S/RH investigators. Clearly beliefs about the efficacy of prayer comprise a major perceived resource among American patients, and the impact of that belief must influence both decision-making and coping. Certainly a great deal of religiously motivated non-compliance with medical regimens stems in part from these beliefs, and there is good reason to associate these beliefs with coping behaviors also. But the specific beliefs themselves and they ways that patients arrive at and maintain those beliefs has received very little attention in the S/RH literature. The Fetzer/NIA instrument section on Beliefs has seven questions, and all but one (Do you believe there is life after death?) are general, largely metaphysical beliefs (e.g., God's goodness and love are greater than we can possibly imagine.) (1999:32). Although several studies have supported the connection of specific beliefs to mental health (e.g., Alvarado, 1995; Schafer, 1997), the description and utilization of specific beliefs in an understudied area in S/RH.

Quality of life (QOL) is a kind of medical outcome that might be expected to be especially open to S/R effects, and QOL is a topic that requires a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches by definition. QOL studies in S/RH are beginning, especially among cancer patients (Brady, 1999; Carlson, 2003; Demierre, 2003; Tate, 2002), but QOL has not yet received the attention that it deserves.

The lack of belief description is related to the lack of ethnographic, qualitative and historical work within the S/RH literature, because these forms of scholarship are heavily committed to description. When such methodologies are noted in the contemporary S/RH literature it is typically assumed that their usefulness is largely for the generation of hypotheses (e.g., Koenig et al., 2001: 482). Although they are useful in this way they are also very helpful in extending and clarifying the findings of quantitative studies and as studies in their own right (Press, 2005).

 

Assessment Of S/R In Health Settings

If the spirituality-religion-health connections, whatever they may be, are to have clinical importance, then some information about the patient's S/R will have to be elicited. This much should be non-controversial. If a patient is a Jehovah's Witness, it is important to know that. And if they are, it will be important to know whether they accept the denomination's total rejection of blood and blood products or, as for some patients, whether they reject only whole blood , or whether they are undecided. If a patient wishes support from a member of the clergy but is not a current member of any religious denomination, it is important to know that. Given that it has been documented that most American patients want S/R issues raised at appropriate times (Ehman, 1999; MacLean, 2003), and that physicians rarely raise them (Monroe, 2003), it seems that the development of an efficient, sensitive and effective means of S/R assessment is a pressing need. Furthermore, The JCAHO and the Committee on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) have now mandated spiritual assessments for health care institutions. Spiritual assessment has been widely discussed and practiced in nursing for years . In fact, in the United Kingdom The view that nurses should be competent to assess the spiritual needs of patients...is so widely accepted that it is expressed as a requirement for registration (UKCC 2000). (Draper, 2002:1)

Given the amount of time and effort that has been put into developing S/R measures for research, it seems that the resources for developing reliable and valid assessment tools are readily available. For these reasons it surprising to see how little rigorous development has taken place! Although The Handbook (Koenig, et al. 2001) discusses clinical applications for doctors, nurses and others, including taking a religious history (441-447), the discussion seems to assume that assessment is linked to some degree of spiritual intervention. This ranges from Support or Encourage Religious Beliefs (441-442) and View Chaplains as part of the Health Care Team (442) to Be Ready to Step in When Clergy Are Unavailable [442-443 to Use Advanced Spiritual Interventions Cautiously (443)]. But it seems that no research is cited that directly relates to assessment itself, as opposed to patients interest in spiritual intervention or the care provider's willingness to raise spirituality as a topic. For clinical use it would seem that some aspect of spiritual need should be a feature of assessment, but neither term appears in the index of The Handbook , and my combined MEDLINE searches yielded only five references to spiritual need or spiritual distress, only one suggested an assessment tool, but it offered only an educational framework for such a tool (Narayanasamy, 2004. ASSET). Most of the assessment tools that have been published in the S/RH literature have not been tested (e.g., Anandarajah, HOPE; 2001; Galek, 2005), although most authors publishing assessment tools seem to hope for research on them. Puchalski (2000) states that she has trained roughly 4,000 people in 1Ω to 2 hour workshops in the use of her FICA spiritual assessment tool. She also says that she has instruments for the evaluation of the various aspects of the FICA, but we're just beginning those studies. (Puchalski, 2000:134-135) However, my 2005 MEDLINE search on Puchalski found no reports of studies evaluating this tool.

The importance of rigorous research on the proposed assessments is underscored by Koenig's comment that simply taking a spiritual history is often the intervention (2001:30) and others have suggested the same thing (e.g., Puchalski, 2000, 2004).

These are strong empirical claims, and only systematic research can evaluate them. This aspect of S/RH would benefit from a closer association with the instrument development efforts described above. The development of S/RH assessment would also benefit from being linked to the current efforts to develop cultural assessments, of which S/R assessment would seem to be a logical part.


Personnel: Who Should Provide Attention To S/R In Health Settings?

The issue of who should provide S/RH assessment and/or intervention in health care settings has been a subject of some controversy. Nurses have generally assumed that this is, at least at times, a nursing task. Some nurses have called this assumption into question (Draper, 2002:1), while others have vigorously defended it (Swinton, 2002). The same is true now in medicine, as illustrated by the responses to Anadaraja's publication regarding his HOPE assessment tool (Anandarajah, 2001). In the same issue of American Family Physician Harold Koenig endorsed the role of the physician in doing spiritual assessment, stating that While providing spiritual advice or direction is best left to the chaplain or the patient's clergy, the spiritual assessment should not be left to others (2001:30). In the same issue of AFP Richard Sloan and Emilia Bagiella argue that the absence of compelling empiric evidence and the substantial ethical concerns raised suggest that, at the very least, it is premature to recommend making religious and spiritual activities adjunctive to medical treatments (Sloan, 2001).

It seems intuitive that the issue of who delivers any sort of assessment or intervention (and in what role) will make some difference in the activity's impact. Furthermore, there is a substantial history now both of faith-based organizations delivering biomedical health care (Westberg, 1984) and of a variety of providers delivering S/R assessment and interventions. It is surprising, therefore, that so little research has been done on the question who can and should deliver which S/RH activities. There has been some evaluation of health programs operated by or through faith-based organizations. A literature review conducted in 2004 found 28 descriptions of such programs that reported effects, and found evidence to support their effectiveness (DeHaven, 2004). However, given the number and variety of such programs much more research is needed.

In nursing, the Parish nursing concept, initiated by Rev. Granger Westberg, combines health care with spiritual orientation, and there are now at least hundreds of parish nurse programs around the country. And yet my combined MEDLINE search found only a single reference to Parish nursing, and The Handbook states that There is almost no research on how successful parish nurse programs have been. (Koenig et al, 2001: 475)

Of course chaplains have the longest record of providing spiritual interventions. Modern hospital chaplaincy dates from the 1920's when Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) started in a mental hospital in Worcester , Massachusetts , largely through the work of Anton T. Boisen and Richard C. Cabot. As Sloane, v an der Creek and several colleagues recently noted in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000, CPE certified chaplains are present in health care specifically to provide such spiritual care as is needed. Chaplaincy practice is the primary spiritual intervention found in the American health care system, so we might have expected S/RH research to be heavily focused on Chaplaincy, but it is not.

In 1987, Elisabeth McSherry, M.D., called appropriate measurement and research critical for patient care and chaplain department survival (McSherry 1987: 3,10-11). In 2001, Koenig, Larson and McCullough described the financial pressures and dwindling support for hospital chaplaincy programs, and stated that systematic research is necessary to reverse this trend ( Handbook 451-453). They called for the efforts of chaplains to be supplemented by outside institutions to provide expertise on study design, project operation, and data analysis (453). Both McSherry and Koenig et al. call for the development of modern, valid and appropriate measurement techniques. And yet my combined MEDLINE S/RH search from 2000 to the present yielded only 25 references to chaplains. Among these 25 chaplaincy references, 19 were from a single special issue of the Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy . Most of these noted the need for chaplaincy to become more scientific, but also expressed concern that this could lead to what one author called ministry by the numbers (Millspaugh 2002). Many expressed concern for an over-reliance on quantitative research methods, posing the question for chaplaincy of What actually constitutes acceptable evidence, who decides, and why? (Switon 2002). The challenge, as described by W.J. Baugh, is to answer this question: Are there true definable outcomes that can be validated when our primary task is dealing with matters of the heart and soul? (2002:11)

The remaining 6 articles came from other issues of that journal or one other pastoral care journal. Although four of these articles make reference to the discipline for pastoral care giving ( a discipline based, outcome-oriented model for chaplaincy; (Lucas, 2001), none report actual studies utilizing this model or any other objective research tool.

Judging from these articles, and other work with chaplains, there is a legitimate concern for qualitative and ethnographic research to balance quantitatively oriented research tools and designs. Resistance within the profession, which must partially account for the lack of research in the field, suggests that sensitive and chaplain-specific tools, complemented by sophisticated qualitative research methods, are needed. Since Chaplains are trained religious professionals who are already located in many health care settings, who have accreditation and certification procedures in place, and who work as liaison to other clergy in the community, they ought to be the first line for providing spiritual assessment and interventions. There are not enough chaplains to provide all of the S/RH care for which patients have expressed a desire, but rigorous outcomes research showing that chaplaincy care is effective would be a crucial step in increasing their numbers. It seems, therefore, that the lack of such research is a glaring omission in the S/RH field.

 

Informatics

Information science, or informatics , is of enormous importance in today's scientific fields. The high volume of research publications, the growing inter-disciplinary links and the rapid rate at which new information is developing, coupled with new methods of digitally storing, organizing and retrieving that information in relational databases, have placed informatics at the center of scientific work. Informatics is a kind of scholarship and relies heavily on additional scholarship from many fields. Spirituality and health as a field has largely relied on existing informatics structures , such as MEDLINE, and these are inadequate for the organization and accessioning of this unique body of materials. Efforts to work within this structure have resulted in ad hoc conceptualizations and nomenclature that further impede a coherent picture of the topic.

As the searches done for this analysis have shown, MEDLINE attempts to act on the difference between spirituality and religion , but the attempt fails because the distinction and the apparent boundaries of the spirituality category are not yet developed in a coherent and valid manner. For example, in MEDLINE homeopathy and Medicine ñ Traditional African are included under spiritual therapies . But in the articles returned in my 2000-2005 search, none of the homeopathy articles and very few of the African articles included any explicit spiritual reference. It is certainly true that much traditional African medicine has spiritual roots . It is also true that the vitalism implicit in homeopathy has a resonance with spiritual ideas. But that does not make it useful to equate these terms useful with Spiritual Therapies. Another problem is the inclusion of Faith Healing as the sole religiou s healing reference under Spiritual Therapies. This is another indication of the need for greater linguistic and cultural sophistication. At the same time that much extraneous literature was returned in my S/RH searches, many pertinent items were omitted. In part this is because inclusion of periodicals in MEDLINE is based on overall medical relevance, and many of the journals that publish S/RH studies do not publish enough other studies relevant to medicine to qualify for inclusion. MEDLINE is helpful, but not adequate for spirituality-religion-health-outcomes searches.

Similar problems exist in the other major informatics source for the field, Koenig et al's Handbook of Religion and Health (2001). Although this is the most complete reference work available on the literature of spirituality and health, its organization and access tools are inadequate. For example, the 1600 plus studies located for the Handbook are listed in a bibliography, and also listed in an appendix by health outcome, with a concise characterization of design and a numerical score for study quality (pp. 513-589), but there is no way to directly locate any of them in the text of the book. There is no author index, and the bibliography does not carry any indication of where in the book each listed publication is discussed. It is necessary to use chapter titles and visually scan the text in the effort to locate citations. So the commentary in the book is accessible more as in a textbook than a reference work. Similarly Pargament's thorough treatment of the psychology of religious coping (1999) is organized as a textbook rather than a reference work.

The Handbook also illustrates some of the language problems noted above that arise when science is decoupled from scholarship, in this case inappropriate word usage implicitly advancing controversial views. In discussing a study of bereavement behavior the authors say that the most prevalent belief expressed in the study was spiritualism (the belief that there is a spirit that occupies the body and that leaves the body at death) (342). This is not an accurate statement of the meaning of spiritualism at any time in the past one hundred years. Spiritualism, the practice of systematically communicating with the spirits of deceased persons, often through mediums, is found in many cultures around the world, and enjoyed considerable popularity in the 19 th century in the United States and Europe . In the U.S. it is a highly stigmatized practice except in a few communities where it is a part of folk religious practice (e.g., Haitian Voodoo , Cuban Santeria and Puerto Rican Espiritismo ). Although a variety of forms of spiritualism are popular throughout Latin America, combining 19 th century European spiritualist teachings (Kardecism), with indigenous religions, the traditions of enslaved Africans, and Catholicism, most Christian teaching in the United States rejects spiritualism as contrary to Divine Law. The Handbook definition is not simply mistaken, it serves to stigmatize one of the most widely held spiritual beliefs in the world, a belief common to the vast majority of Christians: the belief in a human soul and afterlife. Ironically, the most widespread spiritualist religions in the United States , primarily found among Caribbean immigrants, are almost entirely absent from The Handbook !

The point is not the validity of the authors' implicit theological point, but rather the way in which word usage carries a great deal of hidden freight. As these examples show, the meanings of words, implicit and explicit, are central to the conduct of valid research and analysis. Because the field of spirituality and health lacks a well established scholarship that carefully attends to language these debates over basic spirituality issues lack conceptual clarity and focus. The solution is to recognize the language of spirituality and health as a major aspect of the field itself, and to ground an understanding of that language in a rigorous empirical manner, utilizing the expertise of those disciplines that have studied such issues over the past century. While an area of research in its own right, such language work is also crucial for the development of a solid, coherent, and accessible informatics infrastructure for the field. Priority needs to be given to the development of S/RH databases and bibliographies, including the concordances and other tools that such an enterprise entails.

 

STRENGTHS OF THE FIELD OF SPIRITUALITY AND HEALTH RESEARCH

 

By characterizing the following five areas as strengths of the field I mean that in each domain serious investigators have produced a substantial body of published work, that methods are becoming more rigorous, and generally the field is moving in the right direction. I do not mean that in any of these areas the field is fully mature, but that is not to be expected in such a relatively new area of research.

 

Publication Trends

The strength of the field at present is perhaps best shown by the fact that between 1990 and the year 2000 the number of references in a 1-year search of MEDLINE rose almost 5-fold (from 50+ to 250+) for spiritual and spirituality and roughly doubled (from 300+ to 700+) for religion and its cognates. The increase was such that MEDLINE began adding more journals in the subject area (as a result, subsequent increases are not comparable). Similar increases have occurred in the general literature. A search of Gale's Onefile , by 5 year intervals from 1985 through 1999, showed for religion a rise from 2211 (1985-1989) to 6497 (1995-1999), and for spirituality from 323 to 929. Across the board ... surveys confirm a remarkable rise in spiritual concern. (Gallup & Jones, 2000: 27) During the 1990's special spirituality and health sections or editions of scientific journals appeared, including the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation , Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice , the Journal of Health Psychology , the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy , Psycho-oncology , and Twin Research . Substantial publication in a broad array of peer reviewed journals is the mark of a maturing field, and this has been achieved by spirituality and health. There is no doubt that medical researchers, physicians, nurses and the general public have a strong and growing interest in spirituality and health.

This publishing activity includes a variety of materials from editorials to original research, to reviews and meta-analyses and practice recommendations. The bulk of the research is comprised of epidemiological studies relating Protestant Christianity to a variety of health outcomes. Cross-sectional studies still comprise the greatest part of the literature, but a growing number of longitudinal, prospective and even experimental studies are now being produced.

 

Physical Health and S/R Associations Are Supported by Improved Study Design and Evaluation

The field has reached the point at which reviews of the literature, some of them quite sophisticated, are helping to assess trends. In 2002 Townsend and colleagues published a review of all RCTs published from 1966 to 1999 and all non-RCTs published from 1996 to 1999 that assessed a relationship between religion and measurable health outcome (Townsend, 2002:429). Excluding studies that dealt with non-religious spirituality, ethical issues, coping, well-being, or life satisfaction the authors concluded that religious activities appear to benefit blood pressure, immune function, depression, and mortality. (The exclusion of non-religious spirituality is typical of the literature and is one of its weaknesses.) This generally supports the conclusions of the very large review that forms the basis of The Handbook of Religion And Health (Koenig et al, 2001).

George and colleagues, in the same year, reviewed research on the relationship of religious involvement with better physical health, better mental health, and longer survival, paying special attention to the role of health practices, social support, psychosocial resources such as self-esteem and self-efficacy, and belief structures such as sense of coherence (George, 2002: 190) and the ability of these mediating factors to account for the variance observed. They concluded that these psycho-social factors do not, by themselves account for all of the effects reported. The following year Seeman and colleagues examined potential biological mediators and reached a similar conclusion, in a review that added experimental studies of meditation. (Seeman, 2003) In the same special issue of American Psychologist Powell et al. carried out a review that excluded all studies that lacked controls for potential confounders, that were cross-sectional, that employed inadequate measures (either S/R or health), that lacked statistical analysis or that utilized cohorts previously reported on. In this conservative review that included studies for design and required multiple supports for the hypotheses considered, the authors concluded that In healthy participants, there is a strong, consistent, prospective, and often graded reduction in risk of mortality in church/service attenders. This reduction is approximately 25% after adjustment for confounders. Spirituality protects against death largely mediated by the healthy lifestyle it encourages.... there are consistent failures to support the hypotheses that religion or spirituality slows the progression of cancer or improves recovery from acute illness.... The authors conclude that church/service attendance protects healthy people against death. (Powell, 2003:36). The rigor of this review is important in that it begins to provide specificity and discrimination among the various hypotheses entertained in the field. The lack of support for the effect on cancer progression is especially important given widespread speculation on this subject for at least several decades, both within medicine and among the public. Neither the positive nor the negative conclusions can be considered definitive, and the review calls for more rigorously designed studies. But it is important that the body of studies and the methods developed for assessing them has progressed to this point of specific, if tentative, conclusions.

A further strength in the current literature is the appearance of some well designed studies that go beyond the Judeo-Christian tradition. This not only adds diversity and better grounds for generalization of findings, it also supports research on interventions such as yoga and meditation that are more amenable to experimental design than are church attendance or self-prayer. Examples are Mindfulness Meditation in the treatment of psoriasis (Kabat-Zinn, 1998), yoga for carpal tunnel syndrome (Garfinkle, 1998), and Transcendental Meditation in the treatment of mild hypertension in a sample of African American males (Schneider, 1995).

The addition of more specific biological health measures is another indication of maturation in the field. For example, changes in salivary cortisol as a stress marker were measured in response to Transcendental Meditation among cancer patients, (Carlson, 2004; Carlson, 2003), and in relation to measures of spirituality and religion among HIV patients (Ironson, 2002). In 1999 a conference on psychoneuroimmunology and religion was held at Duke University , and out of that conference The Link Between Religion and Health: Psychoneuroimmunology and the Faith Factor (Koenig, 2002) was published, further advancing the concept of biological markers of stress and immune system function.

One final aspect of methodology in the field that I consider a strengthóalthough many others consider a great weaknessóhas been the willingness to undertake systematic study of the belief that intercessory prayer can affect health through pathways currently unknown to science. Although first investigated by Francis Galton in 1883 in his Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development ( 277-294), it was not until the 1960s that a blinded and controlled trial, albeit with small numbers, was attempted (Collipp, 1969). Almost another twenty years passed before cardiologist Randolph Byrd tried such an experiment with reasonably large numbers of subjects (Byrd, 1988). With subsequent studies (Harris et al, 1999; Krucoff et al, 2001; Cha et al, 2001, among others) has come growing controversy. Criticisms have ranged from statistical issues and ethical challenges (Sloan, 2000; Sloan, 2001; Sloan, 2001; Sloan, 2002; Sloan, 1999), to implicit theological objections (Chibnall 2001), to accusations of fraud in one case. The criticisms are interesting, reflecting as they do the highly charged emotional and cultural issues touched on by such studies, and the statistical challenges have scientific meritónot that they are definitive. Why, then, count these studies as a strength of the field? Because beliefs in the efficacy of prayer apart from conventional psychological pathways are beliefs that make an empirical claim. The metaphysical dimensions of such claims (e.g., Divine intervention) may be beyond scientific inquiry, but the claim that when prayers are uttered certain things become more likely is an empirical claim that must be investigable. And given the very widespread public belief in intercessory prayer as capable of operating by spiritual as well as other means, it seems reasonable and an indication of open-mindedness in the scientific community that some researchers will give the subject a try and that some editors and peer reviewers will look thoughtfully at the results. The results of such studies will always be subject to some constraints on interpretation. For example, negative results could always be explained by God's unwillingness to participate. But it does not seem impossible in principle to develop sufficiently rigorous designs such that a robust positive effect would be detectable if present. This is what I see as a strength, a bold willingness to experiment with novel efforts to bring together science and religion. Even the controversy indicates strength, and we should watch with interest to see whether advocates of these experiments can produce compelling results. We shouldn't expect single definitive experiments that change all minds at once, but we are already seeing the evolution of thought on the subject, pro and con, and that is a good thing for intellectual inquiry.

 

Mental Health & S/R

Despite Larson's early work on religious variables and mental health included in psychiatric journals but not commented on (Larson, 1986; Larson, 1992), research in S/R and mental health has not kept pace with physical health studies, or has tended to be subsumed within studies of coping, well-being, life satisfaction, and so forth. For example, in a (non- systematic ) review article based on data extracted from the review of 1600 studies done for The Handbook of Religion and Health (Koenig, 2001) Koenig, Larson and McCullough state that Nearly 850 studies have been conducted in medically ill patients or older persons with chronic disabilities, and they conclude that Religious involvement appears to enable the sick, particularly those with serious and disabling medical illness, to cope better and experience psychological growth from their negative health experiences, rather than be defeated or overcome by them. (Koenig, 2001).

In contrast to the literature on S/R and mental health among the physically ill, Koenig et al. (2001) found only 16 studies involving religion and severe mental illness (216-217). Of those only two were clinical trials and both involved small numbers (28 and 20). As important as the mental health of the physically ill and disabled is, this approach leaves a gap in the literature. As Corrigan et al. note, while numerous studies relate religiousness and spirituality with health and well-being, far fewer studies have examined this phenomenon for people with serious mental illness (Corrigan, 2003:487). However, studies are now beginning to address S/R in the context of serious psychiatric illness (Baetz, 2002; Corrigan, 2003).

It should also be noted that the numerous publications throughout the 20 th century suggesting strong religious belief as either a sign of or risk for psychotic illness (for example, Dittes, 1971; Clark, 1981; Watters, 1992) have now been subjected to the same kind of careful review and criticism as positive religion and health studies are, and as a group they have been shown to be scientifically weak, inconsistent with other findings (for example,Wilson, 1998), and lacking in valid causal attributions (Koenig, 2001:156-165).

 

Coping

Kenneth Pargament's The Psychology of Religious Coping Theory, Research and Practice (Pargament, 1997) reviews the psychology of religion literature on coping behaviors and places them within a rich setting of theory and practical application. Although religious coping does not always involve explicit health outcomes, a review of the studies summarized in the book reveals that the largest category of challenges to coping that have been studied is comprised of illness, injury, disability and death. That, together with the fact that ability to cope is a mental health parameter, makes religious coping a central domain of religion and health research. Pargament's book documents a wide array of research that predicts and describes ways of religious coping, and in his chapter on Religion and the Outcomes of Coping he summarizes the research as follows: The sizes of the religious effects of most research studies are fairly modest....

(But) In the majority of studies, across diverse groups dealing with diverse problems, religious coping emerges as an important predictor of adjustment (p. 312).

Coping is a complex construct. In a sense anything one does that helps (or is intended to help) deal with a problem could be considered coping, but such a definition would render the concept almost meaningless from a research perspective. Methods for the study of coping vary, but many of them involve either asking subjects how they cope or having them choose from a list of coping strategies. These methods make it difficult to distinguish between varying meanings of the term (the lexical dimension) and varying ways of trying to adapt/adjust to difficult circumstances. It is not surprising, then, that rates of religious coping show wide variation depending on the research design used. Koenig and colleagues in The Handbook of Religion and Health state that reported rates vary from 1% to 42% (depending on the population and the part of the world in which the subjects live) (2001:79). Nonetheless, the quantity and variety of religious coping indicates that the use of religious and spiritual ideas and behaviors is a widely used method of trying get through difficulties, and that people believe that it helps.

In the review based on the literature search done for The Handbook (2001) (Koenig, 2001), Koenig et al. conclude that When people become physically ill, many rely heavily on religious beliefs and practices to relieve stress, retain a sense of control, and maintain hope and their sense of meaning and purpose in life. Religious involvement appears to enable the sick, particularly those with serious and disabling medical illness, to cope better and experience psychological growth from their negative health experiences, rather than be defeated or overcome by them. Although circumstantial, the research evidence suggests that these efforts are often effective.

Religious coping and health continues to be a popular topic in spirituality and health research. In the 287 relevant citations yielded by my combined MEDLINE searches from 2000 to the present 25 deal with some aspect of coping. Some of these studies are beginning to delineate differences in religious coping styles that align with different groups. For example, in a study of chronic pain patients Dunn and colleagues found that Older women and older people of minority racial background reported using religious coping strategies to manage their pain more often than did older Caucasian men (Dunn, 2004:19).

 

Instrument Development (Within Christianity)

David Larson, in his 1986 review of religious variables in the psychiatry literature (Larson, 1986) found that fewer than 3% of his sample of more than 2000 quantitative studies used a religious measure as a central variable, and only one of these employed a multi-dimensional, statistically valid questionnaire. This despite the fact that even in 1986 there existed a substantial number of important religion and spirituality instruments. And even when religious or spiritual measures have been shown to have strong predictive value they were generally reported without discussion.

Since that time there has been a dramatic increase in the use of religious and spiritual variables in health research, for both mental and physical health, and in the development of such measures specifically tailored to use in a health setting.

Because the problematic distinction between religion and spirituality is central to spirituality and health research, the intrinsic/extrinsic religiosity (I/ER) measures in Allport and Ross's classic religious orientation scale (ROS) (Allport, 1967) has been of continuing importance in the field. I/ER does not map perfectly on the spirituality-religion distinction, but it is clearly related, so spirituality and religion measures have been consistently influenced by the ROS and efforts to refine its distinctions (Burris, 1999), including the development of new I/ER measures (Egbert, 2004:9-11). Hoge's intrinsic religious motivation measure (IRMS) is an early variant on the ROS and continues to be influential and used in health research. For example, Sherman and Simonton have found it reliable and valid in health related research ( Sherman , 2001).

In their chapter on measurement methods Koenig et al. (2001:495-510) describe dozens of instruments relating to various aspects of religiosity (e.g., religious belief, religious affiliation, organizational religiosity, religious well-being, spiritual well-being, and spiritual involvement, among others). Hill and Hood, in their Measures of Religiosity (Hill, 1999) provide even more. Not all of these instruments are equally valuable, and all reflect to some extent the ongoing developments in terminology in the field. As long as there is uncertainty about the meanings of religion and spirituality , measures of those concepts will face validity problems. But the use of these scales in health research will be a part of the solution to that problem. The greatest difficulty, therefore, is the fact that so many researchers in spirituality and health do not use existing, tested instruments. Not all studies require formal instruments, but many do and those would benefit from familiarity with the tools that have been established for their reliability, consistency, validity and psychometric properties.

Several recent instruments deserve specific mention with regard to health outcomes research. The Duke University Religion Index (DUREL) is a brief, 5-item scale that has one item each for organization and non-organizational religiosity and three for intrinsic religiosity (Koenig, 1997). In a study of cancer patients the three intrinsic religiosity questions were found to be reliably related to IR on Hoge's IRMS ( Sherman , 2000). The index of Core Spiritual Experiences (INSPIRIT) is a broader measure that still relates well to intrinsic religion measures (Kass, 1991). One of the most important recently developed instruments is the Fetzer-NIA measure (Fetzer, 1999). First published in 1999 and reprinted in 2003 this set of scales was developed by a group of prominent social scientists engaged in spirituality and health research (Idler, 2000). The scales are contained in an 88 page booklet available free from Fetzer or downloadable from the Internet. It contains long and short forms, with explanation, background and discussion for 12 dimensions: Daily Spiritual Experiences; Meaning; Values; Beliefs; Forgiveness; Private Religious Practice; Religious/Spiritual Coping; Religious Support; Religious/Spiritual History; Commitment; Organizational Religiousness; and Religious Preference. It also includes a brief combined version of the scales, the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS) with a total of 38 items. According to the new Preface in the 2003 reprint, more than 3000 copies had been distributed, and 80% of recipients had rated the instruments as useful. The most popular subscales, according to the Preface, are the Religious/Spiritual Coping and the Daily Spiritual Experiences Scales (DSES). Of special importance is the fact that an abbreviated version has been included in the general Social Survey of the National Opinion Research Center (Idler, 2003). The breadth, wide spread use and easy availability of this instrument(s) makes it of great importance for spirituality and health research. I would agree, though, with Koenig et al. (2001:506-507), that this otherwise very good instrument is weakened by the incorporation of a variety of items that are questionable as religion or spirituality measures including some, such as feelings of peace and harmony, which can directly indicate mental health. This virtually ensures some level of apparent association between spirituality as measured by this instrument and mental health. This kind of problem is characteristic of the conceptual difficulty of separating distinctively spiritual characteristics from psychological characteristics.

Because no single instrument can be fully suited to all samples, it is a strength of the field that new measures are being developed (or revised) for use in particular populations. For example, Lukwago and colleagues have published a set of brief scales to measure collectivism, religiosity, racial pride, and time orientation in urban African American women (Lukwago, 2001) that includes both borrowed and new scales, and Jagers and Smith published a twenty-item measure specifically oriented to African Americans, which Egbert et al. suggest may be useful in health related studies (Egbert, 2004). Instruments for other groups are also being developed. For example, Mokuau and colleagu es have tested a revised version of the Fetzer/NIA BMMRS in a native Hawaiian population (Mokuau, 2001) .

Instruments for specific disease groups are also being developed. For example, the Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire (SCSORF) (Sherman, 2001) is a reliable and valid measure for cancer patients that has been evaluated in well-defined samples of breast cancer patients, and healthy young adults, and shows good retest reliability and internal consistency for IR, OR and NOR. In 2002 Meraviglia et al. published a prayer scale adapted for people with cancer that was tested in a sample of 32 people with a variety of cancers . (Meraviglia, 2002) Also, in 2002 Ironson et al. published the Ironson-Woods SR Index ( Sense of Peace, Faith in God, Religious Behavior , and Compassionate View of Others) for use with HIV/ AIDS patients, in a study in which aspects of the measure were correlated with a variety of health related factors including longevity, less distress and lower cortisol levels. Existing instruments are also being evaluated with regard to specific diseases. Sherman et al. tested the DUREL instrument in two groups of cancer patients and found good internal consistency. Comparison to other measures showed good convergent and divergent validity, and the authors concluded that the DUREL (which they called DRI) is useful with cancer patients. (Sherman et al., 2000) )

The ongoing development of more specific instruments, evaluated in appropriate samples, and extending beyond the general population is an important indication of the strength of the field. A persistent problem in instrument development results from the language/terminology problems discussed above. When inadequate definitions of spirituality and religion are employed, the validity of measures suffers.

 

Notes and References

1 Scholarship is a complex term. I use it here in its most conventional sense as referring to work in the humanities (DeVinne et al. 1982:1098, scholar ), or orig. esp., in the classics, now in languages, literature, or any non-scientific subject (Brown 1993:2713).

2 lexicology is the branch of linguistics that studies vocabulary, the meaning of words derived from observations of their usage; lexicography is the discipline that creates dictionaries, describing the findings of lexicology.

3 See, for example, Rousseau's account of Thomas Willis' neurology (Rousseau, 1990:107-146).


David Hufford, Ph.D., is Professor of Medical Humanities, with joint appointments in Behavioral Science and Family medicine, at the Penn State College of Medicine, where he is also Director of the Doctors Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine. At University of Pennsylvania he is Adjunct Professor of religious Studies and a faculty member of the Master in Bioethics Program. Dr. Hufford has taught about religion, spirituality and health at the College of medicine since 1974. He won a Templeton Foundation Faith & Medicine Award in 1995, the first year of that program to support religion and health courses in medical schools, and he has taught that course to fourth-year medical students since that time. At Penn he has taught courses in spiritual belief and in alternative medicine since 1979, and currently leads an imitative to develop a Center for Spirituality, Religion and Health at Penn, connecting the School of Medicine and the School of Arts & Sciences. Hufford's research is centered in the ethnographic and phenomenological study of the beliefs of ordinary people--especially as those beliefs that are in competition with the positions of official institutions. His inquiry has focused on the experiential grounds for spiritual beliefs, and the role of reason in their development and persistence. In the course of his research Hufford has proposed an experiential theory of spiritual belief, suggesting that many widespread spiritual beliefs are empirically founded and rationally derived. Because science is the modern standard of valid rational knowledge, Hufford has also sought to understand the widely held notion that science and spiritual belief are contradictory. His work suggests that while this does prove true in the case of some specific religious beliefs, such as Creationism, these are exceptions. For the most part science and religion are about different things, such as the body and the soul, although those things are related and have implications for each other. Huffordís publications have primarily been concerned with describing the grounds for spiritual belief, showing their reasonableness and questioning the common assertions that beginning with the Enlightenment science has made religion outdated and not rationally defensible.


Click here for a PDF version of this field analysis complete with an extensive bibliography.

©2005 Metanexus Institute

Published on 2005.12.22.

12/22/2005 03/21/2007 9388 Field Analysis on Competitive Dynamics and Cultural Evolution of Religions and God Concepts

Metanexus Bios. 6,167 Words.

"The sudden emergences of the kingdom of God are like seeing God in the fluids of a waterdrop. You both need to have the curved structure of the fluid drop "out there", and you need to adjust yourself "internally" to seeing God in that fragment of reality. Nothing goes without the other. For in the world of autopoiesis, no adaptation happens without self-adaptation."


Field Analysis for a New Research Initiative by the Metanexus Institute on "Competitive Dynamics and Cultural Evolution of Religions and God Concepts" 

By Niels Henrik Gregersen, University of Copenhagen

 

1. Introduction

The following field analysis aims to describe some distinctive theoretical approaches that commend themselves for studying the evolution and dynamics of religious systems (including concepts of God and divinity) from a perspective informed by the natural sciences.

The theoretical approaches to be presented are varieties of computational complexity studies: Cellular Automata (CA), Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS), Game Theory (GAT) including Rational Choice Theory (RCT), and Autopoietic Systems Theory (AST). In each case, the theoretical background of the approaches will be presented, and some examples of their application on religious evolution and concepts of God and Ultimate Reality will be indicated.

The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate new research programmes that either apply some already elaborated explanatory models on the empirical case of religious evolution, or develop new science-based methods for dealing with the emergence, evolution and stabilization of religious semantic systems. From the outset it should be admitted, however, that the field of " Competitive Dynamics and Cultural Evolution of Religions and God Concepts " is still in its nascence, and is by no means makes up a coherent research field. However, it is a highly promising field that commends itself to further study and calls especially for inventive scholars who are able to develop new methods and approaches, and to use methods known from the biological and economic sciences on exploring the cultural dynamics of religious systems. It should also be noted that the approaches mentioned here are far from exhaustive; other approaches are analysed elsewhere on this website, and these should be consulted as well.

Common to the approaches to be discussed below, however, is the combination of formalistic or computational aspects with a Darwinian perspective on the evolution of cultures. Thus the underlying assumption is twofold. First, it is not only possible but also advantageous to use methods known from the natural sciences in the understanding of the evolution of religious systems of meaning. Second, any cultural and religious semantics has to cope with the problem of reproducing itself, and to adapt itself to new contexts under evolutionary pressures analogous to those known from the fields of biology and economics. The computerization of the sciences since the 1970s indeed offers attractive formalistic approaches to the study of the dynamics of cultural systems. The main scientific question is here not so much "What are the constituents of culture (natural resources, institutions, communities, language etc.)?". New questions are born, such as "How does nature and culture work?", and not least, "How do natural and cultural systems evolve?".

Computational Complexity (CC) theory, however, is an umbrella term for a wide variety of studies on the formation, development, and propagation of patterns, some more general, some arising under specific organizational conditions. The field builds in particular on thermodynamics, information theory, cybernetics and evolutionary biology, but also on economics, systems theory, and other disciplines. Since complexity research consistently crosses the boundaries between the inorganic and the organic, the natural and the cultural, the field is likely to influence the future dialogue between science and religion as two major cultural forces of the 21 st century significantly.

 

2. Cellular Automata (CAs) and the Cultural Dynamics of Religion

Let me begin with the study of cellular automata (CA). The idea of cellular automata goes back to John von Neumann and the program of cybernetics in the early 1950's. Cybernetics was concerned with the construction of control systems that are able to move, channel and combine information bits according to pre-described computational rules. For example: If situation A, then do AB; if B, then do BAB.

A Cellular Automaton is a primitive artificial world. Its "space" is a grid consisting of equal squares, usually on a two dimensional lattice. The initial conditions of CAs can be set either as specific or as random states. The "time" of CAs depends on the transition rules that determine how the cubic cells are to be changed, moved, removed or reproduced at each computational step. CAs thus use individual based modeling, that is, the "organisms" are placed in cubic cells on the grid, and their "actions" are specified by the number and features of cells in their immediate neighborhood.

In 1969 John Conway developed an efficient computer model called Game of Life ( see Gardner 1970). The rule for this two-dimensional CA is that the state transitions depend on the states of the other eight neighbors of the cell (also the diagonal ones). The rules are so-called "totalistic" rules in so far as the rule is determined by the total number of the neighboring colors, not on their particular positions relative to the cell. Furthermore, the cells have only two states, black and white. Now the transition rules are as follows:

* If two of the neighboring cells are black, the cell is unaltered (mimicking equilibrium).

* If three are black, the cell becomes back (mimicking reproduction).

* In all other cases the cells become white (mimicking extinction).

Most would agree that this is simple. Very simple indeed. It is "die" or "divide". Nonetheless the evolving features of these systems can be highly complex. One can try out different initial conditions, and see how the system proceeds. When the program is played, one notices clusters of cells ("populations") and pulsating processes of near-extinction and sudden regeneration; one also notices how populations meet and reinforce one another. All this is beautiful in itself. But the most astonishing feature is the emergence of "gliders", that is, localized structures that develop in one general direction and create exciting self-organizing structures that are far from simple. The Game of Life thus also models historical lines of descent, some of which continue to grow endlessly and continue to elicit new structures, new forms of order.

The question is now whether these computer-generated systems can be said to follow a few more general patterns. The seminal work of the physicist and computer scientist Stephen Wolfram has been devoted to this question since the early 1980's (summarized in Wolfram's A New Kind of Science , 2002). In order to be able to investigate the world of CAs systematically and unbiased, Wolfram chose the simplest possible CA, a one-dimensional CA with only two colors (black-white). Any step forward is then determined by only the three cells in the row immediately over the cell, which has to make a "decision". The three upper row cells thus have only 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 possible combinations of color. Now with only two colors, the possible rules for deciding the next step for any cell are 2 8 = 256 possibilities. During his systematic search, Wolfram discovered the universal feature that all CAs fall into four main classes.

Class I consists of those CAs that simply die out very quickly. It is not difficult to predict that if the rules do not allow for enough reproduction of black cells, the screen will soon be all white, and vice versa. Formally expressed, the system fades away into a single "limit point" attractor.

Class II rules are a little more lively, but eventually they begin to oscillate repetitively between a few states. Even though we see no evolving logic, we can nonetheless discern distinctive nested structures, where smaller patterns are part of wider patterns. Formally expressed, they form a dynamical system as a two-point attractor.

Class III rules are more interesting in that they develop chaotic systems, though again with some self-similar structures appearing all-over, but in this case not repetitively. Class III systems thus display randomness, and look like some of the systems found in the mathematical chaos theory: The spontaneous evolution of CAs is neither derived from the initial conditions nor from a specific tuning between initial conditions and the mathematics of chaos . Rather, the random patterns are intrinsic to the class III rules.

Class IV , however, contains by far the most interesting features, which appear at the creative edges between the regular patterns of class II and the random patterns of class III. These are rare indeed, but quite significant, because they show that highly complex and ‘interesting' behavior can be produced against the background of very simple rules. Patterns here grow without coming to a fixed point attractor, without repeating the same structures, but also without displaying the randomness that characterize class III.

The amount of systems in each class, however, seems to correspond inversely with their interesting features. That is, around two-thirds of the 256 rules produce the infertile class I states, but around one-third of the patterns continue to grow, as we see it in class II, III, and IV. Only 14 % yield the more interesting patterns (Wolfram 2002, 57). However, in an evolutionary arms race, these were the ones to whom the future belonged!

Now the question is, Can CAs be used to model and understand religious evolution? Let me just mention two examples from the more recent literature. The British mathematician John Puddefoot (2002) has applied Wolfram's Four Class typology to different forms of religious discourse. As he points out, the exclusivist claim of salvation within some religious traditions has the formal structure of a single point attractor of Class I: By contrast, religions seeking a sort of cognitive equilibrium with its environmental culture follow the oscillating patterns of Class II systems. More individualistic and eclectic forms of religiosity, such as New age, follow the pattern of chaotic systems, whereas the strongest candidate for a highly competitive religions may be found in Class IV, where we find that novelties in religious discourse emerge at the critical edge between Class II and Class III phenomena. Thus the recurrent pattern of internal (maybe even "doctrinal") stability and continuous dissipation under the constant pressure of cultural inputs from other religions and culture may be seen as the strongest candidate for religious self-development.

My second example is the so-called "Jihad Model" (René Thomsen, Peter Rickers, Thiemo Krink, and Christian Stenz 2002). This is a consistent attempt to use a cellular automaton model on religious evolution. The model is a so-called multi-agent system (MAS) based on individual agents. More specifically the artificial world consists of five general features:

(1) A world (represented as a sufficiently large, but finite two-dimensional lattice),

(2) 2 times 200 individual agents with the following four attributes:

(a) An individual location in space, by which each individual agent is surrounded by the eight neighbors in their immediate environments.

(b) An energy level between 100 as their upper limit and 20 as the lowest hunger limit, below which any agent has to prioritize the search for food.

(c) An age which is determined the remaining life-span, co-determined by the technological level of the culture of which the religion is a part.

(d) A religion with certain variable characteristics as defined below

3) Two (or more) religious populations are simulated in each experiment, and each religion is again characterized by four parameters,

(a)  The enlightenment level influences (i) the maximum age of the agents (by 50 %), (ii) their combat strength and (iii) their likelihood of converting others to their religion.

(b)  The aggressiveness level simulates the likelihood of combating a neighboring individual from another religion.

(c)  The belief intensity determines the likelihood of converting other, or being converted to another religion.

(d)  The birth rate is defined by the religious disposition either to mate and create offspring, or not to mate.

(4) The individual agents have the following five choices of action ,

(a)  Mating (requiring two neighboring individuals of the same religion)

(b)  Eating (consuming available food resources scattered around in the CA, thus upgrading the energy level of the individual agents)

(c)  Attacking (thereby converting the other in case of superiority and downgrading the energy level of the former enemy)

(d)  Converting (changing the religion of the other)

(e)  Random walk (when no other rule applies)

(5) These actions, in term, are constrained by threshold values that represent the costs involved in the activities of mating, eating, converting, attacking and being injured. These threshold values are the variables that can be redefined from one computer experiment to another. One could say, for instance, that mating (and getting offspring) costs 50 energy units, eating 1, converting 5, injury 35 and attacking 2 energy units. On these assumptions, of course, attacking is modeled as a relatively risk-free strategy, which is hardly realistic on a battlefield, where the actors do not know the strength of the other part, and where wounds are not healed as fast as on the computer screen.

Much is debatable about the perhaps all too theoretic set-up of this "Jihad"-model (as it unfortunately is called). But still some unexpected insights came out the study. For example, it turns out that a religion with a belief intensity of 100, which at the same time also forbids reproduction (birth rate = 0), can still piggyback on the major control religion by way of continuous conversions. A pattern of population cycles emerges, very much like the pattern we see in the co-evolution of biological host-parasite relationships. In fact, the parasite religion here grows in periods of decline of the bigger religion, and vice versa. This looks very much like Class 2 CAs in Wolfram's typology. - It would be interesting to see, if one could here further explore the model in order find examples of class III and IV.

Another interesting feature of the "Jihad model" is that relatively segregated geographic regions are continuously produced between two competing religions. Out of "individual" actions, clusters of religious communities are formed. The formation of ghettos, on this model, is a natural expectation.

I have discussed this model at some length here, because it shows that "hard" formalistic approaches are indeed applicable to more "soft" areas of study, such as religious evolution. Suffice it to say that there is a long route from observations to computer models and to the complexities of the real interconnected systems. An improved model should therefore be able revise itself in the stress tests of being applied to real-world complexities. The process of computer modeling involves a long process of reality checks. Computational models will include a design cycle of observation, informal description, formal model, computer model, simulation, and least but not last: model verification by reiterated observation.

 

3. Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS)

What is missing from the CA approach is the function of learning that is characteristic for Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS), and no less for religious traditions. Many Simple Adaptive Systems have an internal program which controls the system-environment exchanges. Think of a thermostat, which directly adapts to the environment by controlling the input-output relations of temperature. A thermostat is certainly an example of organized adaptive complexity; however, it is not an example of self -organized complexity. The program of a thermostat does not develop itself under the influence of the environment. It connects directly, in a prefigured way, to the relevant aspects of its environment ("now too hot, now too cold").

In the case of CAS, by contrast, a self-selective process takes place within the system. Inside the organism, an internal schema of the environment is carved out which is then -- by trial and error processes -- adjusted to the subsequent experiences of that system.

Wouldn't this idea of complex adaptive systems be a confirmation of Neo-Darwinian selection processes? Yes and no. Yes, because a mechanism of selection is certainly at work in these quasi-cognitive processes; one could here argue (with Karl Popper and other proponents of evolutionary epistemology) that if an organism's schema of reality is fundamentally misleading, it will soon begin to starve, have difficulties in finding a mate -- and over time it will be outselected. But No, CAS also transcends standard Neo-Darwinian theory. For the interesting claim of CAS is that adaptation is something that happens at all levels of reality : at the level of the ecosystem (think of the emergence of the earth atmosphere of oxygen etc.), at population level (think of foxes surviving in cities), at the level of the individual organism (learning processes), at the cell level (think of the neurons in the human brain), and at the gene level (the prioritized unit of selection and reproduction in the received view of Neo-Darwinism). CAS thus transcends the standard biological view of adaptation, according to which adaptation is "a property of an individual organism, not of an ecosystem", as John Maynard Smith has pointed out (in Pines 1994, 580).

Thus it seems that the idea of complexity may enlarge our standard picture of adaptation significantly. If learning processes take place at many levels (see also Weber and Depew eds., 2003), there are also many ‘agents' of evolution, for whom the enviromental influence ‘makes a difference'. We are here approaching a biosemiotic view of evolution, according to which something (the environmental influences at large) means something specific (‘light', ‘food', ‘mating') for somebody (an organism with internal, preferential schemas for orientation). Thus the idea of complex self-adaptation is structurally in accordance with the pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce's definition of a sign: A sign means something (reference) to somebody (the interpreter) in a certain respect (the context).

Now imagine that one were to regard specific religious systems as examples of CAS. One would then be able to identify certain internal programs that serve to stabilize the code of this or that religion, such as holy scriptures, recurrent liturgies, rituals (re-enacted at individual or communal level), and doctrines. In very strict religious communities, these programs will be used very much like a pre-set thermostat, that a priori determines what should be included, or excluded, among the environmental inputs. Imagine again, however, that the element of evolutionary learning or adaptation came into the focus of some specific religious community. In this case, the communal interpretation of the holy scriptures would come into focus alongside a reflection on the style , in which liturgies are performed, and on the use of rituals in given context. The words and concepts used in scripture, liturgy, and rituals may thus find different applications, including concepts of God and community.

Seen from a linguistic perspective, this would mean that the lexical terms (e.g. ‘God', or ‘Buddha-Nature') no longer possess a fixed semantic value, but are functioning like indexical pointers, the content of which will have to be specified within larger semantic discourse systems ("stories" or "myths"), the meaning of which again are co-determined by their use by specific groups or individuals. Semantic flows will begin to take precedence over against stable meanings. Since lexical terms no longer flow unsupported by discourse systems, and discourse systems gain their meaning from their particular contexts of usage, it is highly probable that scholars will be able to identify many examples of "mixed discourse", that is, a discourse by which, say, Christian concepts are made fluid and understandable by concepts from other religions (often called "syncretism"), or elucidated by reference to secular sources of knowledge such as science (often referred to as "secularization"). In the light of the theory of CAS, such flows of religious insight would be more the rule than the exception; furthermore, the same patterns of evolution of religious concepts are likely to take place both in more "liberal" and in more "conservative" interpretations of faith.

Against this theoretical background, one could think of two distinctive types of research that may complement one another in the study of the cultural dynamics of religious evolution. One task is to show how the dynamic of religious evolution actually has taken place in historical communities, and how this dynamic is at work in present-day religious communities, where no religion is protected from external influences. One could here imagine important new studies of the history and sociology of past and living religions. Another research task will be to study, whether these actual processes of inter-religious and inter-cultural exchange will benefit the rationality and inner coherence of a religious tradition, or not. This type of research will demand a much more theological approach to the cultural evolution of religious traditions. It may well be the case that certain forms of rationality can be identified in the very process of passing on a religious tradition and communicating it to others. For in every communication, which involves human arbiters, there will be certain performance-based selection from the rich resources of religious tradition; some traits of traditional religion will be reinforced, whereas other traits will sink into oblivion.

However, both the concise historical or empirical analysis of the linguistic flows of religious discourse, and the philosophical or theological reflection thereupon will be able to learn from the formalistic approaches of computational complexity theory. Theoretical resources can be found within neighboring fields such as computational linguistics and cognitive science.

 

4. From Prisoner's Dilemma to extended Game Theory (GAT)

One way to formalize such studies is game theory. Game theory is, like the theory of CA, based on individual agents, who (in a sort of contrived thought experiments) are imagined to perform specific strategies of choice vis-à-vis other actors. Game theory often shares the assumption of Rational Choice Theory, according to which actors make their choices by following the supposedly most beneficial (and hence "rational") strategies for themselves.

Game theoretical analysis has often been formalized in the context of the Prisoner's Dilemma , in which we have only two actors that are forced to share the same scarce resources within a closed setting, and have the choice between collaboration or competition. Since W.D. Hamilton's foundational work on "The Genetical Background of Social Behavior" ( Journal of Theoretical Biology 1964), we have seen a suite of sociobiological studies aiming to explain collaborative behaviour as based on the sharing of genetical material (Hamilton 1964), or on reciprocal altruism without a genetic kinship (Trivers 1971, Axelrod 1990, 1997), or on an indirect reciprocity without a direct payoff for the individual (Alexander 1987; Nowak & Sigmund 1998).

What has come out of these well-known studies is a renewed emphasis on the importance of reiterated experiments so that one's first choice may be altered under influence of the choices of the other agent(s). Thus if a collaborative behaviour is met by non-reciprocation from the other agent(s), it may be more advantageous to change strategy and defect the next time, or to expand the time horizon so that the other agent(s) are given new chances of collaboration. The shared assumption is that cooperation will benefit all actors, especially if one can find a strategy for stopping or punishing cheaters. Life and morality may be "non-zero sum games", to put it with Robert Wright.

Reiterated Prisoner's Dilemma's thus give us a chance to model evolutionary learning processes on a relatively simple model. Even more interesting from a theological perspective, however, are the attempts to model collaborative behavior at the more complex level of social groups. One of the most influential and convincing studies in this respect are Eliott Sober's and David Sloan Wilson's Unto Others The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior (Harvard University Press 1999). The convincingly show, first, that biological and economic research should separate the motivational issue of benevolence or malevolence at the psychological level from the functional issue of how to stabilize a social collaboration at the higher level of complex societies. Thus, they point out that social co-existence may stabilize the emergence of new moral codes by simply expelling or punishing individual cheaters within the systems. In so far as the keepers of moral systems (such as police and judges) are legitimized by the society at large, they incur, each individually, only modest personal risks in exercising justice; however, their job is quintessential for the functioning of the society as a whole. Second, Sober and Wilson have proposed simple mathematical models that show, why one must transcend the realm of genes and individuals in order to understand the cultural dynamics of human societies. At the same time, empirical psychologists have shown, that human persons, as a matter of fact, disgust cheaters, and rather want to sacrifice own benefits than allowing social cheaters to win their game. Both at group level as well as at the psychological level, there seem to be inclinations towards doing the good rather than just that which is of direct or indirect benefit to oneself.

As is evident so far, sociobiology and evolutionary psychology has been concerned about explaining moral behavior, especially the possibility of altruistic and generous behavior (Stephen Post & colleagues; Nørretranders 2002). Why not extend this research program into the field of religious evolution, including the notion of God and Ultimate Reality? First steps have already been done. David Sloan Wilson has applied his method on the issue of religious evolution, using the development of Calvinism as his historical test-case (Wilson 2002), and also many empirical studies of the psychology and spirituality of forgiveness have been presented (e.g., Worthington 2002). However, both the biological and the economic communities are divided on the issue, as to whether the individualistic perspective is sufficient to explain social behavior, or one would need to understand cultural and religious evolution at the more complex level of group behavior and religious semantics. The field of "Competitive Dynamics and Cultural Evolution of Religions and God Concepts" is an invitation to take part in this scholarly debate, if possible at more complex level than has been reached so far.

 

5. The Theory of Autopoietic Systems (APS)

Allow me to end with a note on the perspectives coming from autopoietic systems theory , or the theory of self-productive systems, which seems to me especially applicable for reconsidering religious notions of God, and of the human participation in divine creativity.

The general idea of self-organizing systems is sometimes prematurely equated with the notion of autopoietic systems. The difference is that while self-organizing systems combine great variability with internally regulated mechanisms or programs (as we see in CAS), autopoietic systems produce new internal components and thus continuously create new system environment-interactions. While the concept of self-organization still retains the idea that systems are organized out of pre-established elements, the concept of autopoiesis more radically contends that the components themselves may be created only inside organized super-structures. Self-transformation extends not only to the organization of the system but also to the elements specific for that system. It is only in a cell, for instance, that we meet the special arrangements of molecules that make up its membrane. Or, again, consider, the how the carvings of the brain (like physically engraved schemata) are produced in a kind of "topobiological competion" (Edelman 1992, 83), that recurrently reshapes the neurons and their interacting networks. Selection processes thus take place also in the brain, to the benefit of the brain's over-all plasticity.

In autopoietic systems, therefore, there is no separation between producer and produced. A cell's being is given only by virtue of its internal dynamical operations and the system is not a substance definable prior to its operation (immune systems therefore vary significantly in genetically identical twins). It is the internal functioning of the system that both determines whether or not the cell should build up new elements, and how the cell picks up (or ignores) specific elements of the external world (Maturana/Varela 1992 (1987), 43-52).

Taking the feature of complex adaptability seriously means taking seriously the pluralistic order-and-disorder of nature. The world has many centers of control, and to each is assigned a certain process autonomy. Like other types of complexity theory, the theory of autopoietic systems presupposes a constitutive materialism ("there exist no other elementary particles than those known by the physical sciences -- or in principle knowable by them"). However, what are important are not the singular objects (e.g. atoms or molecules), but the work cycles they perform within holistic, yet highly specialized networks. What matters is not the generic amount of matter's physical energy, but the specific physical organization of matter.

The pluralistic order-and-disorder has its ontological basis in the operational closure of the different systems themselves. That is, a system is not acting at the mercy of the environment, but is itself determining what is relevant, and what is not relevant in the surroundings. Accordingly, there does not exist one objective environment, common to all systems, but there exist as many environments as you have adaptive systems. Autopoietic systems may react to their environments on all grades from negative feedback (balancing each other) to positive feedback (mutual enhancement). Eventually we face a continuous criss-cross interpenetration of different kinds of operational systems. Evolution seems to be driven by type-different autopoietic systems, sometimes competitive, sometimes symbiotic, sometimes in synergetic resonance, then in dissonance with each other.

Elsewhere I have tried to formulate some of the basic principles of autopoietic systems as follows (Gregersen 1998, 338):

1. Autopoietic systems are energetically open systems , dependent on external supplies.

2. While autopoietic systems are energetically open, they are operationally closed . The closure of the system is even a precondition for the way in which the given system handles its openness vis-à-vis its environment. The cell, for instance, is open for energy supply only so long as the energy input does not break down its own membrane and internal structures.

3. The self-reproduction of autopoietic systems is not necessarily tied to specific physical structures , since the structures may change as the dynamical system operates. The immune system, for instance, does not always protect the frontiers which are under attack but may, rather, reproduce the system by forming new strategies of survival through structural self-transformations. Self- re production often happens through self- production .

4. Also the elements of the autopoietic system are constituted by the system itself, by way of (selective) inclusion or exclusion. The membrane, for instance, only lasts as long as the cell-system lasts.

5. Interpenetration between differently structured systems takes always place on the basis of the given system itself. In one system, the intrusion of a new chemical element makes no difference; in yet another, the consequences can be enormous. The causal effect is always co-determined by the system itself.

Let me just mention one example for, how concepts of God can be elucidated through the idea of autopoietic processes: the Jewish and Christian concept of the " Kingdom of God ". It is generally acknowledged in New Testament scholarship that the kingdom of God is not conceived as a place nor as a separate realm, but is simply the exercise of God´s reign in the world of creation in such an intense manner that God is perceived to be both present and revealed in mundane processes.

Now, what are the similarities between the inherited idea of the kingdom of God and the theory of self-producing processes? First, there is a common awareness of the self-creative powers of nature. In the teaching of Jesus, the kingdom of God is likened to the scattering of a mustard seed on the ground which grows and sprouts while you are at sleep, you don't know how: "The earth produces of itself" (Mark 4:29, automatiké ). The reign of God is compared with the mustard which in antiquity was considered as weed. If this is so, it is the relentless will to existence that is compared with the kingdom - - the same inconsiderate insistence that we see in beggars, or in the woman who lost a penny and went on searching until she finally found what she wanted (Luke 15:8-10).

Secondly, the kingdom of God is related to open-ended possibilities. In Matthew, the kingdom of God is also called the kingdom of the heavens, whereby heaven is a symbol of those aspects of creation that are beyond our control, and yet determine our existence. Speaking of the heavens as belonging to the kingdom of the God articulates the trust that even the powers of irruption and irregularity ultimately belong to God. The powers of disorder are not free-floating powers of an animistic sort (Welker 1999, 36-40). Thus, the notion of the kingdom of heaven both encapsulates the unity of the world of possibilities (heaven not being divine, but an integral part of God's reign) and the multiplicity of new relevant possibilities (what the biologist of complexity Stuart Kauffman refers to as "adjacent possibilities").

Thirdly, the idea of God's reign addresses the fact that the world is construed as a series of openings, or invitations. However, an invitation has to be received in order to reach the goal aimed for. The symbolic world of the parables is full of people who either accept the invitation, or do not. Think of the parable of the king who invites to a wedding banquet, but his friends refuse to come, and the king then extends the invitation to the destitutes on the street (Matt 22:1-10). Or think of those who burry their talents rather than using them (Matt 25:14-30). The choice of accepting or not accepting (or using the options or not using the options) exemplifies the formal features of autopoietic systems in so far as these are bound to adapt to their environments. To adapt, or not to adapt, that's the question.

Yet one has to adapt to oneself in order to adapt appropriately to the environment . As we know from the theory of autopoietic systems, operational closure precedes openness. Self-adaptation precedes adaptation to the environment. Accordingly, the one who is addressed by the parables, will have to change his or her mental framework in order to catch the novel adjacent possibilities of the Kingdom of God .

For the same reason, the ontological status of the God's reign is not, and cannot be, easy to determine. We hear that the kingdom is not a reality which can be observed, and yet it is said to be amongst us (Luke 17:21). The reason is simply that the adjacent possibilities of the Kingdom of God have to be caught and taken up. If taken up, however, the internal structure of the human person is necessarily changed. The Kingdom of God is an objective-relational reality, in so far as it only occurs at the very moment when one enters into the relational networks elicited by the approaching kingdom. Accordingly, when Christians pray, "Thy Kingdom come", they presuppose that the reign of God is not already here. There is not a ready-made design, a fulfilled reality imprinted on the structures of reality; the reign of God is in the process of coming to us. The kingdom is not of this world, and yet its efficacious presence can be depicted in scenes from everyday existence. As argued by the German theologian Michael Welker, "the reign of God is in a process of emergence". As such it is similar to a surprise: "a surprising change of configuration is delineated that ...requires new powers of self-organization" (Welker 1992, 509).

Accordingly, the parables of Jesus consistently intertwine the awareness of the goodness of creation and the need for readjustment and redemption. The grace of God is graspable only in the creative zones between that-which-is (creation) and that-which-is-not-yet (the kingdom of God ) by the exclusion of that-which-destroys creaturely co-existence (sin). The kingdom of God therefore presents itself in the fragile yet potentially fertile regimes between order and disorder. We thus find cross-fertilisations and co-adaptations on every scale:

(1) We have the interrelation of nature and culture (on the spatial axis). Nature is not perceived as enslaved by laws but is consisting of autonomous agents in a constant process of co-ordination. Neither are human beings seen as exercising freedom at its fullest scale. Human beings are blind, unless they adjust their mental frameworks to the new possibilities of the kingdom.

(2) We also have the interrelation of the world of actualities and the world of possibilities (on the temporal axis). Unexpected chances for self-development emerge in the always critical system-environment interactions in which a re-structuring of the human person is made possible.

(3) Finally, we have the interrelation between the finite realizations of order and the divine wellspring of unprecedented novelties (on the vertical axis). The concept of the kingdom of heaven specifies, within a highly complex network of images, the difference between self-productive processes that are resonant with God's will and those who are not. A divine-humane economy of superabundance is articulated where more comes out of less in the highly ordered yet fragile zones of collaboration.

The sudden emergences of the kingdom of God are like seeing God in the fluids of a waterdrop. You both need to have the curved structure of the fluid drop "out there", and you need to adjust yourself "internally" to seeing God in that fragment of reality. Nothing goes without the other. For in the world of autopoiesis, no adaptation happens without self-adaptation.

The case of the semantics of the "kingdom of God" is but one example that shows how inherited religious concepts may be re-evaluated through the insights of evolutionary thinking. Perhaps is nature not quite as brute as we have become used to think. And perhaps is cultural and religious evolution not as separated from nature, as we have learned through a three hundred years of history of compartmentalization.


Niels Henrik Gregersen, Ph.D. obtained his doctorate from Copenhagen University. Previously Research Professor in Theology & Science at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, in 2004 he became Professor and Chair of Systematic Theology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. From 1992 to 2003, Professor Gregersen has been a leader of the Danish Science-Theology Forum. From 1998 to 2002, he was Vice-President of The European Society for the Study of Science and Theology (ESSSAT) and responsible for its publication program. In 2002, Professor Gregersen was elected president of The Learned Society, Denmark and served through 2003. He is a founding member and Executive Committee member of International Society of Science and Religion (ISSR) since 2002. His most recent publications include Gift of Grace: The Future of Lutheran Theology (Fortress Press, 2005) From Complexity to Life: On the Emergence of Life and Meaning (Oxford University Press, 2003) and Design and Disorder. Perspectives from Science & Theology (T & T Clark, 2002). He is associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Science and Religion volumes I-II (MacMillan Reference 2003) and systematic-theological editor of Dansk teologisk Tidsskrift.


Click here for a PDF version of this field analysis complete with an extensive bibliography.

©2005 Metanexus Institute

Published on 2005.12.22.

12/22/2005 03/21/2007 9389 Trading Faith for Spirituality: The Mystifications of Sam Harris, by Meera Nanda

Metanexus Cogito. 6,112 Words.

There is something decidedly weird about this business of spirituality. Just say the word ìspiritual,î or, if you prefer more gravitas, ìmystical,î and you will witness a strange phenomenon. You will find many tough-talking, God-is-dead rationalists morph into Mahesh Yogi lites, peddling sweet-nothings about merging the ìselfî into the universe, and promoting world peace and reason while they are at it.


Trading Faith for Spirituality: The Mystifications of Sam Harris .

By Meera Nanda

 

1. Spirituality at Faith's Funeral

There is something decidedly weird about this business of spirituality. Just say the word ìspiritual,î or, if you prefer more gravitas, ìmystical,î and you will witness a strange phenomenon. You will find many tough-talking, God-is-dead rationalists morph into Mahesh Yogi lites, peddling sweet-nothings about merging the ìselfî into the universe, and promoting world peace and reason while they are at it.

In his much acclaimed The End of Faith, Sam Harris declares the death of faith, only to celebrate the birth of spirituality. He wants to convince us of the proposition that ìMysticism is rationalÖreligion is notî (p. 221). Traditional Judeo-Christian and Islamic conception of God who heeds your prayers is a mere leap of faith, ìan epistemological black hole, draining the light out of our worldî(p. 35). Faith in a personal God is ìintellectually defunct and politically ruinousî (p. 221). It is time to grow up, Harris tells us, and trade faith for spirituality or mysticism, which is ìdeeply rational, even as it elucidates the limits of reasonî (p. 43). Unlike religion, mysticism is only a ìnatural propensity of the human mind, and we need not believe anything on insufficient evidence to actualize itî (p. 221).

To my skeptical ears, though, this sounds like a clarion-call to leave the frying-pan and to step bravely into the fire. It is easy to debunk faith. Faith, by definition, is a ìleap of faith,î a relationship of trust regardless of evidence. In contrast, spiritualism has learned to dress up its metaphysical abstractions in the clothes of empiricism and neuro-physiology. But the empiricist pretensions of mysticism do not make the experience itself any more reasonable and empirically justified than the faith of those who believe in God. Consistent empiricists can hardly afford to take the scientistic rhetoric of mystics at face value, as Harris, a practicing spiritualist himself, ends up doing.

But in order to understand Harris's celebration of spiritualism, it is important to understand what he is pitting it against.

 

2. A Rationalist Jihad against Jihad

The End of Faith is a response to religious extremism from a rationalist extremist perspective. Disturbed by the rise of religious violence around the world, especially the 9-11 attacks on America , Harris has taken on the traditional theological beliefs about God and afterlife that motivate some to kill innocents. Brushing aside all political and historical factors that have contributed to religious extremism in the contemporary world, Harris singles out theological beliefs as the primary and pretty much the sole cause of religious violence. He indulgently turns a blind eye on the ìspiritualî teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism, both of which have a proven track-record of justifying nationalistic wars and ethnic cleansings. Instead, he saves all his venom against the Koran, condemning it as if it were a manual of war. His analysis of religious extremism goes on these lines:

Question: Why do Islamic terrorists do what they do? Why has Osama bin Laden chosen the path of violence against the West, especially against America ?

Answer: Because men like bin Laden actually believe in the literal truth of the Koran. And because the literal truth of Koran is ìintrinsicallyî violent and intolerant, they have no choice but to commit acts of violence.

In short, it is the theology stupid!

In his rationalist Jihad on Jihadi theology, Harris's motto seems to be (with due apologies to Barry Goldwater): ìExtremism in the defense of reason is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of secularism is no virtue.î Harris can barely curb his enthusiasm for George Bush's disastrous wars, announcing gleefully that ìwe are at war against Islamî ñ not at war against violent extremists, mind you, but against the very ìvision of life prescribed to all Muslims in the Koranî (p. 109). He finds tortured justifications for torturing suspected terrorists in America 's Gulag. He goes even further:

some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing themÖ.Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others. There is, in fact, no talking to some people. If they cannot be captured, and they often cannot, otherwise tolerant people may be justified in killing them in self-defense . We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas. (p. 53, emphasis added.)

The villains who are beyond the pale of reason and who deserve to die are all Muslims. While he has some harsh things to say about Christians and Jews as well, he spares them the wars and the torture, for unlike the Muslim barbarians, they have had their reformations and their enlightenments.

This bilious attack on faith only sets the stage for what seems to be his real goal: a defense ñ nay, a celebration of ñ Harris's own Buddhist/Hindu spirituality. (He has been influenced by the esoteric teachings of Dzogchen Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta and has spent many years practicing various techniques of meditation, Harris informs his readers). Spirituality is the answer to Islam's and Christianity's superstitions and wars, Harris wants to convince us. While he is quick to pour scorn on such childish ideas as the virgin birth, heaven and hell, the great rationalist has only winks and nods to offer when it comes to such ìhigherî truths as near-death experiences, ESP and the existence of disembodied souls, all of which he finds plausible. Our fearless crusader against faith puts his reason to sleep when it comes to the soul-stuff of the Eastern faith traditions that he himself subscribes to.

Harris has made a name for himself as an uncompromising and fearless champion of reason. His The End of Faith has made it to the New York Times best-seller list, and he is being feted by secularist organizations and thinkers in America and around the world. I am sure that Hindu nationalists in India , who have long condemned ìSemitic monotheismsî (their preferred label for Islam and Christianity) as irrational and superstitions as compared to Hinduism's rational mysticism, will find much to celebrate in Harris as well. Be that as it may, if being a rationalist has come down to declaring a war against those who we deem beyond the pale of reason in the name of ìhigherî truths of mystics, then at least this rationalist wants no part of it.

One disclaimer before we go any further. I grew up as an observant Hindu in my native India . My critical engagement with Hindu spirit-centered metaphysics and Hindu nationalist politics is often painted by my Indian critics as an act of disloyalty to Mother India and, even more weirdly, as a sign of my hidden sympathies for Christianity and Islam! Not unlike Harris, these critics can not imagine that one can be a consistent, equal-opportunity skeptic and materialist, rejecting faith in both, a creator God and the subtle spiritual ìenergyî that is supposed to animate the entire world. Unlike Harris, who seems to have found a shelter in spirituality after the found faith wanting, I insist upon subjecting both to an equally rigorous test of reason and evidence, and I find them both equally wanting. I have no axe to grind, for or against, any particular religious tradition. If I have any axe to grind at all, it is for a naturalistic worldview which denies all forms of supernaturalism, regardless of whether they are located in God in heaven or spread out in all of cosmos.

What I find particularly galling about spirituality is its pretensions of ìhigherî rationality, its false and dangerous claims of being ìempiricalî and ìscientificî in the sense of being testable by ìexperienceî (which invariably means non-sensory experience). Western converts to Eastern spirituality, along with Eastern apologists themselves, end up presenting an air-brushed, sanitized picture of the real thing. That is the reason why I felt that Harris's brand of rational mysticism had to be examined carefully and challenged.

 

3. New Age Mystifications

Spiritualism is not just good for your soul, Harris wants to convince us, it is good for your mind as well: it can make you ìhappy, peaceful and even wise Öby searching for truthî (p. 215). Results of spiritual practices are ìgenuinely desirable [for they are] not just emotional but cognitive and conceptual as well,î and Harris wants us to actively seek them out (p. 40).

In the rest of this essay, I want to examine these cognitive and social virtues that are supposed to follow from spiritualism or mysticism. (Harris uses the two interchangeably. I will follow the practice as well.) I will use Harris's own criteria of rationality of beliefs to ask if the existence-claims routinely made by mystics can stand up to the demands of empirical evidence. Likewise, I will use Harris's own diagnosis of dualism between subject and object as the source of all the evils of faith to ask if ending dualism is really the path to peace.

But let us first look at what Harris means by spirituality.

Harris offers a standard characterization of the mystical/spiritual experience. He describes it as tuning, or focusing, the mind through meditation, fasting, chanting, sensory deprivation or using psychotropic drugs, that enables it to overcome, or dissolve, the sense of the self that stands separate from the objects of its consciousness. The goal of spiritual experience is to ìexperience the world perfectly shorn of selfÖ to lose the subject/object perception Öto continue to experience the world, but without the felling that there is a knower standing apart form the known. Thoughts may arise, but the feeling that one is a thinker of these thoughts vanish.î (p. 212-213) The goal is to dissolve the ego-bound, individuated subject by ending its separation from the object itself. Harris is describing the classic all-is-one and one-is-all experience that mystics and spiritual adepts tend to report.

For Hindus, this attempt to divest the ego by consciously realizing its identity with the ground of the entire macrocosm ñ what the Hindus call the Brahman ñ is the very essence of what the Vedas and Upanishads teach: ìThou art That,î ìall this Brahmanî and the atman (self) in you is the Brahman. Brahman, the Vedas teach, is the sole, truly existing, non-material, eternal reality which is beyond space, time and causation. Once you experience the sense of being beyond space, time and causation through yoga, breath control and meditation, you will realize the truth of the Vedas, namely, the self in you (atman) is identical with Brahman, your consciousness encompasses the entire macrocosm, and that you are, in fact, God. Once you reach this state of mind, you are not held back by fears or tempted by desires: the here and now of the material world become illusionary and lose their grip on one's mind. Thus, the achievement of the sense of one-ness with the universe is a central commandment of Hindu and Buddhist teachings. While Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions have their mystics, only the Eastern traditions provide a doctrine that can make sense of the mystical experience of unity or one-ness.

I would have no argument with Harris if he were only recommending spiritualism as means for mindful relaxation, and the delight and even ecstasy that sometimes accompany the sensation of losing one's sense of space, time and self. Indeed ìwise mysticsî have long realized that the mystical experience does not confer existential status on its content. Rather than construct metaphysical systems, wise mystics have learned to simply enjoy and value the experience itself. 1 There is enough data to believe that meditation, if done consistently and over many years, does bring about a deep state of relaxation, with dramatically lowered heart rate and brain activity. If the goal is to reduce stress, even the most militant rationalist will have to admit that meditation does provide some benefits. (It does not follow, however, that all the claims of yoga and pranayam, must be accepted. There is very little rigorous controlled testing of the more extravagant claims of those who believe in the power of the mind to cure everything from blindness to cancers).

Unfortunately, Harris is not one of the wise mystics. He loads spiritual practices with metaphysical baggage, all the while claiming to stand up for reason and evidence. By the end of the book, I could not help thinking of him as a Trojan horse for the New Age. While Harris tries to distance himself from the more extravagant Whole Life Expo type fads (crystals, colonic irrigation and the like), he ends up endorsing fundamental New Age assumptions as rational alternatives to traditional religiosity. Here are three of his assumptions, in an increasing order of obfuscation:

To begin with, there is this nugget, tucked away in the end notes, which celebrates the prospect of revival of occult: ì Indeed, the future looks like the pastÖ We may live to see the technological perfection of all the visionary strands of traditional mysticism: shamanism, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, Hermetism and its magical Renaissance spawn (Hermeticism) and all the other Byzantine paths whereby man has sought the Other in every guise of its conception. But all these approaches to spirituality are born of a longing for esoteric knowledge and a desire to excavate Öthe mind ñin dreams, in trance, in psychedelic swoon ñ in search for the sacredî (end note 23, p. 290).

It is hard to believe that the author of this stuff is the most celebrated rationalist of our troubled times.

Secondly, Harris rejects a naturalistic understanding of nature and the human mind. He sets consciousness free from such mortal things as brains and bodies, allowing the possibility of pan-psychism, the doctrine of immanence of awareness or consciousness throughout the universe. For someone studying to be a neuroscientist, Harris holds rather unconventional views. He scoffs at the physicalism of the mainstream of scientists who believe that our mental and spiritual lives are wholly dependent upon the workings of the brain, treating it as an irrational ìarticle of faithî which methods of science can neither prove nor disprove. He gives full credence to reports of near death experience and leaves open the possibility that disembodied soul can survive the death of the body, claiming that we don't know what happens after death. After denying that consciousness is a product of our physiology, he presents it as a fundamental ingredient of nature, ìa far more rudimentary phenomenon than living creatures and their brainsî (p. 209). This is nothing but the good old mind-matter holism, the first principle of all New Age beliefs.

Again, the problem is not that Harris holds these beliefs. The problem is that Harris wants to convince us that it is the very height of rationality to hold these beliefs.

Thirdly, and I examine this more closely in the next section, Harris believes that spiritual experiences are knowledge experiences , or as he puts it, altered mental states induced by spiritual practices can ìuncover genuine facts about the worldî (p. 40). Investigation of our own subjectivity, Harris believes, is a ìproper and essential sphere of investigation into the nature of the universe, as some facts will be discovered only in consciousness.î (p. 209). Again, as before, he tries to distance himself from the more extravagant metaphysical schemes. But he buys into the basic idea that what mystics see in their minds actually has an ontological referent in the world outside their minds. Or to put it in the vocabulary he prefers, when the gap between the subject and object vanishes, ìpureî awareness of one's subjectivity can tell us something about the objective reality.

Here, Sam Harris is not all that far apart from Mahesh Yogi, Deepak Chopra and others who claim that spiritual practitioners have the most objective view of the world because they can see it ìdirectly,î just the way it is, completely ìshorn of the self,î and the many biases and dogmas that ìI-nessî brings.

 

4. How Rational is Mysticism?

In loading spirituality with ontological baggage, Harris is making, let us say, a leap of faith. He is falling in the noetic, or intellectualist, trap that William James identified in The Varieties of Religious Experience when he noticed how mystical experience has the quality of a profound knowing: ìalthough similar to the states of feeling, mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importanceÖ and as a rule, they carry with them a curious sense of authorityî (emphasis added).2

At their peak, meditative experiences invariably bring about a feeling of having touched something far deeper and far more real than what is normally experienced by the five senses in our ordinary lives. And this conviction itself becomes a source of validation of the of the objective reality of what they have seen: what they see in their minds, they assume, must exist outside. Vision gets fixed into metaphysical systems built on super-sensory entities and processes. The experience of losing the boundaries of one's ego, the feeling of having transcended time and space, gives the feeling of becoming one with the universe, of ìseeingî the entire macrocosm in one's own mind. It is not a coincidence that the teaching of Vedanta ñ ìThou art Thatî ñ has been interpreted by so many as implying that I (the enlightened one) am Brahman, that I am the universe, that my mind is the mind of the entire cosmos and by controlling my mind, I can control the cosmos. Contrary to Harris's attempt to rationalize it, the mind-matter unity has been the metaphysics underlying the search for paranormal powers and extra-sensory perceptions. It is not a coincidence that rational mystics like Harris who subscribe to the thesis of mind being an element of matter end up making excuses for paranormal phenomena such as ESP, near death experiences (see p. 41).

This noetic propensity to make existence claims with absolute certainty is not a metaphysical excess or a delusion: It is part and parcel of the mystical experience. Neurosciences are revealing the biological grounds for why mystical experiences feel as if they are actually uncovering genuine facts about the world. Andrew Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili, in their well-known Why God will Not Go Away, offer a clue. They believe that the ontological fallacy stems from the process of reification ñ ìthe ability of the brain to convert a concept into a concrete thing, or more succinctly, to bestow upon something the quality of being real or true. Reification refers to the power of the mind to grant meaning and substance to its own perceptions.î On this account, meditative practices slow down the transmission of neural information to the posterior superior parietal lobes of the brain, which controls spatial orientation, resulting in the sensation of pure awareness which is incapable of drawing boundaries between the limited personal self and the external material world. This sensation gets reified into the image of ìreality of as a formless unified whole, with no limits, no substance, no beginning and no end.3

What neurosciences seem to be telling us is that while the neurological processes that give rise to mystical experiences are real, they prove nothing about the ultimate nature of reality or God. Just because we can study the neuro-physiology of mysticism in a scientific manner, does not make the experience scientific or rational in any way. (We can study schizophrenia in a scientific manner, but that does not mean that schizophrenics are rational). Harris has a tendency to confuse the fact that spirituality can be taught and studied in a rational manner, with the rationality of the beliefs about the world that such experiences engender.

Harris, a doctoral student in neuroscience, hardly needs a primer on these matters. He realizes, of course, that reification works on all experiences, sensory as well as non-sensory. The sights and sounds we hear, Harris tells us, are not raw data from the world outside, but are processed by the higher centers of the brain. The brain is not a mirror to the world outside, but more like a radio or TV receiver that is ìtuned to deliver a particular vision of the worldî (p. 42). Harris wants us to believe that mysticism is only a matter of tuning your brain differently so that it receives signal from an altered, boundary-less relationship between you and the world (p. 41-42). The information that this altered state of mind is ìtunedî to receive is nevertheless rational because it ìuncover[s] genuine facts about the worldî (p.40) and discloses closer interconnections in the universe than are apparent to us in our ordinary sates of consciousness. (One cannot help wondering, why faith in God is not just such a method of ìtuning the brain differentlyî for those who believe in the personal God of the Bible and the Koran? Neurologically speaking, why is God a ìdelusion,î if mysticism is ìastuteî?)

But Harris can defend the rationality of mysticism only by completely contradicting himself, by forgetting the criteria of rationality which he applies so energetically when he is eviscerating faith in God. If he were to apply these same criteria to spirituality as rigorously as he applies them to faith, he will have no choice but to admit that mysticism is as much of an ìimposterî as faith . He will have to admit that mysticism, like faith, is an ìact of knowledge that has a low grade of evidenceî (p. 65). He will have to admit that mystics, like believers in a personal God, ìseize upon extraordinary phenomenaî and extraordinary experiences, as confirmation of the beliefs which have gripped their imagination and filled them with a sense of awe (pp. 65-66). Mysticism fares no better, and no worse, than ìmereî faith, when judged against the demands of evidence. Here is why:

What do people mean, Harris asks, when they say that they believe a certain proposition about the world? What they mean is that the proposition ìfaithfully represents some state of the world (51).î When someone says he believes that God exists, he means that God's existence is the cause of his belief. Likewise, when someone says he believes in consciousness suffusing the whole world, he means that the consciousness suffusing the world is the cause of his belief.

The obvious next question is: how do we know if our beliefs, however real they feel to us, are in fact faithfully representing the world? For beliefs to faithfully represent some state of the world, they must have some kind of a hook into the world: there must be ìsome mechanism that guarantees that the regularities in our nervous system consistently mirror regularities in the environmentÖsomething in our experience must provide a causal link to the actual state of the world ( p. 58, emphasis added).

Harris rejects God because none of the traditional justifications for belief in God ñ spiritual experiences, the authority of the Bible and/or the churchó have an adequate hook into reality: none of them can assure that God exists, or that ìbelief in god is a consequence of the way the world isî (63). God has to go, because the experience of God cannot be shown to be caused by anything that actually exists.

But by this standard, spirituality is no less irrational, for it is no less lacking in a hook into the reality. Harris has to tell us what ìcasual linksî does spiritual experience offer into ìthe actual state of the worldî? What assurance there is that the ìdeeper connectionsî mystics see in their mind, actually ìmirror the regularities in the environmentî? All we have is the mystic's word that he has been able to vanquish the constraints of his ìself,î and has come to see world ìdirectlyî by becoming one with it. There is no independently testable reason for non-mystics ñ for the vast majority of people who find their non-altered states of consciousness to be perfectly adequate and satisfying ñ to accept the mystics' word as evidence. I don't find the usual analogies with consensus in natural sciences very persuasive at all (p. 220). In science (Thomas Kuhn notwithstanding) anyone with functioning senses, adequate training and right apparatus can see the same star, the same DNA molecule, the same electron. But not everyone with adequate training in meditation techniques, and the right atmosphere, sees the same mystical reality: some see God, some see nothing at all and some, without any meditation at all, see what the mystics see. I believe that William James had it right:

ìmystical statesÖ are absolutely authoritative over the individuals to whom they come. But mystics have no right to claim that we ought to accept the deliverance of their peculiar experiencesÖ. Non-mystics are under no obligation to acknowledge in mystical states a superior authority î (p. 460, 645).

In sum, Sam Harris is right in that ìmysticism is a natural propensity of the human mind.î But he is dead wrong when he claims that mysticism does not demand that we ìbelieve anything on insufficient evidence to actualize itî (p. 221).

 

5. Why does it matter?

The attitude of many moderate rationalists on matters of spiritualism has been of benign neglect or even indulgence. It all appears so harmless and it might even have some positive contributions to make to one's health and tranquility of mind. What is more, the attacks by feminists and environmentalists on the sins of ìreductionist Western scienceî have created a positive aura around ìholistic scienceî which overcomes the gap between the subject and the object. The notion that the reality and our knowledge of it depends upon how we see it has gained many adherents in the postmodern academe.

But what kind of claims is made by spiritualists and how they justify these claims matters a great deal. It matters because, beliefs matter. What we believe in is of utmost importance, as Harris himself so correctly emphasizes, because ìbeliefs are actions in potentia, as a man believes, so he will actî (p. 44). I am in full agreement with Harris when he says that ìEven apparently innocuous beliefs, when unjustified can lead to intolerable consequencesî (p. 46).

Mysticism matters because beliefs matter. And for this reason, metaphysical claims that follow from mystical experiences cannot be given the appearance of rationality, as books like The End of Faith are wont to do. As Harris himself admits, while mystical experiences can are rational, they can become ìirrational when people begin making claims about the world which cannot be supported by empirical evidenceî (p. 210)

I have indicated, above, the neurological and philosophical reasons why mystical experiences show a pronounced tendency to erect metaphysical systems. I have also indicated why these metaphysical systems lack a causal link, a hook, into reality and therefore escape the reach of empirical testing.

These issues are not of theoretical interest alone. In countries like my native India where yoga and spiritualism enjoy the blessings of the highest religious authorities, metaphysical beliefs that follow from mystical experiences exert a great deal of social influence. (While India has a fairly large and advanced scientific workforce, science has not succeeded in displacing the authority of metaphysical truths from the cultural sphere. If anything, science has been largely co-opted into Hindu spiritualism.4) These beliefs do not only structure the worldview of ordinary people, they also serve as their paradigm of knowledge and truth.

As a Western follower of Buddhism and Hinduism, living and working in the USA, Harris can afford to pick and choose what he likes and downplay what he doesn't. But the fact is that, in situ, Eastern religious traditions have encouraged beliefs about nature which, if accepted, would completely contradict just about every known scientific theory about life on earth. I am referring to the family of metaphysical tenets of Hinduism which support a vitalistic, pan-psychical conception of life and biological evolution, including such familiar ideas as rebirth and karma, the belief in a subtle (i.e., inaccessible to all human senses) life-force, or prana, which is supposed to animate all that exists and the belief in innate moral qualities in nature. Add to that the doctrines of spiritual evolution ñ call them Vedic theories of ìintelligent guidance,î if you will ñ that see spiritualization of all life until the emergence of ìsupermindî that merges with the Brahman.

Now we come to the crux of why mysticism matters and why the kind of scientist gloss Harris offers is not helpful. Each and every element of Hindu worldview described above makes an existence claim about the workings of nature, especially living beings, their birth, death and destiny. And each and every element of this worldview is defended as an actual ìfactî that the authors of the Vedas, the rishis, actually ìsawî in their minds in a state of Samadhi, the state of mystical one-ness. The defense of mystical seeing as experience-based and therefore scientific serves to present poetic, existential and philosophical speculations as if they are actual facts of nature, empirically accessible to minds tuned to a different frequency by yoga and intense meditation.

Take for example, the concepts of kundalini and chakras, popular among the yoga-Ayurveda crowd. Kundalini is often taught by modern gurus and yogis as if it were a real biological entity, a ìcoil of powerî that lies at the bottom of a hollow canal called ìsushumnaî that is supposed to run through the spinal column. An explicitly realist description of kundalini first appeared in Swami Vivekananda's lectures on Raj Yoga which introduced the ancient Yoga Sutras of Patanjali to the West sometime in the waning years of the 19 th century. Vivekananda describes kundalini as if it were a real physical force that ìforces a passage through this hollow canal [the non-existent Sushumna, that is], and as it rises step by step, layer after layer of the mind becomes open and all the different visions and wonderful powers come to the yogi. When it reaches the brain, the yogi is perfectly detached from the body and the mindÖ5 According to those who have studied Patanjali's Yoga Sutras in the original, kundalini and chakras were never intended to be referential: they were meant to be imaginary aids to help in yogic meditations. The ìsubtle bodyî of the yogis was never meant to be some kind of a ìquantum mechanical body,î made up of morphic fields or unified fields. It was a body image, an abstract image that a yogi could focus his mind upon. Likewise, chakras, which are often presented as actual nerve centers, were ìrungs on an imagined ladder for the yogi to check his progress.6 Clearly, Vivekananda and his countless neo-Hindu gurus, were reifying imaginary concepts into actual physical entities.

How is this feat accomplished? Vivekananda's writings set the tone and every modern guru advertising the scientific nature of Hinduism has followed Vivekananda's lead. Vivekananda essentially presented mysticism as scientific in spirit and content: whereas scientists see merely with their senses, yogis were seeing the universe in a supersensory state of consciousness. Thus the existence of kundalini gets translated into an objective fact of human anatomy on the testimony of the mystics. Just like science, mystics' vision was also based upon experience and was therefore scientific and commanded rational consent (as compared to the faith-based consent of Christians and Muslims). One finds exactly similar arguments, dressed up in quantum mechanical terms in the writings of modern gurus like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Deepak Chopra.

When I picked up The End of Faith, I did not expect to find a very similar defense of mysticism coming from such a militant rationalist as Harris. Harris concedes the basic point that the Hindu gurus cited above are making, that mystical experience is a knowledge experience, and that mystical seeing tells you something about the objective world.

I believe that Harris is making the same two mistakes that neo-Hindus routinely make: They confuse the method and rigor of meditation with the rigor of its conclusions, and they confuse the mystical ìseeingî with ordinary seeing that takes place in science. They forget that empiricism in science is class apart from the spiritual empiricism of the mystics. Not all experiences qualify as scientific: to forget that is to open the door to all kinds of pseudo-sciences.

 

6. Will spirituality end all wars?

At the root of all wars, Harris tells us, lies the separateness, or the dualism, between human beings, between the ìIî and the non ìIî: ìEvery problem we have can be ascribed to the fact that human beings are utterly beguiled by their feeling of separetnessî (p. 214). He ascribes this separateness ñ as have so many theosophists and mystics, many of whom held deeply anti-Semitic views, before him ñ to the Abrahamic tradition itself which has demanded faith in a God who is Himself separate from his creation.

Recall that for Harris, it is the content of religious ideas that alone motivates religious violence. His working principle is ìas a man believes, so shall he act.î Those whose faith tradition teaches them separateness will be intolerant, aggressive and always fighting wars.

If it is all about theology, stupid!, it follows that the solution to wars will also be theological. Harris's solution is simple: shed the ìI.î The more ordinary people can divest themselves of the feeling they call ìIî, Harris tells us, the more they will divest the feeling that they are separate from the rest of the universe (p. 40). And the more they feel themselves connected to the universe, the less they will have the feelings of fear and anger. Love and compassion will follow (p. 219-220). Mahesh Yogi could not have said it any better!

But even if one played along with Harris's badly flawed, theology-centered diagnosis of religious extremism, it is simply not true that spiritual, non-dualistic Eastern religions are free from violence. And is simply not true that shedding the ìIî makes for a free and peaceable society. Streaks of violence and authoritarianism run deep in societies which worship at the altar of ìone-ness.î Harris, who is so alert to the ìinherentî violence of the Koran, is completely blind to the religious sources of violence in the ìspiritual East.î (Having said that, I don't want to turn around and start pinning the social problems of the East on to Eastern religions alone. I reject the very premise that any religion is inherently violent or inherently peaceful. One simply cannot brush away the social and political context in which religious ideas express themselves for the good and for the bad.)

The Jains of India may not be committing acts of suicide bombings, as Harris reminds us repeatedly.7 But can one honestly say that Jains and pious Hindus, many of strict vegetarians, have shown any compassion and ìone-nessî for the Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities in India ? Has their Hinduism prevented Tamil Tigers from conducting suicide bombings against the equally ìspiritualî Buddhists of Sri Lanka? (And conversely, has the Buddhism of the Sri Lankan majority prevented their vicious discrimination against the Tamils?). Didn't Zen Buddhists actively and enthusiastically support the violent ultra-nationalism of the Japanese people in Japan 's brutal imperialist wars against China and Korea ? Were the Japanese kamikazes not motivated by the teachings of Buddhism? Don't some Hindus interpret the Bhagvat Gita to support violence in defense of their dharma? There is a complex history of nationalism, religion and racism behind each one of these historical episodes. Critical scholars have begun to question the image of peace and harmony that is supposed to be the hallmark of the non-dualist Eastern religions. Harris would do well to study this emerging literature to bring some balance to his faith-bad/spiritualism-good fairy tale.8

Moreover, Harris is completely oblivious to the authoritarian implications of the one-ness he worships. Shedding one's ìI-nessî is a recipe for group-think and authoritarianism. The individual in her everyday life, with her everyday sensory knowledge of here-and-now is treated as an illusion of no consequence when seen from the mystical high of one-ness. The Gnostic vision of one-ness, mind you, is not supposed to be available to the hoi polloi, who are supposed to be weighted down by the ìgross matterî of their bodies and fooled by their senses. The enlightened have always constituted a spiritual aristocracy in Eastern societies. The holism of caste society is what you get when one-ness is made into the highest religious ideal.

To conclude this review: Mysticism is not a rational alternative to faith. Dissolving our sense of individual self in a larger spiritual one-ness will not end wars and oppression. Those who cannot accept a personal God on faith alone can't hide behind mysticism or spiritualism either. Reason bars them both, and human good transcends them both.

Notes and References

  1. This distinction between wise and unwise mystics comes from a very wise mystic, Agehananda Bharati, a Viennese who became a Hindu monk. See his The Light at the Center: Context and Pretext of Modern Mysticism . Santa Barbara : Ross-Erikson, 1976. I count Susan Blackmore, the ex-ESP researcher and now a major exponent of naturalistic view of consciousness and a serious practitioner of Zen meditation among wise mystics. John Horgan's exploration of rational mysticism is far wiser than Harris's. See John Horgan, Rational Mysticism: Dispatches between the Border between Science and Mysticism , New York : Hougton Mifflin, 2003.
  2. William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience , Modern Library Paperback Edition, 2002, p. 414-415
  3. Andrew Newberg, Eugene D'Aquili and Vince Rause, Why God won't go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief , New York : Ballentine Books, 2001.pp 149-152.
  4. I look at the co-option of science into religion in India and America in a comparative perspective in a recent essay, ìGodless States in God Lands: Dilemmas of Secularism in America and India ,î in Axess, 2005, no. 8., available at http://www.axess.se/english/ . See also, Is India a Science Superpower? Frontline , Sept. 10-23, 2005 , available at http://www.flonnet.com/fl2219/stories/20050923002109200.htm .
  5. Swami Vivekananda, Raj Yoga, in The Collected Works of Swami Vivekananda , Mayavati Memorial Edition, Vol. 1 (Kolkatta: Advaita Center ), p. 160.
  6. See Agehananda Bharati, note 1, p. 164-165.
  7. Established in the sixth century BCE by Mahavira, Jainism is one of the oldest religious traditions of India and shares Hindu beliefs in reincarnation and karma. Jains reject belief in a creator god and seek release from endless reincarnation through a life of strict self-denial. In addition, Jainism places a special emphasis on ahimsa (non-injury) to all living beings. Monks and nuns are sometimes seen with muslin cloths over their mouths to keep out flying insects, and they are enjoined to use small brooms to gently sweep away living creatures from their path, so as to not accidentally crush them. See beliefnet.com for more details.
  8. Some important writings include: Brian Victoria, Zen at War , New York : Weatherhill, 1997. Robert Sharf, ìThe Zen of Japanese Nationalism,î in Donald S. Lopez, Jr. ed, Curators of the Buddha , Chicago University Press, 1995. Denis Vidal, Gilles Tarabout and Eric Meyer (eds.) Violence/Non-Violence : Some Hindu Perspectives , New Delhi , Manohar, 2003.

Meera Nanda was trained a microbiologist before turning to philosophy of science. She the author of three books, including Prophets Facing Backward: Postmodernism, Science and Hindu Nationalism (Rutgers University Press, 2004). She is a recipient of a research fellowship from the Templeton Foundation.


©2005 Metanexus Institute

Published on 2005.12.22

12/22/2005 03/21/2007 9390 Evolution and Intelligent Design 1. Introduction

 

Intelligent Design is a successor to creationism, but more subtle and more acceptable of the evolution theory. It arose from biochemist Michael Behe's book Darwin's Black Box,1 and was seconded, mainly on statistical grounds, by William Dembski.2 They claim that certain complex systems, like the immune system, bloodclotting, visual mechanism and bacterial flagella, cannot have arisen from a darwinian sequence of mutation-selection steps, but must be the result of 'Intelligent Design' (ID). Behe calls them 'irreducibly complex systems', defined as systems consisting of several closely fitting and interacting components that cease to function when a single component is removed. This implies to him that they cannot have been formed by an evolutionary process. He does not explain the mechanism of ID, and scrupulously avoids the use of the term 'God'. This is presumably because the purpose of Behe and his adherents is to obtain a place for ID in biology textbooks for public schools in the United States in order to pull evolution down a peg.3

A well-funded institute, the Discovery Institute, Seattle, Washington, was set up to lobby state legislatures and school boards on the textbook issue. This i nstitute also sponsors Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) clubs on US college campuses, of which there are now twenty.4 ID falls on a fertile ground in the USA as shown by a poll taken by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in July 2005:5 Strict creationist views are held by 42% of the respondents, 48% believe in human evolution, but only 26% by natural selection and 18% by a supreme being. Of the respondents 64% favor teaching both creationism and evolution; 38% would replace evolution by creationism.

There are now 70 controversies over the teaching of ID pending in 26 states.5 In Pennsylvania a court case has been brought by eleven parents against the York County school district for requiring teaching of ID next to evolution. The hearings have been completed, and the judge will give his verdict in January 2006. Meanwhile in a new election all members of the Schoolboard have been voted out of office, and the new board has decided against including ID in the teaching of evolution. On the other hand, the Kansas state legilature passed a law that requires teaching of ID.

Dubious tactics by the ID movement are not always avoided, as shown by a news item in Science,6 mentioning that the ID New Mexico Network had announced that in a poll among 16,000 scientists of the Los Alamos and Sandia Laboratories 79% were in favor of teaching ID in schools. Inquiries by Science led to statements by the president of Sandia L aboratory and of the American Insitute of Physics that there had not been such a poll.

The ID message has also reached Europe. In the Netherlands ID is promoted in a translation of a creationist book, originally published in the United States,7 and some reputable academic scientists (without much knowledge of the American background) appear to be impressed with ID.8 Whence this enchantment with ID even for scientists? Because, Michael Ruse says, for many evolutionary biologists, " evolution was their profession …evolutionism their obsession ".9 These scientists reject Christianity, only to replace it with evolutionism. To this some believing scientists react by embracing ID. Both groups forget that evolution theory - like any scientific theory - can neither prove nor disprove God's creative action in the world. I shall treat here the evolution theory as nothing more than a scientific explanation of the mechanism by which new species arose from preceding ones.

 

2. Analyzing the problem

In itself it is a valid scientific question to ask whether complex systems like the ones cited by Behe can arise through a mutation-selection process or not. Unfortunately, neither the proponents nor the opponents in their numerous publications cite significant scientific evidence for their positions. However, in sections 3 and 4 I shall show that our rapidly increasing insight in molecular genetics can provide answers to this question, even in the face of the obvious lack of fossil evidence for the development of complex systems.

Another problem is that ID - notwithstanding the repeated claim of its adherents - is not a scientific, but a metaphysical concept, which by its nature cannot be proven right or wrong by scientific observations or experiments. Science can very nicely elucidate the cause-effect steps occurring in evolution, but it cannot explain a First Cause, such as the operation of God or of ID in biological evolution. That is the province of theology, which I shall apply to the ID hypothesis in section 5..

Before proceeding, I shall briefly review the arguments presented in support of the ID hypothesis by Behe and Dembski. Behe basically says no more than that complex systems, such as the visual mechanism, bloodclotting system, immune system, and bacterial flagellum, cannot have arisen from a mere sequence of mutation-selection steps, because this would take much longer than the history of evolution permits. Moreover, he calls these systems irreducibly complex, meaning that removal of one component makes them lose function. And this, he says, implies that they could not have developed through an evolutionary process. But in sections 3 and 4 I shall show that these are dubious claims.

Dembski claims that design can be detected objectively by means of his 'design-detection filter'. There are, he says, only three possibilities for the appearance of a complex system: chance (random evolution), necessity (operation of natural laws), and design .10 For 'chance' he takes the example of the bacterial flagellum, which is made up of a base consisting of 10 proteins and anchored in the cell membrane and a tail consisting of 20 proteins. Assuming that the 30 proteins are composed of 300 aminoacids each, and knowing that there are 20 different natural aminoacids, he obtains a probability of 20 -300 for each protein. He concedes that the proteins need not get the exact aminoacid sequence right in order to be functional, so he cuts the odds to 20 -30 = 10 -39 . For 30 proteins the probabilities must be multiplied, giving an overall probability of 10 -1170 . This, he says, clearly rules out formation of the flagellum by chance. [However, in section 4 I shall explain that the flagellum has not arisen in a single 'chance' operation, so Dembski's probability calculation and thus his conclusion are not correct.] 'Necessity' he rules out because it would make the system inflexible. [Here he disregards the fact that so-called non-linear systems (to which all living organisms belong) are according to natural law subject to chaos events. In other words, a process governed by natural law doesn't necessarily lead to inflexibility.] Having ruled out (he thinks) 'chance' and 'necessity', he concludes that complex systems must be the result of 'design'.

Some obvious questions are not answered by the ID proponents: What is the mechanism of ID? How frequently does design occur? What percentage of organisms exhibit ID? Do we find design to be more prevalent in some lines of descent than others? Are human pathogens such as AIDS, cholera, and malaria intelligently designed?11 The latter question points to the observation that there are in nature many examples of what might be called 'unintelligent' design.12 Of all species that have arisen more than 99% have died out. While rabbits have a large and functional appendix, humans have only a vestigial, non-functional appendix that makes us prone to appendicitis. The recurrent laryngeal nerve in mammals does not go directly from cranium to larynx, but extends down the neck to the chest, loops around a lung ligament and then runs back up the neck to the larynx. This means that in a giraffe this nerve has a length of 20 ft., where one foot would have done. In the cephalopod (e.g., squid) eye the photoreceptor cells are turned towards the incoming light, which seems a good design, but in the mammalian eye they are pointing in the opposite direction, which would be poor design.

 

3. Recent insights from molecular genetics

The major reason for Behe to adopt the ID hypothesis is that the evolutionary development of complex systems would take too long. However, gene play , as I like to call the interaction and regulation of genes, is now known to be much more complex and flexible than was thought.

For example, the biosynthesis of a flower pigment may involve a dozen or more steps, each controlled by a different enzyme, and thus by a different gene.13 Both synthesis and activity of these enzymes are controlled by regulator proteins, for which additional genes are needed. These regulator proteins also affect the time and place where the pigment is produced. Still other proteins control stability and subcellular localization of the pigment. Genes coding for the latter proteins are in turn regulated by another set of proteins, 'transcription factors', each encoded by a different gene. When a single gene seems to control a trait, it is because the enzyme encoded by that gene acts as the rate-limiting factor, not because this gene is the only one involved.

Species-specific genes are rare: in the mouse only 1% of its 30,000 genes are specific for the mouse, while it shares 77% of its genes with all other mammals.14 The phenotype (what makes a mouse a mouse) must be determined to a large extent by other factors than the genome. Of 1300 coding genes in the coral Acropora millepora 450 are found in humans, but 50 of these are missing in fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster and nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans .15

Gene doubling , the phenomenon that many genes occur in doubles (in yeast 25% of its genes)16 offers better protection against harmful mutations, and also accelerates evolution by having one gene maintain the function, while its double is free to evolve a new function. In mice such doubles are involved in important functions, like reproduction, immunity, detoxification and smell.

Hox genes are genes that direct embryonic development.17 An example is the pac-6 gene that controls the development of all three eye types, the facet eye of insects, the cephalopod eye (visual cells turned towards the lens) and the vertebrate eye (visual cells turned away from the lens).18 When the mouse pac-6 gene is inserted in the fruitfly Drosophila , many facet eyes (not mouse eyes!) develop on its wings and legs. This gene must have arisen in a mutual ancestor that emerged from the Cambrian explosion, 540 million years ago. The hox genes hox-10 and hox-11 control skeletal development in all vertebrates.19 The hox gene twist plays a crucial role in the dorsal-ventral orientation, an important early step in embryonic development. This gene is activated by the protein b-catenin , which is released by embryonic cells when they are compressed during transition from the blastula to the gastrula stage.20

Transcription factors are proteins that can switch genes on and off.21 Each cell has many of these factors, which regulate transcription. They form a complex network, because one factor can bind to several genes and vice versa. Yeast has 141 transcription factors of which 106 bind to 2300 locations in the genome, humans even have 1700 transcription factors.

Junk DNA (up to 98% of all DNA), until recently thought to be useless because it does not code for any protein, now appears to have a function after all.22 By interaction with neighboring genes, it appears to regulate the activity of these genes and thereby increase the ability of the organism to evolve. 'Junk DNA' thus acts as a reservoir of ready-to-use segments for nature's evolutionary experiments. Mammalian junk DNA sequences are strongly conserved, remaining largely unchanged for as long as 300 million years, and are therefore now called 'conserved non-genic sequences' (CNGs).23 Junk DNA affects inheritance, development and disease, and may be responsible for what makes one person different from the next.24 It forms RNA transcripts that control other genes by destroying their messenger RNAs. This process, called RNA interference , serves to silence genes in differentiated cells.25 It has probably emerged a billion years ago to protect some common ancestor to plants, animals and fungi against viruses and 'hopping genes'. When not defending against attack, the system apparently serves to silence normal genes during differentiation.

The environment plays an important role in the development of complex traits. From studies of single-egg human twins it is known that 'nature' (genes) and 'nurture' (environment, education, etc.) have about an equal effect.26 This has been confirmed in a long-term study of the titmouse ( Parus major ), of which there are two types: active and timid birds.27 When males and females of the same type were mated in captivity for many generations, the active line showed increased activity, the timid line increased timidity. Rearing mixed nests by foster parents gave an estimate of the genetic component of behavior: 54% in captivity, 30-40% in the field. This was confirmed by analysis of blood samples. The smaller genetic effect in the field is ascribed to the more varying conditions as compared to captivity.

The flexibility and complexity of gene play may make possible relatively rapid evolutionary changes. E.g., whereas the 5-mm-size shrimp Xenoleberis has not evolved in 425 million yr, the cichlid fish in Lake Victoria developed 500 species in only 12,000 yrs. Another example is the case of the titmouse described in the preceding paragraph. There is also the case of the stickleback, where the marine form has 35 body plates and three pelvic spines.28 Upon transfer to a fresh-water lake it loses within a few generations the plates and pelvic spines and also undergoes changes in jaw and gill-protecting bones. The gene responsible is Pitx-1 , a hox gene that also plays a role in hindlimb formation in mice. Breeding the fresh-water form in seawater reverses the changes in two generations. It appears that the Pitx-1gene is active in sea water and inactive in fresh water. Not the mutation of a gene, but its activation or inactivation is responsible for this large phenotypical change.

None of these findings are mentioned in the publications of Behe and his associates.

 

4. 'Irreducibly' complex is not quite that

Here I shall show that none of the four prime examples of irreducibly complex systems mentioned by Behe is quite 'irreducible'.

Rhodopsin, the light-sensitive component of the visual system, consists of a protein called opsin, to which is bound retinaldehyde (oxidized form of vitamin A). Rhodopsin is found in all three eye types (insect, cephalopod, vertebrate), but also in bacteria, where it serves as the light-sensitive element of a proton pump. It may, therefore, be some 600 million years old and flexible enough to serve two quite different functions and operate in three widely different eye types. Recently, 782 rhodopsin homologs (varying in the aminoacid composition of the opsin) were detected in samples of microbial populations collected from the Sargasso Sea.29 These findings indicate that rhodopsin is not irreducibly complex and suggest a gene-based evolution of the many different types of rhodopsin

The bloodclotting system in humans consists of twelve factors that work together in a cascade to produce bloodclotting. The dolphin misses one of these factors, the Hagemann factor (Factor XII), yet it has normal bloodclotting, while humans missing this factor are hemophiliacs.30 A primitive clotting system was already present in the jawless vertebrates hagfish and lamprey that diverged over 450 million years ago.31 The system consists of three factors, tissue factor, prothrombin and fibrinogen, all part of the present mammalian blood clotting system. This suggests that the blood clotting system has evolved over a period of at least 450 million years, and cannot be called 'irreducibly complex'.

The immune system is a complex system with several components. A crucial component is the protein immunoglobulin G (IgG) that is responsible for the production of antibodies against harmful intruders. In humans the IgG is made up of four protein chains, two heavy and two light ones. Each of these consists of an invariable and a variable part, which permits the production of millions of different antibodies. The IgG of camels has no light chains,32 which means that it can produce only a few thousands of antibodies. Yet, the camel lives happily with this restricted system. Presumably, the simple system of the camel evolved to the more complex and more potent system in humans. Recently, it was found that the Drosophila fruit fly has a gene Dscam that can encode up to 38,000 slightly different proteins which function as primitive antibodies.33 It appears to be an early step in the evolution of the immunoglobulins. Again not 'irreducibly complex'.

The bacterial flagellum , the crown jewel of the ID movement, is composed of a base made up of 10 proteins and located in the cell membrane to which is attached a tail made up of 20 proteins. The same 10 proteins of the base form the type III secretion system (TTSS) by which gram-negative bacteria insert their toxins into the cells of the host.34 Here we have an example of 'evolutionary convergence',35 the return of an earlier developed structure in a later, more advanced species, like the fin of the ichthyosaurus returning in the dolphin, and rhodopsin first appearing in the protonpump of bacteria and then returning in a different function in the three eye types. So the flagellum does not fit Behe's definition of an irreducibly complex system.

Not mentioned in the ID literature is the case of the Myxococcus xanthus bacteria. Normally these bacteria move collectively over a solid nutrient medium by means of pili (digital extrusions). When the gene for pili formation is destroyed, the bacteria develop within 32 generations a novel motility system consisting of an extracellular matrix of protein fibrils, which allows them to move even more rapidly.36 Would we have to believe that the Designer was looking over the shoulders of the microbiologists and then designed on the spot a new motility system for the manipulated bacteria?

All the above indicates that none of the systems described by Behe as examples of irreducibly complex systems, nor the motility system of the Myxococcus bacteria, fits his definition of 'irreducible complexity'. There are, moreover, clear indications for evolutionary development in all these cases.

 

5. Theological aspects

Behe, Dembski and all other ID adherents vigorously claim that 'intelligent design' is a scientific hypothesis to explain what they consider the inability of the commonly accepted evolution theory to explain the origin of complex systems in living organisms. However, they fail to explain the concept of 'intelligent design' in scientific terms and to give the merest scientific explanation of its operation. This makes it a scientifically untestable hypothesis. Behe doesn't make any attempt to prove the hypothesis. Dembski uses his 'design-detection filter' to show that complex systems cannot have arisien by 'chance' or 'necessity' and thus must be the result of design, but this is unconvincing, to say the least (section 2)..

This means that 'Intelligent Design' is not a scientific but a metaphysical concept. Inasmuch as design requires a designer, ID implies an 'Intelligent Designer', a creator god. This makes ID a theological concept. The fact that Behe, Dembski and their adherents deny this,37 can be ascribed to their desire to have the ID hypothesis included in biology textbooks of the American public schools.3

Its theological nature then makes the ID hypothesis a form of 'God in the gap' theology, in which a specific act of God is proposed for a natural phenomenon that cannot (yet) be explained scientifically. However, the rapid advances in molecular genetics, described in sections 3 and 4, appear to be filling up the gap more and more. This leaves God at the mercy of scientific advances, which is theologically unacceptable.. Moreover, the examples of 'unintelligent' design, described in section 2, appear to make God a 'bumbling hobbyist' rather than a 'superior engineer'.

It seems to me more reasonable, theologically as well as scientifically, to assume that the design of the entire creation, including complex systems, was laid down in the beginning in the form of the physical laws and fundamental constants, which have governed cosmic and biological evolution.ever since. Its capricious and often 'unintelligent' course suggests that God permits biological evolution to proceed in a trial-and-error process to explore all possibilities. This allows the process to achieve the optimal endresult, unlikely to be reached by imposing ad hoc designs for every complex system in nature. However, I suggest that God retains the possibility to keep this free process on the rails by incidentally influencing a chaos event.38

The basic fallacy of the ID proponents is that they fail to distinguish between the questions that can and should be answered by science (how-questions) and by theology (why-questions). If scientists would have to conclude that certain complex systems cannot have originated by a traditional evolutionary scenario, then it is up to them to find out how they did originate without appealing to a transcendent cause. Theologians must ask themselves why the Creator made these systems develop, regardless of the exact mechanism by which they arose. In a dialogue between scientists and theologians it will then be possible to reach a deeper and comprehensive understanding of their respective findings.39

 

6. Conclusions

(1) 'Gene play', the operation and interaction of genes, turns out to be much more complex and flexible than a simple darwinian sequence of mutation/selection steps. This suggests that major evolutionary steps can occur much faster than has been thought.

 

(2) All four of Behe's examples of 'irreducibly complex systems' and the motility system of the Myxococcus bacteria are not 'irreducibly' complex, and show signs of evolutionary development.

 

(3) This means that there is no solid scientific basis for the ID hypothesis, and that in time to come it may well become superfluous.

 

(4) The theological weakness of the ID hypothesis is that it is basically a form of 'God in the gap' theology, with the gap being rapidly narrowed by advances in molecular genetics.

 

(5) The basic fallacy of the ID proponents is that they fail to distinguish between the questions that can and should be answered by science (how-questions) and by theology (why-questions).

 

(6) More reasonable, theologically as well as scientifically, is to assume that the design of the entire creation, including complex biological systems, was laid down in the beginning in the physical laws and fundamental constants, which have governed cosmic and biological evolution ever since, and that God allows evolution to proceed in a trial-and-error process exploring all possibilities and providing the optimal endresult. The examples of 'unintelligent' design in nature support this.assumption.

 

(7) God keeps creation on the rails by influencing a chaos event in crisis situations.

 

Notes and References

1. Michael J.Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution , Touchstone, New York, 1996.

2. William Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science and Theology, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill, 1999.

3. An opposite argument for inclusion of ID in biology textbooks is taken by constitutional lawyer John H. Calvert (published online by Discovery Institute, Sept.25, 2004). He argues that the e volution theory is methodological naturalism, which is an ideology, a non-theistic belief system. The same is true for ID. Since the Supreme Court has ruled that religion also includes nontheistic belief systems (Elk Grove Unified School District et al v. Newdow et al., Supreme Court, June 14, 2004), a school that teaches evolution theory, must also permit teaching of ID in Calvert's view, as the First Amendment requires governments (incl. schoolboards) to observe neutrality between religions.

4. Geoff Brumfield, Who has designs on your students' minds?, Nature 434 , 1062-1065, 2005 Apr.28. Six Gallup polls between 1982 and 2001 showed that between 44 and 47% of Americans are creationists and between 35 and 40% believe in evolution guided by God, the ID position. Only 9 to 12% believe in evolution without divine guidance.

5. Laurie Goodstein, Teaching of Creationism Is Endorsed in New Survey, New York Times , Aug.31, 2005.

6. Scientists Irate Over Creationist Poll, Science 301 , 1043, 2003.

7. Ariel A. Roth, Origins, linking science and scripture , Review and Herald, Hagerstown, MD, 1998.

8. Cees Dekker et al., eds., Schitterend Ongeluk of Sporen van Ontwerp? [Brilliant Mishap or Traces of Design], Ten Have, Kampen, 2005.

9. Michael Ruse, The Evolution–Creation Struggle , Harvard University Press: 2005.

10. William Dembski, No Free Lunch , Rowman&Littlefield, Lanham, MD,

2002, p.301.

11. Gregory R. Peterson, The intelligent-design movement: science or ideology? Zygon , 37 (1): 07-23, March 2002.

12. Jim Holt, Unintelligent Design, New York Times , Feb.20, 2005.

13. H.F. Nijhout, The Importance of Context in Genetics, American Scientist 91

(no.5), 416-423, 2003 Sept./Oct.

14. Ken Howard, Key to exploring genomes is more genomes, Scientific American 287 (no.5), 13, 2002 Nov.

15. R.D. Kortschak et al, EST analysis of the cnidarian Acropora millepora reveals extensive gene loss and rapid sequence divergence in the model invertebrates. Current Biology , 13, 2190-2195, (2003).

16. Zhenglong Gu et al, Role of duplicate genes, Nature 421 , 63-66, 2003.

17. Elizabeth Pennisi and Wade Roush, Developing a New View of Evolution,

Science, 277 :34-37, 1997; J.H. Schwartz, Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, Emergence of Species , Wiley, New York, 1999.

18. Charles S. Zuker, On the Evolution of Eyes, Science 265 :742-743, 1994. Two additional eye regulator genes, ey and dac, have been found in Drosophila , which suggests the existence of a hierarchy of such genes (Wade Roush, Science, 275 :618-619, 1997).

19. D.M. Wellik and M.R. Capecchi, Hox 10 and Hox 11 Genes Are Required to Globally Pattern the Mammalian Skeleton, Science 301 , 363-367, 2003.

20. Ian C. Scott and Didier Y.R. Stainier, Twisting the body into shape, Nature 425 , 461-462, 2003.

21. Scientists Produce the Script for Life, ASBMB Today , Dec. 2002, pp.14-15.

22. W. Makalowski, Not Junk After All, Science 300 , 1246-1247, 2003;

23. M. Johnston and G.D. Stormo, Heirlooms in the Attic, Science 302 , 997-999, 2003.

24. W.W. Gibbs, The Unseen Genome: Gems among the Junk, Scient. Amer. 289 (5), 26-33, 2003; W.W. Gibbs, The Unseen Genome: Beyond DNA, Scient. Amer. 289 (6), 78-85, 2003.

25. Nelson C. Lau and David P. Bartel, Censors of the Genome, Scient. Amer. 289 (2), 26-33, 2003. See also a series of five articles on RNA interference in Nature 431 , 343-378 (16 September 2004).

26. Thomas J. Bouchard, Genes, Environment, and Personality, Science, 264 , 1700-1701, 1994.

27. Pieter J. Drent et al., Realised heritability of personalities in the great tit ( Parus major ). Proc.Roy.Soc. London B 270 (no.1510), 45- 52, 2003.

28. Elizabeth Pennisi, Changing a Fish's Bony Armour In the Wink of a Gene, Science 304 , 1736-1739, 2004 June 18.

29. J. Craig Venter et al., Environmental Genome Shotgun Sequencing of the Sargasso Sea, Science 304 , 66-74, 2004 Apr.2.

30. A.J. Robinson et al, Hagemann Factor (Factor XII) Deficiency in Marine Mammals. Science 166 : 1420-1422, 1969.

31. C.J. Davidson et al , 450 million years of hemostasis, Journal of Thrombosis and Heamostasis 1 , 1487-1494, 2003.

32. V.K. Nguyen et al, Heavy-chain only antibodies derived from dromedary are secreted and displayed by mouse B cells, Immunology 109 (1):93-101, 2003 May.

33. Elizabeth Pennisi, Versatile Development Gene Aids Insect Immune Response, Science 309 , 1166-1167, 2005 Aug.19.

34. S.-I. Aizawa, Bacterial flagella and type III secretion systems, FEMS Microbiology Letters 202 , 157-164, 2001.

35. Simon Conway Morris, We were meant to be..., New Scientist , 26-29, 2002; Ibid., Life's Solution, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge , 2003.

36. Gregory J. Velicer and Yuen-tsu N. Yu, Evolution of novel cooperative swarming in the bacterium Myxococcus xanthus , Nature 425 , 75-78, 2003.

37. Actually, in the trial of the case of 11 parents against the Dover schoolboard, Michael Behe as a witness for the defense admitted on cross-examination that to him the designer is God. In his verdict Judge John E. Jones concludes that ID is not science and that, therefore, "it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom." He speaks about "the breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision."

38. Sjoerd L. Bonting, Creation and Double Chaos , Fortress-Augsburg Press, Minneapolis, 2005, pp.115-122.

39. Sjoerd L. Bonting, ref.38, pp.2-6.


Click here for a PDF version of this field analysis complete with an extensive bibliography.

©2005 Metanexus Institute

Published on 2005.12.22.

The basic fallacy of the ID proponents is that they fail to distinguish between the questions that can and should be answered by science (how-questions) and by theology (why-questions). If scientists would have to conclude that certain complex systems cannot have originated by a traditional evolutionary scenario, then it is up to them to find out how they did originate without appealing to a transcendent cause. Theologians must ask themselves why the Creator made these systems develop, regardless of the exact mechanism by which they arose. In a dialogue between scientists and theologians it will then be possible to reach a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of their respective findings. 12/22/2005 03/21/2007 9391 Request for Proposals: Science and the Spirit, Pentecostal Perspectives on the Science/Religion Dialogue (Correction) REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Science and the Spirit:Pentecostal Perspectives on the Science/Religion Dialogue

A Research Initiative directed by

Amos Yong (Regent University) and James K. A. Smith (Calvin College)

Funded by the John Templeton Foundation

Proposals are invited for a new research initiative that seeks to bring the global resources of Pentecostal/charismatic Christianity into dialogue with the sciences. We are building a team of scholars from across the disciplines (including natural, human, and social sciences, as well as philosophy and theology) to undertake original research at the intersection of Pentecostal spirituality, pneumatology, and the sciences.

For complete information about the initiative and information for applicants,visit http://www.calvin.edu/scs/scienceandspirit REQUEST FOR PROPOSALSScience and the Spirit:Pentecostal Perspectives on the Science/Religion DialogueA Research Initiative directed by Amos Yong (Regent University) and James K. A. Smith (Calvin College)Funded by the John Templeton FoundationProposals are invited for a new research initiative that seeks to bring the global resources of Pentecostal/charismatic Christianity into dialogue with the sciences. We are building a team of scholars from across the disciplines (including natural, human, and social sciences, as well as philosophy and theology) to undertake original research at the intersection of Pentecostal spirituality, pneumatology, and the sciences. For complete information about the initiative and information for applicants, visit http://www.calvin.edu/scs/scienceandspirit 12/23/2005 03/21/2007 9392 Meeting: SPIRITUALITY, RELIGION, AND HEALTH INTEREST GROUP, Wednesday, January 4, 2006, University of Pennsylvania Announcement of the January meeting of Penn'sSPIRITUALITY, RELIGION, AND HEALTH INTEREST GROUP

Wednesday, January 4, 200610:00 to 11:30 AMHUP Hirst Auditorium (Dulles 1)

REFLECTIONS ON HOSPITAL CHAPLAINCY FROM AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVEwith Britt Dahlberg

For more information, contact the Pastoral Care Department at 215-662-2591,or visit the Department web site at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/pastoral Announcement of the January meeting of Penn's SPIRITUALITY, RELIGION, AND HEALTH INTEREST GROUP Wednesday, January 4, 200610:00 to 11:30 AM HUP Hirst Auditorium (Dulles 1) REFLECTIONS ON HOSPITAL CHAPLAINCY FROM AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE with Britt Dahlberg For more information, contact the Pastoral Care Department at 215-662-2591, or visit the Department web site at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/pastoral 12/30/2005 03/21/2007 9393 Metanexus Institute Conference 2006 Call for Papers Metanexus Institute Conference 2006-CALL FOR PAPERS

Perspectives on Science and Religion: Continuity and Change

An international, interdisciplinary, interfaith conference on issues in science and religion exploring the need and struggle to be anchored in a fast-changing world.

Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science will hold its annual conference, this year entitled Science and Religion: Continuity and Change, June 3 through 7, 2006, on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. For more information, visit www.metanexus.net/conference2006.

Deadline for Abstracts: February 1, 2006

CONFERENCE THEME

Change and continuity-a metaphysical problem as old as thought itself. Heraclitus, famous for holding that all things pass and nothing abides; you cannot step twice into the same stream, also insisted: It is wise to hearken to the Logos and to confess that all things are one! For Heraclitus, change, the clash of opposites, is essential to the unity and stability-the continuity-of reality.

But the tension between continuity and change is not simply an ancient philosophical conundrum. It is also at the root of the most pressing questions of our time. Scientific theories in physics and cosmology; in biology and evolution; in psychology, neuroscience, and studies of consciousness and personal identity are all informed by questions of change and continuity. We wrestle with the tensions of tradition vs. innovation in the law, in religious thought, and political life. Culture itself is the expression of the tension between continuity and change. Our daily headlines announce it!

In addition, the pace of change in scientific discovery, religious thought and practice, technological advancement, environmental transformation, and globalized culture is accelerating at such a dizzying rate that our abilities to cope are tested to the limits. But the key to our thriving and flourishing as human beings-perhaps, to our very survival-depends on how we find continuity in the midst of such rapid change.

If Heraclitus is right that change is essential to the continuity of reality, and change is the clash of opposites, then the constructive engagement of the seemingly clashing opposites of science and religion may hold the secret to our well-being and our future.

The Metanexus Institute welcomes you to join over 200 delegates from more than 35 countries at this conference dedicated to fostering an open and exploratory dialogue between science and religion. Attendees bring expertise from a broad range of the natural and social sciences, as well as from various faith traditions and philosophical perspectives. They represent in an ever-expanding international network of scholars, teachers, clergy, and activists who are involved in the transdisciplinary exploration of the foundational questions of humanity, the cosmos, and the divine. All are cordially invited to join the conversation and contribute to expanding our capacity to cope with rapid change, to explore the nature and benefit of continuity, and to pursue wisdom in the service of humanity and our world.

CALL FOR PAPERS

The Metanexus conference this year hosts the 5th annual convention of representatives of the Metanexus Local Societies Initiative (LSI), a grant program supporting locally-operating, globally-networked transdisciplinary dialogue societies. Both LSI members and non-members alike are invited to submit papers that address the issues and challenges of continuity and change--both for the diverse fields of human inquiry as well as for the institutional settings in which research is pursued--brought on by the growth of the science and religion dialogue worldwide.

There are two broad categories of submissions invited for the 2006 Conference:

Category A. Continuity and Change in Science and Religion

Papers are invited in the following broad thematic areas. Papers may approach these issues from a variety of religious, cultural, and theoretical perspectives, including Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, other religions, developing world, traditional cultures, regional perspectives, new religious movements, secular humanist, postmodern theology, metaphysics, methodologies, etc.

A-1. Continuity and Change: What is the religious?

A-2. Change and Continuity in Science: Is the meaning and practice of science changing?

A-3. Science, Religion, Health, and Healing

A-4. Metaphysics and Methodologies for a Science and Religion Dialogue

A-5. Theological Perspectives on Bioethical Questions

A-6. Teaching a Science and Religion Dialogue: Methods and Obstacles

A-7. Brains, Cognitive Science, and the Question of Religion

A-8. Historical Roots of the Relationship between Religion and Science

A-9. Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology

A-10. Continuity and Change in Evolutionary Theory

A-11. The Roles of Science and Religion in Culture

A-12. Current Issues in Economics, Politics, and Public Policy from a Science and Religion Dialogue Perspective

Category B. Global Networking and the Possibility of New Collaborative Research Programs

This year, in conjunction with the Metanexus Local Societies convention, we are seeking to promote interdisciplinary, inter-institutional collaborative research. Teams of two or more presenters representing two or more Local Societies (or two or more institutions) are invited to submit relevant jointly-authored papers, co-developed research proposals/descriptions, poster presentations, etc. (for instance, a research proposal on the theme of Islam and economics geared towards diminishing poverty and presented by LSI society members from, say, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Pakistan) OR specific ideas and strategies for promoting and strengthening interdisciplinary, inter-institutional networking and collaborative research in general (for instance, presentations on strategies adopted by German or Spanish LSI groups that have been working on building language-specific subnetworks in their regions). We are particularly interested in international, intercultural, or inter-religious projects. Among the goals for these sessions will be:

* to highlight the potential for multi- or trans-disciplinary research;

* to open the possibility for new insights via international or intercultural collaborations;

* to bring to light potentially fundable research projects

* to leverage networked groups for research opportunities;

* to allow researchers to find new partners for specific projects;

* to brainstorm together about the requirements for building and strengthening organizational and research networks.

A NOTE ABOUT PRESENTATION OF THESE PAPERS: All accepted papers are to be submitted in advance and will be posted and publicly-accessible on the Metanexus Conference Web site. Abstracts will also be printed in the conference reader. To encourage more meaningful discussion, attendees are urged to read the full papers, which will be available online, prior to the conference. Papers will be grouped by category, and each paper presenter will have 5-10 minutes to give a review of the full paper. There will then be 15-20 minutes allotted for discussion. This encourages much more conversation and exchange of ideas than the reading of full papers. The goal is not simply to present papers, but to meet and network with creative persons from around the world, to learn from each other, to try out new ideas on a welcoming yet critically astute audience, to provide inspiration towards further research and exploration, and to generate an synergy that will have effects long after the conference is over.

To be considered for a paper presentation at the conference, please submit an ABSTRACT of no more than 500 words--about one (1) single-spaced typed 8.5 X 11 typed page in 12 pt font--along with a 200 word BIOGRAPHY. You may submit no more than one (1) paper/presentation proposal. Please state under which category your paper falls (A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, A-5, A-6, A-7, A-8, A-9, A-10, A-11, A-12, or for Category B).

ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY THE AUTHOR'S FULL NAME, TITLE, ADDRESS, TELEPHONE NUMBER(S), AND E-MAIL ADDRESS.

DEADLINE for submitting abstract and biography is FEBRUARY 1, 2006.

DEADLINE for completed versions of SELECTED papers is APRIL 1, 2006.

FORMAT for papers: Papers must be submitted in ELECTRONIC format (MS Word .doc format). Further instructions will be sent to presenter upon selection.

LENGTH LIMIT OF FULL PAPERS: 15,000 words (approximately 30 single-spaced 8.5 X 11 typed pages in 12 pt. font).

Please submit abstracts, bios, and (if selected) completed papers via email to conferencepapers@metanexus.net .

Metanexus Institute Conference 2006-CALL FOR PAPERS Perspectives on Science and Religion: Continuity and ChangeAn international, interdisciplinary, interfaith conference on issues in science and religion exploring the need and struggle to be anchored in a fast-changing world. Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science will hold its annual conference, this year entitled Science and Religion: Continuity and Change, June 3 through 7, 2006, on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. For more information, visit www.metanexus.net/conference2006.Deadline for Abstracts: February 1, 2006CONFERENCE THEMEChange and continuity-a metaphysical problem as old as thought itself. Heraclitus, famous for holding that all things pass and nothing abides; you cannot step twice into the same stream, also insisted: It is wise to hearken to the Logos and to confess that all things are one! For Heraclitus, change, the clash of opposites, is essential to the unity and stability-the continuity-of reality. But the tension between continuity and change is not simply an ancient philosophical conundrum. It is also at the root of the most pressing questions of our time. Scientific theories in physics and cosmology; in biology and evolution; in psychology, neuroscience, and studies of consciousness and personal identity are all informed by questions of change and continuity. We wrestle with the tensions of tradition vs. innovation in the law, in religious thought, and political life. Culture itself is the expression of the tension between continuity and change. Our daily headlines announce it! In addition, the pace of change in scientific discovery, religious thought and practice, technological advancement, environmental transformation, and globalized culture is accelerating at such a dizzying rate that our abilities to cope are tested to the limits. But the key to our thriving and flourishing as human beings-perhaps, to our very survival-depends on how we find continuity in the midst of such rapid change. If Heraclitus is right that change is essential to the continuity of reality, and change is the clash of opposites, then the constructive engagement of the seemingly clashing opposites of science and religion may hold the secret to our well-being and our future. The Metanexus Institute welcomes you to join over 200 delegates from more than 35 countries at this conference dedicated to fostering an open and exploratory dialogue between science and religion. Attendees bring expertise from a broad range of the natural and social sciences, as well as from various faith traditions and philosophical perspectives. They represent in an ever-expanding international network of scholars, teachers, clergy, and activists who are involved in the transdisciplinary exploration of the foundational questions of humanity, the cosmos, and the divine. All are cordially invited to join the conversation and contribute to expanding our capacity to cope with rapid change, to explore the nature and benefit of continuity, and to pursue wisdom in the service of humanity and our world. CALL FOR PAPERS The Metanexus conference this year hosts the 5th annual convention of representatives of the Metanexus Local Societies Initiative (LSI), a grant program supporting locally-operating, globally-networked transdisciplinary dialogue societies. Both LSI members and non-members alike are invited to submit papers that address the issues and challenges of continuity and change--both for the diverse fields of human inquiry as well as for the institutional settings in which research is pursued--brought on by the growth of the science and religion dialogue worldwide. There are two broad categories of submissions invited for the 2006 Conference:Category A. Continuity and Change in Science and ReligionPapers are invited in the following broad thematic areas. Papers may approach these issues from a variety of religious, cultural, and theoretical perspectives, including Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, other religions, developing world, traditional cultures, regional perspectives, new religious movements, secular humanist, postmodern theology, metaphysics, methodologies, etc. A-1. Continuity and Change: What is the religious?A-2. Change and Continuity in Science: Is the meaning and practice of science changing?A-3. Science, Religion, Health, and HealingA-4. Metaphysics and Methodologies for a Science and Religion DialogueA-5. Theological Perspectives on Bioethical QuestionsA-6. Teaching a Science and Religion Dialogue: Methods and ObstaclesA-7. Brains, Cognitive Science, and the Question of ReligionA-8. Historical Roots of the Relationship between Religion and ScienceA-9. Foundational Questions in Physics and CosmologyA-10. Continuity and Change in Evolutionary TheoryA-11. The Roles of Science and Religion in CultureA-12. Current Issues in Economics, Politics, and Public Policy from a Science and Religion Dialogue PerspectiveCategory B. Global Networking and the Possibility of New Collaborative Research ProgramsThis year, in conjunction with the Metanexus Local Societies convention, we are seeking to promote interdisciplinary, inter-institutional collaborative research. Teams of two or more presenters representing two or more Local Societies (or two or more institutions) are invited to submit relevant jointly-authored papers, co-developed research proposals/descriptions, poster presentations, etc. (for instance, a research proposal on the theme of Islam and economics geared towards diminishing poverty and presented by LSI society members from, say, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Pakistan) OR specific ideas and strategies for promoting and strengthening interdisciplinary, inter-institutional networking and collaborative research in general (for instance, presentations on strategies adopted by German or Spanish LSI groups that have been working on building language-specific subnetworks in their regions). We are particularly interested in international, intercultural, or inter-religious projects. Among the goals for these sessions will be:* to highlight the potential for multi- or trans-disciplinary research;* to open the possibility for new insights via international or intercultural collaborations;* to bring to light potentially fundable research projects* to leverage networked groups for research opportunities;* to allow researchers to find new partners for specific projects;* to brainstorm together about the requirements for building and strengthening organizational and research networks.A NOTE ABOUT PRESENTATION OF THESE PAPERS: All accepted papers are to be submitted in advance and will be posted and publicly-accessible on the Metanexus Conference Web site. Abstracts will also be printed in the conference reader. To encourage more meaningful discussion, attendees are urged to read the full papers, which will be available online, prior to the conference. Papers will be grouped by category, and each paper presenter will have 5-10 minutes to give a review of the full paper. There will then be 15-20 minutes allotted for discussion. This encourages much more conversation and exchange of ideas than the reading of full papers. The goal is not simply to present papers, but to meet and network with creative persons from around the world, to learn from each other, to try out new ideas on a welcoming yet critically astute audience, to provide inspiration towards further research and exploration, and to generate an synergy that will have effects long after the conference is over.To be considered for a paper presentation at the conference, please submit an ABSTRACT of no more than 500 words--about one (1) single-spaced typed 8.5 X 11 typed page in 12 pt font--along with a 200 word BIOGRAPHY. You may submit no more than one (1) paper/presentation proposal. Please state under which category your paper falls (A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, A-5, A-6, A-7, A-8, A-9, A-10, A-11, A-12, or for Category B). ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY THE AUTHOR'S FULL NAME, TITLE, ADDRESS, TELEPHONE NUMBER(S), AND E-MAIL ADDRESS.DEADLINE for submitting abstract and biography is FEBRUARY 1, 2006.DEADLINE for completed versions of SELECTED papers is APRIL 1, 2006.FORMAT for papers: Papers must be submitted in ELECTRONIC format (MS Word .doc format). Further instructions will be sent to presenter upon selection.LENGTH LIMIT OF FULL PAPERS: 15,000 words (approximately 30 single-spaced 8.5 X 11 typed pages in 12 pt. font).Please submit abstracts, bios, and (if selected) completed papers via email to conferencepapers@metanexus.net . 1/5/2006 03/21/2007 9394 Public Symposia: Evolution and Happiness, Arizona State University, January 22-23, 2006 For Immediate Release

Now through January 22, 2006

Contact: Carolyn Forbes, ASU, 480.965.7187

or Julia Loving, Metanexus Institute, 215/789-2200, ext. 102

PUBLIC SYMPOSIA EXAMINE PRESSING CONTEMPORARY QUESTIONS:

What Should We Teach Our Children about Evolution? What Is Human Happiness?

Philadelphia, PA...Evolution is more than a belief; happiness is more than a chemical reaction. Two public sessions offered at Arizona State University help us to understand why our understanding of these issues matters, particularly in the context of current heated debates across education, politics, medicine, and more.

Arizona State University's Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and Metanexus Institute present two public sessions, January 22-23, 2006, convening eminent scholars to provide presentations and moderated panel discussion.

Evolution and Intelligent Design: Science, Religion and American Culture is offered on Sunday, January 22, 2006, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, at the Evelyn Smith Music Theater in the Music Building, located at Mill Avenue & Gammage Parkway, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Eminent speakers for this session include opening remarks from Linell Cady, director of the Center for the Study for Religion and Conflict, ASU, and William J. Grassie, executive director of Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science. The evening's moderator is Barry Ritchie, chair of the department of physics and astronomy, Arizona State University. Panelists include Jon Roberts (History), Boston University; Holmes Rolston III, (Philosophy) Colorado State University; and John F. Haught (Theology), Georgetown University.

What it's about... The panel will address the current battle over evolution and intelligent design in American culture. The discussion will locate the contemporary conflict within its broader historical and cultural contexts and illuminate what is at stake in the current debate. The panelists will address the challenges of reconciling evolutionary science and religion, particularly biblical understandings of the origin and nature of the cosmos and human life. In the process it will consider larger questions about the nature of religion, the nature of science, and their interface. How can we move beyond the conflict between religion and science to promote a constructive dialogue between them?

The Pursuit of Happiness: Perspectives from Science and ReligionMonday, January 23, 2006, 9:00 AM to noon in the Old Main Carson Ballroom, 400 E Tyler Mall, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Moderator Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, (History), ASU, interacts with panelists John Haught, (Theology), Georgetown University; Stephen Post, Bioethics, Case Western University; and Laurie Zoloth, Bioethics, Northwestern University.

What's it's about... The pursuit of happiness is the deepest endeavor of humanity, defined by the American Constitution as an inalienable human right. But what does it mean to be happy, and where is happiness to be found? In recent years, a materialistic approach to the pursuit of happiness has increased exponentially through the advances of neuroscience. Scientists today have begun to unravel the mysteries of chemical brain processes. Scientific discoveries have led the pharmaceutical industry to design psychotropic drugs that control brain processes and alleviate suffering caused by diseases and aging as well as by mental illness. Yet, today we dispense drugs not only to deal with debilitating illnesses but also to change moods or alleviate sadness and hopelessness. What in the past were judged to be unavoidable aspects of the human condition to be addressed through ethical training, character building, and belief in God, is now treated almost exclusively with pills.

But can drugs make us happy? What does the heavy reliance on them tell us about our understanding of being human? What sense does it make to talk about a soul in the light of our advancing knowledge of the nature of the brain? Can neuroscience pave the way to happiness, or should we look instead to more traditional sources of meaning such as religion, philosophy, art, and literature? Our panel will consider recent developments in the sciences and their implications for our society and culture. The panelists will assess the benefits as well as the risks and dangers of the pharmacological approach to human longing for happiness.

Comments from project leaders...

There are legitimate debates within contemporary evolutionary biology,: says William Grassie of Metanexus, about whether random genetic variations and natural selection alone are able to account for the florescence of life found on the planet. These debates in no way challenge our understanding of a long Earth history and the evolution of species. Unfortunately, the debate has been confused by reducing it to meaningless sound bites, and we have sight of the multifaceted and complex dynamics between nature and culture, between the scientific and religious dimensions of interpreting evolution, which are vital to humanity in the 21st century.Linell Cady of ASU adds, Politicized conflicts between religion and science don't provide the space that is needed for exploring their interface and interaction. We are interested in sponsoring programs that not only illuminate the conflicts between religion and science, but that make room for informed reflection upon their respective implications for understanding the nature of the universe and human life.î

Accessing these free sessions...There is no charge to attend these sessions, but pre-registration is requested. Register for the Sunday evening and/or Monday morning sessions online at http://www.asu.edu/csrc or by calling 480.965.7187, Maps and directions are available online, http://www.asu.edu/tour/main/main.html.

The Metanexus website at http://www.metanexus.net provides hundreds of essays by scholars on these and other topics in science and religion. For Immediate Release Now through January 22, 2006Contact: Carolyn Forbes, ASU, 480.965.7187or Julia Loving, Metanexus Institute, 215/789-2200, ext. 102PUBLIC SYMPOSIA EXAMINE PRESSING CONTEMPORARY QUESTIONS:What Should We Teach Our Children about Evolution? What Is Human Happiness?Philadelphia, PA...Evolution is more than a belief; happiness is more than a chemical reaction. Two public sessions offered at Arizona State University help us to understand why our understanding of these issues matters, particularly in the context of current heated debates across education, politics, medicine, and more.Arizona State University's Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and Metanexus Institute present two public sessions, January 22-23, 2006, convening eminent scholars to provide presentations and moderated panel discussion. Evolution and Intelligent Design: Science, Religion and American Culture is offered on Sunday, January 22, 2006, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, at the Evelyn Smith Music Theater in the Music Building, located at Mill Avenue & Gammage Parkway, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Eminent speakers for this session include opening remarks from Linell Cady, director of the Center for the Study for Religion and Conflict, ASU, and William J. Grassie, executive director of Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science. The evening's moderator is Barry Ritchie, chair of the department of physics and astronomy, Arizona State University. Panelists include Jon Roberts (History), Boston University; Holmes Rolston III, (Philosophy) Colorado State University; and John F. Haught (Theology), Georgetown University.What it's about... The panel will address the current battle over evolution and intelligent design in American culture. The discussion will locate the contemporary conflict within its broader historical and cultural contexts and illuminate what is at stake in the current debate. The panelists will address the challenges of reconciling evolutionary science and religion, particularly biblical understandings of the origin and nature of the cosmos and human life. In the process it will consider larger questions about the nature of religion, the nature of science, and their interface. How can we move beyond the conflict between religion and science to promote a constructive dialogue between them? The Pursuit of Happiness: Perspectives from Science and ReligionMonday, January 23, 2006, 9:00 AM to noon in the Old Main Carson Ballroom, 400 E Tyler Mall, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Moderator Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, (History), ASU, interacts with panelists John Haught, (Theology), Georgetown University; Stephen Post, Bioethics, Case Western University; and Laurie Zoloth, Bioethics, Northwestern University.What's it's about... The pursuit of happiness is the deepest endeavor of humanity, defined by the American Constitution as an inalienable human right. But what does it mean to be happy, and where is happiness to be found? In recent years, a materialistic approach to the pursuit of happiness has increased exponentially through the advances of neuroscience. Scientists today have begun to unravel the mysteries of chemical brain processes. Scientific discoveries have led the pharmaceutical industry to design psychotropic drugs that control brain processes and alleviate suffering caused by diseases and aging as well as by mental illness. Yet, today we dispense drugs not only to deal with debilitating illnesses but also to change moods or alleviate sadness and hopelessness. What in the past were judged to be unavoidable aspects of the human condition to be addressed through ethical training, character building, and belief in God, is now treated almost exclusively with pills. But can drugs make us happy? What does the heavy reliance on them tell us about our understanding of being human? What sense does it make to talk about a soul in the light of our advancing knowledge of the nature of the brain? Can neuroscience pave the way to happiness, or should we look instead to more traditional sources of meaning such as religion, philosophy, art, and literature? Our panel will consider recent developments in the sciences and their implications for our society and culture. The panelists will assess the benefits as well as the risks and dangers of the pharmacological approach to human longing for happiness.Comments from project leaders...There are legitimate debates within contemporary evolutionary biology,: says William Grassie of Metanexus, about whether random genetic variations and natural selection alone are able to account for the florescence of life found on the planet. These debates in no way challenge our understanding of a long Earth history and the evolution of species. Unfortunately, the debate has been confused by reducing it to meaningless sound bites, and we have sight of the multifaceted and complex dynamics between nature and culture, between the scientific and religious dimensions of interpreting evolution, which are vital to humanity in the 21st century. Linell Cady of ASU adds, Politicized conflicts between religion and science don't provide the space that is needed for exploring their interface and interaction. We are interested in sponsoring programs that not only illuminate the conflicts between religion and science, but that make room for informed reflection upon their respective implications for understanding the nature of the universe and human life.îAccessing these free sessions...There is no charge to attend these sessions, but pre-registration is requested. Register for the Sunday evening and/or Monday morning sessions online at http://www.asu.edu/csrc or by calling 480.965.7187, Maps and directions are available online, http://www.asu.edu/tour/main/main.html. The Metanexus website at http://www.metanexus.net provides hundreds of essays by scholars on these and other topics in science and religion. 1/10/2006 03/21/2007 9395 Radio Show: Stress and the Balance Within, Krista Tippett interviews Esther Sternberg, Week of January 12, 2006 Upcoming Show:

Stress and the Balance Within: Krista Tippett interviews Esther Sternberg

The American experience of stress has spawned a multi-billion dollar self-help industry. Doctor Esther Sternberg, a biomedical researcher and neural-immune expert, is wary of that. But she says that until very recently, modern science did not have the tools or the inclination to take emotional stress seriously. In next week's program, she shares fascinating new scientific insight into the molecular level of the mind-body connection.

Esther M. Sternberg, M.D., is Director of Integrative Neural Immune Program and Chief of the Section on Neuroendocrine Immunology and Behavior at the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institutes of Health. Prior to coming to NIH, she trained in rheumatology at McGill University, practiced medicine in Montreal and was on the faculty at Washington University, School of Medicine in St. Louis. The winner of the Public Health Service Superior Service Award and recent President of the International Society for Neuroimmunomodulation, Dr. Sternberg has written over one hundred scientific papers, review articles, and book chapters on the subject of brain-immune connections, including articles in Scientific American and Nature Medicine. She has also co-directed an exhibition on Emotions and Disease at the National Library of Medicine and lectures nationally and internationally on emotions, health, and disease.

Week of January 12: to check local listings, go to http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/stations/index.shtml Upcoming Show:Stress and the Balance Within: Krista Tippett interviews Esther SternbergThe American experience of stress has spawned a multi-billion dollar self-help industry. Doctor Esther Sternberg, a biomedical researcher and neural-immune expert, is wary of that. But she says that until very recently, modern science did not have the tools or the inclination to take emotional stress seriously. In next week's program, she shares fascinating new scientific insight into the molecular level of the mind-body connection. Esther M. Sternberg, M.D., is Director of Integrative Neural Immune Program and Chief of the Section on Neuroendocrine Immunology and Behavior at the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institutes of Health. Prior to coming to NIH, she trained in rheumatology at McGill University, practiced medicine in Montreal and was on the faculty at Washington University, School of Medicine in St. Louis. The winner of the Public Health Service Superior Service Award and recent President of the International Society for Neuroimmunomodulation, Dr. Sternberg has written over one hundred scientific papers, review articles, and book chapters on the subject of brain-immune connections, including articles in Scientific American and Nature Medicine. She has also co-directed an exhibition on Emotions and Disease at the National Library of Medicine and lectures nationally and internationally on emotions, health, and disease. Week of January 12: to check local listings, go to http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/stations/index.shtml 1/10/2006 03/21/2007 9396 John Templeton Foundation Newsletter -- Milestones, January 2006 John Templeton Foundation Newsletter -- January 2006

Milestones is a monthly newsletter of the John Templeton Foundation. In interview format, it highlights the achievements of scientists involved in new initiatives, research and programs in progress as well as awards and conferences here and abroad.

***********************************************

The Humble Approach Continuum: A long-planned transition of leadership at the John Templeton Foundation

By Adam Meyerson

The year 2006 marks one of the most significant milestones in the history of the John Templeton Foundation.

At the age of 93, Sir John Templeton will be stepping down as chairman of the foundation he has created and endowed. His 65-year-old son, Dr. John M. (Jack) Templeton, Jr., is taking over after a long period of training. Dr. Templeton will also remain as president, a position he has held since 1995, when he left a distinguished career in pediatric surgery to help his father carry out his philanthropic legacy. Under the charter and bylaws of the foundation, Dr. Templeton will remain at its helm until the age of 78.

The transfer of leadership coincides with a substantial increase in the foundation's grantmaking. Sir John made an extraordinary contribution of $550 million to the foundation in late 2004, more than doubling its assets. The Templeton Foundation now has about $950 million in assets, making it one of the 50 to 65 largest foundations in the country. In 2006, it will give approximately $60 million in grants, up from about $48 million in 2005 and $40 million in 2004.

Sir John will remain active in the foundation after the transition. He will continue to be one of 12 members of the foundation's board of trustees. In addition to its fiduciary responsibilities, the board will assume new responsibilities in the oversight of grant-making strategy and in the approval of large grants. Also, as has been reported in the press, Sir John frequently sends his son detailed faxes about foundation issues. Dr. Templeton says he expects that practice to continue, though perhaps less frequently than before.

The foundation's senior management team will aid Dr. Templeton in serving the board. Senior vice president Charles L. Harper, Jr., formerly a research scientist and cosmologist at Harvard University, helps to direct strategic thinking for the foundation's major new initiatives. Harper is widely respected in philanthropic circles for his broad-ranging knowledge of, and creative insights, in philosophy, economics, the natural sciences and the political and intellectual cultures of third-world countries. In 2005, the foundation promoted Arthur J. Schwartz to the new position of executive vice president. Schwartz, a long-time grant-making officer at the foundation, is widely recognized as one of the world's leading philanthropic authorities on character education. Among other achievements he has designed and supervised the Templeton Foundation's signature initiatives in this field.

The transfer of leadership is a fitting occasion to assess the achievements of the Templeton Foundation. Under Sir John's chairmanship and Dr. Templeton's presidency, the foundation has become truly distinctive in the world of philanthropy in four important ways. These are:

* its culture of discovery and original thinking, especially in the field of science and religion;

* its commitment to free-enterprise-based solutions for the challenges of global poverty;

* its use of competitive prizes and requests for proposals as a grant-making strategy; and

* its determination to institutionalize donor intent in a foundation established in perpetuity.

The Templeton Foundation is perhaps best known for its work on science and religion. This work starts with the profound humility expressed in Sir John's motto, How little we know, how eager to learn. But this humble approach is accompanied by an extraordinary boldness in asking cosmic questions about, for example, the nature of the universe, or purpose in biology, or the character of the human mind--and in engaging some of the world's most brilliant scientists and theologians to conduct cutting-edge research on these questions, in conversation with each other.

As a result of this work, the Templeton Foundation has had a dramatic influence on intellectual culture. It has introduced to science promising new subjects of study--for instance, the empirical analysis of forgiveness, and the relationship between spirituality and health. It has encouraged world-class scientists to explore the theological implications of their work and, as important, it has encouraged theologians to integrate into their world-views the most significant discoveries of modern science.

Looking into the future, Dr. Templeton talks excitedly about potential new initiatives for the foundation in this field: for instance, the empirical study of infinity, of generosity, of wisdom, of gratitude. He has a special interest in the science of spiritual transformation--the study of how world views and belief structures change, and how these belief structures impact character and behavior.

The late Waldemar Nielsen, one of the most perceptive observers of philanthropic foundations in the past half-century, has written: These strange and wonderful inventions (foundations) have a unique freedom from the dependency of other institutions on markets or constituencies that cripple their capacity to take the long view and to bring a competent and disinterested approach to the search for complex problems. Nielsen went on: It is a waste of important potential if foundations do not make use of the special freedoms they have been given: to take the long view; to back a promising but unproven idea, individual, or institution; to take an unpopular or unorthodox stand; to facilitate change rather than automatically endorsing the status quo...to act and not merely react; to initiate, even to gamble and dare.

The work of the John Templeton Foundation in science and religion is one of the best examples in philanthropy today of what Nielsen called for. Neither governments nor businesses could do what the Templeton Foundation has done here, and for various reasons universities have neglected this subject. But as Sir John and Dr. Templeton have shown, a philanthropic foundation has the freedom and the capability to pursue and develop an unconventional set of ideas and turn it into a new branch of learning.

The Templeton Foundation is beginning to achieve similar results with another of its priorities--advancing enterprise-based solutions for the problems of global poverty. A superb example of its work here is a brilliant recent study by University of Newcastle professor James Tooley of for-profit schooling in the slums and villages of India, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. The Templeton Freedom Award, administered by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and given to research organizations drawing empirical connections between economic freedom and opportunity for the poor, has rapidly become the most prestigious prize for think tanks around the world.

One of Dr. Templeton's central responsibilities in his new role as chairman will be to institutionalize an adherence to donor intent at the foundation. This commitment is unfortunately all too rare: The history of modern philanthropy is a sad story of one giant foundation after another ignoring and in some cases explicitly contradicting the most cherished values of their founders. Sir John and Dr. Templeton are determined not to let that happen. Every single grant, will have to meet two standards to be approved by the staff and board:

* The proposed grant must relate to the purposes of the foundation as defined in the charter and in Sir John Templeton's writings and sayings.

* Analysis must show that the proposed grant is a cost-effective use of the foundation's resources.

Sir John has said: I'm only going to be on this planet once, and only for a short time. What can I do with my life that will lead to permanent benefits? One thing he has done is to create an enduring culture of discovery at the John Templeton Foundation and among the grantees it funds and the people they serve.

For more information about the John Templeton Foundation please go to http://www.templeton.org

For more information about the Philanthropy Roundtable please go to http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org

***********************************************

Adam Meyerson is president of The Philanthropy Roundtable.

Milestones is a publication of the John Templeton Foundation.

To subscribe to any of the Foundation's various free publications, including Milestones, please go to http://www.templeton.org

John Templeton Foundation Newsletter -- January 2006Milestones is a monthly newsletter of the John Templeton Foundation. In interview format, it highlights the achievements of scientists involved in new initiatives, research and programs in progress as well as awards and conferences here and abroad.*********************************************** The Humble Approach Continuum: A long-planned transition of leadership at the John Templeton FoundationBy Adam MeyersonThe year 2006 marks one of the most significant milestones in the history of the John Templeton Foundation.At the age of 93, Sir John Templeton will be stepping down as chairman of the foundation he has created and endowed. His 65-year-old son, Dr. John M. (Jack) Templeton, Jr., is taking over after a long period of training. Dr. Templeton will also remain as president, a position he has held since 1995, when he left a distinguished career in pediatric surgery to help his father carry out his philanthropic legacy. Under the charter and bylaws of the foundation, Dr. Templeton will remain at its helm until the age of 78. The transfer of leadership coincides with a substantial increase in the foundation's grantmaking. Sir John made an extraordinary contribution of $550 million to the foundation in late 2004, more than doubling its assets. The Templeton Foundation now has about $950 million in assets, making it one of the 50 to 65 largest foundations in the country. In 2006, it will give approximately $60 million in grants, up from about $48 million in 2005 and $40 million in 2004. Sir John will remain active in the foundation after the transition. He will continue to be one of 12 members of the foundation's board of trustees. In addition to its fiduciary responsibilities, the board will assume new responsibilities in the oversight of grant-making strategy and in the approval of large grants. Also, as has been reported in the press, Sir John frequently sends his son detailed faxes about foundation issues. Dr. Templeton says he expects that practice to continue, though perhaps less frequently than before.The foundation's senior management team will aid Dr. Templeton in serving the board. Senior vice president Charles L. Harper, Jr., formerly a research scientist and cosmologist at Harvard University, helps to direct strategic thinking for the foundation's major new initiatives. Harper is widely respected in philanthropic circles for his broad-ranging knowledge of, and creative insights, in philosophy, economics, the natural sciences and the political and intellectual cultures of third-world countries. In 2005, the foundation promoted Arthur J. Schwartz to the new position of executive vice president. Schwartz, a long-time grant-making officer at the foundation, is widely recognized as one of the world's leading philanthropic authorities on character education. Among other achievements he has designed and supervised the Templeton Foundation's signature initiatives in this field. The transfer of leadership is a fitting occasion to assess the achievements of the Templeton Foundation. Under Sir John's chairmanship and Dr. Templeton's presidency, the foundation has become truly distinctive in the world of philanthropy in four important ways. These are:* its culture of discovery and original thinking, especially in the field of science and religion; * its commitment to free-enterprise-based solutions for the challenges of global poverty; * its use of competitive prizes and requests for proposals as a grant-making strategy; and * its determination to institutionalize donor intent in a foundation established in perpetuity.The Templeton Foundation is perhaps best known for its work on science and religion. This work starts with the profound humility expressed in Sir John's motto, How little we know, how eager to learn. But this humble approach is accompanied by an extraordinary boldness in asking cosmic questions about, for example, the nature of the universe, or purpose in biology, or the character of the human mind--and in engaging some of the world's most brilliant scientists and theologians to conduct cutting-edge research on these questions, in conversation with each other.As a result of this work, the Templeton Foundation has had a dramatic influence on intellectual culture. It has introduced to science promising new subjects of study--for instance, the empirical analysis of forgiveness, and the relationship between spirituality and health. It has encouraged world-class scientists to explore the theological implications of their work and, as important, it has encouraged theologians to integrate into their world-views the most significant discoveries of modern science.Looking into the future, Dr. Templeton talks excitedly about potential new initiatives for the foundation in this field: for instance, the empirical study of infinity, of generosity, of wisdom, of gratitude. He has a special interest in the science of spiritual transformation--the study of how world views and belief structures change, and how these belief structures impact character and behavior.The late Waldemar Nielsen, one of the most perceptive observers of philanthropic foundations in the past half-century, has written: These strange and wonderful inventions (foundations) have a unique freedom from the dependency of other institutions on markets or constituencies that cripple their capacity to take the long view and to bring a competent and disinterested approach to the search for complex problems. Nielsen went on: It is a waste of important potential if foundations do not make use of the special freedoms they have been given: to take the long view; to back a promising but unproven idea, individual, or institution; to take an unpopular or unorthodox stand; to facilitate change rather than automatically endorsing the status quo...to act and not merely react; to initiate, even to gamble and dare.The work of the John Templeton Foundation in science and religion is one of the best examples in philanthropy today of what Nielsen called for. Neither governments nor businesses could do what the Templeton Foundation has done here, and for various reasons universities have neglected this subject. But as Sir John and Dr. Templeton have shown, a philanthropic foundation has the freedom and the capability to pursue and develop an unconventional set of ideas and turn it into a new branch of learning.The Templeton Foundation is beginning to achieve similar results with another of its priorities--advancing enterprise-based solutions for the problems of global poverty. A superb example of its work here is a brilliant recent study by University of Newcastle professor James Tooley of for-profit schooling in the slums and villages of India, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. The Templeton Freedom Award, administered by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and given to research organizations drawing empirical connections between economic freedom and opportunity for the poor, has rapidly become the most prestigious prize for think tanks around the world. One of Dr. Templeton's central responsibilities in his new role as chairman will be to institutionalize an adherence to donor intent at the foundation. This commitment is unfortunately all too rare: The history of modern philanthropy is a sad story of one giant foundation after another ignoring and in some cases explicitly contradicting the most cherished values of their founders. Sir John and Dr. Templeton are determined not to let that happen. Every single grant, will have to meet two standards to be approved by the staff and board: * The proposed grant must relate to the purposes of the foundation as defined in the charter and in Sir John Templeton's writings and sayings.* Analysis must show that the proposed grant is a cost-effective use of the foundation's resources.Sir John has said: I'm only going to be on this planet once, and only for a short time. What can I do with my life that will lead to permanent benefits? One thing he has done is to create an enduring culture of discovery at the John Templeton Foundation and among the grantees it funds and the people they serve.For more information about the John Templeton Foundation please go to http://www.templeton.orgFor more information about the Philanthropy Roundtable please go to http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org***********************************... Meyerson is president of The Philanthropy Roundtable.Milestones is a publication of the John Templeton Foundation.To subscribe to any of the Foundation's various free publications, including Milestones, please go to http://www.templeton.org 1/10/2006 03/21/2007 9397  src=/metanexus_online/spiral/images/logo.gif>Metanexus would like to thank you...	Metanexus' special promotion continues through February 28. As a way of thanking you for a generous donation of $100 or more, including membership contributions, Metanexus will send you a complimentary copy of Altruism in World Religions, edited by Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton.<p>It is through the generous support of individuals and organizations that Metanexus is able to carry on its mission of bringing science and religion together in a constructive dialogue. Please visit our website at www.metanexus.net to learn more about our exciting international projects-research, lectures, community groups, and abundant resources-made possible through the generous support of friends and sponsors. We hope we can count on your support in the new year.</p><p>With warm regards,</p><p>The Team at Metanexus</p><p>Join Metanexus:<a href=http://www.metanexus.net/Institute/joinus.asp>http://www.metanexus.net/Institute/joinus.asp</a></p>	Metanexus' special promotion continues through February 28.  As a way of thanking you for a generous donation of $100 or more, including membership contributions, Metanexus will send you a complimentary copy of Altruism in World Religions, edited by Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton.It is through the generous support of individuals and organizations that Metanexus is able to carry on its mission of bringing science and religion together in a constructive dialogue. Please visit our website at www.metanexus.net to learn more about our exciting international projects-research, lectures, community groups, and abundant resources-made possible through the generous support of friends and sponsors. We hope we can count on your support in the new year. With warm regards,The Team at MetanexusJoin Metanexus:  http://www.metanexus.net/metanexus_online/memberships.asp				1/17/2006	03/21/2007<br />
9398	Conference: Ethical Choices in Society, the Economy, and the Environment, Siena, Italy, May 5 - 6, 2006	The Pari Center (Pari Dialogues in Religion and Science ) and the Association EFA (Ethics, Finance and the Environment) are please to announce a conference, Ethical Choices in Society, the Economy and the Environment: Steps towards a New Economic Paradigm to be held in Siena, Italy May 5,6.<p>Information and On-Line Registration can be found at <a href=http://www.eticaeconomia.org/<p>The vast changes which are taking place in the present world economy urgently confront us with issues of trust, loyalty, stability and responsibility. Only a globalization process embodying an awareness of long term processes and a spiritually based commitment to the common good can build a sustainable future for humanity. Joining the notions of ethics, spirituality and the behavior of the homo oeconomicus is tantamount to invoking a radical paradigm shift in economics, business and governance.<p>This conference will bring together speakers with a lifetime of experience in business, finance, economics and environmental policies to explore the outlines of an ethical paradigm shift in the economic sphere. Moving from the examination of how a spiritual attitude to life - a sense of awe and reverence for the miracle of existence - can shape the behavior of economic agents, the conference aims at investigating concrete mechanisms able to support ethical choices in corporations and financial institutions. It will evaluate the impact of individual behavior in bringing about social change. It will discuss issues related to a company's social responsibility, moral standing, reputational risk and sustainable investment. Finally it will stress the importance of a diffused, spiritually based environmental awareness as the ground on which effective environmental policies can be enacted. Only by understanding the environment as a necessary good in the sense of Adam Smith can environmental laws can move beyond an emergency intervention approach.<p>Speakers<p>Edy Altes, President of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, Vice President of Pugwash (Netherlands) <p>Henk van Arkel, Social Trade, Netherlands Salvatore Bimonte, University of Siena <p>Geoffery Bush, Director of Corporate Citizenship of Diageo PLC , London <p>Simona Capece, EFA, University of Siena Francesco Cesarini, Professor of Economics, Universit‡ Cattolica, Milano <p>Mark Edwards, photographer, United Nations Global 500 Award for distinguished services to environmentalism, author of AV show Hard Rain <p>Giampaolo Gabbi, University of Siena<p>Paul Glover, creator of Ittica Hours, Ittica, USA <p>Ernesto Illy, Chair IllycaffË S.p.A, Chairman of Centromarca , Trieste <p>Siraj Izhar, artist and social catalyst, London <p>Sebastiano Maffettone, Universita Internazionale degli Studi Sociali, Rome <p>Hendryk Opdebeeck, University of Antwerp <p>Marcello Palazzi, founder and President of Progressio Foundation, Netherlands <p>David Peat, Pari Center for New Learning, Italy<p>Francesco Rinaldi, Director, Banca Monte Paschi di Siena, Italy<p>Shantena Sabbadini, Pari Center for New Learning, Italy <p>Diana Schumacher, Schumacher Society, Environmental Law Foundation, UK <p>Lord Stone of Blackheath, former CEO of Marks and Spenser chain, member of the Jewish Association of Business Ethics <p>John van Praag, CEO of the InterContental Hotels Group, President of East West Foundation and Eranos Foundation <p>Alessandro Vercelli, University of Siena<p>Time Table<p>Friday May 5, 2006<p>09:00-09:30 Registration <p>09:30-13:30 First session: Economics and Spirituality: Ethics, Trust and Loyalty in the Marketplace <p>11:30-12:00 Coffee break<p>13:30-14:45 Lunch<p>15:00-18:30 Second Session: Ethics, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Investment <p>16:30-17:00 Coffee break <p>18:45-19:30 Mark Edwards, lecture and slide show Hard Rain <p>20:00 Dinner for speakers and those who chose to stay <p>Saturday May 6, 2006 <p>09:00-13:30 Third Session: Practical Steps Toward a New Economic Paradigm <p>11:30-12:00 Coffee break<p>13:30-14:45 Lunch<p>15:00-18:00 Round table: Implementing Change in the Everyday World - Can the Individual Make a Difference? The Pari Center (Pari Dialogues in Religion and Science ) and the Association EFA (Ethics, Finance and the Environment) are please to announce a conference, Ethical Choices in Society, the Economy and the Environment: Steps towards a New Economic Paradigm to be held in Siena, Italy May 5,6.Information and On-Line Registration can be found at http://www.eticaeconomia.org/The vast changes which are taking place in the present world economy urgently confront us with issues of trust, loyalty, stability and responsibility. Only a globalization process embodying an awareness of long term processes and a spiritually based commitment to the common good can build a sustainable future for humanity. Joining the notions of ethics, spirituality and the behavior of the homo oeconomicus is tantamount to invoking a radical paradigm shift in economics, business and governance.This conference will bring together speakers with a lifetime of experience in business, finance, economics and environmental policies to explore the outlines of an ethical paradigm shift in the economic sphere. Moving from the examination of how a spiritual attitude to life - a sense of awe and reverence for the miracle of existence - can shape the behavior of economic agents, the conference aims at investigating concrete mechanisms able to support ethical choices in corporations and financial institutions. It will evaluate the impact of individual behavior in bringing about social change. It will discuss issues related to a company's social responsibility, moral standing, reputational risk and sustainable investment. Finally it will stress the importance of a diffused, spiritually based environmental awareness as the ground on which effective environmental policies can be enacted. Only by understanding the environment as a necessary good in the sense of Adam Smith can environmental laws can move beyond an emergency intervention approach.SpeakersEdy Altes, President of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, Vice President of Pugwash (Netherlands) Henk van Arkel, Social Trade, Netherlands Salvatore Bimonte, University of Siena Geoffery Bush, Director of Corporate Citizenship of Diageo PLC , London Simona Capece, EFA, University of Siena Francesco Cesarini, Professor of Economics, Universit‡ Cattolica, Milano Mark Edwards, photographer, United Nations Global 500 Award for distinguished services to environmentalism, author of AV show Hard Rain Giampaolo Gabbi, University of SienaPaul Glover, creator of Ittica Hours, Ittica, USA Ernesto Illy, Chair IllycaffË S.p.A, Chairman of Centromarca , Trieste Siraj Izhar, artist and social catalyst, London Sebastiano Maffettone, Universita Internazionale degli Studi Sociali, Rome Hendryk Opdebeeck, University of Antwerp Marcello Palazzi, founder and President of Progressio Foundation, Netherlands David Peat, Pari Center for New Learning, ItalyFrancesco Rinaldi, Director, Banca Monte Paschi di Siena, ItalyShantena Sabbadini, Pari Center for New Learning, Italy Diana Schumacher, Schumacher Society, Environmental Law Foundation, UK Lord Stone of Blackheath, former CEO of Marks and Spenser chain, member of the Jewish Association of Business Ethics John van Praag, CEO of the InterContental Hotels Group, President of East West Foundation and Eranos Foundation Alessandro Vercelli, University of SienaTime TableFriday May 5, 200609:00-09:30 Registration 09:30-13:30 First session: Economics and Spirituality: Ethics, Trust and Loyalty in the Marketplace 11:30-12:00 Coffee break13:30-14:45 Lunch15:00-18:30 Second Session: Ethics, Social Responsibility and Sustainable Investment 16:30-17:00 Coffee break 18:45-19:30 Mark Edwards, lecture and slide show Hard Rain 20:00 Dinner for speakers and those who chose to stay Saturday May 6, 2006 09:00-13:30 Third Session: Practical Steps Toward a New Economic Paradigm 11:30-12:00 Coffee break13:30-14:45 Lunch15:00-18:00 Round table: Implementing Change in the Everyday World - Can the Individual Make a Difference? 1/18/2006 03/21/2007
9402 Field Analysis of Religion, Spirituality and Human Flourishing <strong>Introduction </strong><p>The Metanexus Institute seeks research projects that scientifically explore the link between religion and spirituality and the virtues and human strengths that reflect humanity's highest aspirations and noble qualities including, but not limited to: creativity, purpose, perseverance, gratitude, prayer, awe and wonder, personal responsibility, love, honesty, joy, humility, and generosity. This document provides a review and analysis of recent successes in the field, with an emphasis on current limitations, key problems to be overcome and suggested areas of focus for future research. A selected, annotated bibliography of key studies is included. One of the primary criteria in the evaluation of proposals is methodological innovation. New and generative methodological approaches that advance the science of spirituality are encouraged. The overall objective of the research initiative is to take research on the human spirit to new levels of scientific sophistication and significance. In addition to basic research, ground-breaking, transdisciplinary approaches for suggesting practical strategies for maximizing human flourishing are encouraged. </p><p> </p><p><strong>Background </strong></p><p>After a period of relative dormancy, the psychology of religion and spirituality has recently re-emerged as a full-force, leading-edge research area that has contributed new knowledge, data, and professional activity to the rest of psychology (Emmons & Paloutzian, 2003). This is apparent upon examination of the recent trends in the publication of textbooks, journal articles, presentations at professional meetings, teaching courses in the psychology of religion, the establishment of new journals, books on clinical and health issues, and the development of psychology of religion research that interfaces the theory and topics of the mainstream discipline <strong>. </strong>During the past 25 years psychology of religion material has appeared with increasing frequency in high-end journals. It has emerged as a strong research enterprise whose topics interface almost all areas of psychology, whose scholars produce an impressive body of research, whose research will further develop internationally and cross-culturally , and whose importance is only going to increase. An increasing amount of research is being done with novel, creative methods, both quantitative and qualitative, but more of it is needed. Other new and innovative methods must be developed and exploited.</p><p>An increasingly vigorous area of research is human virtue. The study of virtue, at the nexus of the psychology of religion, personality psychology, moral philosophy, and the psychology of emotion, is making a comeback in psychology (Emmons & Paloutzian, 2003). Partly responsible for this resurgence is the positive psychology movement (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) which has sought to systematically classify human strengths and virtues into a comprehensive taxonomy (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Concepts such as forgiveness, love, hope, humility, gratitude, self-control, and wisdom appear as highly prized human dispositions in Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu thought and are affirmed universal principles in world philosophies and ethical systems. Basic research as well as interventions to cultivate these virtues is well underway. Yet there is much hard work that lies ahead. In the next section of this paper several promising areas are identified that could be the focus of efforts to open new horizons in the study of religion, spirituality, and human flourishing. These areas help to frame a consideration of where the field is, and where it should be going. </p><p> </p><p align=left><strong>Priority Content Areas </strong></p><p><strong>1. Neuroscience </strong></p><p>There is now a recognized role for brain imaging in the study of human religious and spiritual phenomena. The capacity for spiritual experiences of awe, gratitude, love, hope and other areas of foci within this initiative are inseparably connected to the architecture of the mind-brain. With rapid advances in the development of techniques to measure brain activity, neuroscience approaches to the human spirit are receiving increasing attention. The hemodynamics of blood and oxygen flow or glucose metabolism in the brain as revealed by Positron Emission Tomography (PET) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) suggests that spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer involve increased activity in frontal brain structures, as well as those other brain areas that form a system to regulate and focus attention. There is also evidence that prayer involves increased activity in brain regions known to be involved in the production of language (Newberg, Pourdehnad, Alavi, & D'Aquili, 2003). Much of the existing work is based upon the study of either extreme religious states or highly developed prodigies. Further work needs to be done in the study of more common, normal, everyday religious experiences, states, and behaviors. A number of interesting and empirically tractable questions can be envisioned. For example, what brain regions are activated or deactivated by the religious experiences of awe, gratitude, praise, and worship? Is there a unique pattern of activation for these or for particular forms of prayer? What are the appropriate tasks to activate the mental and emotional processes associated with these spiritual states of consciousness? How are individual differences in spiritual strengths related to brain function?</p><p>While the potential of brain imaging research to elucidate neural mechanisms underlying religious and spiritual phenomena is tremendous, the pitfalls are equally significant. As the more humble neuroscientists readily admit, brain imaging is not the "Holy Grail" because the brain image itself as revealed by imaging techniques has little bearing on the psychological or spiritual significance of the image (Cacioppo et. al., 2003). Therefore, careful analytic frameworks must guide the design and interpretation of research in this area. One must have clearly articulated hypotheses concerning which components of spiritual experience might be responsible for which variations in brain activation. Development and advances in the neuroscience of the spirit will likely emerge from a transdisciplinary perspective in which cognitive neuroscientists team up with theologians, social scientists, and scholars and scientists in allied fields. </p><p> </p><p><strong>2. Developmental Science: Childhood and Adolescence </strong></p><p>A recent commentary on spiritual development concluded "the pursuit of things spiritual or religious represents a hidden and unclaimed core dimension of human development…It is time for psychology to claim and honor spiritual development as a core developmental process that deserves equal standing in the pantheon of universal developmental processes" (Benson, 2004, p. 50). The field of spiritual development is rapidly gaining legitimacy and attracting the interest of scholars from multiple disciplines and diverse contexts (Benson, Roehlkepartain, King, & Wagener, 2005; King & Boyatzis, 2004). A rich body of scientific scholarship already exists, but Metanexus envisions that this research initiative will help to shape and build the future of this field.</p><p>A developmental approach would assess antecedents, social correlates and consequences of spiritual strengths and virtues. There is a rich history of developmental research on prosocial behavior, altruism, empathy and perspective taking, but not from an explicitly religious perspective (Boyatzis, 2005). What is the developmental trajectory, say, of gratitude, humility or a sense of purpose? When do such qualities first appear? What would constitute valid, age-appropriate measures of these and related virtues? What are the socialization and induction mechanisms that parents employ to cultivate these behaviors in children? What parenting processes (e.g. communication, conflict resolution) or styles are associated with gratitude, humility, and a sense of purpose? To what degree are these virtues individually or jointly predictive of positive outcomes such as school success, overall well-being, service, resiliency, health behaviors, and less risk taking? </p><p><strong></strong></p><p><strong>3. Developmental Science: Adulthood and Aging </strong></p><p>Developmental studies need not be limited to childhood and adolescence. There is a need for basic research on spirituality, religion and flourishing across the life span, from young adulthood through old age (McFadden, 1999). Thanks to recent efforts, the field of religious gerontology is becoming well-developed, particularly in the area of spirituality, religion, and mental and physical well-being. The major thrust of this work has been to examine the association between religious involvement and mental health including depression and dementia. This work is vital, but it should not preclude the study of strengths and virtues and the roles that these play in understudied outcomes in religious gerontology, including positive emotions, activity level, resilience, healthy aging, and a deceleration of the aging process. Research incorporating religious contexts and institutions is highly desirable. For example, how might religious professionals and others who work with elderly people and their families (administrators, social workers, counselors, nurses, physicians, and recreation and rehabilitative therapists) within the context of religious institutions utilize information gleaned from basic research on spirituality and religion to maximize flourishing in later life? </p><p> </p><p><strong>4. Measurement </strong></p><p>Measurement is fundamental to scientific progress. The value of any subsequent research hinges on the ability to accurately measure relevant constructs. Major advances in scientific disciplines are typically preceded by major breakthroughs in measurement methods. Measurement has proven to be a challenge in the area of spirituality and, therefore, instrument development remains a high priority for the future. A careful investment in the development of assessment tools and statistical techniques would serve to catalyze high-level scientific advances. New and innovative measurement methods (i.e. going beyond self-report inventories) are especially needed.</p><p>Because human strengths are invariably entangled with culture, biology, and consciousness, there are a multiplicity of avenues by which these states may be studied. Thus, a full range of investigative strategies are needed. Studies that measure multiple, interacting variables through either correlational or experimental methodological designs are especially desirable. The virtues and human strengths of creativity, purpose, perseverance, gratitude, prayer, awe and wonder, personal responsibility, love, honesty, joy, humility, and generosity are necessarily interdependent. Most prior research has examined these in isolation from each other, obfuscating the mutually-dependent and interactive nature of various aspects of spiritual functioning. </p><p> </p><p><strong>5. Cultural Psychology </strong></p><p>Cultural psychology has demonstrated the strength of culture in influencing the perceptions, construals, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of its members (Lehman, Chiu, and Schaller, 2004). Therefore, it is desirable that research draw from multiple cultures and religious traditions. There are cultural variations in what aspects of spirituality are valued. Yet there are also psychological universals—invariant patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting that are unaffected by cultural context. In this vein, it is important for future research to develop a deeper understanding of the complex connections between cross-cultural differences in spiritual processes and universals in these. Concepts such as purpose, wisdom, creativity, awe and transcendence are filtered through culture. To what degree do these different aspects of the human spirit contribute to human flourishing across cultures? The tension between the search for human universals and the discovery of differences between people from distinct cultures cannot be ignored if research on the human spirit is to make significant forward strides. For further views on the interaction between culture and religion, interested readers are referred to the cutting-edge empirical research and theoretical articles in the <em>Journal of Cognition and Culture </em>. <strong></strong></p><p> </p><p><strong>6. Mental Health and Illness </strong></p><p>Both basic as well as what National Institutes of Health calls "translational" research on issues related to religion, spirituality, and human flourishing are encouraged are needed. The term translational refers to the task of translating or applying basic discoveries to problems in the realms of mental and physical health or education. The federal government and many private foundations are committed to identifying and reducing mental and physical illness and enhancing education. Therefore, it is desirable that proposals have potential to leverage assets from these other sources.</p><p>In this context, a vital research question is which strengths and virtues, either singly or in combination, confer resilience to psychiatric illnesses? Resilience refers to individual differences in susceptibility. The possession of certain strengths and virtues may be a key factor in why some people do not develop depression or anxiety disorders or recover faster from these. A recent study found that social religiosity and thankfulness were associated with reduced risk for both internalizing (e.g. depression) and externalizing (e.g. antisocial personality) disorders (Kendler et. al., 2003). What are the mechanisms by which these and other characteristics reduce the incidence and severity of disorders? </p><p> </p><p><strong>7. Intervention Studies </strong></p><p>Closely related to issues in mental health and illness is the need for research on interventions that are designed to cultivate human strengths and virtues. Within the positive psychology movement, several interventions designed to increase happiness and well-being have been developed. Rigorous tests of these using large scale, random assignment placebo controlled studies are a priority. What evidence-based interventions are most effective with which populations, and why? Studies are needed with children, adolescents, young adults, elders, and persons with psychological or physical disabilities. What interventions might foster a deep sense of meaning and purpose, joy, humility, perseverance, generosity, and personal responsibility? Mind-stretching work is required to identify the most appropriate outcomes and their rigorous measurement in these interventions, and to disseminate these in the widest possible way. </p><p> </p><p><strong>8. Religious and Spiritual Contexts </strong></p><p>As Metanexus seeks research projects that scientifically explore the link between religion and spirituality and the virtues and human strengths that reflect humanity's highest aspirations and noble qualities, research that explicitly incorporates spiritual and religious variables and processes is especially welcome. For example, research on understanding what spirituality looks like in different contexts—in different religious traditions and nonreligious traditions would be helpful. As another example, consider emotion. In what ways do sacred or spiritual emotions such as gratitude, awe, hope, joy and reverence differ from natural variations of these emotions? They vary widely across cultures and are highly sensitive to disciplined formation; they are strongly associated with sets of beliefs about the nature of the universe and human nature and are often a response to verbal communication. They are associated with ritual and in many traditions (Roberts, in press). Religion provides context and direction for emotion and the influence of religious systems on emotional experience and expression is considerable. In what ways do religious traditions, as cultural and linguistic systems, form and evoke sacred emotions, and through what means? The study of positive emotions is a major trend in contemporary affective science (Fredrickson, 2001), and future research should consider the many ways in which the psychology of religion can contribute to a growing understanding of positive emotions and the functions of positive emotions in people's lives. </p><p> </p><p><strong>9. Methodological and Data Analytic Strategies </strong></p><p>What research approaches are most likely to advance knowledge? Inasmuch as spirituality is a dynamic process, ever-more sophisticated approaches to data analysis are needed. Latent growth curve modeling has been applied to understand individual differences in the course of spirituality over time (e.g., Brennan & Mroczek, 2002), and hierarchical linear modeling techniques, which allow within-subject analysis, to examine relationships between daily spiritual experience and daily pain (Keefe et al., 2001). Longitudinal, cohort-sequential designs to study change are an appropriate research strategy when one wishes to examine developmental changes in religious and spiritual behavior. Intra-individual variability can be studied using latent growth curve models that incorporate dynamic elements. Researchers are encouraged to avail themselves of the latest cutting-edge techniques. It is hoped that a focus on these will better equip researchers to understand the dynamics of spirituality and human flourishing.</p><p>Many important advances have been made in research methodologies, and the incorporation of these newer methodologies into the broadening areas of inquiry will lead to a much richer psychology of religion and spirituality in the future. Innovative research must employ innovative methodologies, and researchers are encouraged to continue to take varied and diverse approaches to for exploring religious and spiritual processes related to human flourishing. Methods culled from experimental research on the cognitive bases of religion approach are promising (Barrett, 2004) as are measurement methods that go beyond direct, conscious self-reports, such as implicit attitude measures (Fazio and Olson, 2003). At the same time, ethnomethodological and phenomenological oriented methods should not be ignored. Different methods compliment one another and their incorporation is likely to be an important key to advancing the field. </p><p> </p><p><strong>10. The Need for a Multi-Level Interdisciplinary Paradigm </strong></p><p>If we have learned anything, it is that a single, sectarian approach is incapable of yielding comprehensive knowledge of phenomena as complex and multi-faceted as spirituality. A <em>multilevel interdisciplinary paradigm </em>(MIP) is required to anchor the study of spirituality and human flourishing strongly in the biological sciences and in the social and clinical sciences. Allied fields contributing to the MIP include evolutionary biology, neuroscience, anthropology, cognitive science, theology, and philosophy as a generalized cross-disciplinary approach to critiquing and sharpening the assumptions of science. This paradigm recognizes the value of data at multiple levels of analysis, while making non-reductive assumptions concerning the value of spiritual and religious phenomena. Non-reductive implies that spiritual or religious phenomena cannot be accounted for solely in terms of existing psychological, social, or biological constructs and processes. Appropriated wisely, the MIP will yield new and scientific ways to talk about the human spirit (Emmons & Paloutzian, 2003).</p><p>Behind the MIP is the assumption that information from various disciplines and levels of analysis has something to contribute to our understanding of religious and spiritual phenomena and that ultimately, this information can be integrated into a larger, coherent whole. For a science of the human spirit to flourish, a critical mass of ideas and knowledge must be developed that can serve as the springboard that will stimulate research that either extends one topic or supports cross-topic collaboration (Paloutzian, 2005). In its most visionary form, the MIP would foster integrative lines of research, theory, and practice in pursuit of the ultimate goal of understanding human flourishing. Research within each level of analysis is of course still critical, yet integrative research should be a priority for the future, as the MIP is not a passing trend. </p><p> </p><p><strong>References </strong></p><p>Barrett, J. L. (2004). <em>Why would anyone believe in God? </em>Walnut Creek , CA : AltaMira Press. </p><p>Benson, P.L. (2004). Emerging themes in research on adolescent and religious development. <em>Applied Developmental Science, 8 </em>, 47-50. </p><p>Benson, P.L., Roehlkepartain, E.C., King, P.E., & Wagener, L. (Eds.). (2005) <em>The handbook of spiritual </em><em>development in childhood and adolescence </em>. Thousand Oaks , CA : Sage Publications. </p><p>Boyatzis, C.J. (2005). Socialization and cognitive processes in children's religious development: Where we have been, where we must go. In R.F. Paloutzian & C.L. Park (Eds.), <em>The </em><em>handbook for the psychology of religion</em>. New York : Guilford . </p><p>Brennan, M., & Mroczek, D. K. (2002). Examining spirituality over time: Latent growth curve and individual growth curve analyses. <em>Journal of Religious Gerontology, 14, </em>11-29. </p><p>Emmons, R.A., & Paloutzian, R.F. (2003). The psychology of religion. <em>Annual Review of </em><em>Psychology, 54 </em>, 377-402. </p><p>Fazio, R.H. & Olson, M.A. (2003). Implicit measures in social cognition research: Their meaning and use. <em>Annual Review of Psychology, 54 </em>, 297-327. </p><p>Fredrickson, B.L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. <em>American Psychologist, 56 </em>, 218-226. Gusnard, D.A. et. al. (2003). Persistence and brain circuitry. <em>Proceedings of the National </em><em>Academy of Sciences </em><em>, U.S.A. </em><em>, 100 </em>, 3479-3484. </p><p>Hood, R.W. Jr., & Belzen, J.A. (2005). Research methods in the psychology of religion. In R.F. Paloutzian & C.L. Park (Eds.), <em>The handbook for the psychology of religion</em>. New York : Guilford . </p><p>Keefe, F. J., Affleck, G., Lefebvre, J., Underwood, L., Caldwell, D. S., Drew, J., Egert, J., Gibson, J., & Pargament, K. I. (2001). Living with rheumatoid arthritis: The role of daily spirituality and daily religious and spiritual coping. <em>Journal of Pain, 2, </em>101-110. </p><p>Kendler, K.S. et. al. (2003). Dimensions of religiosity and their relationship to lifetime psychiatric and substance use disorders. <em>American Journal of Psychiatry, 160 </em>, 496-503. </p><p>King, P.E., & Boyatzis, C. (2004). Exploring adolescent spiritual and religious development: current and future theoretical and empirical perspectives. <em>Applied Developmental </em><em>Science, 8 </em>, 2-6. </p><p>Lehman, D.R., Chiu, C., & Schaller, M. (2004). Psychology and culture. <em>Annual Review of </em><em>Psychology, 55, </em>689-714. </p><p>McFadden, S.H. (1999). Religion, personality, and aging: A life span perspective. <em>Journal of </em><em>Personality, 67 </em>, 1081-1104. </p><p>Newberg, A., Pourdehnad, M., Alavi, A., & D'Aquili , E. G. (2003). Cerebral blood flow during meditative prayer: Preliminary findings and methodological issues. <em>Perceptual and Motor </em><em>Skills, 97 </em>, 625-630. </p><p>Paloutzian, R.F. (2005). Integrative themes in the current science of the psychology of religion. In R.F. Paloutzian and C.L. Park (Eds.), <em>The handbook of the psychology of religion</em>. New York : Guilford . </p><p>Peterson, C.P., & Seligman, M.E.P. (Eds.) (2004). <em>Character strengths and virtues: A handbook </em><em>and classification. </em>New York : Oxford University Press. </p><p>Roberts, R.C. (in press). Research on religious emotions. In J. Corrigan (Ed.), <em>Handbook of </em><em>religion and emotion </em>. New York : Oxford University Press. </p><p>Seligman, M. E. P. & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. <em>American Psychologist, 55 </em>, 5-14. </p><hr /><p>Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis. He received his Ph.D. degree in Personality and Social Ecology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Southern Maine. He is the author of nearly 70 original publications in peer reviewed journals or chapters in edited volumes, including the acclaimed book The Psychology of Ultimate Concerns: Motivation and Spirituality in Personality (Guilford Press). He is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, the American Psychological Society, and a Fellow of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies. Professor Emmons is a consulting editor for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. His research focuses on personal goals, spirituality, the psychology of gratitude and thankfulness, and subjective well-being. He has received research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the John M. Templeton Foundation, and the National Institute for Disability Research and Rehabilitation (U.S. Department of Education). He lives with his wife Yvonne and their 3-year old son, Adam, in Davis, California.</p><hr /><p><a href=http://www.metanexus.net/tarp/field.analyses.htm>Click here for a PDF version of this field analysis complete with an extensive bibliography.</a></p><p>©2006 Metanexus Institute</p><p>Published on 2006.1.19.</p> An increasingly vigorous area of research is human virtue. The study of virtue, at the nexus of the psychology of religion, personality psychology, moral philosophy, and the psychology of emotion, is making a comeback in psychology. Partly responsible for this resurgence is the positive psychology movement which has sought to systematically classify human strengths and virtues into a comprehensive taxonomy. Concepts such as forgiveness, love, hope, humility, gratitude, self-control, and wisdom appear as highly prized human dispositions in Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu thought and are affirmed universal principles in world philosophies and ethical systems. Basic research as well as interventions to cultivate these virtues is well underway. Yet there is much hard work that lies ahead. 1/19/2006 03/21/2007
9403 Competitive Dynamics and Cultural Evolution of Religions and God Concepts: A Field Analysis In this topical area both theoretical and historical-empirical proposals will be considered. We seek explorations of the competitive and cultural forces that shape religions and the conceptualization of God. Numerous questions in this domain remain: What mechanisms influence the evolution of God concepts and vice versa? Is there a "natural selection" of religious ideas and does it slowly move society closer to truth? How can interactions among religions advance spiritual understanding? What are the results of the American experiment in religious pluralism? What role has secularization played in the progress of spirituality? This topical area seeks inquiries that approach religion and spirituality from the perspective of an important creative or causal factor in the formation of society. Approaches relevant to this area include evolutionary psychology, economic models, rational choice theory, game theory, computer models and simulations, and other models for cultural development. <p>Religions are in part cultural systems that succeed or fail on the basis of their properties. Religions vary in their behavioral prescriptions, theological beliefs, and social practices. The differences are heritable in the sense that a given religion transmits its properties through time with at least a moderate degree of fidelity. If the differences <em>make </em>a difference in terms of birth, immigration, survival, and emigration (the inputs and outputs of a demographic equation), then a winnowing process appears inevitable. Religions should become adapted to their environments, as surely as organisms become adapted through genetic inheritance mechanisms.</p><p>Despite the basic plausibility of religious cultural evolution, it is not at present an active field of inquiry. This neglect can be traced to the turbulent history of the study of cultural evolution in general. Early theories of cultural evolution owed more to Herbert Spencer than to Charles Darwin and attempted to order societies on a continuum from "primitive" to "advanced." This linear view of long-term cultural evolution, which easily lent itself to racist and imperialistic doctrines, was rejected during the early 20th century in favor of the view that cultures cannot be ranked with respect to advancement (Carniero 2003). The new view could have been given an evolutionary formulation (e.g., most cultures are well adapted to their respective environments) but instead it resulted in an intellectual apartheid between "biology" and "culture" that has persisted to this day. As astonishing as it might seem, most of the advances in evolutionary biology during the second half of the 20th century have not been applied to the study of human cultures—religious or otherwise—until very recently.</p><p>We are currently witnessing a renaissance in the study of culture from an evolutionary perspective (Boehm 1999, Bowles 2003,Carniero 2003, Deacon 1998, Diamond 1997, 2004, Fehr and Gachter 2002, Fehr and Fischbacher 2003, Gintis 2000, Gintis et al 2005, Henrich 2003, Henrich et al. 2004, Koppl 2004, Nisbett 2003, Odling-Smee et al. 2003, Richerson and Boyd 2004, Sober and Wilson 1998, Tomasello 1999, Wilson 2002, 2004). The new paradigm bears almost no resemblance to previous conceptions. Far from forcing cultures into a linear sequence, it attempts to show how our species evolved (by genetic evolution) a capacity for symbolic thought and cumulative social transmission that amounted to a new non-genetic mechanism of inheritance. Given a fast-paced process of cultural evolution built by genetic evolution, modern cultural evolutionists then attempt to explain the explosive adaptive radiation that took place as humans spread over the globe, filling the ecological niches of approximately 500 mammalian species (Pagel and Mace 2004) and vastly expanding the scale of social organization within a period of a few thousand years. The scientists and scholars who have joined this effort include evolutionary, developmental, and neurobiologists, biological and cultural anthropologists, psychologists, economists, philosophers, and historians, providing a model of what E.O. Wilson (1998) called consilience.</p><p>These very recent developments have profound implications for the study of religion that flow in both directions. Those interested in religion gain a powerful conceptual framework for studying religious change and diversification. Those interested in culture gain an extensive and at times almost unbelievably detailed body of empirical knowledge of religious cultures around the world and throughout history—a temporal fossil record and current inventory, so to speak. Unlike the biological fossil record, which leaves almost no trace of the genetic, developmental, and physiological mechanisms that give rise to the phenotype, religious scholarship preserves the analogous proximate mechanisms for cultural evolution in the form of behavioral prescriptions, theological beliefs, and social practices (the proximate mechanisms) that influence how members of religious communities actually behave (the phenotype that is subject to the winnowing process of selection).</p><p>There are also profound practical implications of studying religion from a modern cultural evolutionary perspective. Positive religious objectives include a desire for peaceful and cooperative relations within and among groups, a wish to be part of something benign and larger than oneself, a belief that individuals and societies can be transformed into something much better in the future than the past or present, and a more immediate desire to transmit our best values to our own children and the next generation. <em>These objectives are possible but not inevitable outcomes of cultural evolution</em>. Concepts such as "truth", "wisdom", "spiritual understanding" and "harmony" are not the same as the evolutionary concept of "adaptation". If we wish to achieve the former, we must understand their complex relationship with the latter. We must abandon the comforting-- but false and strangely passive--belief that evolution is carrying mankind toward a benign "Omega point" (Teilhard de Chardin, 1959). What we stand to gain is a more practical knowledge of how to bring the outcome of cultural evolution into alignment with positive religious and general ethical objectives.</p><p>The Metanexus Institute and John Templeton Foundation are in a unique position to create a funding platform for this topic area that places equal value on the practical and basic scientific implications. In the following sections I will recommend a number of specific areas that should be targeted for funding, along with a few that should not because they are already receiving sufficient attention or have not yet become sufficiently consilient with other bodies of knowledge.</p><p> </p><p align=left><strong>Specific areas that should be targeted for funding </strong></p><p> </p><p><em>1) How well adapted are religious groups to their respective environments? </em>The phenotypic traits associated with any given religion might be adaptive or nonadaptive. As adaptations, they might benefit groups relative to other groups, individuals relative to other individuals within groups, or cultural "memes" as parasitic organisms in their own right. If nonadaptive, they might have been adaptive in past environments or byproducts of traits that function adaptively in non-religious contexts. These are the major hypotheses that evolutionary biologists attempt to evaluate for all traits and they provide an excellent framework for the study of religion. At present, there is little agreement about the basic adaptedness of religion. Some authors (such as Sosis 2004 and Wilson 2002) interpret religions as impressively adaptive, while others (such as Atran 2002, Atran and Norenzayan 2005, and Boyer 2001) regard religion primarily as a nonadaptive byproduct of traits that provide benefits in earlier environments and nonreligious contexts. These interpretations need not remain "just so stories." Evolutionary biologists routinely determine the facts of the matter for traits in nonhuman species and similar progress can be made for the subject of religion. Especially needed are collaborations between individuals who are at the forefront of cultural evolutionary theory and individuals who have deep empirical knowledge of past and present religious groups.</p><p><em>2) What role do theological beliefs and practices (including conceptions of God and religious conceptions of human nature) play in adapting religious groups to their respective environments? </em>This is a more refined version of question 1. Religious conceptions of God and human nature vary widely, not only at a large scale (e.g., Christianity vs. Buddhism) but also at a small scale (e.g., Calvinism vs. Quakerism within Christianity). What accounts for such an amazing diversity of religious belief? Perhaps it is simply a product of human imagination without functional significance. Or perhaps differences in theological belief <em>make </em>a difference in how they motivate people to behave. Only empirical research can settle the issue, which once again requires a collaboration between those who possess detailed knowledge of specific religious systems and those who are accustomed to testing evolutionary hypotheses. Religious scholars have studied the origin and fate of new theological conceptions against the background of physical and social environments in extraordinary detail. This information is waiting to be organized by a modern cultural evolutionary theoretical framework.</p><p><em>3) What can religion tell us about the process of cultural evolution in addition to its products? </em>The fact that genetic replication is a high-fidelity process is not an accident. It is a result of evolution (sometimes called "the evolution of evolvability") that requires an elaborate machinery, including the <em>failure </em>to replicate (strategic innovation) during periods of environmental stress. Similarly, cultural mechanisms of inheritance are the product of past genetic and cultural evolution and are probably more sophisticated than most researchers are currently aware. The study of religion can provide knowledge about how cultural traits—especially those that make an important difference in terms of influencing behavior-- are transmitted (or lost), both horizontally (within generations) and vertically (across generations). Possibilities include the concept of sacredness and the use of powerful narratives that are more memorable and have more emotional force than legal-sounding prescriptions. The rapid pace of cultural evolution means that the mechanisms of cultural transmission can themselves evolve to keep pace with other cultural innovations such as writing, printing, and electronic media (Aunger 2002).</p><p><em>4) Religions usually promote harmony within groups but only sometime promote harmony among groups. What are the ecological, social, and cultural evolutionary factors that promote harmonious relations among religious groups? </em>Evolution in general and cultural evolution in particular is inherently <em>multilevel </em>(Sober and Wilson 1998): Groups that function well become common by replacing less functional groups in some sense, whether by a process of economic or military competition or by psychological and social processes such as imitation, imposition, and so on. Genocide is one form of between-group selection that is morally abhorrent. Groups voluntarily adopting new practices because they work better is another form of between-group selection that is morally benign. The full spectrum of between-group selection processes have operated throughout history, including but not restricted to religious groups. It is astonishing how most discourse on this subject takes place in ignorance of basic evolutionary principles. Obviously, it is a priority of the first rank to understand when between-group selection takes violent vs. nonviolent trajectories.</p><p><em>5) Religions are in part vehicles of practical knowledge that enable people to behave adaptively in their environments, but much of this knowledge is encoded and transmitted in a way that appears the very opposite of pragmatic. What accounts for this paradox, or more generally the advantages of encoding practical knowledge in ways that are not self-evidently pragmatic? </em>Some aspects of human psychology and culture are self-evidently pragmatic. There is little need to wonder about a farmer who discovers a better way to grow crops and transmits this knowledge (actively or passively) to others. Religion begs for an explanation in part because it appears to flaunt this kind of practical reasoning. There is more need to wonder about why the farmers sacrifice a portion of their harvest to the Gods. One possibility is that the elements of religion that <em>appear </em>impractical <em>are </em>impractical. Another possibility is that seemingly impractical elements turn out to be practical when judged by the standard of <em>what they cause people to do</em>. Both possibilities are plausible hypotheses that have occupied the attention of religious theorists and scholars throughout history. As with the study of between-group interactions, however, most discourse has taken place in ignorance of basic evolutionary principles—in this case the distinction between proximate and ultimate causation. The fundamental question is: When are behaviors that are "rational" or "practical" in the ultimate sense caused by mechanisms that appear "rational" or "practical" in the proximate sense? Framing and testing the hypotheses in these terms can result in much more progress in the future than in the past.</p><p><em>6) How do religious cultural systems differ from other cultural systems? </em>Human social organizations can be religious or nonreligious in character. Indeed, the basic question "What is religion?" leads to the identification of numerous component traits (such as spirituality, symbolic systems that place an emphasis on sacredness, and belief in entities that cannot be empirically verified) that also exist outside religion. Religion is a very fuzzy set! The history of any geographical region (such as Europe) reveals a complex interplay between religious and non-religious organizations (Poggi 1978). <em>The fact that religious and nonreligious social organizations interact with each other in cultural evolution means that the study of religion cannot be confined to religion. </em>It must take place within the context of a theory that includes but is not restricted to religion.</p><p><em>7) The need for a balance between theoretical and empirical research. </em>Science requires a feedback process between hypothesis formation and testing. A theory can do no better than outline a number of plausible alternatives. If these alternatives can't be tested against the facts of the real world, then the scientific process stagnates. In the absence of an appropriate theory, empirical information piles up like snowdrifts. Disorganized information is almost as bad as no information at all and once again the scientific process stagnates. These platitudes about science might seem out of place if they did not describe the current study of religion so well. There is an enormous amount of empirical information on religion but most of it is not organized with respect to an appropriate theoretical framework. There are many theories of religion but often they remain highly speculative and do not attempt to seriously engage the data. In short, what everyone knows (or should know) about the scientific process needs to be implemented for the study of religion. Grant proposals in this program should evaluated in part for their ability to establish a genuine feedback between hypothesis formation and testing.</p><p><em>8) The need for a consilient theoretical framework </em>. Scientific progress requires not only a theory but the <em>right </em>theory. It might sound suspect to claim that there is a single right theory (evolution), in contrast to potential alternatives such as rational choice theory, Marxist theory, complex systems theory, behaviorism, cognitive psychology, social constructivism, functionalism, methodological individualism, and so on. However, if we restrict ourselves to purely biological subjects, there <em>is </em>a single right theory—evolution—however much our understanding of the theory has changed in the past and will change in the future. Any naturalistic understanding of human phenomena must be consistent with evolutionary theory and can be deeply informed by evolutionary theory, a form of consistency that E.O. Wilson (1998) termed consilience. This does not mean that evolutionary theory renders all previous theories obsolete. Most, if not all, major theoretical and intellectual frameworks have some explanatory value but need to be understood in the context of evolutionary theory rather than as alternatives. For example, humans undeniably reason in cost/benefit terms and maximize certain utilities at least some of the time, which is the essence of rational choice theory. However, this impressive ability must have evolved by a process of genetic and/or cultural evolution and by itself cannot possibly explain all human phenomena, which has been the ambitious claim of rational choice theory. As neither separate nor adequate by itself, rational choice theory must be understood in the context of evolutionary theory, an intellectual development that is only just now in the process of taking place (Gintis 2003). The same can be said for social constructivist theories of human behavior, which have an important core of truth--after all, cultural evolution is by definition a process of social construction--but will be much better studied within the framework of evolutionary theory than as a vaguely articulated alternative. When the Metanexus Institute and the John Templeton foundation titled its funding initiative "Competitive Dynamics and Cultural Evolution of Religions and God Concepts," it properly recognized that all human phenomena must be consistent with evolutionary theory to be explained within the framework of science. Moreover, this recognition needs to go beyond a vague acknowledgement to include a sophisticated understanding of the theory and empirical methods of evolutionary science.</p><hr><strong>Literature Cited </strong><p>Atran, S. (2002). I<span style=font-style: italic>n Gods we Trust: The evolutionary landscape of religion</span>. Oxford, Oxford University Press.  Analysis of religion as a byproduct of cognitive adaptations that evolved in ancestral environments, primarily in a non-religious context.</p><p>Atran, S. and A. Norenzayan (2005). "Religion's evolutionary landscape: Counterintuition, commitment, compassion, communion." <span style=font-style: italic>Behavioral and Brain Sciences. </span> In press.  Summary and update of Atran (2002), followed by commentaries and reply.</p><p>Aunger, R. (2002). <span style=font-style: italic>The Electric Meme</span>.  New York, Free Press.  Perhaps the most thorough analysis of the meme as a useful concept for thinking about cultural evolution.</p><p>Boyer, P. (2001). <span style=font-style: italic>Religion Explained</span>. New York , Basic Books.  Analysis of religion as a byproduct of cognitive adaptations that evolved in ancestral environments, primarily in a non-religious context.</p><p>Boehm, C. (1999). <span style=font-style: italic>Hierarchy in the Forest : Egalitarianism and the Evolution of Human Altruism</span>. Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press.  An account of the genetic and cultural evolution of human ultrasociality, from our closest primate relatives to large-scale human sociality.</p><p>Bowles, S. (2003). <span style=font-style: italic>Microeconomics: Behavior, institutions, and evolution</span>. Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press.  A treatise by an economist at the forefront of transdisciplinary research that includes traditional economics, evolutionary biology, psychology and anthropology.</p><p>Carniero, R. (2003). <span style=font-style: italic>Evolution in Cultural Anthropology: a critical history</span>. New York, Westview Press.  A review of the history of cultural evolution, from before Darwin to the present, with a focus on the emergence of large-scale society.</p><p>Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre (1959). <span style=font-style: italic>The phenomenon of man</span>. New York, Harper.  An early attempt to integrate evolution and religion that portrayed evolution as progressive with mankind at the forefront.</p><p>Deacon, T. W. (1998). <span style=font-style: italic>The Symbolic Species</span>.  New York, Norton.  A highly original and interdisciplinary attempt to show that humans are (nearly) unique in their capacity for symbolic thought.</p><p>Diamond, J. (1997). <span style=font-style: italic>Guns, Germs, and Steel</span>.  New York, Norton.  A panoramic history of worldwide cultural evolution from the origin of agriculture to the present.</p><p>Diamond, J. (2004). <span style=font-style: italic>Collapse: How societies choose to succeed or fail.</span>  New York, Viking.  An analysis of how past civilizations have failed and what modern civilizations must do to share a similar fate.</p><p>Fehr, E. and S. Gachter (2002). "Altruistic punishment in humans." <span style=font-style: italic>Nature </span>415: 137-140.  Experiments that reveal the human propensity to punish social transgressions, even without the prospect of indirect benefits.</p><p>Fehr, E. and U. Fischbacher (2003). "The Nature of Human Altruism." <span style=font-style: italic>Nature</span> 425: 785-791.  A review of human altruism that represents the best of contemporary interdisciplinary research.</p><p>Gintis, H. (2000). <span style=font-style: italic>Game Theory Evolving</span>.  Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press.  A treatise by an economist at the forefront of transdisciplinary research that includes traditional economics, evolutionary biology, psychology and anthropology.</p><p>Gintis, H. (2003). "Towards the Unity of the Behavioral Sciences." Santa Fe Institute Working Paper #03-02-015.  An article-length account of contemporary interdisciplinary studies of human sociality.</p><p>Gintis, H., S. Bowles, et al., Eds. (2005). <span style=font-style: italic>Moral sentiments and material interests: the foundations of cooperation in economic life</span>. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press.  A treatise by two economists at the forefront of transdisciplinary research that includes traditional economics, evolutionary biology, psychology and anthropology.</p><p>Henrich, J. (2003). "Cultural group selection, coevolutionary processes and large-scale cooperation." <span style=font-style: italic>Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization</span> 53: 3-35.  An article-length account of modern research on cultural evolution, including commentaries.</p><p>Henrich, J., R. Boyd, et al. (2004). <span style=font-style: italic>Foundations of human sociality: economic experiments and ethnographic evidence from fifteen small-scale societies</span>.  Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press.  A unique interdisciplinary study in which a single set of experiments drawn from the field of experimental economics was administered to small-scale societies around the world.</p><p>Koppl, R., Ed. (2005). <span style=font-style: italic>Evolutionary psychology and economic theory</span>.  Greenwich, CN, JAI Press.  A recent volume exploring the interface between evolutionary and economic theory, including the nature of large-scale human social organizations.</p><p>Nisbett, R. (2003). <span style=font-style: italic>Geography of thought: How Asians and Westerners think differently, and why</span>.  New York, Free Press.  A popular book that summarizes current research on cognitive processes as a product of cultural evolution, but a leader in this field.</p><p>Odling-Smee, F. J., K. N. Laland, et al. (2003). <span style=font-style: italic>Niche Construction: The neglected process in evolution</span>.  Princeton, Princeton University Press.  An attempt to think about evolution as a co-evolutionary process in which organisms change their environment, which in turn changes the properties of organisms.</p><p>Pagel, M. and R. Mace (2004). "The cultural wealth of nations." <span style=font-style: italic>Nature</span> 428: 275-278.  A brief account of how human cultural diversity exhibits the same patterns as biological diversity.</p><p>Poggi, G. (1978). <span style=font-style: italic>The development of the modern state: a sociological introduction</span>.  Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press.  This short history of the emergence of state-level society doesn't mention evolution by name but clearly implicates multilevel cultural evolutionary processes.</p><p>Richerson, P. J. and R. Boyd (2004). <span style=font-style: italic>Not by genes alone: how culture transformed human evolution</span>.  Chicago, University of Chicago Press.  The most recent and perhaps most balanced and accessible account of the contemporary field of cultural evolution.</p><p>Sober, Elliott and David S. Wilson. (1998). <span style=font-style: italic>Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior</span>.  Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.  A book-length treatment of multilevel selection theory in relation to human behavior and cultural evolution.</p><p>Sosis, R. (2004). "The adaptive value of religious ritual." <span style=font-style: italic>American Scientist</span> 92: 166-172.  An example of contemporary, theory-driven empirical research on religion from an evolutionary perspective.</p><p>Tomasello, M. (1999). <span style=font-style: italic>The cultural origins of human cognition</span>.  Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.  An attempt to understand the roots of human cultural evolution through the study of our closest primate relatives and human child development.</p><p>Wilson, D. S. (2002). <span style=font-style: italic>Darwin 's Cathedral: evolution, religion, and the nature of society</span>.  Chicago, University of Chicago Press.  Analysis of religion as primarily a product of between-group selection, in contrast to the byproduct of interpretation of Atran and Boyer.  The diversity of views among evolutionary biologists studying religion points out the need for a balance between hypothesis formation and testing.</p><p>Wilson, D. S., (2004). "The New Fable of the Bees: Multilevel selection, adaptive societies, and the concept of self-interest".  <span style=font-style: italic>Advances in Austrian Economics</span> 7: 201-220.  An article-length treatment of how multilevel selection, and not self-interest, accounts for all forms of ultrasociality.</p><p>Wilson, E. O. (1998). <span style=font-style: italic>Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge</span>.  New York, Knopf.  A general plea for the unification of knowledge.</p> "We seek explorations of the competitive and cultural forces that shape religions and the conceptualization of God. Numerous questions in this domain remain: What mechanisms influence the evolution of God concepts and vice versa? Is there a "natural selection" of religious ideas and does it slowly move society closer to truth? How can interactions among religions advance spiritual understanding? What are the results of the American experiment in religious pluralism? What role has secularization played in the progress of spirituality? This topical area seeks inquiries that approach religion and spirituality from the perspective of an important creative or causal factor in the formation of society. Approaches relevant to this area include evolutionary psychology, economic models, rational choice theory, game theory, computer models and simulations, and other models for cultural development." 1/19/2006 03/21/2007
9404 Bodily Resurrection and the Dialectic of Spirit and Matter “As Whitehead and Peirce each in his own way has made clear, it is time to set aside the ontological dualism which has bedeviled philosophers from the time of Plato onwards and encouraged natural scientists and others of a more empirical bent simply to write off the reality of spirit and to focus exclusively on the world of material reality. Rather, we should be, as Peirce recommends, 'objective idealists,' recognizing the ontological primacy of mind or spirit over matter but likewise acknowledging that spirit at all levels of existence and activity (including the divine) must somehow express itself in terms of matter.” <hr /><p><strong>Bodily Resurrection and the Dialectic of Spirit and Matter</strong></p><p>By Joseph A. Bracken</p><p>Two of the more prominent process-oriented philosophers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century within North America were unquestionably Charles Sanders Peirce and Alfred North Whitehead. Initial reading of their writings might well suggest that they held opposite opinions about the nature of reality. With his belief that “the final real things of which the world is made up” are actual occasions or momentary self-constituting subjects of experience, Whitehead can legitimately be considered a philosophical atomist.<sup><a href=#_edn1 name=_ednref1 title=" width="25" height="19" border="0" />1 Peirce, on the contrary, placed very strong emphasis on continuity within nature as implied by his notion of “synechism” as a “regulative principle” governing both mind and matter.3 Likewise, Peirce was equally emphatic that chance or spontaneity is also operative in natural processes so that physical laws are statistical generali­zations rather than absolute determinations of the way things work; continuity amid such variety in nature is preserved by “the tendency of all things to take habits,” to move “from difformity to uniformity.”5 Mind or spirit, in other words, is the more foundational reality; but it has a dialectical relationship to matter as its necessary self-manifes­tation or self-expression. Thus wherever spirit exists, there is matter under­stood as the growth of “habit” within nature. Likewise, wherever matter or “habit” exists, there is antecedently spirit, at least in some attenuated form. Whitehead, as I see it, was implicitly making the same claim with his assertion that actual entities or actual occasions are “subject-superjects.”7 But what is objectively immortal here except a feeling-laden form or mini-pattern available for incorporation into the subjectivity of the next actual occasion(s)? The subject of experience expires once it has completed its process of concrescence. Presumably all that remains is the objective result of the subject’s self-constituting “decision”: in the first place, a pattern or form which brought into harmony all the “feelings” derived from the subject’s multiple prehensions of the world around it; and in the second place, the unified feeling or set of feelings accompanying that same form or pattern.9 But this is a misleading statement since technically there no longer exists a subject to feel that “satisfaction.”11 That is, they are in imagination giving lasting reality to what logically no longer exists. Whitehead, for example, describes a super­ject as an “atomic creature exercising its function of objective immortality. It has become a ‘being’; and it belongs to the nature of every ‘being’ that it is a potential for every ‘becoming.’”13 My own solution to this problem within Whitehead’s metaphysics has been for many years now to stipulate that Whiteheadian “societies” are structured fields of activity for their constituent actual occasions.15 In this respect, Hartshorne was still thinking in terms of the classical paradigm for the relationship between the One and the Many originally proposed by Plato: namely, that the One gives order and direction to the Many by ordering the empirical Many to itself as their transcendent organizing principle. What I have proposed, on the contrary, is a new paradigm for that same relationship between the One and the Many: namely, that the Many by their dynamic interrelationship co-create the reality of the One as their strictly immanent principle of unity. Thus in virtue of the principle of Creativity within Whitehead’s philosophy, actual occasions not only achieve the subjective unity proper to their individual self-constitution but together with their contemporaries within the same “society” co-create the objective unity proper to the society as a whole.

The persons and things of common sense experience are then what Whitehead calls “structured societies” or societies composed of hierarchically ordered subsocieties of actual occasions. All these subsocieties ­collaborate in producing a given physical reality, whether animate or inanimate. My revisionist proposal is to think of all these subsocie­ties as hierarchically ordered fields of activity for the dynamic interplay of actual occasions ­at different levels of existence and activity within the physical world: atomic, molecular, cellular, organismic, supraorganic (i.e., environmental and communitarian), etc. Thus at each level of existence and activity within Nature immaterial subjects of experience by their dynamic interrelation are co-creating structured fields of activity corresponding to the entities of common sense experience, the material realities available to ordinary sense perception. What endures from moment to moment are not individual actual occasions but the energy-laden patterns of their ongoing interrelation. Matter is thus linked with spirit as its necessary self-expression, provided that by matter one understands a combination of form and feeling (information and energy) rather than something simply inert and passive as in the classical understanding of the term “matter” and that by spirit one has in mind a Whiteheadian actual occasion or subject of experience in its process of self-constitution.

Turning now to the philosophy of Peirce, I find an analogous understanding of the relationship between spirit and matter. As noted above, Peirce regarded matter as “effete mind, inveterate habits becoming physical laws.”17

Hence, for Peirce as well as for Whitehead there is a dialectical relationship between spirit and matter. Wherever the one is found, the other in some way or other is also necessarily present.

This same conclusion is reached through careful analysis of what Peirce means by Firstness, Secondness and Thirdness. First­ness is associated with spontaneity or feeling.19 Peirce refers to it as the experience of the Non-Ego over against the Ego.21 Furthermore, this “law of mind” according to Peirce is likewise active in Nature or extra-mental reality as the tendency to habit-taking.23 Nor are they to be understood as form and matter as Aquinas suggested following the lead of Aristotle.25

Yet, as mentioned above, if one thinks of Whiteheadian “socie­ties” as structured fields of activity for their constituent actual occasions, and if these fields are hierarchically ordered in terms of their complexity, then an explanation of “emergence” within physical reality seems ready at hand. For, according to this scheme Whiteheadian “creativity” not only enables the constituent actual occasions of a given “society” to achieve “satisfaction” in their individual self-constitu­tion; it likewise empowers them collectively to co-create a “common element of form” for themselves as a “society” which is analogous to but still different from the form proper to the self-constitution of each of them individually.27 this pattern or common element of form for the society as a whole gradually undergoes modi­fication in virtue of the ever-changing relations among its successive actual occasions in their interaction with one another and the surrounding environment. Then, when a significant change in the “common element of form” for the society as a whole has taken hold, a more complex set of actual occasions which can effectively incorporate that change of form into their individual self-constitution will likewise necessarily originate. Thus through this reciprocal relation between the constituent actual occasions of a given society and the “common element of form” governing their dynamic interrelation, a new level of existence and activity within Nature can by degrees emerge.

The advantage of this scheme, as I see it, is that it theoretically justifies both “bottom-up” and “top-down” causation within Nature. In each case, the agents for change are the constituent actual occasions of a given society. Insofar as they continue to evolve in their dynamic interrelations as a result of their mutual “prehension” of an ever-changing natural environment and quite possibly in terms of what Whitehead calls a divine “initial aim,”29 there are qualitatively different grades of actual occasions corresponding to their internal complexity. Whitehead himself, to be sure, only specified four such grades; but there could be many more, given the presupposition of successively more complex societies or structured fields of activity for their constituent actual occasions within Nature.

Applying this line of thought to the mind-brain relation, we can then with Whitehead ­argue that the mind is a “living person” or nexus of high-grade actual occasions with a “thread of personal order,” equivalently a “common element of form” from moment to moment.31

Yet, if the mind, the brain and the rest of the body are so closely intertwined, how is it possible to think of the subjective immortality of the mind (soul) and the resurrection of the body in terms of this scheme? I will lay out my answer to that question in four steps. First of all, if one accepts the line of argument proposed earlier about the dialec­tical relationship between spirit and matter, then it follows that the human body as a material reality is not opposed to the reality of spirit but is its necessary self-expression or self-manifestation.33 How creaturely actual occasions achieve subjective immortality within God requires a fourth step in the argument. Here I propose that whenever a given “society” of actual occasions comes to an end, then the final actual occasion (or set of actual occasions in the case of “societies” extended in space as well as time) is received into the divine life as a subjective as well as objective reality. That is, where­as all previous actual occasions within the society in question expired and only left a trace of their subjective reality in the shape of a feeling-laden form or pattern for the ongoing development of the field of activity proper to the society as a whole, the final actual occasion (or set of actual occasions) retains its subjectivity within God and thereby takes possession of its own objective reality as a “society” in a new way. It experiences the complex pattern of its entire previous existence as preserved directly within its own field of activity from the beginning of its existence and indirectly within the all-encompassing divine field of activity. ­It thus undergoes “resurrection” into a new form of existence and activity which was impossible within the constraints of the space-time continuum but is now made possible through incor­poration into the ongoing life of the triune God.

Several years ago Marjorie Suchocki developed a similar theory to justify subjective immortality for created actual occasions within God. She stipulated that for every created actual occasion there is a fleeting moment of “enjoyment” after it has completed its process of self-constitution and before it perishes so as to become a “super­ject” for subsequent actual occasions to prehend.35 The principal liability of this otherwise clever reinterpre­tation of Whitehead’s metaphysics, however, is that every created actual occasion that has ever existed is thereby preserved within the divine consequent nature in its individuality. It is, to be sure, interrelated with every other actual occasion that has ever existed, but what seems to be lost is its particular reality as a momentary member of a specific created “society” of actual occa­sions within the divine consequent nature.37

There are, of course, still other details which could be added to fill out this picture of a created universe which is everlastingly being preserved within the divine life, but many of them have been developed elsewhere.39), it seems altogether plausible that at the moment of death human beings and all other living creatures will find themselves at the end of history rather than somewhere in the middle, already enjoying the Last Judgment and the inauguration of a new cosmic epoch as promised in the pages of the New Testament.

These are, of course, speculative issues which can never be settled simply by appeal to logic or philosophical argument. But they do make clear the pertinence of my basic thesis that spirit and matter are not separate realities but dialectically related dimensions of one and the same physical reality. As Whitehead and Peirce each in his own way has made clear, it is time to set aside the ontological dualism which has bedeviled philosophers from the time of Plato onwards and encouraged natural scientists and others of a more empirical bent simply to write off the reality of spirit and to focus exclusively on the world of material reality. Rather, we should be, as Peirce recommends, “objective idealists,” recog­nizing the ontological primacy of mind or spirit over matter but likewise acknowledging that spirit at all levels of existence and activity (including the divine) must somehow express itself in terms of matter. Yet the term “matter” must then be reconceived or imagined in a new way, name­ly, as a combination of form and feeling (information and energy) rather than as some primordial stuff passively awaiting an infusion of spirit in order to become some determinate reality. Such a basic change in world view should have far-reaching consequences not just in the realm of religion but in many other areas of human life.


End Notes

2. Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, eds. Charles Harts­horne and Paul Weiss, Vol. VI (Cambridge: MA: Harvard University Press, 1935), nn. 169-73.

4. Collected Papers, VI, n. 101.

6. Whitehead, Process and Reality, p. 29.

8. See Judith A. Jones, Intensity: An Essay in Whiteheadian Ontology (Nashville, TN: Vanderbile University Press, 1998), pp. 8-12. Jones argues convincingly that an actual occasion in its process of concrescence aims at a subjective unity of the feelings derived from “prehension” of antecedent actual occasions. She also argues that the subjectivity of the actual occa­sion is still somehow present in the way it “super­jects” that unified feeling to subsequent actual occasions (pp. 3,29). As I shall make clear below, my own view is that the feeling remains but that the original “feeler” of the feeling is gone, having completed its process of concrescence. The feeling along with the form or pattern proper to the self-constitution of the actual occasion is incorporated into the society or structured field of activity to which the actual occasion belongs. Subsequent actual occasions “prehend” that feeling-laden form in the overall structure and energy-level of the field rather than directly in the antecedent actual occasion itself. The field, after all, is being continually generated by interrelated subjects of experience and thus should be a suitable vehicle for the transmission of feeling as well as of form to subsequent actual occasions.

10. Marjorie Suchocki has persuasively argued that for every actual occasion there is a fleeting moment of “enjoyment” when it experi­ences itself as fully constituted before projecting its completed self into the future (see Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, The End of Evil: Process Eschatology in Historical Context [Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988], pp. 88-89). But even here one has to ask what happens next, what in the end gets trans­mitted to future actual occasions beyond a form or pattern and its concomitant feelings. By definition a subject of experience cannot be fully objecti­fied without ceasing to be a subject.

12. Whitehead, Process and Reality, p. 45.

14. See, e.g., Society and Spirit: A Trinitarian Cosmology (Cran­bury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 1991); The One in the Many; A Contemporary Reconstruction of the God-World Relationship (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001); also “Energy-Events and Fields,” Process Studies 18 (1989), 153-65; “Proposals for Over­coming the Atomism within Process-Relational Metaphysics,” Process Studies 23 (1994), 12-24.

16. Cf. above, n. 5.

18. Ibid., n. 198 (pp. 135-36); also V, n. 44 (pp. 31-32).

20. Ibid., V, n. 57 (pp. 39-40).

22. Ibid., VI, n. 277 (p. 184).

24. Ibid., pp. 161-70.

26. Admittedly, this is probably not what Whitehead himself had in mind with his description of “societies” in Process and Reality, pp. 34-35. But it seems necessary to make this revision in his metaphysical scheme in order to avoid philosophical atomism and thereby to establish the objective unity of a “society” as more than the aggregate of its constituent actual occasions.

28. Whitehead, Process and Reality, p. 244.

30. Ibid., p. 107.

32. See also on this point Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Human Phenomenon, trans. Sarah Appleton-Weber (Portland, OR; Sussex Academic Press, 1999), p. 24: “co-extensive with its outside, everything has an inside”; likewise, Karl Rahner, Hominisation: The Evolutionary Origin of Man as a Theological Problem, trans. W. T. O’Hara (New York: Herder and Herder, 1965, p. 57, where he refers to matter as “solidified spirit” and notes that both matter and spirit are different manifestations of the act of being.

34. See above, n. 9.

36. See here Jones, Intensity, p. 107-109. She proposes that the actual occasions constitutive of a society have a greater intensity of feeling toward one another than toward actual occasions belong­ing to other societies: “The individual entities of a society would not have the intensities they do without the massiveness of emphasis provided by the collective of entities in genetic relationship. In other words, the society provides the environment that is procurative of the desired intensity” (p. 107). I agree but like­wise contend that this “environment” is in fact an objectively existing field of activity structured by the ongoing interrelationship of those same actual occasions. Hence, there is no need for the individual actual occasions to co-create by a process of “transmu­tation” from moment to moment “the common element of form” needed for the “feeling” of corporate identity (p. 108).

38. See, e.g., Bracken, “Emergent Monism and the Classical Doctrine of the Soul,” pp. 170-72; also ”Intersubjectivi­ty and the Coming of God,” The Journal of Religion 83 (2003), 381-400, esp. 397-400.

 border=0 src=/magazine/portals/0/people/grassie_act2.gif></td><td align=center width=33%><img alt=

[Grassie brings ]…a lively and spirited discussion of key issues…not too technical or esoteric for the lay audience, not too rudimentary and expository for the experts.

Volney Gay, Professor and Chair, Religious Studies, Vanderbilt University

 

William Grassie offers a lively and enlightening presentation and dialogue appropriate for any group interested in a stimulating look at important contemporary issues. Dr. Grassie always presents diverse points of view, including his own unique interpretations. With a style that is dialogical and exploratory, Grassie enjoys vigorous exchange in Q&A with audiences. His engaging, illustrated presentations is are appropriate for groups at

 border=0 src=/magazine/portals/0/people/grassie_act4.gif></td><td><p align=left>•  Universities and colleges</p><p align=left>•  Business forums</p><p align=left>•  Churches, synagogues, congregations</p><p align=left>•  Community groups</p><p align=left>•  Secondary schools</p><p align=left>•  And more</p></td></tr></tbody></table><p> </p><p><strong>Many titles from which to choose…</strong></p><p align=left><strong>•  Science and the Sacred: Towards the Constructive Engagement of Religion and Science </strong></p><p align=left><strong>•  Beyond Intelligent Design, Science Debates, and Culture Wars: Towards a Constructive Theology of Evolution </strong></p><p align=left>•  <strong>Ten Reasons for the Constructive Engagement of Science and Religion </strong></p><p>•  <strong>Universal Reason: Science, Religion and the Foundations of Civil Societies </strong></p><p>•  <strong>Biocultural Evolution in the 21 st Century: The Evolutionary Role of Religion </strong></p><p>•  <strong>Iran </strong><strong>Today: Our Mortal Enemy and Our Natural Ally </strong></p><p>•  <strong>And many more…</strong><br> </p><p align=center> </p><p align=center><font size=+1><strong>Selected Lectures offered by William Grassie</strong></font></p><p align=left> </p><p align=center><strong>Science and the Sacred: <br>Towards the Constructive Engagement of Religion and Science</strong></p><p><a href=/magazine/portals/0/people/sci&sac(large).gif><img style=float: left; margin: 3px 3px 3px 0px alt=On campus and out in communities, in print and online, we are witnessing a new and far-reaching intellectual encounter that seeks to engage the estranged domains of science and religion in a constructive dialogue. What, where, when, how, who and why the constructive engagement between science and religion? This lecture is an introduction and invitation to join in a challenging and exciting adventure at a unique moment in the natural history of the planet and the cultural evolution of our species.

 

 

Beyond Intelligent Design, Science Debates, and Culture Wars:
Towards a Constructive Theology of Evolution

The lecture gives a brief introduction to the theories of evolution, the variety of religious response to evolution, and in conclusion, a survey of border=0 src=/magazine/portals/0/people/bid.gif></a> some constructive theologies of evolution prominent among Christian thinkers today. Grassie distinguishes between "what happened when" in natural history and the "how and why" of evolutionary theories, arguing for theoretical pluralism that moves beyond random genetic drift and natural selection as the only engine of biodiversity. Grassie argues that this pluralistic view of biological complexity is more in harmony with a theological understanding of a creator God, who is "compassionate and merciful". He maintains that Intelligent Design theory is bad science and bad theology, but and that the current polarization does not help our students or the public understand the many important issues at stake in interpreting evolution.</p><p align=left> </p><p align=center><strong>Ten Reasons for the Constructive Engagement of Science and Religion</strong></p><p align=left><a href=/magazine/portals/0/people/ten_rea(large).gif><img style=float: left; margin: 3px 3px 3px 0px alt=Why should one care about the constructive engagement of science and religion? How is this dialogue relevant to the future of civilization? Follow the compelling reasons for gaining wisdom and knowledge in both domains through Grassie's Ten Reasons. 1) Cultural Ambivalence; 2) Definitional Ambiguity; 3) Metaphysics Matters; 4) Relational Revelations; 5) Science as a Spiritual Quest; 6) The Sciences of Religion Revisited; 7) Healthy Semiotics; 8) Innumerate Nescience; 9) Philistine Fideism; and 10) Moral Muddles.

 

Universal Reason: Science, Religion and the Foundations of Civil Societies

At a time of heightened alienation and conflict between Islam and the West, there is an urgent need to promote a "dialogue of border=0 src=/magazine/portals/0/people/uni_rea.gif></a> civilizations." The dialogue between science and religion provides an important point of departure, in part because science provides a modest set of universalities for such a dialogue to build upon. The quest for universal reason underlies a Medieval and Enlightenment confidence in the ability of humans to reach consensus through evidence-based argument and dialogue. This confidence underlies the belief in what Medieval Muslim, Jewish, and Christian theologians referred to as "natural religion," an innate spiritual sensibility that is not dependent on specific revelation. The quest for universal reason is part of the philosophical foundations of democratic and sovereign societies. We sometimes forget that democracy is not about majorities forcing their will upon minorities, but rather a social hermeneutic, which actually should seek higher-order compromises and build principled consensus. Religious thinkers in the Medieval, Renaissance, and early Enlightenment periods read "the Book of Nature" along side of "the Books of Revelation" as divinely authored. The two sources of God's revelation – nature and scripture – should not contradict each other. Today, in the global village, we are all confronted with many different religions and cultures with seemingly incompatible beliefs and practices. If might makes right, then the contest to be right waged with 21 st century technology is guaranteed to make us all losers. The only alternative is to engage in a rigorous, open-ended dialogue of civilizations</p><p align=left> </p><p align=center><strong>Biocultural Evolution in the 21 st Century: <br>The Evolutionary Role of Religion </strong></p><p><a href=/magazine/portals/0/people/bio_evo(large).gif><img style=float: left; margin: 3px 3px 3px 0px alt=We live at an extraordinary moment in the natural history of our planet and the cultural evolution of our species. Human population has soared in the last century to over six billion. Every bioregional ecosystem in the world has been significantly altered by humans. We are about to embark upon large-scale genetic engineering of other species and ourselves. Humans are a Lamarckian wild card in the epic of evolution. Increasingly, it is not the material basis that determines civilization, but our culturally transmitted belief systems, for better or worse, that will direct the future evolution of both the planet and our species.

 

The Sciences of Religion Revisited

The social sciences – sociology, psychology, and anthropology – were founded in the 19 th and 20 th centuries in the West with a great border=0 src=/magazine/portals/0/people/sci_rel.gif></a> antipathy towards religion in general and Christianity in particular. Religion was seen as regressive, irrational, superstitious, and dysfunctional. Science was explicitly promoted as a successor to religion in a progressive evolution of human culture. This lecture will review this ambivalent history of the social sciences and argue that the faith factor is the forgotten variable in much social scientific research today. The lecture will conclude with a review of new research projects in the sciences of religion that have a positive understanding of religion as a necessary category, a set of often functional phenomena, and activities potentially healthful for individuals and communities. The lecture lays out a new model for interdisciplinary and inter-religious studies of religious and spiritual phenomena.</p><p> </p><p align=center><strong>Metaphysics Matters </strong></p><p><a href=/magazine/portals/0/people/metaphysics(large).gif><img style=float: left; margin: 3px 3px 3px 0px alt=Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, for instance the relationship between mind and matter, animate and inanimate, substance and attribute, fact and value. Contrary to much thinking in the sciences today, there is no such thing as a metaphysically free way of understanding the world. To argue that there is no overarching metaphysical reality, as in the case of postmodernism, or to argue that this reality is mere materialism, reductionistically understood, is to assert metaphysical systems. The moment we try to understand how disparate data relate to one another in some kind of coherent or incoherent system, we are engaged in metaphysical speculation. While the meta-narratives of metaphysics are currently out of fashion in academics, these are nevertheless the foundations upon which we construct our worldviews and our world-doings. Metaphysics matters.

 

Other Titles:

•  Iran Today: Our Mortal Enemy and Our Natural Ally

•  Thinking the Unthinkable: The Power Paradox and the Future of Civilization

•  Which Universe Do You Live In? Physics, Cosmology, and Religion

•  The Concealed God of Science

•  Engaged Contemplations for a Troubled World

•  The Word Become Flesh: Reflections on the New Biology

•  Spiritual Capital: The Interface between Religion and Economics

•  Spiritual Transformations: Powerful, Pervasive, Personal, and Public

•  Our Brave New World: The Challenge of Bioethics

•  Metanexus: The Very Idea

 

About William Grassie

William Grassie is founder and executive director of the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science. Metanexus currently runs some 300 projects at universities in 37 countries. border=0 src=/magazine/portals/0/people/grassie_act5.gif> Grassie also serves as executive editor of the Institute's online magazine and discussion forum with over 180,000 monthly page views and over 8000 regular subscribers in 57 different countries. He has taught in a variety of positions at Temple University, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania. Grassie received his doctorate in religion from Temple University in 1994 and his bachelor degree from Middlebury College in 1979. Prior to graduate school, Grassie worked for ten years in religiously-based social service and advocacy organizations in Washington, D.C; Jerusalem, Israel-Palestine; Berlin, Germany; and Philadelphia, PA. He is the recipient of a number of academic awards and grants from the American Friends Service Committee, the Roothbert Fellowship, and the John Templeton Foundation. He is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).</p><p> </p><p><strong>Other speakers </strong>are available from Metanexus to talk about specific initiatives, art in science and religion, and the exciting science and religion movement worldwide.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Testimonials…</strong></p><p><em>  </em></p><p><em>"I have heard Dr. Grassie on three different subjects in as many days in Teheran, during Iran 's very first dialogue ever between religion and science. He is a confident, relaxed, and friendly speaker, with an accessible affect that enabled Shi'ite Iranians to get past any presumptive cultural barrier, and to engage with him on value questions of consequence throughout the modern world. As a natural teacher and listener, he will do very well with almost any imaginable American audience." </em></p><p align=right>- Theodore Friend, Ph.D., former President of Swarthmore College <br>and President-Emeritus of the Eisenhower Fellowship</p><p><em>  </em></p><p><em>"Dr. William Grassie is a very engaging speaker on the many aspects of the Science-Religion dialogue in today's world. He speaks with knowledge, understanding and authority on the subject. Aside from the most recent information on the matter, he offers interesting insights on the issues involved. His emphasis is always on global and human concerns, rather than denominational pleas. Audiences generally feel they have not only learned something from his presentation, but have also been awakened to perspectives they had not considered before." </em></p><p align=right>- Varadaraja V. Raman , Ph.D., Professor Emeritus <br>in Physics and Humanities, Rochester Institute of Technology</p><p> </p><p><strong>Contact Information: </strong>To schedule a dynamic encounter in the Religion & Science dialogue, contact Julia Loving, Director of Communications, loving@metanexus.net or info@Metanexus.net. Find more info at <a href=http://www.metanexus.net/>www.metanexus.net</a>.</p><p> </p><p>Metanexus Institute</p><p>3624 Market St., Suite 301</p><p>Philadelphia , PA 19104</p><p>215.789.2200 Fax: 215.789-2222</p>			Explore the constructive engagement of science and religion with one of most engaging, best-positioned spokespersons in this growing interdisciplinary, international, inter-religious movement.		1/27/2006	03/21/2007<br />
9411	Natural Disasters: a Metanexus perspective on tragedy, survival, hope, and faith, by Andrew Rick-Miller	<p>Our  world is shrinking.  With technologies  like Blackberries, satellite TV and radio, and wi-fi campuses and neighborhoods,  words and pictures travel fast over vast distances.  News and information  is almost always at our fingertips.  So  when friends and colleagues we know around the world experience life changing  events, for better or for worse, we read the accounts, hear the reports, and  can often see the stories unfold.  This connectivity  cannot help but affect us.  So it is with  the Metanexus network.  When a member of the  Metanexus family accomplishes something great, we join in celebration.  When a member of the Metanexus family suffers  a tragedy, we grieve alongside them.</p><p>With the natural disasters of the past year--the tsunami  in southeast Asia, the hurricanes and resulting floods on the Gulf Coast of the  United States, and the earthquake in Pakistanómembers of the Metanexus family experienced  many stories of tragedy, survival, hope and faith.  TV images and news reports transmitted the  horror and devastation of rising waters, entire towns razed, and the heroic  rescue efforts of the survivors.   Fortunately, all of our friends in all three of these regions are  amongst the survivors, but in many cases, not without great cost to their  families, colleagues, homes, and communities.  </p><p> </p><p><strong>The Quake</strong></p><p>The earthquake in Pakistan killed 80,000 and left nearly 3.5  million homeless as winter weather blankets the ravaged mountainous region in North-West Frontier Province.  Since the October 8, 2005 quake, we have  heard from all three of our Local Societies Initiative groups in the  region.  </p><p>The Hazara Society for Science and  Religion Dialogue (HSSRD), located in Mansehra, was nearest the epicenter.  Within  days of the quake, Mohammad Yousaf, the chief organizer of HSSRD,  indicated that all HSSRD members were safe, but ì20,000 died in the District of  Mansehra and there are still a lot of dead buriedî beneath the rubble.  Yousafís wife, a primary school teacher,  suffered several injuries, including a fractured knee, while trying to protect  and rescue her students.  </p><p>Abdul  Majid, chairperson of HSSRD, communicating nearly a month after the quake,  painted a horrific picture of the quakeís might.  </p><blockquote>  <p>It was a tragic morning of October 8, 2005, the earth began to shake in  a series of violent convulsions that was later identified as the worst  earthquake and the biggest natural disaster in Pakistanís 58 year history.  A devastation beyond any reckoning bore upon  our country.  Many parts of Hazara and Kashmir virtually slid to extinction.  The death toll may rise over 100,000, with  150,000 injured and over 3 million homeless.  Many villages, towns and cities of our  provinceÖwere turned to rubble.  The school-going  children and mothers were the most affected.  Mostly they were buried under the debris. For  the first 72 hours they screamed from under the rubble for help or water and  food.  These hours were a picture of  destruction, death, chilling screams, thirst, hunger, mass burials, injuries,  separations; people crying to be saved, to be dug out from under the debris.  The response of the Pakistani nation was  immense and timely in this awesome tragedy.   All sections of society rose in one massive endeavor to reach their  affected brethren. Politicians declared a moratorium on public dissent.  Caravans of trucks, cars, pick-ups,  motorcycles moved into NWFP and Kashmir to  deliver relief goods and do rescue and relief work. </p><p>The international community and NGOs also played its part by sending  their experts for rescue operation along with tons of relief goods to the  affected areas.  </p><p>We were very much disturbed by having a look at the dead bodies,  especially of innocent children with fresh blood on their school bags and  books. We were traumatized by the intense earthquake and aftershocks, by the  sight of books and bags without students, injured people with fractured bones,  mothers without children and children without parents.  They became orphans and homeless in a few  minutes.  </p></blockquote><p>Majid  also conveyed the continued fear the people face as there have been nearly  1,000 aftershocks of magnitude 4.0.  ìMost  people in Mansehra<em>, </em>including my own  children<em>,</em> are sleeping in tents at  night, instead of in their more or less intact houses due to fear.î</p><p>Having  painted this picture of unimaginable destruction and continued fear and anguish,  he writes, ìThe main consolation came from faithî as he looked to the sacred  texts of the Quran and his Islamic faith for comfort and understanding.  Faheem Ashraf of HSSRD, echoed Majid on the  importance of faith, indicating that amongst the many physical needs of the  people, spiritual support is also a basic need.   He writes, ìWhat we need is your prayers for us.  May God have mercy on us and help us build  our villages and cities again.î</p><p>Safdar  Shah, chair of Forum for the Promotion of Religion-Science Discourse (FPRSD) in Peshawar, communicated in late October his  great personal loss in the quake.  ìIn  the middle of September, I had been to Egypt on a two-week trip. Soon  after my return, we were hit by the earthquake. Two of my family members, my  beloved father and a younger sister, departed us forever.  Another sister and brother are still in the  hospital.  A number of close relatives  are still missing.î</p><p>SEARCH (Scientific Education and Religious  Communication House) in Punjab, Lahore,  was the furthest from the epicenter.   Chairperson, Dr. Bilal Masud, within days of the quake, indicated that  they were safe, but expressed great concern for his colleagues, particularly  those in Mansehra.  </p><p> </p><p><strong>The Flood after the Hurricane</strong></p><p>In one of the busiest hurricane seasons in  recorded history, Hurricane Katrina became the third deadliest and perhaps the  most destructive hurricane in US  history.  Reaching landfall as an  enormous category 4 storm on August 29, 2005, the storm swell breached the  levees that protected the city of New Orleans  from Lake Pontchartrain and the waters of the Mississippi   River.  The combination of  storm and flooding left nearly 1,400 people dead and caused an estimated $200 billion  in damages with nearly one million people displaced.</p><p>Nicholas Capaldi, who serves on the  Advisory Board for the Spiritual Capital research project, is a professor at  Loyola University New Orleans and was among the million refugees.  He lost his home and all material  possessions.</p><p>At a Spiritual Capital  event in Philadelphia  in October, he told a part of his refugee story.  In the days following Katrina, he was in Chicago to give a  talk.  Needing a suit for that  presentation, he went into a store and upon finding a suit, requested a rush  order on the alterations.  Knowing his  situation, the store kindly accommodated his request.  When he picked up his suit the following day,  he left a gracious tip.  Overwhelmed by  the generosity of someone who had just lost all his worldly possessions, the  store clerk broke down into tears.  The  victim, to whom generosity should be extended, was himself generous.</p><p>LSI  leaders and participants at Louisiana State University  and Southeastern Louisiana University  as well as Spiritual Transformation grantee Sung Joon Jang, also at LSU, had  their campuses turned into triage sites and bases for the relief efforts.  Matt Rossano,  chair of a Local Society at Southeastern  Louisiana University,  about 50 miles north of New Orleans,  rode out the storm in his home with his family, where they had ìsome minor roof  damage but nothing more.î  When food and  water ran out a few days later, they went to stay with family in Houston, only to return  once power and water were working again.   A dedicated LSI leader, Rossano informed  us that their first society meeting was going to be postponed and that ìthe SLU  group is still alive and kicking although we may be a bit slower than usual to  get things going this semester.î </p><p> </p><p><strong>The  Tsunami</strong></p><p>The tsunami on December 26, 2004, caused by one of  the largest earthquakes ever recorded by a seismograph, was the most  destructive of the disasters.  Waves up  to 100 feet in height, crashed upon the shores of India,  Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand,  and reached as far as South    Africa, nearly 5,000 miles from the  epicenter.  This natural disaster is one  of the worst ever, causing about 275,000 fatalities, over half in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, and leaving nearly 1.5  million people displaced.  All of the  Local Societies in Indonesia  were far enough inland to have avoided the direct impact of the enormous  waves.  </p><p>In the days just after  the tsunami, we received an email from an LSI applicant in Sri Lanka, with  whom we had been corresponding.  The  email from Tikva Shobrook read, ìWe  made it just in time to submit the application.  Here in Sri Lanka after the disaster we  strongly feel that life has to go on and we should create new ventures  especially for the betterment of humankind.î</p><p>The application was  awarded in the January 1, 2005 round, our first society in Sri Lanka, initiating the Society for the Integration of  Science and Human Values (SISHV) at the University of Peradeniya.  Immediately, the impact of the tsunami was addressed  by the society.  In the summary notes for  their inaugural meeting in March 2005, they write:</p><blockquote>  <p>We strongly believe that our society has to play a role in the face of  the recent disaster that overwhelmed our country, and in particular, the  younger generation belonging to the age group from 14-18 years.  They seem to have lost faith in both science  and spirituality and a sense of utter desperation is dominating their present  way of thinking.  We on our part strongly  feel that we have an important role to play under these circumstances to  alleviate this sense of despondency.   There is an urgent need to re-instill in them trust in human values as  well as a scientific understanding of nature.   As a society that has as its main aim and objective to integrate science  and human values, we cannot ignore this need.</p>  <p> Ö  There are adequate spiritual  resources within the indigenous tradition [Buddhism] that are not properly  harnessed in dealing with adverse situations of this kind.  It is our conviction that Ö healing will come  from within the tradition if it is harnessed with proper scientific  understanding.  Beyond the immediate  humanitarian need, we believe that the end result of such initiatives will lead  to the development and creation of new approaches resulting in a combination of  scientific methodology and indigenous spiritual resources to effectively deal  with lifeís adversities.</p></blockquote><p>As a result, SISHV formed a separate society called UDANA to  provide relief to school children who suffered from the tsunami disaster.  Chair of SISHV, Dr. P.D. Premasiri writes,  ìThe objective of [UDANA] was to provide the necessary psychological strength  to school children affected by the disaster to face the future with confidence  and a sense of security.  UDANA has  already successfully completed Öprograms organized with the objective of  providing such psychological strength for groups of school children from the  Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, which happened to be one of the most affected  areas.î  </p><p> </p><p><strong>Responding  to Disaster</strong></p><p>Disaster relief has become quite the international  industry.  Goods and emergency supplies  can be dispatched around the world in a matter of hours and delivered to the  remotest of locations.  But long after  the most immediate needs are met, supplies and money are still needed in  southeastern Asia, the Gulf Coast, and Pakistan.  The urgency of their losses is now replaced  by the enormity of rebuilding homes, communities, and lives.  To that end, we encourage the Metanexus  family to respond generously to these needs that have greatly impacted our  brothers and sisters around the globe.  We  have provided some means for doing (see below for some web portals to relief  information). We also encourage you to work through other appropriate charities  providing emergency relief and continuing to support these particular regions.</p><p>But the challenge the science and religion  community faces is much greater than raising money for relief agencies.  The challenge is not only to react generously,  but to anticipate wisely.  We can mobilize  better disaster warning and relief response systems using the compassion of our  religious traditions and the capabilities of our science and technology.  And we need to.  According to a series of articles in the  December 15 issue of <em>Nature </em> Magazine <strong>(</strong><strong>Volume 438, Number 7070)</strong><strong>,</strong> the forecast is not  good.  The editors  preface the articles with the following:</p><blockquote>  <p>The recent spate of unexpected natural disasters is a reminder that  predicting events in the natural world is an uncertain science. But with thousands  of lives and millions of dollars at risk, both policy makers and insurance  businesses have a keen interest in developing the science further. With the  best geological and meteorological knowledge to hand, experts are starting to  quantify risk more effectively. But the news is not good, with one expert  claiming that we can expect three to five major events per year, each killing  more than 50,000 people.</p></blockquote><p>If the editors of <em>Nature</em> Magazine are correct, that the  horrific natural disasters of the past year are just a glimpse of what we might  see in the near future, then we need more than just policy makers and insurance  companies showing a keen interest in saving lives and saving money.  We need religion and science working side by  side.  These ëacts of Godí, as some  lawmakers and insurance policies still refer to them, require serious  consideration from our many faith perspectives and the many scientific disciplines that can help us predict and respond.  </p><p>How can the science and technology that quantifies risk,  signals emergencies, maps out relief efforts, and distributes emergency goods work  with religion to improve?  Does the  impetus of faith promote more effective and equitable relief efforts?  How can our theologies evolve to help  victims, relief workers and the public to better handle these tragedies?  What new structural technologies, evaluative  resources, and communication networks need to be developed?  Are these ëacts of Godí acts of God?  What resources lay in our many faith  traditions and sacred texts to help us endure these immense tragedies and give  us hope as we rebuild?  These are just a  few of the serious questions, both practical and philosophical, that the  science and religion community is already equipped to confront. Addressing  these questions will enable us to make a real world impact in times of greatest  need.</p><p>Several LSI groups have begun to address these types of  questions head on, including The Science and Religion Colloquium at Carthage College  in Wisconsin.  While not having direct contact with any  victims of the recent disasters, they addressed the areas where science and  faith intersect in our ability to predict and respond to disasters like the  tsunami and what we can do re-actively and pro-actively to alleviate the  immense suffering caused by such natural disasters.  Carthage  scientists addressed the science of tsunamis and the challenges of early  warning technologies; local clergy and Lutheran church officials discussed faith-based emergency responses; and all  were invited to a relief dinner where they literally had a taste of the kind of  food served to victims of disaster.  </p><p>As technology continues to shrink the distances between us,  it connects us more intimately.  Through  mail, email, and the web, thousands of members of the Metanexus family can read  the stories of our colleagues in Pakistan,  on the Gulf Coast,  and in Southeast Asia.  Through our conferences, listservs, and  website, you can stay connected with members of the Metanexus family around the  globe.  These same connections that inform us are the connections that can enable us to  make a difference.  So how shall we  respond to the recent disasters?  Or  perhaps, just as importantly, how will we respond to future ones?</p><hr/><p>For information on natural  disasters by region:<br />  <a href=<a href=http://www.reliefweb.int/>http://www.reliefweb.int</a></p><p>For information on Pakistan earthquake:<br /> <a href=http://earthquake05.un.org.pk/>http://earthquake05.un.org.pk/</a></p><p>For information on tsunami:<br /> <a href=http://www.tsunamispecialenvoy.org/>http://www.tsunamispecialenvoy.org/<... lists of US agencies providing relief for all three disasters: <br /> <a href=http://www.interaction.org/disaster>http://www.interaction.org/disaster<... 1/30/2006 03/21/2007
9412 Sophia Europa: LSI Groups Forge Networks and Exciting Collaborations, by Eric Weislogel <p>The SophiaEuropa project represents the next level of development of the global Metanexus Local Societies Initiative (LSI) network. Leading educational institutions from across Europe are hosting local dialogue societies with the express purpose of pursuing a new, joint research project, addressing broad questions about the impact of new technologies on culture, the structure of consciousness, and the very nature of science and spirit. </p><p>This project is accomplishing at least three major goals. First, it has created 15 new local societies at leading institutions throughout Europe, thus enhancing the wider LSI global network and creating new alliances with major universities. Second, it is supporting structured and focused interdisciplinary research-oriented collaborations between the members of these societies, thus creating new relationships between the institutions which host the groups. These efforts at networking and collaboration will generate a synergy that promotes new forms of exploration and research, and hence opens new possibilities for discovery. Third, the program is designed to be a pilot project upon which other high-level collaborative research projects may be built in the future.</p><p>The basic structure of the SophiaEuropa project retains the LSI model as its basis, and then promotes collaboration with additional funding and other incentives. The research project will organize itself into three <em>workgroups</em> consisting of 4-6 societies each, with each workgroup concentrating on a different overall thematic. Each workgroup has a coordinator, and the entire program is directed by a steering committee that consists of the three workgroup coordinators and the director of the LSI program (additional members may be added to the steering committee as deemed appropriate). </p><p>The SophiaEuropa project will make a presentation at the <a href=/conference2006>June 2006 Metanexus conference in Philadelphia</a> to provide details on the program, research projects, and upcoming project-related conferences and workshops.</p><p> </p><p><strong><em>Workgroup on Nature, Intentionality, and Finality</em></strong><strong></strong></p><p>Trieste Nature, Intentionality, Finality Research Group<br /> Universit‡ degli Studi di Trieste<br /> Trieste, Italy<br /> Chair: Antonio Russo</p><p>Nature, Intentionality and FinalityñOxford Group<br /> University of Oxford<br /> Oxford, UK<br /> Chair: Margaret M. Yee</p><p>Conscience Forum<br /> Forschungsst‰tte der Ev. Studiengemeinschaft (FEST) <br /> Protestant Institute for Interdisciplinary Research <br /> University of Heidelberg <br /> Heidelberg, Germany<br /> Chair: Ulrich Ratsch</p><p>Monte Cassino Foundation Research Group<br /> Universit‡ degli studi di Cassino<br /> Cassino, Italy<br /> Chair: Antonio Clericuzio<br /> <br /> Philosophy, Mathematics and Theology Group (PhiMaTh)<br /> Universit‰t T¸bingen and Universit‰t Freiburg<br /> T¸bingen, Germany<br /> Chair: Gregor Nickel</p><p>Salesian Group on Missiology and Human Science (SalMiss)<br /> Universit‡ Pontificia Salesiana<br /> Rome, Italy<br /> Chair: Gianfranco Coffele</p><p> </p><p><strong><em>Workgroup on Causality and Motivation</em></strong></p><p>Process, Person, and Society: Forms of Interagency from Conflict to Community<br /> Institut for Filosofi og Idehistorie<br /> University of Aarhus<br /> Aarhus, Denmark<br /> Chair: Johanna Seibt</p><p>Religious Roots in Information Systems (RRIS)<br /> University of Salford<br /> Salford, UK<br /> Chair: Andrew Basden</p><p>Chance and Necessity<br /> Theologische Fakult‰t Paderhorn<br /> University of Paderborn<br /> Paderborn, Germany<br /> Chair: Dieter Hattrup</p><p>Central-European Perspectives on Causality and Motivation<br /> Mitteleuropa Foundation<br /> Bolzano, Italy<br /> Chair: Roberto Poli</p><p> </p><p><strong><em>Workgroup on Culture, Technology, and Religion in Society</em></strong></p><p>Religious Values and Social Change<br /> The Centre for Culture, Technology & Values<br /> Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick<br /> Limerick, Ireland<br /> Chair: Michael J. Breen and Eamonn Conway </p><p>Culture, Technology and Religion in Society<br /> The Centre for Social & Family Research<br /> Waterford Institute of Technology <br /> Waterford, Ireland<br /> Chair: Michael Howlett</p><p>Sophia Warsaw Group of Philosophy of Fundamentals of Science<br /> Polish Academy of Sciences<br /> Warsaw, Poland<br /> Chair: Boguslawa Lewandowska</p><p>Glenstal Abbey LSI<br /> Glenstal Benedictine Abbey <br /> Limerick, Ireland<br /> Chair: A. Cyprian Love</p> 1/30/2006 03/21/2007
9414 <img border=0 style=float:left; width=25 height=19 src=/metanexus_online/spiral/images/logo.gif>Conference: Continuity + Change, June 3-7,2006, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Continuity + Change:Perspectives on Science and ReligionJune 3-7, 2006Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaJoin over 400 delegates from 35 countries for the seventh annual Metanexus conference to be held June 3-7, 2006 on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. This exciting international, interdisciplinary, interfaith gathering will feature panels, plenaries, a teach-in, and paper presentations. <p>PLANNED SESSIONS:<p>* Neurotheology in Nature<p>* Spiritual Capital<p>* Altruism and Compassionate Love<p>* Positive Psychology<p>* Mathematics and Theology<p>* Physics and Our View of the World<p>* Paper presentations<p>* and more. <p>CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE:<p>* Stephen Barr, University of Delaware<p>* Hyung Choi, Metanexus Institute and University of Cambridge<p>* Eamonn Conway, University of Limerick<p>* George Ellis, University of Cape Town<p>* Ursula Goodenough, Washington University<p>* William Grassie, Metanexus Institute<p>* John Haught, Georgetown University<p>* Ron Numbers, University of Wisconsin, Madison<p>* Roberto Poli, Mitteleuropa Foundation<p>* Stephen Post, Case Western Reserve University<p>* V. V. Raman, Rochester Institute of Technology<p>* Antonio Russo, Universit÷ degli Studi di Trieste<p>* Norbert Samuelson, Arizona State University<p>* Eric Weislogel, Metanexus Institute<p>* David Sloan Wilson, Binghampton University <p>TWO SPECIAL PUBLIC EVENTS:<p>* Sunday, June 4:Teach-in on Evolution and Cultural Values* Monday evening, June 5:Teaching the History of Nature: Towards an Integrated Science CurriculumEarly registration deadline-April 21, 2006For more information and registration details, go towww.metanexus.net/conference2006This event is sponsored by Metanexus Institute www.metanexus.net Continuity + Change:Perspectives on Science and Religion June 3-7, 2006Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Join over 400 delegates from 35 countries for the seventh annual Metanexus conference to be held June 3-7, 2006 on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. This exciting international, interdisciplinary, interfaith gathering will feature panels, plenaries, a teach-in, and paper presentations. PLANNED SESSIONS:* Neurotheology in Nature* Spiritual Capital* Altruism and Compassionate Love* Positive Psychology* Mathematics and Theology* Physics and Our View of the World* Paper presentations* and more. CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE:* Stephen Barr, University of Delaware* Hyung Choi, Metanexus Institute and University of Cambridge* Eamonn Conway, University of Limerick* George Ellis, University of Cape Town* Ursula Goodenough, Washington University* William Grassie, Metanexus Institute* John Haught, Georgetown University* Ron Numbers, University of Wisconsin, Madison* Roberto Poli, Mitteleuropa Foundation* Stephen Post, Case Western Reserve University* V. V. Raman, Rochester Institute of Technology* Antonio Russo, Universit÷ degli Studi di Trieste* Norbert Samuelson, Arizona State University* Eric Weislogel, Metanexus Institute* David Sloan Wilson, Binghampton University TWO SPECIAL PUBLIC EVENTS:* Sunday, June 4: Teach-in on Evolution and Cultural Values * Monday evening, June 5:Teaching the History of Nature: Towards an Integrated Science Curriculum Early registration deadline-April 21, 2006 For more information and registration details, go towww.metanexus.net/conference2006 This event is sponsored by Metanexus Institute www.metanexus.net 1/31/2006 03/21/2007
9416 Spiral: a Metanexus form and metaphor for communication, process, and impact in the science and religion dialogue <p><strong>What's going on...? </strong></p><p>In November, Metanexus released the first issue of our interim publication, <strong>Where's My Spiral? </strong>It had been a while since you had received a Spiral (newsletter) and, while we were busy overhauling our website and our publications, we thought you would like to know why you hadn't heard from us about the exciting changes you can anticipate from us in the months ahead. As we mentioned, this evolving publication will go through some progressive mutations. Thus, now that you know <em>where </em>your Spiral is, this new issue will attempt to tell you <em>what </em>this publication is—and what it is evolving to become.</p><p><strong>What's My Spiral </strong>strives to tell you about our larger goals and objectives, particularly in the context of how Metanexus communicates with you. But first, we'd like to answer the question: Why “spirals”? The spiral is perhaps one of the most ancient and generic religious symbols, appearing in cave paintings and rock carvings. The spiral is also representative of many scientific principles apparent in the natural world: the spiral-shaped shell of the chambered nautilus, the shimmering arms of a spiral galaxy. As such, the spiral is a symbol at the nexus of science and religion.</p><p>Merriam-Webster defines a spiral as “the path of a point in a plane moving around a central point while continuously receding from or approaching it.” Beyond the religious and natural significance of spirals is this meaning of turning inward and outward from a center. Metanexus' mission, dedicated to the constructive engagement of religion and science, is carried out with a sort of spiraling progression, bringing our Metanexus family closer as we simultaneously move outward to expand our community with new voices and new ideas.</p><p>Finally, another definition of spiral is: “of or relating to the advancement to higher levels through a series of cyclical movements.” The choice of the spiral for Metanexus also signifies our aspiring to “higher levels” through the back-and-forth, “cyclical” movements of dialogue and intellectual endeavor. At its best, the engagement of science and religion is not a conflict but an opportunity for all to expand their horizons.</p><p><strong>What's My Spiral? </strong>also means telling you a bit about where Metanexus is and where we are heading. All the technological and programmatic changes, upgrades, and retooling that have been going on in the last two years at Metanexus have been geared toward a rethinking of Metanexus around how we can better acquaint our current and future audience with our offerings and mission. This includes a “blended media” approach to our website, projects, and publications. In the past, Metanexus has viewed our print and online publications as quite distinct and separate. Similar separations have existed between our online magazine and our website, between our institution and our global network, and between our many research programs. Moving forward, Metanexus plans to erase many of these lines, developing a more holistic and highly accessible, functional approach to offering new insights in science and religion to a broad audience eager for this engagement</p><p>Our first attempt at blended media took place when, in early January 2003, Metanexus launched the second major release of Metanexus.net. A major goal of this new site was to blur the lines between our online magazine and our institution. Rather than give the impression that Metanexus was first an institution and second a magazine, we wanted to blend the magazine into the organization, moving more toward a model where Metanexus can be understood as a web portal for science and religion content.</p><p>Our second major transformation is what you are reading right now. These new interim publications are part of our efforts to fully integrate our many initiatives. Most immediately, the older print Spiral newsletter with full text articles, a calendar of events, and updates on the Institute has evolved into an introductory broadsheet (this piece) that will provide summaries of articles, events, research programs, membership initiatives, and other announcements and offerings available online at www.metanexus.net. The Metanexus Digest will continue to offer monthly updates for “what's new” in this online magazine, with special issues emailed to you during months the Spiral is sent out through the postal service. With each issue, more borders will be crossed as we blend the many offerings of Metanexus together, taking down out-dated walls that inhibit access to our many programs. [All new members will be added to all print and email lists. If you have not already subscribed to the online Digest, we invite you to join this new wave of information today by <a href=http://www.metanexus.net/Institute/joinus.asp>registering here</a>.]</p><p> </p><p><strong>Getting the most out of Metanexus Resources—tips for searching the Digest and Metanexus Online </strong></p><p>Another aspect of our new approach is familiarizing our members and readers with the many offerings and projects of Metanexus. The reasons people come to Metanexus vary greatly. While we are gratified to draw a large audience for such diverse reasons, it has come to our attention that those of differing interests are often unaware of our other offerings.</p><p>Many, for instance, come to Metanexus through our online magazine, an archive of over 9000 science and religion related essays, news articles, and book reviews. And, with over 200,000 monthly page views and 8000 subscribers to our monthly “Digest” HTML update, it is easy to see why. Metanexus.net has consistently ranked within the top five of Google searches on “religion and science,” and is frequently accessed in searches pertaining to such topics as evolution and intelligent design, ultimate reality, spiritual transformation, altruism, and other hot areas of discussion.</p><p>For those not as familiar with the online magazine portion of the website, however, finding much of this content may be challenging. While we work in the coming months to improve the design of the site for easier navigation and accessibility, here are some quick tips for more effectively navigating our website:</p><ul><li style=margin: 0pt 0pt 0.5em><strong>The Digest </strong>is our monthly HTML update to our online magazine. One of the best ways for browsing the articles, essays, and news from Metanexus Online is to look through past Digest editions. Found under the Metanexus Magazine section of the left-hand side navigation menu on every page of our site, the “Magazine” link can take you through each past edition. The newest edition is also linked there at the “The Digest” link and is available at www.metanexus.net/digest.</li><li style=margin: 0pt 0pt 0.5em>Science and Religion <strong><em>Topoi</em></strong>. Since the beginning, Metanexus has used a Latin and Greek classification system for the various areas it covers: <strong>Bios </strong>is the area that covers life, evolution, and other related inquires; <strong>Techne </strong>explores the meeting of technology and religion; <strong>Cogito </strong>handles religion and the neurosciences; etc. The most recent article in each <em>topos </em>can be found on the <em>topoi </em>section of the homepage. Past articles can be found in the “Discussion Topoi” drop-down menu in the Metanexus Magazine section of the navigation bar.</li><li style=margin: 0pt 0pt 0.5em><strong>Articles and Reviews</strong>. When looking for particular authors, topics not covered by the Topoi links, or specific listings, the Articles and Reviews drop-down offers listings by author, topic, and book review.</li><li style=margin: 0pt 0pt 0.5em><strong>Search</strong>. A search feature powered by Google can help you quickly find information on our site. The search feature is available at the very top of each webpage inside the Metanexus header, and is also available in the Articles and Reviews drop-down menu in the Metanexus Magazine section of the navigation bar.</li></ul><p>In an attempt to help our audience explore the vast treasures on the Metanexus site, each “Spiral” issue will feature both new articles and essays and existing content from our archives. We want to offer new content to those familiar with our online archives, but we also want to highlight the excellent work that is, in significance and relevance, still very fresh. We invite your feedback to these changes as way to help us to improve the site.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Metanexus in Action </strong></p><p>Metanexus is, of course, much more than an online magazine. Metanexus hosts a world-wide science and religion dialogue in the form of a massive <strong>global network of organizations </strong>at universities, colleges, parishes, and other institutions. This conversation is made possible by our Local Societies Initiative (LSI), a worldwide grant program to fund start-up costs for dialogue groups exploring the dynamic interface between religion and science. LSI has granted over 200 societies in over 35 countries on six continents, spanning a variety of scientific disciplines and religious traditions.</p><p>In this issue, Eric Weislogel, director of the LSI program, highlights the new Sophia Europa initiative. According to Weislogel, Sophia Europa “ represents the next level of development of the global LSI network. Leading educational institutions from across Europe will found local dialogue societies with the express purpose of pursuing a new, joint research project, addressing broad questions about the impact of the new technologies on culture, the structure of consciousness, and the very nature of science and spirit.”</p><p>Also in this issue, Andrew Rick-Miller , outreach coordinator for LSI, writes about how this <strong>past year's natural disasters </strong>have impacted members of our global network. Rick-Miller writes: “ With the natural disasters of the past year--the tsunami in southeast Asia, the hurricanes and resulting floods on the Gulf Coast of the United States, and the earthquake in Pakistan—members of the Metanexus family experienced many stories of tragedy, survival, hope and faith.”</p><p>Some of our audience comes to Metanexus through our many <strong>research programs. </strong>Metanexus has facilitated programs at the nexus of science and religion that range from the theological implications inherent in the scientific quest to slow the process of aging, to the scientific workings and implications of transformative spiritual experiences. To discover some of Metanexus' many research programs on your own, visit the website and look at the “Projects” section under the left-hand side navigation bar.</p><p>Metanexus has also held an <strong>annual conference </strong>since 2000, convening international participants and a large audience. Websites are available for conferences since 2002, where hundreds of papers given at our conferences can be found, as well as conference agendas, a list of speakers, and other information. Last year's conference, “Science and Religion: Global Perspectives,” focused on trans-cultural and trans-disciplinary understandings. Speakers and participants hailed from five different continents and topics covered multiple religions, scientific disciplines, and various philosophical issues in the study of science and religion.</p><p>Our upcoming 2006 conference focuses on <strong>Continuity and Change </strong>and explores the interplay of these opposites in scientific discovery, religious thought and practice, technological advancement, environmental transformation, and globalized culture. The conference takes place June 3 – 7 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia . For more information on this year's conference, visit the website at <a href=http://www.metanexus.net/conference2006>www.metanexus.net/conference2006 </a>. For information on past conferences, visit: <a href=http://www.metanexus.net/institute/conferences.asp>http://www.metanexus.... creative tension between continuity and change is <em>a propos </em>to the evolution of our publications. This evolution, however, goes beyond The Spiral or The Digest to the core of our organization: Metanexus is mutating. The final answer to the question <strong>“What's My Spiral?” </strong>is twofold: a forum where we inform our members and readers of the offerings, changes and plans of Metanexus, and <em>a space where these offerings, changes and plans will emerge </em>. Updates have and will continue to appear in our publications and on our website as we move toward a better Metanexus, spinning a “virtuous spiral,” as we like to say: moving you closer to us as you help Metanexus move outward to others.</p><p>As Metanexus will be growing and adapting right before your eyes, it will be doing so partially in response to your feedback. As we test and experiment in the coming months with new ideas and new formats, we will be combining our thinking with yours, through your responses to the surveys included in every issue. We value your opinion and interest, and hope you will help Metanexus evolve. You can access this month's survey here.</p><p> </p><p> </p> Why “spirals”? The spiral is perhaps one of the most ancient and generic religious symbols, appearing in cave paintings and rock carvings. The spiral is also representative of many scientific principles apparent in the natural world: the spiral-shaped shell of the chambered nautilus, the shimmering arms of a spiral galaxy. As such, the spiral is a symbol at the nexus of science and religion. 2/1/2006 03/21/2007
9417 <img style=float: left height=19 width=25 border=0 alt=" />Metanexus Annual Conference Update: Registration OPEN Online registration is now open for the 7th Annual Metanexus Conference, Continuity + Change: Perspectives on Science and Religion, to be held June 3-7, 2006 on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA. To register, please visit: www.metanexus.net/conference2006. Metanexus members and early registrants receive special discounts to this event. Early registration ends April 21. 2006. For information on membership, please visit:

http://www.metanexus.net/Institute/joinus.asp

Join over 400 delegates from 35 countries for an exciting international, interdisciplinary, interfaith gathering that will feature panels, plenaries, a teach-in, and paper presentations.

PLANNED SESSIONS: * Neurotheology in Nature * Spiritual Capital * Altruism and Compassionate Love * Positive Psychology * Worldviews in Mathematics, Physics, and Cosmology * Paper presentations * and more.

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

* Wolfgang Achtner, Justus Liebig Universtiaet Giessen * Stephen Barr, University of Delaware * Dennis Cheek, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation * Hyung Choi, Metanexus Institute and University of Cambridge * Eamonn Conway, University of Limerick * George Ellis, University of Cape Town * Ursula Goodenough, Washington University * William Grassie, Metanexus Institute * John Haught, Georgetown University * Ron Numbers, University of Wisconsin, Madison * Margaret Paloma, University of Akron * Roberto Poli, Mitteleuropa Foundation * Stephen Post, Case Western Reserve University * V. V. Raman, Rochester Institute of Technology * Antonio Russo, Universit· degli Studi di Trieste * Norbert Samuelson, Arizona State University * Eric Weislogel, Metanexus Institute * David Sloan Wilson, Binghampton University

TWO SPECIAL PUBLIC EVENTS:

* Sunday, June 4:

Beyond Evolution vs Intelligent Design: A teach-in on the origins of life

* Monday evening, June 5:

Teaching the History of Nature: Towards an Integrated Science Curriculum

For more information, please visit www.metanexus.net/conference2006.

 

Online registration is now open for the 7th Annual Metanexus Conference, Continuity + Change: Perspectives on Science and Religion, to be held June 3-7, 2006 on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA. To register, please visit: www.metanexus.net/conference2006.Metanexus members and early registrants receive special discounts to this event. Early registration ends April 21. 2006. For information on membership, please visit:http://www.metanexus.net/metanexus_online/memberships.aspJoin over 400 delegates from 35 countries for an exciting international, interdisciplinary, interfaith gathering that will feature panels, plenaries, a teach-in, and paper presentations.PLANNED SESSIONS:* Neurotheology in Nature* Spiritual Capital* Altruism and Compassionate Love* Positive Psychology* Worldviews in Mathematics, Physics, and Cosmology* Paper presentations* and more.CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE:* Wolfgang Achtner, Justus Liebig Universtiaet Giessen* Stephen Barr, University of Delaware* Dennis Cheek, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation* Hyung Choi, Metanexus Institute and University of Cambridge* Eamonn Conway, University of Limerick* George Ellis, University of Cape Town* Ursula Goodenough, Washington University* William Grassie, Metanexus Institute* John Haught, Georgetown University* Ron Numbers, University of Wisconsin, Madison* Margaret Paloma, University of Akron* Roberto Poli, Mitteleuropa Foundation* Stephen Post, Case Western Reserve University* V. V. Raman, Rochester Institute of Technology* Antonio Russo, Universit· degli Studi di Trieste* Norbert Samuelson, Arizona State University* Eric Weislogel, Metanexus Institute* David Sloan Wilson, Binghampton UniversityTWO SPECIAL PUBLIC EVENTS: * Sunday, June 4: Beyond Evolution vs Intelligent Design: A teach-in on the origins of life* Monday evening, June 5: Teaching the History of Nature: Towards an Integrated Science CurriculumFor more information, please visit www.metanexus.net/conference2006. 2/2/2006 03/21/2007 9418 Metanexus to participate in Evolution Sunday, February 12, 2006 The Clergy Letter Project, led by Michael Zimmerman, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, announces that on February 12, 2006 over 400 Christian and Jewish congregations representing 49 states and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. Metanexus staff member Andrew Rick-Miller, preaching at Falls Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA, and Rev. David Buck preaching at Church of the Nativity in Raleigh, NC, where he is co-director of their Local Societies Initiative group, will be among those leading congregations to address issues at the forefront of the religion and science dialogue.

According to the Evolution Sunday webpage (http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/rel_evol_sun.htm):

For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.

To find a list of congregations participating in this event, please visit the Evolution Sunday webpage (see link above).

If your congregation would like to join in this national event, please send a note to mz@uwosh.edu.

To examine some of the sermons that members of The Clergy Letter Project have delivered on this topic and to view some of the resources they have found useful, please visit:

http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/rel_resources.htm.

For general information about The Clergy Letter Project, which has collected signatures from over 10,000 clergy, please visit:

http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/clergy_project.htm. The Clergy Letter Project, led by Michael Zimmerman, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, announces that on February 12, 2006 over 400 Christian and Jewish congregations representing 49 states and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. Metanexus staff member Andrew Rick-Miller, preaching at Falls Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA, and Rev. David Buck preaching at Church of the Nativity in Raleigh, NC, where he is co-director of their Local Societies Initiative group, will be among those leading congregations to address issues at the forefront of the religion and science dialogue.According to the Evolution Sunday webpage (http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/rel_evol_sun.htm):For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.To find a list of congregations participating in this event, please visit the Evolution Sunday webpage (see link above).If your congregation would like to join in this national event, please send a note to mz@uwosh.edu. To examine some of the sermons that members of The Clergy Letter Project have delivered on this topic and to view some of the resources they have found useful, please visit: http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/rel_resources.htm.For general information about The Clergy Letter Project, which has collected signatures from over 10,000 clergy, please visit:http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/clergy_project.htm. 2/2/2006 03/21/2007 9419 The Organ Donation Controversy: Jewish and Muslim Perspectives CONTACT: Debra Keller, 917-455-0699, dbkeller@mail.med.upenn.edu, or Rabbi Yehuda Seif, 215-898-7391, seif@pobox.upenn.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 31, 2005

The Organ Donation Controversy: Jewish and Muslim Perspectives

PHILADELPHIA Tradition Confronts Innovation, the University of Pennsylvania Hillel and the University of Pennsylvania Muslim Student Association will be hosting a conference on The Organ Donation Controversy: Jewish and Muslim Perspectives on Sunday, February 19, 2006 at 11am at Hillel on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Mr. Robert Berman, founder of the Halachic Organ Donation Society and Dr. Jaffer Syed will moderate the event. A FREE middle eastern lunch will be served. The event is co-sponsored by Tradition Confronts Innovation, The Muslim Student Association, Hillel of Greater Philadelphia Commission for Campus Projects.

This exciting event comes at a time of serious organ shortages domestically and throughout the world. Religious and cultural beliefs play a central role in individuals' decisions to become organ donors. The Organ Donation Controversy will challenge conference participants to confront the causes and implications of the disproportionately low organ donation rate among religious Muslims and Jews. Dr. Jaffer and Mr. Berman will lead participants in an exploration of the theological, legal, and sociological underpinnings of organ donation in both Jewish and Muslim traditions.

As an interfaith discussion, the conference will highlight the similarities and differences between Judaism and Islam on critical issues such as the sanctity of life and the human body, as well as the mission of healthcare. Dr. Syed and Mr. Berman will also address the highly debated topics of the sale of organ and the allocation of donated organs to specific religious and ethnic groups. By uniting to discuss the critical social issue of organ donation conference participants will build a foundation for interfaith advocacy. Conference participants will also be given the opportunity to sign organ donation cards if they have not already done so.

Dr. Jaffer Syed is an interventional cardiologist in Toronto Canada. He was born in India, of Muslim background, and raised in Canada. He received his M.D. from The University of Toronto in 1998. He certified in Internal Medicine in 2002 and Cardiology in 2004. Dr. Syed has had a long standing interest in the ethical issues surrounding healthcare. His medical school graduation project examined Islamic views on organ donation. He continues to be actively interested in ethical issues in various cultural contexts.

Mr. Robert Berman is founder and the director of the Halachic Organ Donor Society. He received his B.A. from Yeshiva University in 1988, his M.B.A. from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College (Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society) in 2004, and has graduated the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University with an MPA in 2005. Mr. Berman has been a social activist for many Jewish causes, and was previously a freelance journalist and photojournalist, published in New York Magazine, the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Week, Moment Magazine, and Jerusalem Report. The Muslim Students Association serves to establish an active, unified Muslim community at Penn that facilitates each Muslim's practice of Islam through various events organized by the fundraising, Islamic education, community outreach, political and social subcommittees. It also offers an informative, accessible resource at Penn that broadens each non-Muslim's understanding of Islam.

Tradition Confronts Innovation is a forward thinking student lead organization devoted to exploring the interface of scientific thought and spirituality. TCI is part of the Local Societies Initiative of the Metanexus Instituteand is affiliated with Hillelat the University of Pennsylvaniaand the Orthodox Community at Penn (OCP). Our events feature the active research of our members, esteemed visiting scholars, and vigorous discussion of the critical issues of our time.

The OCPis a student-run organization, under the auspices of Penn Hillel, that strives to meet the needs of Orthodox students at Penn. It offers a complete array of services including social activities, learning opportunities, daily, Shabbat, and holiday prayers, and community service programs. The OCP is a full-fledged community that nurtures Orthodox Jewish life within Penn's campus years.

The talk, which is free of charge, will take place in the auditorium of Hillel on 2nd floor of Steinhardt Hall, located at 215 South 39th Street, Philadelphia. There is on street parking or in the lot on the East side of 38th Street between Walnut and Chestnut Streets. CONTACT: Debra Keller, 917-455-0699, dbkeller@mail.med.upenn.edu, or Rabbi Yehuda Seif, 215-898-7391, seif@pobox.upenn.eduFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 31, 2005The Organ Donation Controversy: Jewish and Muslim PerspectivesPHILADELPHIA Tradition Confronts Innovation, the University of Pennsylvania Hillel and the University of Pennsylvania Muslim Student Association will be hosting a conference on The Organ Donation Controversy: Jewish and Muslim Perspectives on Sunday, February 19, 2006 at 11am at Hillel on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Mr. Robert Berman, founder of the Halachic Organ Donation Society and Dr. Jaffer Syed will moderate the event. A FREE middle eastern lunch will be served. The event is co-sponsored by Tradition Confronts Innovation, The Muslim Student Association, Hillel of Greater Philadelphia Commission for Campus Projects.This exciting event comes at a time of serious organ shortages domestically and throughout the world. Religious and cultural beliefs play a central role in individuals' decisions to become organ donors. The Organ Donation Controversy will challenge conference participants to confront the causes and implications of the disproportionately low organ donation rate among religious Muslims and Jews. Dr. Jaffer and Mr. Berman will lead participants in an exploration of the theological, legal, and sociological underpinnings of organ donation in both Jewish and Muslim traditions.As an interfaith discussion, the conference will highlight the similarities and differences between Judaism and Islam on critical issues such as the sanctity of life and the human body, as well as the mission of healthcare. Dr. Syed and Mr. Berman will also address the highly debated topics of the sale of organ and the allocation of donated organs to specific religious and ethnic groups. By uniting to discuss the critical social issue of organ donation conference participants will build a foundation for interfaith advocacy. Conference participants will also be given the opportunity to sign organ donation cards if they have not already done so.Dr. Jaffer Syed is an interventional cardiologist in Toronto Canada. He was born in India, of Muslim background, and raised in Canada. He received his M.D. from The University of Toronto in 1998. He certified in Internal Medicine in 2002 and Cardiology in 2004. Dr. Syed has had a long standing interest in the ethical issues surrounding healthcare. His medical school graduation project examined Islamic views on organ donation. He continues to be actively interested in ethical issues in various cultural contexts.Mr. Robert Berman is founder and the director of the Halachic Organ Donor Society. He received his B.A. from Yeshiva University in 1988, his M.B.A. from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College (Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society) in 2004, and has graduated the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University with an MPA in 2005. Mr. Berman has been a social activist for many Jewish causes, and was previously a freelance journalist and photojournalist, published in New York Magazine, the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Week, Moment Magazine, and Jerusalem Report. The Muslim Students Association serves to establish an active, unified Muslim community at Penn that facilitates each Muslim's practice of Islam through various events organized by the fundraising, Islamic education, community outreach, political and social subcommittees. It also offers an informative, accessible resource at Penn that broadens each non-Muslim's understanding of Islam.Tradition Confronts Innovation is a forward thinking student lead organization devoted to exploring the interface of scientific thought and spirituality. TCI is part of the Local Societies Initiative of the Metanexus Instituteand is affiliated with Hillelat the University of Pennsylvaniaand the Orthodox Community at Penn (OCP). Our events feature the active research of our members, esteemed visiting scholars, and vigorous discussion of the critical issues of our time.The OCPis a student-run organization, under the auspices of Penn Hillel, that strives to meet the needs of Orthodox students at Penn. It offers a complete array of services including social activities, learning opportunities, daily, Shabbat, and holiday prayers, and community service programs. The OCP is a full-fledged community that nurtures Orthodox Jewish life within Penn's campus years.The talk, which is free of charge, will take place in the auditorium of Hillel on 2nd floor of Steinhardt Hall, located at 215 South 39th Street, Philadelphia. There is on street parking or in the lot on the East side of 38th Street between Walnut and Chestnut Streets. 2/13/2006 03/21/2007 9420 John Templeton Foundation Newsletter -- Milestones, February 2006 John Templeton Foundation Newsletter -- February 2006Milestones is a monthly newsletter of the John Templeton Foundation. In interview format, it highlights the achievements of scientists involved in new initiatives, research and programs in progress as well as awards and conferences here and abroad.

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How the World Became ComplexA Novel New Grant Competition

By Philip Clayton

An awards competition recently administered by the Cambridge Templeton Consortium offers a fascinating case study of the difficulties of funding research at the boundaries between religion and science -- and how to enable such research work.

Many of the world's religious traditions hold that there is purpose in the world and purpose to human existence. It is natural for religious persons to ask: can science detect signs of purpose in nature? This was the question that the John Templeton Foundation brought to leaders of the Cambridge Templeton Consortium (CTC).

Yet for many reasons purpose is viewed with suspicion in the natural sciences. The Consortium nonetheless agreed that there are genuinely deep questions in science that can lead to philosophical debate, and in this spirit they were anxious to foster new work on the emergence of biological and cultural complexity. Clearly, more complex organisms and behaviors have emerged over time. If science can understand this trend toward increasing complexity, philosophers and religious scholars can then reflect on its broader significance.

Such research will be boldly cross-disciplinary. Most of science depends very strongly on having determinate answers tested in a very particular framework, notes Simon Conway Morris, Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at Cambridge and author of Life's Solution, and that's why science is so successful. Yet on the edges of science there are certain questions...Over a pint of beer scientists will say in a relaxed, off-the-record way, 'This is something which intrigues me very much, but I know perfectly well that no research council will support this sort of thing.' We wanted to see whether these questions could be studied in a scientific way.

We were very concerned from the beginning to run the competition in an open and transparent way. Thus it's been run as if these were grant applications to a research council, either in your country or in ours, comments Professor Derek Burke, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia and Chair of the CTC. Primarily we were looking for outstanding science, science which pursues sensible questions that can be answered and where there's a reasonable chance of getting interpretable results. He concludes, We were a mini research council. The criterion was quality: Does an application represent good science? Is it a proper academic enterprise? Or is it rubbish? Conway Morris adds, The point about science is that it's universal to all humans. In science the facts are checked. You can't hide behind falsehoods.

The most rigorous testing occurs within specific scientific disciplines. CTC thus chose three: biochemistry, evolutionary biology and archaeology. The vague concepts of complexity and emergence gradually became specific research areas: biochemistry and fine tuning, evolutionary history and contemporary life, and becoming fully human: social complexity and human engagement with the natural and supernatural world.

The call for research proposals then went out to scientists around the world. Biochemists were asked: does systems biology shed new light on the range of chemistries suited for the emergence of life? Is there evidence of fine tuning and convergence in biochemical pathways or in the properties of protein interaction networks? What is the relationship between randomness at the molecular level and emergent biochemical properties?

Evolutionary biologists were asked to look for common features in evolutionary trends. Is convergence detectible, and what is its significance? For example, to what extent do differently constructed nervous systems (e.g., mammalian and avian) achieve similar mental capacities? Finally, archaeologists were asked what we can know of the religious experiences of early Homo sapiens. What do Neanderthal burials imply about the evolution of human religion? What do the earliest symbolic cultures -- e.g., the cave paintings and small sculptures of the Upper Palaeolithic period -- reveal about connections between symbolism and concepts of the transcendent? Is the spiritual sense a human universal?

Over 150 research proposals streamed in from around the world. Gradually these were whittled down to the 40 best, which then went out for peer review. With difficulty, the Consortium finally reduced the number to the top 18 programmes.

By seeing which topics can actually be tested empirically, one learns how science works.

The biochemistry projects are working to determine what causes chemical complexity and where (and how) it has occurred. Among other topics, awardees will be studying non-genomic origins of metabolism, quantum chemistry in counterfactual universes, and how the molecules of behavior are fine-tuned in animals. Others are addressing philosophical questions concerning the relationship between physics, chemistry and biology.

The evolutionary projects are examining specific instances of increased complexity in the biosphere, such as the emergence of intelligence. Thus a biologist, a computer scientist and a philosopher (Lenski, Ofria and Pennock) are using computer simulations to model the simplest systems that can detect information in their environment, store it, and employ it in subsequent actions. Employing the resources of palaeobiology -- the study of organisms based on the fossil record -- Sterelny, Bromham and Calcott are working to understand the emergence of species in the Cambrian Explosion, that short period about 530 million years ago in which a multitude of new life forms exploded onto the scene. Though there is no place for divine purposes in his work, Sterelny notes, There is as it were natural purpose in the world, and the patterns of natural purpose are the patterns that selection generates. Selection produces something like design for the survival of extinction. If his hypotheses about macro patterns and higher-level selection are borne out, to that extent you can talk about the design of species as much as you can talk about the design of the beak of the finch.

Analogous questions can be asked about the evolution of Homo sapiens and human culture. Liliana Janik is an archaeologist who studies 7000-year old rock paintings in northern Russia. Using laser beams and virtual reality simulations, she and her team will attempt to reconstruct the development of shamanistic images over time, gaining access to the evolution of human religious responses long before written records exist. I examine the quest for transcendence through tangible records, she said. These records strengthen the arrow that points from human narratives, myths, stories and art and suggest a universal human preoccupation with other, deeper dimensions of reality.

Similarly, Caroline Malone and her Cambridge team are exploring the conditions of spiritual creativity in prehistoric Malta. Extensive burial grounds provide unparalleled access to the evolving religious practices of this relatively isolated island culture in the Neolithic period. Their willingness to make massive investments in religious building, even in times of scarcity, reveals something of humanity's preoccupation with realms of existence beyond the present one.

Understanding the facts is valuable in itself. Still, in the end one wants to know: what is the significance of this emergence of increasing biological complexity, running from the biochemical level through the evolution of life to the emergence of society and culture? In a final step, scholars must ask how the new data bear on that original question of purpose. The connections are not straightforward or obvious, cautions CTC Chair Burke, for the emergence of complexity in the natural world is not necessarily theologically significant. Even raising the question can be dangerous. As Conway Morris notes, We realized that when you're looking at things which have an element of speculation, there is that much more risk involved. When one tries to explore the ramifications of that concept [of purpose] in the world around us, one has to be extraordinarily careful.

Yet how can one avoid at least asking the question? Conway Morris pauses. Purpose is something which fills all humans; no human lacks a sense of purpose. If you do perceive a wider pattern of any sort, then you're entitled to ask, well, is there something which is being hinted at which might have some deeper meaning to it? And of course that automatically introduces a metaphysical dimension to the enquiry.

For further information please visit www.cambridge-templeton-consortium.org

***********************************************

Philip Clayton is the author of Mind and Emergence: From Quantum to Consciousness. Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology at Claremont, he is currently on research leave at the University of Cambridge.

Milestones is a publication of the John Templeton Foundation.

To subscribe to any of the Foundation's various free publications, including Milestones, please go to www.templeton.org

John Templeton Foundation Newsletter -- February 2006 Milestones is a monthly newsletter of the John Templeton Foundation. In interview format, it highlights the achievements of scientists involved in new initiatives, research and programs in progress as well as awards and conferences here and abroad. *********************************************** How the World Became ComplexA Novel New Grant CompetitionBy Philip ClaytonAn awards competition recently administered by the Cambridge Templeton Consortium offers a fascinating case study of the difficulties of funding research at the boundaries between religion and science -- and how to enable such research work.Many of the world's religious traditions hold that there is purpose in the world and purpose to human existence. It is natural for religious persons to ask: can science detect signs of purpose in nature? This was the question that the John Templeton Foundation brought to leaders of the Cambridge Templeton Consortium (CTC).Yet for many reasons purpose is viewed with suspicion in the natural sciences. The Consortium nonetheless agreed that there are genuinely deep questions in science that can lead to philosophical debate, and in this spirit they were anxious to foster new work on the emergence of biological and cultural complexity. Clearly, more complex organisms and behaviors have emerged over time. If science can understand this trend toward increasing complexity, philosophers and religious scholars can then reflect on its broader significance.Such research will be boldly cross-disciplinary. Most of science depends very strongly on having determinate answers tested in a very particular framework, notes Simon Conway Morris, Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at Cambridge and author of Life's Solution, and that's why science is so successful. Yet on the edges of science there are certain questions...Over a pint of beer scientists will say in a relaxed, off-the-record way, 'This is something which intrigues me very much, but I know perfectly well that no research council will support this sort of thing.' We wanted to see whether these questions could be studied in a scientific way. We were very concerned from the beginning to run the competition in an open and transparent way. Thus it's been run as if these were grant applications to a research council, either in your country or in ours, comments Professor Derek Burke, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia and Chair of the CTC. Primarily we were looking for outstanding science, science which pursues sensible questions that can be answered and where there's a reasonable chance of getting interpretable results. He concludes, We were a mini research council. The criterion was quality: Does an application represent good science? Is it a proper academic enterprise? Or is it rubbish? Conway Morris adds, The point about science is that it's universal to all humans. In science the facts are checked. You can't hide behind falsehoods.The most rigorous testing occurs within specific scientific disciplines. CTC thus chose three: biochemistry, evolutionary biology and archaeology. The vague concepts of complexity and emergence gradually became specific research areas: biochemistry and fine tuning, evolutionary history and contemporary life, and becoming fully human: social complexity and human engagement with the natural and supernatural world. The call for research proposals then went out to scientists around the world. Biochemists were asked: does systems biology shed new light on the range of chemistries suited for the emergence of life? Is there evidence of fine tuning and convergence in biochemical pathways or in the properties of protein interaction networks? What is the relationship between randomness at the molecular level and emergent biochemical properties?Evolutionary biologists were asked to look for common features in evolutionary trends. Is convergence detectible, and what is its significance? For example, to what extent do differently constructed nervous systems (e.g., mammalian and avian) achieve similar mental capacities? Finally, archaeologists were asked what we can know of the religious experiences of early Homo sapiens. What do Neanderthal burials imply about the evolution of human religion? What do the earliest symbolic cultures -- e.g., the cave paintings and small sculptures of the Upper Palaeolithic period -- reveal about connections between symbolism and concepts of the transcendent? Is the spiritual sense a human universal?Over 150 research proposals streamed in from around the world. Gradually these were whittled down to the 40 best, which then went out for peer review. With difficulty, the Consortium finally reduced the number to the top 18 programmes. By seeing which topics can actually be tested empirically, one learns how science works. The biochemistry projects are working to determine what causes chemical complexity and where (and how) it has occurred. Among other topics, awardees will be studying non-genomic origins of metabolism, quantum chemistry in counterfactual universes, and how the molecules of behavior are fine-tuned in animals. Others are addressing philosophical questions concerning the relationship between physics, chemistry and biology.The evolutionary projects are examining specific instances of increased complexity in the biosphere, such as the emergence of intelligence. Thus a biologist, a computer scientist and a philosopher (Lenski, Ofria and Pennock) are using computer simulations to model the simplest systems that can detect information in their environment, store it, and employ it in subsequent actions. Employing the resources of palaeobiology -- the study of organisms based on the fossil record -- Sterelny, Bromham and Calcott are working to understand the emergence of species in the Cambrian Explosion, that short period about 530 million years ago in which a multitude of new life forms exploded onto the scene. Though there is no place for divine purposes in his work, Sterelny notes, There is as it were natural purpose in the world, and the patterns of natural purpose are the patterns that selection generates. Selection produces something like design for the survival of extinction. If his hypotheses about macro patterns and higher-level selection are borne out, to that extent you can talk about the design of species as much as you can talk about the design of the beak of the finch.Analogous questions can be asked about the evolution of Homo sapiens and human culture. Liliana Janik is an archaeologist who studies 7000-year old rock paintings in northern Russia. Using laser beams and virtual reality simulations, she and her team will attempt to reconstruct the development of shamanistic images over time, gaining access to the evolution of human religious responses long before written records exist. I examine the quest for transcendence through tangible records, she said. These records strengthen the arrow that points from human narratives, myths, stories and art and suggest a universal human preoccupation with other, deeper dimensions of reality.Similarly, Caroline Malone and her Cambridge team are exploring the conditions of spiritual creativity in prehistoric Malta. Extensive burial grounds provide unparalleled access to the evolving religious practices of this relatively isolated island culture in the Neolithic period. Their willingness to make massive investments in religious building, even in times of scarcity, reveals something of humanity's preoccupation with realms of existence beyond the present one.Understanding the facts is valuable in itself. Still, in the end one wants to know: what is the significance of this emergence of increasing biological complexity, running from the biochemical level through the evolution of life to the emergence of society and culture? In a final step, scholars must ask how the new data bear on that original question of purpose. The connections are not straightforward or obvious, cautions CTC Chair Burke, for the emergence of complexity in the natural world is not necessarily theologically significant. Even raising the question can be dangerous. As Conway Morris notes, We realized that when you're looking at things which have an element of speculation, there is that much more risk involved. When one tries to explore the ramifications of that concept [of purpose] in the world around us, one has to be extraordinarily careful.Yet how can one avoid at least asking the question? Conway Morris pauses. Purpose is something which fills all humans; no human lacks a sense of purpose. If you do perceive a wider pattern of any sort, then you're entitled to ask, well, is there something which is being hinted at which might have some deeper meaning to it? And of course that automatically introduces a metaphysical dimension to the enquiry.For further information please visit www.cambridge-templeton-consortium.org**********************************... Clayton is the author of Mind and Emergence: From Quantum to Consciousness. Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology at Claremont, he is currently on research leave at the University of Cambridge.Milestones is a publication of the John Templeton Foundation.To subscribe to any of the Foundation's various free publications, including Milestones, please go to www.templeton.org 2/17/2006 03/21/2007 9421 Lecture: Elio Frattaroli, Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain, March 1, UPenn Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain: The Importance of Being Conscious

Elio Frattaroli, M.D. to speak March 1 at UPenn

The University of Pennsylvania's Templeton Research Lectures on the Constructive Dialogue Between Science and Religion will host a special presentation in association with the Spirituality, Religion, and Health Interest Group. This exciting lecture series entitled Mind, Religion, and Ethics in Dialogue will explore the relationship between the mind and religious and spiritual concepts.

The lecture Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain: The Importance of Being Conscious will be presented by Elio Frattaroli, M.D. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Alumni Hall Auditorium. Dr. Frattaroli's talk will be followed by a response by Andrew Newberg, M.D. and dialog with the audience.

Elio Frattaroli, M.D., is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He is in full-time private practice in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, doing psychoanalysis and psychotherapy with adults, adolescents and couples. He is a member of the faculty of the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia and is associate director of their Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Training Program. He is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Frattaroli studied Shakespeare at Harvard. He trained with Bruno Bettelheim at the University of Chicago before turning to medicine. He has written and lectured on Shakespeare as well as on psychiatry and psychoanalysis.

Andrew Newberg, M.D is an Assistant Professor Department of Radiology and Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief and is co-author with the late Eugene d'Aquili of the book The Mystical Mind. Dr. Newberg is the Program Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Templeton Research Lectures on the Constructive Dialogue Between Science and Religion.

Medical Alumni Hall is located near the Maloney entrance on Spruce Street near 36th Street. For more information please call 215-614-0332. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is recommended at www.mindreligion.com.

Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain: The Importance of Being ConsciousElio Frattaroli, M.D. to speak March 1 at UPennThe University of Pennsylvania's Templeton Research Lectures on the Constructive Dialogue Between Science and Religion will host a special presentation in association with the Spirituality, Religion, and Health Interest Group. This exciting lecture series entitled Mind, Religion, and Ethics in Dialogue will explore the relationship between the mind and religious and spiritual concepts. The lecture Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain: The Importance of Being Conscious will be presented by Elio Frattaroli, M.D. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Alumni Hall Auditorium. Dr. Frattaroli's talk will be followed by a response by Andrew Newberg, M.D. and dialog with the audience.Elio Frattaroli, M.D., is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He is in full-time private practice in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, doing psychoanalysis and psychotherapy with adults, adolescents and couples. He is a member of the faculty of the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia and is associate director of their Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Training Program. He is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Frattaroli studied Shakespeare at Harvard. He trained with Bruno Bettelheim at the University of Chicago before turning to medicine. He has written and lectured on Shakespeare as well as on psychiatry and psychoanalysis. Andrew Newberg, M.D is an Assistant Professor Department of Radiology and Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief and is co-author with the late Eugene d'Aquili of the book The Mystical Mind. Dr. Newberg is the Program Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Templeton Research Lectures on the Constructive Dialogue Between Science and Religion. Medical Alumni Hall is located near the Maloney entrance on Spruce Street near 36th Street. For more information please call 215-614-0332. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is recommended at www.mindreligion.com. 2/17/2006 03/21/2007 9422 Call for Papers: Conference on Religion, Science and Public Concern, Discourses on Ethics, Ecology, and Genomics, Deadline: April 1, 2006 Call for Papers

Conference on Religion, Science and Public Concern: Discourses on Ethics, Ecology, and Genomics

Date: Thursday 26 and Friday 27, October 2006 Venue: The Netherlands, University of Leiden

The aim of the conference, organised by the Faculty of Theology at Leiden University, is to bring together researchers interested in interactions between religion, ethics, and science in public discourses. In reflecting upon the social and moral jobs that speakers expect religious, ethical, and scientific notions to do, we may acquire a better understanding of debates on controversial issues of public policy and on the understanding of the role of and the relation between religion, ethics, science, politics, and technology.

The Research Group on Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at the Department of Theology at Leiden University, under the direction of Professor Willem B.Drees, is currently engaged in research in these areas, concentrating on the interaction of religion and science, particularly in relation to perceptions of nature and modern technology.

The programme consists of:

* a public lecture on October 26, 2006 by Bronislaw Szerszynski (Institute for Environment, Philosophy and Public Policy, Lancaster University) with aresponse by Gerrit de Kruijf (Leiden University) and Hans Achterhuis (University of Twente);

* an international conference on October 27, 2006 with the presentation of papers and confirmed invited speakers Hub Zwart (Radboud University of Nijmegen) and Jan Boersema ( Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).

Scholars are invited to submit proposals for papers, which focus on any of the interactive dimensions of religion, ethics, science, and public discourses. Priority will be given to PhD and postdoctoral researchers.

A variety of perspectives is encouraged (e.g. anthropological, ethical, historical, linguistic, philosophical, political, theological, sociological).

Topics could include:

* Religion and genomics, religion and ecology, religion and science.* Religious or scientific vocabularies used in public debates.* The relation between church, state, and science in politics.* Rationalism, emotion, and identity in public discourses on new technologies.* Interpretation of sacred texts and myths related to science an technology.* The role of the media in religious or scientific, public or political debates.

Submission guidelines (Those proposing to present papers should take note of the following guidelines):

* Please submit a 150-300 words long abstract including the proposed title of the paper + full name, address and e-mail address of the author and some personal background information (e.g. age, study, research field, recent publications), send it to Olga Crapels: o.j.p.crapels@let.leidenuniv.nl .

Deadline abstracts: April 1, 2006

* Before June 1, 2006 you will receive notice of whether your paper proposal is accepted. * The conference language is English.* File type: Word for Windows.* Abstracts will be reviewed by the program committee based on content, presentation and suitability for the event.* By submitting an abstract you give permission to publish it on the conference web site, and probably in a printed conference booklet.* The deadline for the fully worked out version of your paper is September 1, 2006. This full version is only required after acceptance of the abstract and not to be more than 5,000 words including abstract and references.* The paper will be published as work in progress on the pass word protected web site of the conference.

More information about the conference, the programme and registration is available on the conference web site: www.rspc-conference.nl

University of Leiden Faculty of TheologyProf. Dr. W. B. DreesPostbus 95152300 RA LeidenThe Netherlands Call for PapersConference on Religion, Science and Public Concern: Discourses on Ethics, Ecology, and GenomicsDate: Thursday 26 and Friday 27, October 2006 Venue: The Netherlands, University of LeidenThe aim of the conference, organised by the Faculty of Theology at Leiden University, is to bring together researchers interested in interactions between religion, ethics, and science in public discourses. In reflecting upon the social and moral jobs that speakers expect religious, ethical, and scientific notions to do, we may acquire a better understanding of debates on controversial issues of public policy and on the understanding of the role of and the relation between religion, ethics, science, politics, and technology.The Research Group on Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at the Department of Theology at Leiden University, under the direction of Professor Willem B.Drees, is currently engaged in research in these areas, concentrating on the interaction of religion and science, particularly in relation to perceptions of nature and modern technology.The programme consists of:* a public lecture on October 26, 2006 by Bronislaw Szerszynski (Institute for Environment, Philosophy and Public Policy, Lancaster University) with aresponse by Gerrit de Kruijf (Leiden University) and Hans Achterhuis (University of Twente); * an international conference on October 27, 2006 with the presentation of papers and confirmed invited speakers Hub Zwart (Radboud University of Nijmegen) and Jan Boersema ( Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).Scholars are invited to submit proposals for papers, which focus on any of the interactive dimensions of religion, ethics, science, and public discourses. Priority will be given to PhD and postdoctoral researchers.A variety of perspectives is encouraged (e.g. anthropological, ethical, historical, linguistic, philosophical, political, theological, sociological).Topics could include:* Religion and genomics, religion and ecology, religion and science. * Religious or scientific vocabularies used in public debates. * The relation between church, state, and science in politics. * Rationalism, emotion, and identity in public discourses on new technologies. * Interpretation of sacred texts and myths related to science an technology. * The role of the media in religious or scientific, public or political debates.Submission guidelines (Those proposing to present papers should take note of the following guidelines):* Please submit a 150-300 words long abstract including the proposed title of the paper + full name, address and e-mail address of the author and some personal background information (e.g. age, study, research field, recent publications), send it to Olga Crapels: o.j.p.crapels@let.leidenuniv.nl .Deadline abstracts: April 1, 2006* Before June 1, 2006 you will receive notice of whether your paper proposal is accepted. * The conference language is English. * File type: Word for Windows. * Abstracts will be reviewed by the program committee based on content, presentation and suitability for the event. * By submitting an abstract you give permission to publish it on the conference web site, and probably in a printed conference booklet. * The deadline for the fully worked out version of your paper is September 1, 2006. This full version is only required after acceptance of the abstract and not to be more than 5,000 words including abstract and references. * The paper will be published as work in progress on the pass word protected web site of the conference.More information about the conference, the programme and registration is available on the conference web site: www.rspc-conference.nlUniversity of Leiden Faculty of TheologyProf. Dr. W. B. DreesPostbus 95152300 RA Leiden The Netherlands 2/17/2006 03/21/2007 9423 Book Announcement: Roy A. Clouser, The Myth of Religious Neutrality BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT

The Myth of Religious Neutrality

Roy A. Clouser

(University of Notre Dame Press, revised edition, 2005)0-268-02366-2 . $25.00 paper . 416 pages

Written so as to be accessible to undergraduates, educated laymen, and scholars in fields other than philosophy, this book approaches the science/religion relation from a neglected angle: the nature of religious belief. It begins by reviewing virtually every influential definition of what counts as a religious belief, and finds they all fail but one. The formal statement of the only successful definition is complex (p. 24), but can be summarized as saying that a belief is religious provided it is a belief in something or other as divine (no matter how that is described), where the core meaning of divine is to have unconditionally non-dependent reality.

The remarkable thing about this definition, the author shows, is that it has been re-discovered again and again by a host of thinkers from many different religious and cultural backgrounds, but has never received due recognition. For example, it was held by virtually every pre-Socratic, by Plato, and Aristotle; by virtually all the medieval thinkers, and in the 20th century alone by: William James, M. Eliade, P. Tillich, H. Kung, N. Kemp Smith, A.C. Bouquet, H. Dooyeweerd, J. Wach, C.S. Lewis, W. Herberg, and R. Neville, among others. The early chapters of the book are, accordingly, devoted to defending this definition from the objections that have been lodged against it.

After highlighting some of the defining features common to all theories, the book outlines the major positions that have been taken concerning the general relation between theories and divinity beliefs. Rejecting the majority positions, it proposes the view that: 1) every view of the nature of reality is controlled by some divinity belief or other, and 2), and every scientific theory is unavoidably controlled by some view of the nature of reality. In this way the impact of divinity beliefs on scientific theories is indirect rather than direct: one or another divinity belief controls any ontology, and some ontology or other controls any scientific theory. More specifically, this indirect control consists primarily in the way ontology regulates how the nature of a theory's postulates is conceived, rather than exactly what entities are postulated (though sometimes it does this too). In other words, different divinity beliefs will result in differing ontologies all of which may accept, say, atomic theory or evolutionary theory. But the differing ontologies will require distinct interpretations of the nature of atomic or subatomic entities and of evolutionary processes and mechanisms (think of the different interpretations taken of them by idealists, dualists, phenomenalists, materialists, Kantians, & post-modernists, e.g.).

This central claim of the book is spelled out in more detail in a chapter titled The Idea of Religious Control which not only rejects fundamentalism, finds evolution compatible with Theism, and offers a rebuttal of the ID position. It also precisely defines presuppose in order to contrast indirect control via theory of reality to the fundamentalist idea of finding scientific truths in scripture. The next three chapters (7, 8, and 9) then provide concrete illustrations of how various divinity beliefs exercise this sort of control. The theories chosen as samples are the major theories currently held in math, physics, and psychology.

The first part of chapter 10 then presents arguments as to why the control just illustrated by theories in math, physics, and psych, is unavoidable for any theory. The second part of the chapter shows why belief in God - the transcendent Creator of Theism - should exercise its control by requiring a wholly non-reductionist view of (created) reality and thus of all other theories (atomic theory, evolutionary theory, etc.). What follows is a fairly detailed sketch of just such a theistic, non-reductionist ontology, namely, the one developed by the Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd in the middle of the last century. The book then closes by drawing out some of the broader consequences of non-reductionist ontology for several social sciences.

Critical reviews of the original edition of Myth include:

[The Myth of religious Neutrality] is very well written. It is clear and informative. There is excellent work on recognizing deficient theories in terms of logical consistency, self-referential incoherence, self-assumptive incoherence, and self-performative incoherence. [Clouser's] case studies point out clearly the unproven assumptions behind many so-called 'rationalist' theories about various aspects of reality- Review of Metaphysics

...significant and challenging...Clouser's book makes the case that all theorizing inevitably involves religious beliefs. Clouser's analysis of religion is rich and insightful...[He] articulates a fundamental theme that both modernist and post-modernist thinkers need to recognize: that intellectual activity is deeply and inescapably religious. - Calvin Theological Journal

This book can be warmly commended. It treats important issues in a clear and energetic way and it is a genuine attempt to break some new ground in the philosophy of religion. - Religious Studies

About the Author

Roy Clouser is Prof. of Philosophy and Religion (Emeritus) at the College of New Jersey. He holds an AB in philosophy from Gordon College, a BD in theology from Reformed Episcopal seminary, and an MA and PhD in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Along the way to the PhD he studied with Paul Tillich at Harvard Graduate School and with Herman Dooyeweerd at the Free University of Amsterdam. He is the author of numerous articles and one other book, Knowing with the Heart: Religious Experience and Belief in God (IVP, 1999).

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENTThe Myth of Religious NeutralityRoy A. Clouser(University of Notre Dame Press, revised edition, 2005)0-268-02366-2 . $25.00 paper . 416 pagesWritten so as to be accessible to undergraduates, educated laymen, and scholars in fields other than philosophy, this book approaches the science/religion relation from a neglected angle: the nature of religious belief. It begins by reviewing virtually every influential definition of what counts as a religious belief, and finds they all fail but one. The formal statement of the only successful definition is complex (p. 24), but can be summarized as saying that a belief is religious provided it is a belief in something or other as divine (no matter how that is described), where the core meaning of divine is to have unconditionally non-dependent reality. The remarkable thing about this definition, the author shows, is that it has been re-discovered again and again by a host of thinkers from many different religious and cultural backgrounds, but has never received due recognition. For example, it was held by virtually every pre-Socratic, by Plato, and Aristotle; by virtually all the medieval thinkers, and in the 20th century alone by: William James, M. Eliade, P. Tillich, H. Kung, N. Kemp Smith, A.C. Bouquet, H. Dooyeweerd, J. Wach, C.S. Lewis, W. Herberg, and R. Neville, among others. The early chapters of the book are, accordingly, devoted to defending this definition from the objections that have been lodged against it.After highlighting some of the defining features common to all theories, the book outlines the major positions that have been taken concerning the general relation between theories and divinity beliefs. Rejecting the majority positions, it proposes the view that: 1) every view of the nature of reality is controlled by some divinity belief or other, and 2), and every scientific theory is unavoidably controlled by some view of the nature of reality. In this way the impact of divinity beliefs on scientific theories is indirect rather than direct: one or another divinity belief controls any ontology, and some ontology or other controls any scientific theory. More specifically, this indirect control consists primarily in the way ontology regulates how the nature of a theory's postulates is conceived, rather than exactly what entities are postulated (though sometimes it does this too). In other words, different divinity beliefs will result in differing ontologies all of which may accept, say, atomic theory or evolutionary theory. But the differing ontologies will require distinct interpretations of the nature of atomic or subatomic entities and of evolutionary processes and mechanisms (think of the different interpretations taken of them by idealists, dualists, phenomenalists, materialists, Kantians, & post-modernists, e.g.).This central claim of the book is spelled out in more detail in a chapter titled The Idea of Religious Control which not only rejects fundamentalism, finds evolution compatible with Theism, and offers a rebuttal of the ID position. It also precisely defines presuppose in order to contrast indirect control via theory of reality to the fundamentalist idea of finding scientific truths in scripture. The next three chapters (7, 8, and 9) then provide concrete illustrations of how various divinity beliefs exercise this sort of control. The theories chosen as samples are the major theories currently held in math, physics, and psychology. The first part of chapter 10 then presents arguments as to why the control just illustrated by theories in math, physics, and psych, is unavoidable for any theory. The second part of the chapter shows why belief in God - the transcendent Creator of Theism - should exercise its control by requiring a wholly non-reductionist view of (created) reality and thus of all other theories (atomic theory, evolutionary theory, etc.). What follows is a fairly detailed sketch of just such a theistic, non-reductionist ontology, namely, the one developed by the Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd in the middle of the last century. The book then closes by drawing out some of the broader consequences of non-reductionist ontology for several social sciences.Critical reviews of the original edition of Myth include:[The Myth of religious Neutrality] is very well written. It is clear and informative. There is excellent work on recognizing deficient theories in terms of logical consistency, self-referential incoherence, self-assumptive incoherence, and self-performative incoherence. [Clouser's] case studies point out clearly the unproven assumptions behind many so-called 'rationalist' theories about various aspects of reality - Review of Metaphysics...significant and challenging...Clouser's book makes the case that all theorizing inevitably involves religious beliefs. Clouser's analysis of religion is rich and insightful...[He] articulates a fundamental theme that both modernist and post-modernist thinkers need to recognize: that intellectual activity is deeply and inescapably religious. - Calvin Theological JournalThis book can be warmly commended. It treats important issues in a clear and energetic way and it is a genuine attempt to break some new ground in the philosophy of religion. - Religious StudiesAbout the AuthorRoy Clouser is Prof. of Philosophy and Religion (Emeritus) at the College of New Jersey. He holds an AB in philosophy from Gordon College, a BD in theology from Reformed Episcopal seminary, and an MA and PhD in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Along the way to the PhD he studied with Paul Tillich at Harvard Graduate School and with Herman Dooyeweerd at the Free University of Amsterdam. He is the author of numerous articles and one other book, Knowing with the Heart: Religious Experience and Belief in God (IVP, 1999). 2/20/2006 03/21/2007 9424 Conference: Sixth Annual Goshen Conference on Religion and Science, March 24-26, 2006 The Sixth Annual Goshen Conference on Religion and Science

March 24-26, 2006The annual Goshen Conference on Religion and Science is designed to provide maximum interaction with one of the principal thinkers in the dialog between religion and science. A single invited speaker presents three lectures, two of which are open to the public. Small moderated discussion sessions provide conference participants an opportunity to address topics from the lectures, and others, in conversation with the speaker.

Philip J. Hefner, Editor-in-Chief of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, and Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago will be the featured speaker for the 2006 conference.

All meals, including Saturday evening at an Amish home/restaurant, and a copy of the conference proceedings are included in the registration.

Conference attendance is limited to fifty. Conference participants include pastors, and interested lay persons, as well as academic scientists, mathematicians, theologians, and students. The conference website, which includes registration form and links to proceedings, is.

Contact:

Marilyn BayakAcademic Science SecretaryGoshen College1700 South Main StreetGoshen, IN 45626Phone: (574) 535-7305marilynlb@goshen.edu

or

Carl HelrichDepartment of PhysicsGoshen College1700 South Main StreetGoshen, IN 45626Phone: (574) 535-7302carlsh@goshen.edu

The Sixth Annual Goshen Conference on Religion and ScienceMarch 24-26, 2006 The annual Goshen Conference on Religion and Science is designed to provide maximum interaction with one of the principal thinkers in the dialog between religion and science. A single invited speaker presents three lectures, two of which are open to the public. Small moderated discussion sessions provide conference participants an opportunity to address topics from the lectures, and others, in conversation with the speaker.Philip J. Hefner, Editor-in-Chief of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, and Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago will be the featured speaker for the 2006 conference.All meals, including Saturday evening at an Amish home/restaurant, and a copy of the conference proceedings are included in the registration.Conference attendance is limited to fifty. Conference participants include pastors, and interested lay persons, as well as academic scientists, mathematicians, theologians, and students. The conference website, which includes registration form and links to proceedings, is.Contact:Marilyn BayakAcademic Science Secretary Goshen College1700 South Main StreetGoshen, IN 45626Phone: (574) 535-7305marilynlb@goshen.eduorCarl HelrichDepartment of Physics Goshen College1700 South Main StreetGoshen, IN 45626Phone: (574) 535-7302carlsh@goshen.edu 2/20/2006 03/21/2007 9425 Table of Contents: ZYGON: Journal of Religion and Science Vol. 41, No. 1, March 2006 ZYGON: Journal of Religion and Science Vol. 41, No. 1, March 2006

CONTENTS

EDITORIAL

Religion and Science -- Two-Way Traffic?PHILIP HEFNER 3

ìANIMALS MATTERî: REFLECTING ON THE WORK OF MARC BEKOFF

Introduction to the SymposiumDONNA YARRI 7

Animals, Animism, and AcademicsGRAHAM HARVEY 9

Animals as Kin: The Religious Significance of Marc Bekoffπs WorkDONNA YARRI 21

All Animals Matter: Marc Bekoffπs Contribution to Constructive Christian TheologyJAY MCDANIEL 29

ìGoing to the Dogsî: Canid Ethology and Theological ReflectionNANCY R. HOWELL 59

Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues: Cognitive Ethology as theUnifying Science for Understanding the Subjective, Emotional, Empathic, and Moral Lives of AnimalsMARC BEKOFF 71

ARTICLES

Problems between Science and Theology in Modern HistoryWOLFHART PANNENBERG 105

Overview of the Structure of a Scientific WorldviewJOHN J. CARVALHO IV 113

Altruism in Nature as Manifestation of Divine EnergeiaCHARLENE P. E. BURNS 125

Animals, Homo, and the Kingdom of GodRUSSELL H. TUTTLE 139

Neuromythology: Brains and Stories...JOHN A. TESKE 169

The Role of Spirituality in Formulating a Theory of the Psychology of ReligionDANIEL A. HELMINIAK 197

PATRONS 225

ANNOUNCEMENTS 227

ZYGON: Journal of Religion and Science Vol. 41, No. 1, March 2006CONTENTSEDITORIALReligion and Science -- Two-Way Traffic?PHILIP HEFNER 3ìANIMALS MATTERî: REFLECTING ON THE WORK OF MARC BEKOFFIntroduction to the SymposiumDONNA YARRI 7Animals, Animism, and AcademicsGRAHAM HARVEY 9Animals as Kin: The Religious Significance of Marc Bekoffπs WorkDONNA YARRI 21All Animals Matter: Marc Bekoffπs Contribution to Constructive Christian TheologyJAY MCDANIEL 29ìGoing to the Dogsî: Canid Ethology and Theological ReflectionNANCY R. HOWELL 59Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues: Cognitive Ethology as theUnifying Science for Understanding the Subjective, Emotional, Empathic, and Moral Lives of AnimalsMARC BEKOFF 71 ARTICLES Problems between Science and Theology in Modern HistoryWOLFHART PANNENBERG 105Overview of the Structure of a Scientific WorldviewJOHN J. CARVALHO IV 113Altruism in Nature as Manifestation of Divine EnergeiaCHARLENE P. E. BURNS 125Animals, Homo, and the Kingdom of GodRUSSELL H. TUTTLE 139Neuromythology: Brains and Stories...JOHN A. TESKE 169The Role of Spirituality in Formulating a Theory of the Psychology of ReligionDANIEL A. HELMINIAK 197 PATRONS 225ANNOUNCEMENTS 227 2/20/2006 03/21/2007 9426 Book Announcement: Joseph A. Bracken, Christianity and Process Thought: Spirituality for a Changing World Joseph A. Bracken, S.J., Christianity and Process Thought: Spirituality for a Changing World. Foreword by John F. Haught. Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-1-932031-98-0: ISBN-10:1-932031-98-7.URL: www.templetonpress.org

In this new book, Joseph Bracken, emeritus professor of theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, seeks a broader harmony between the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and basic Christian beliefs to the advantage of both faith and reason. Considered one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century, Whitehead proposed a process-oriented approach to reality - a model in which God is involved in an ongoing, ever-changing relationship with all creatures in a way that is logically impossible for the unchanging God of classical metaphysics. Yet Whitehead's scheme also seems to repudiate basic Christian beliefs such as creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo) and the Trinity (one God in three persons). Bracken attempts a synthesis of the basic presuppositions of classical Thomism and process theology, while employing the insights of many other contemporary philosophers and theologians not belonging to either camp. His own model for the God-world relationship is panentheistic: all creatures come forth from the Triune God and return to God as members of an all-embracing cosmic community both in time and in eternity. In this way, Bracken illuminates conventional Christian beliefs about God and our relationship to God, both as individuals and as members of a worshiping community, within a contemporary process-oriented frame of reference. Attention is given both to theoretical issues such as divine providence and human free will, the power of intercessory prayer, etc. as well as to the ethical demands of Christian altruism in a world heavily influenced by a daunting collective power of evil.

Table of Contents:Chapter 1: In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being (Acts 17/28)Chapter 2: Divine and Human CreativityChapter 3: The Shape of Things to ComeChapter 4: The Collective Power of Good and EvilChapter 5: The Church and the Kingdom of GodChapter 6: What is Truth? (John 18:38)Chapter 7: Divine Providence and Human FreedomChapter 8: Prayer and the Collective Power of GoodChapter 9: Alpha and Omega: The Beginning and the EndChapter 10: Science, Faith and AltruismChapter 11: Learning to Trust

Excerpts from the book

From Chapter 1:If someone were to ask Where is God? how would you respond? Would you raise your finger in the air and point to the sky, saying Up there! After all, didn't Jesus ascend into heaven in front of his astonished readers (Acts 1:9)? Or would you turn the finger on yourself, point to your heart, and say, In here! For, didn't Jesus also say: Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him (John 14:23)? Or perhaps as a third alternative, one might say, God is everywhere. But there is risk in all three answers. If God is limited to being either in heaven above or in the human heart here below, then how can God truly be God, Creator of heaven and earth and ruler of all things in this world? But, on the contrary, if God is everywhere, then equivalently God is nowhere. God does not exist. God is just the name for a childish fantasy carried over uncritically into adulthood. These questions remind us of how important it is to have a model or symbolic representation of how God and the world relate to one another. Every such model, of course, is in one way or another deficient since we cannot shrink down to human proportions what infinitely exceeds our power to comprehend. But without some implicit model of the God-world relationship at work in our minds and arts, the reality of God tends to disappear or be ignored as we focus simply on the world in front of us.

From Chapter 2:The three divine persons, in other words, have apparently set in motion a cosmic process in which novelty or spontaneity is present in varying degrees at all levels of existence and activity. Hence, one should expect things periodically to go wrong. At the same time, without this provision of novelty and spontaneity within the creative process, this world would be far less interesting and full of promise. It would be a world totally governed by mechanical regularity in which there would be no room for the new and unexpected. Even if human beings existed in such a world, they would be just as machine-like in their existence and activity as every other creature. Free will would be an illusion since novelty would be sacrificed to the overriding demand for order and predictability. Practically speaking, therefore, good and evil must always co-exist. If good and bad decisions are ultimately responsible for the good and evil to be found in this world, then one must learn to deal with the latter even as one rejoices in the existence of the former. . . .Creativity is what makes us (and indeed all of creation) godlike. But, improperly used, it is likewise the root cause of the destructive and even demonic features of this world.

From Chapter 4:In the end, then, awareness of the ongoing coexistence of the collective power of good and of evil in this world should make us humble in assessing our own contribution to the coming of God's kingdom. In Luke 16:13, to be sure, Jesus is recorded as saying No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. But, as I see it, most of us do serve two masters on a regular basis, both the collective power of good and the collective power of evil. The real question is which one do we love even we are periodically unfaithful in its service, and which one do we despise even as we yield to the lure of its arguments in a given instance. Provided that we continue to love the person of Jesus and what he stands for in terms of the collective power of good, we are still on the way to salvation for ourselves and those around us. Only when we despise the call of Jesus as impractical and unrealistic are we in danger of permanently losing the deeper meaning and value of our lives on earth and of our enduring relationship to God.

From Chapter 9:But what about Christian belief in the resurrection of the body and the transformation of the physical universe at the end of the world? My argument is that the Last Judgment as depicted in the Bible is actually taking place at every moment of the cosmic process and human history. Since every actual occasion or momentary subject of experience comes into existence within God and is reincorporated into the divine life after its brief moment of self-constitution apart from God, then God's design for creation, the simultaneous vindication of both God's justice and God's mercy with respect to creatures, is being achieved at every moment, even if only for the moment. Naturally, we human beings are not aware of this ongoing divine judgment until the moment of our death, when we become fully aware of who we are and where we have been living all these years. But it is happening whether we realize it or not. As noted earlier, we live simultaneously in time and in eternity. Eternity is the togetherness of past, present, and future. So there is a glimpse of eternity in every now if only we take time to appreciate it.

Joseph A. Bracken, S.J., Christianity and Process Thought: Spirituality for a Changing World. Foreword by John F. Haught. Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-1-932031-98-0: ISBN-10:1-932031-98-7. URL: www.templetonpress.orgIn this new book, Joseph Bracken, emeritus professor of theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, seeks a broader harmony between the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and basic Christian beliefs to the advantage of both faith and reason. Considered one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century, Whitehead proposed a process-oriented approach to reality - a model in which God is involved in an ongoing, ever-changing relationship with all creatures in a way that is logically impossible for the unchanging God of classical metaphysics. Yet Whitehead's scheme also seems to repudiate basic Christian beliefs such as creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo) and the Trinity (one God in three persons). Bracken attempts a synthesis of the basic presuppositions of classical Thomism and process theology, while employing the insights of many other contemporary philosophers and theologians not belonging to either camp. His own model for the God-world relationship is panentheistic: all creatures come forth from the Triune God and return to God as members of an all-embracing cosmic community both in time and in eternity. In this way, Bracken illuminates conventional Christian beliefs about God and our relationship to God, both as individuals and as members of a worshiping community, within a contemporary process-oriented frame of reference. Attention is given both to theoretical issues such as divine providence and human free will, the power of intercessory prayer, etc. as well as to the ethical demands of Christian altruism in a world heavily influenced by a daunting collective power of evil. Table of Contents:Chapter 1: In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being (Acts 17/28)Chapter 2: Divine and Human CreativityChapter 3: The Shape of Things to ComeChapter 4: The Collective Power of Good and EvilChapter 5: The Church and the Kingdom of GodChapter 6: What is Truth? (John 18:38)Chapter 7: Divine Providence and Human FreedomChapter 8: Prayer and the Collective Power of GoodChapter 9: Alpha and Omega: The Beginning and the EndChapter 10: Science, Faith and AltruismChapter 11: Learning to TrustExcerpts from the bookFrom Chapter 1: If someone were to ask Where is God? how would you respond? Would you raise your finger in the air and point to the sky, saying Up there! After all, didn't Jesus ascend into heaven in front of his astonished readers (Acts 1:9)? Or would you turn the finger on yourself, point to your heart, and say, In here! For, didn't Jesus also say: Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him (John 14:23)? Or perhaps as a third alternative, one might say, God is everywhere. But there is risk in all three answers. If God is limited to being either in heaven above or in the human heart here below, then how can God truly be God, Creator of heaven and earth and ruler of all things in this world? But, on the contrary, if God is everywhere, then equivalently God is nowhere. God does not exist. God is just the name for a childish fantasy carried over uncritically into adulthood. These questions remind us of how important it is to have a model or symbolic representation of how God and the world relate to one another. Every such model, of course, is in one way or another deficient since we cannot shrink down to human proportions what infinitely exceeds our power to comprehend. But without some implicit model of the God-world relationship at work in our minds and arts, the reality of God tends to disappear or be ignored as we focus simply on the world in front of us.From Chapter 2:The three divine persons, in other words, have apparently set in motion a cosmic process in which novelty or spontaneity is present in varying degrees at all levels of existence and activity. Hence, one should expect things periodically to go wrong. At the same time, without this provision of novelty and spontaneity within the creative process, this world would be far less interesting and full of promise. It would be a world totally governed by mechanical regularity in which there would be no room for the new and unexpected. Even if human beings existed in such a world, they would be just as machine-like in their existence and activity as every other creature. Free will would be an illusion since novelty would be sacrificed to the overriding demand for order and predictability. Practically speaking, therefore, good and evil must always co-exist. If good and bad decisions are ultimately responsible for the good and evil to be found in this world, then one must learn to deal with the latter even as one rejoices in the existence of the former. . . .Creativity is what makes us (and indeed all of creation) godlike. But, improperly used, it is likewise the root cause of the destructive and even demonic features of this world. From Chapter 4: In the end, then, awareness of the ongoing coexistence of the collective power of good and of evil in this world should make us humble in assessing our own contribution to the coming of God's kingdom. In Luke 16:13, to be sure, Jesus is recorded as saying No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. But, as I see it, most of us do serve two masters on a regular basis, both the collective power of good and the collective power of evil. The real question is which one do we love even we are periodically unfaithful in its service, and which one do we despise even as we yield to the lure of its arguments in a given instance. Provided that we continue to love the person of Jesus and what he stands for in terms of the collective power of good, we are still on the way to salvation for ourselves and those around us. Only when we despise the call of Jesus as impractical and unrealistic are we in danger of permanently losing the deeper meaning and value of our lives on earth and of our enduring relationship to God.From Chapter 9:But what about Christian belief in the resurrection of the body and the transformation of the physical universe at the end of the world? My argument is that the Last Judgment as depicted in the Bible is actually taking place at every moment of the cosmic process and human history. Since every actual occasion or momentary subject of experience comes into existence within God and is reincorporated into the divine life after its brief moment of self-constitution apart from God, then God's design for creation, the simultaneous vindication of both God's justice and God's mercy with respect to creatures, is being achieved at every moment, even if only for the moment. Naturally, we human beings are not aware of this ongoing divine judgment until the moment of our death, when we become fully aware of who we are and where we have been living all these years. But it is happening whether we realize it or not. As noted earlier, we live simultaneously in time and in eternity. Eternity is the togetherness of past, present, and future. So there is a glimpse of eternity in every now if only we take time to appreciate it. 2/21/2006 03/21/2007 9427 Meeting: SPIRITUALITY, RELIGION, AND HEALTH INTEREST GROUP, Wednesday, March 1, 2006, University of Pennsylvania Announcement of the next monthly meeting of Penn's SPIRITUALITY, RELIGION,AND HEALTH INTEREST GROUP:

Wednesday, March 1, 200610:00 to 11:30 AMMedical Alumni Hall (Maloney 1)[--note the change from our usual auditorium, for this meeting only] at theHospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Our Speaker will be Elio Frattaroli, MD,author of Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain.

The event is co-sponsored by Mind, Religion, and Ethics in Dialogue --winnerof the Templeton Research Lectureship Program on the Constructive Dialoguebetween Science and Religion.

A printable flier announcing the event is attached.For more about Dr. Frattaroli, visit his web site at www.eliofrattaroli.com.

For more about the Interest Group, call 215-662-2591, orvisit the Pastoral Care web site (www.uphs.upenn.edu/pastora Announcement of the next monthly meeting of Penn's SPIRITUALITY, RELIGION,AND HEALTH INTEREST GROUP:Wednesday, March 1, 200610:00 to 11:30 AMMedical Alumni Hall (Maloney 1)[--note the change from our usual auditorium, for this meeting only] at theHospital of the University of PennsylvaniaOur Speaker will be Elio Frattaroli, MD, author of Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain.The event is co-sponsored by Mind, Religion, and Ethics in Dialogue --winnerof the Templeton Research Lectureship Program on the Constructive Dialoguebetween Science and Religion.A printable flier announcing the event is attached. For more about Dr. Frattaroli, visit his web site at www.eliofrattaroli.com.For more about the Interest Group, call 215-662-2591, or visit the Pastoral Care web site (www.uphs.upenn.edu/pastora 2/21/2006 03/21/2007 9428 Metanexus Board Member Varadaraja V. Raman Receives the Raja Rao award Metanexus Board Member Varadaraja. V. Raman Receives the Raja Rao award

The Samvad India Foundation is a non-profit Public Charitble Trust incorporated in New Delhi. Every year it presents the Raja Rao Award that honours and recognizes writers (including scholars and critics) who have made an Outstanding Contribution to the Literature of the South Asian Diaspora. Raja Rao, one of the greatest living writers of our times, has very kindly consented to the Award being named after him. The Award may be given to writers whose contribution is significant but who may not necessarily be international celebrities or who may not have won major literary awards. Previous awardees include Dr V Dehejia (2003), Professor Edwin Thumboo (2002), Ms Yasmine Gooneratne (2001) and Mr KS Maniam (2000).

This year's recipient is Professor VV Raman.

Citation presented to him by Professor Nitant Kenkre

V. V. RAMAN, the recipient of the Raja Rao Award this year, is a multifaceted personality. He is an eminent philosopher, physicist, writer, author of superb quality original work in each of those categories, and a man distinguished by a sense of humor and wisdom as well. Raman's breadth of knowledge, expertise and interests is impressive. Raman was born on May 28, 1932, in a Tamil family which had settled down in Bengal. Blends of opposites, as of the North and the South in the case of his upbringing as a child, characterize him and may explain the keen insights he always displays into the nature of his surroundings. As a small boy, he learned to recite Vedic hymns in Sanskrit and Pater Noster in Latin. He read the Koran and the Torah. He has an impressive facility in German and Spanish, in handling equations of theoretical physics and in constructing verses, in pragmatic practice and historical scholarship, in science and art. His undergraduate work was in physics, his first postgraduate degree in mathematics. His doctoral work in Paris, carried out in the medium of the French language under the supervision of the Nobel laureate Louis de Broglie, was in theoretical physics, specifically on the mathematical underpinning of quantum mechanics.

As a youth, Raman was drawn to poetry and philosophy, to mathematics and music, to languages and literature. He was fascinated by the depth and scope of meaningful knowledge that science has brought to humanity, and impressed by the power and coherence of scientific methodology. He grew up reading and reflecting on humanity's heritage. With strong links to his own tradition, he now regards himself as a human being most of all, with respect and sympathy for all that is enriching, ennobling, and enlightening in human culture.

After obtaining his doctorate from the Sorbonne, and publishing his research in the Comptes Rendus de l'AcadÈmie des Sciences, he returned to India and worked at the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics.

Then he served the UNESCO for a few years, during which time he became more interested in the history and philosophy of science. His varied interests and abilities led him into avenues of work well outside the narrow confines to which many brilliant physicists are limited.

Eventually, he settled down at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the USA as a professor of Physics and Humanities. He went on to publish extensively on the historical, philosophical, and social aspects of science. His scholarly papers on those matters have been on the history of thermodynamics, the origins of physical chemistry, the genesis of the Schrˆdinger equation, the early reactions to Einstein's theory of relativity, the impact of the Copernican revolution, and on the Euler-D'Alembert controversy in 18th century mathematical physics. He has also written on such topics as the history of the theory of gravitation, of the energy conservation principle, and of acoustics.

These writings were published in various scholarly journals, Proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences, American Journal of Physics, The Physics Teacher, The Journal of Education, Chronicle of Higher Education, Mathematical Intelligencer, Impact of Science on Society (UNESCO), Science and Culture, Indian Journal of History of Science, Journal of Chemical Education, Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Science and Sprit, CHOICE Magazine (Journal of the AALS), Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, Prajna Vihara: Journal of Philosophy and Religion (Thailand), Hermeia (Germany).

The following are books by Professor Raman on these topics: Science and Relevance; Scientific Perspectives: Essays & Reflections of a Physicist-Humanist; Variety of Science History; Glimpses of Ancient Science and Scientists. His book Variety in Religion and Science discusses the religious visions from intercultural perspectives as well as scientific insights from various people and cultures.

Professor Raman has received numerous citations from his students about his teaching excellence. In 1988, nominated by his university's president, he was a recipient of the Outstanding Educator award, presented in Washington D.C. by the American Association of Higher Education.

As to Raman's contributions to the elucidation and propagation of Indic culture, he has lectured profusely on many aspects of Indian heritage and culture. He is the author of multiple books on that theme. In the early 1980s he initiated a journal called INDHER (Indian Heritage) to educate children of Indian origin living beyond the shores of India on aspects of their culture and heritage. Out of the articles in this journal grew two books: Glimpses of Indian Heritage, and Satanama: Hundred Names from India's Past, both published by Popular Prakashan in India. He gave a series of lectures on Verses from the Bhagavad Gita of relevance to the Modern World, which were published later as Nuggets from the Gita by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He wrote a series of articles on Indian perspectives for India Abroad which are the basis of his Reflections from Alien Shores, also a Bhavan's Book.

Since the 1990s Professor Raman has been very involved with the emerging academic field of Science and Religion. In this field he has published papers in ZYGON: the international journal on Science and Religion, as well as in SCIENCE AND SPIRIT. The following articles are relevant in this context: Science and Religion, Connections and Contradictions, CHOICE July, August 1996; Vedanta and Modern Science, International Vedanta Conference, January 1996, Madras; Science in the face of religion and mysticism, World & I, October 1996; Science and Religion: Some Demarcation Criteria, Zygon, September 2001; Science and Spirit: A Hindu Perspective, Science and Spirit, November 1998; Science and Humanism in the Modern World, Prajna Vihara: The Journal of Philosophy and Religion, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2001; Which is More Dangerous? Science or Religion, Science and Spirit; Science and Spirituality from a Hindu Perspective, Zygon, March 2002; and Was heisst Kulturelle Differenz? in Die Macht der Diffetenzen, Hermeia, Band 4.

Over the years, Raman has been a member of the Calcutta Mathematical Society, American Physical Society, American Association of Physics Teachers, Philosophy of Science Association, History of Science Society, the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science. He has served on the Editorial Board of The (American) Physics Teacher. He has served as the President of various cultural/social organizations including The Interfaith Forum of Rochester, The India Community Center of Rochester, The Bengali Association of Rochester, the Rochester Tamil Sangam which he founded, The Martin Luther King Commission of Rochester, The METANEXUS Institute on Science and Religion, the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science.

He was elected the 2004-2005 METANEXUS Fellow on Science and Religion, in which capacity he delivered six lectures at the Hillel Hall of the University of Pennsylvania on Indic Visions in an Age of Science.

He is currently writing a web column entitled Reflections on Remote Roots, which is widely circulated to people of Indian heritage in many parts of the world. It is another grand survey of various aspects of Indian heritage and culture with deep insights. The erudition and intelligent understanding of our brilliant past (and present) in India and also of other human cultures he displays in that column are impressive indeed.

To those who know him from close, Raman is also an intelligent and inspired prankster. This unusual but charming facet of his that arises from his great sense of humor reminds one of Krishna. Listening to Raman is always an educational experience. Conversing with him is always a pleasant event. It is impossible to come in contact with this person without coming away awed, inspired, and warmed. The enormous work that Raman has done even in his 'retired' years is definitely deserving of the Raja Rao award. Metanexus Board Member Varadaraja. V. Raman Receives the Raja Rao awardThe Samvad India Foundation is a non-profit Public Charitble Trust incorporated in New Delhi. Every year it presents the Raja Rao Award that honours and recognizes writers (including scholars and critics) who have made an Outstanding Contribution to the Literature of the South Asian Diaspora. Raja Rao, one of the greatest living writers of our times, has very kindly consented to the Award being named after him. The Award may be given to writers whose contribution is significant but who may not necessarily be international celebrities or who may not have won major literary awards. Previous awardees include Dr V Dehejia (2003), Professor Edwin Thumboo (2002), Ms Yasmine Gooneratne (2001) and Mr KS Maniam (2000).This year's recipient is Professor VV Raman.Citation presented to him by Professor Nitant KenkreV. V. RAMAN, the recipient of the Raja Rao Award this year, is a multifaceted personality. He is an eminent philosopher, physicist, writer, author of superb quality original work in each of those categories, and a man distinguished by a sense of humor and wisdom as well. Raman's breadth of knowledge, expertise and interests is impressive. Raman was born on May 28, 1932, in a Tamil family which had settled down in Bengal. Blends of opposites, as of the North and the South in the case of his upbringing as a child, characterize him and may explain the keen insights he always displays into the nature of his surroundings. As a small boy, he learned to recite Vedic hymns in Sanskrit and Pater Noster in Latin. He read the Koran and the Torah. He has an impressive facility in German and Spanish, in handling equations of theoretical physics and in constructing verses, in pragmatic practice and historical scholarship, in science and art. His undergraduate work was in physics, his first postgraduate degree in mathematics. His doctoral work in Paris, carried out in the medium of the French language under the supervision of the Nobel laureate Louis de Broglie, was in theoretical physics, specifically on the mathematical underpinning of quantum mechanics.As a youth, Raman was drawn to poetry and philosophy, to mathematics and music, to languages and literature. He was fascinated by the depth and scope of meaningful knowledge that science has brought to humanity, and impressed by the power and coherence of scientific methodology. He grew up reading and reflecting on humanity's heritage. With strong links to his own tradition, he now regards himself as a human being most of all, with respect and sympathy for all that is enriching, ennobling, and enlightening in human culture.After obtaining his doctorate from the Sorbonne, and publishing his research in the Comptes Rendus de l'AcadÈmie des Sciences, he returned to India and worked at the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics.Then he served the UNESCO for a few years, during which time he became more interested in the history and philosophy of science. His varied interests and abilities led him into avenues of work well outside the narrow confines to which many brilliant physicists are limited.Eventually, he settled down at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the USA as a professor of Physics and Humanities. He went on to publish extensively on the historical, philosophical, and social aspects of science. His scholarly papers on those matters have been on the history of thermodynamics, the origins of physical chemistry, the genesis of the Schrˆdinger equation, the early reactions to Einstein's theory of relativity, the impact of the Copernican revolution, and on the Euler-D'Alembert controversy in 18th century mathematical physics. He has also written on such topics as the history of the theory of gravitation, of the energy conservation principle, and of acoustics.These writings were published in various scholarly journals, Proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences, American Journal of Physics, The Physics Teacher, The Journal of Education, Chronicle of Higher Education, Mathematical Intelligencer, Impact of Science on Society (UNESCO), Science and Culture, Indian Journal of History of Science, Journal of Chemical Education, Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Science and Sprit, CHOICE Magazine (Journal of the AALS), Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, Prajna Vihara: Journal of Philosophy and Religion (Thailand), Hermeia (Germany).The following are books by Professor Raman on these topics: Science and Relevance; Scientific Perspectives: Essays & Reflections of a Physicist-Humanist; Variety of Science History; Glimpses of Ancient Science and Scientists. His book Variety in Religion and Science discusses the religious visions from intercultural perspectives as well as scientific insights from various people and cultures.Professor Raman has received numerous citations from his students about his teaching excellence. In 1988, nominated by his university's president, he was a recipient of the Outstanding Educator award, presented in Washington D.C. by the American Association of Higher Education.As to Raman's contributions to the elucidation and propagation of Indic culture, he has lectured profusely on many aspects of Indian heritage and culture. He is the author of multiple books on that theme. In the early 1980s he initiated a journal called INDHER (Indian Heritage) to educate children of Indian origin living beyond the shores of India on aspects of their culture and heritage. Out of the articles in this journal grew two books: Glimpses of Indian Heritage, and Satanama: Hundred Names from India's Past, both published by Popular Prakashan in India. He gave a series of lectures on Verses from the Bhagavad Gita of relevance to the Modern World, which were published later as Nuggets from the Gita by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He wrote a series of articles on Indian perspectives for India Abroad which are the basis of his Reflections from Alien Shores, also a Bhavan's Book.Since the 1990s Professor Raman has been very involved with the emerging academic field of Science and Religion. In this field he has published papers in ZYGON: the international journal on Science and Religion, as well as in SCIENCE AND SPIRIT. The following articles are relevant in this context: Science and Religion, Connections and Contradictions, CHOICE July, August 1996; Vedanta and Modern Science, International Vedanta Conference, January 1996, Madras; Science in the face of religion and mysticism, World & I, October 1996; Science and Religion: Some Demarcation Criteria, Zygon, September 2001; Science and Spirit: A Hindu Perspective, Science and Spirit, November 1998; Science and Humanism in the Modern World, Prajna Vihara: The Journal of Philosophy and Religion, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2001; Which is More Dangerous? Science or Religion, Science and Spirit; Science and Spirituality from a Hindu Perspective, Zygon, March 2002; and Was heisst Kulturelle Differenz? in Die Macht der Diffetenzen, Hermeia, Band 4.Over the years, Raman has been a member of the Calcutta Mathematical Society, American Physical Society, American Association of Physics Teachers, Philosophy of Science Association, History of Science Society, the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science. He has served on the Editorial Board of The (American) Physics Teacher. He has served as the President of various cultural/social organizations including The Interfaith Forum of Rochester, The India Community Center of Rochester, The Bengali Association of Rochester, the Rochester Tamil Sangam which he founded, The Martin Luther King Commission of Rochester, The METANEXUS Institute on Science and Religion, the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science.He was elected the 2004-2005 METANEXUS Fellow on Science and Religion, in which capacity he delivered six lectures at the Hillel Hall of the University of Pennsylvania on Indic Visions in an Age of Science.He is currently writing a web column entitled Reflections on Remote Roots, which is widely circulated to people of Indian heritage in many parts of the world. It is another grand survey of various aspects of Indian heritage and culture with deep insights. The erudition and intelligent understanding of our brilliant past (and present) in India and also of other human cultures he displays in that column are impressive indeed.To those who know him from close, Raman is also an intelligent and inspired prankster. This unusual but charming facet of his that arises from his great sense of humor reminds one of Krishna. Listening to Raman is always an educational experience. Conversing with him is always a pleasant event. It is impossible to come in contact with this person without coming away awed, inspired, and warmed. The enormous work that Raman has done even in his 'retired' years is definitely deserving of the Raja Rao award. 2/21/2006 03/21/2007 9429 Lecture: A Look Inside the Intelligent Design Case, Eric Rothschild Co-Lead Counsel in Dover Trial, March 13, 6:30 P.M., UPENN Penn Museum's Evolution Project Presents:

ERIC ROTHSCHILD, CO-LEAD COUNSEL FOR THE PLAINTIFFS IN KITZMILLER V. DOVER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, OFFERS A LOOK INSIDE THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN CASE AT FREE PENN MUSEUM TALK MONDAY, MARCH 13, 6:30 P.M.

02/15/2006

PHILADELPHIA, PA 2006-- Eric Rothschild, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the recent landmark case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, offers an insider's perspective on this highly publicized intelligent design case, in a special talk, Intelligent Design Meets the First Amendment Monday, March 13, 6:30 p.m. in the Harrison Auditorium of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The free program, presented by Penn Museumπs Evolution Project, is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Institute for Law and Philosophy.

Mr. Rothschild, a partner with Pepper Hamilton LLP and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, will share the factual and legal background of the Kitzmiller case, and discuss whether intelligent design is science or religion, why the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution continues to generate controversy, and how the controversy implicates important issues of religious freedom.

The Kitzmiller case, decided in the plaintiffs' favor in December 2005, has been referred to as a modern-day Monkey trial, alluding to the famous State v. John Scopes trial of 1925, when a jury was asked to decide the fate of a high school biology teacher charged with illegally teaching the theory of evolution. The Dover case is being touted as the first legal test of the constitutionality of teaching intelligent design as science, and the most significant case on religious issues in public school science classes since 1987, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the teaching of creation science.

The plaintiffs were represented by lawyers from Pepper Hamilton, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Pepper handled the case as part of its pro bono and public service program.

The Kitzmiller case has been covered extensively by regional, national and international media. Several magazines, including Time, Harper's and The New Yorker, also wrote long essays on the case.

Mr. Rothschild is a partner in Pepper Hamilton's Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department, resident in the Philadelphia office. He concentrates his trial practice in complex litigation, including reinsurance disputes, insurance insolvencies, constitutional and civil rights issues, and matters involving fraud, breach of contract and commercial lending. He is a member of the Legal Advisory Board of the National Center for Science Education, which led to his engagement as counsel in the Kitzmiller case.

Following his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1993, Mr. Rothschild clerked for the Honorable Anita B. Brody of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He has practiced at Pepper Hamilton since 1994.

Penn Museum's Evolution Project, chaired by Dr. Michael Weisberg, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, develops programs about the science of evolution for public, teacher and student audiences. Other programs include the Darwin Day Celebration and Evolution Teach-In (2006 program cancelled due to weather; 2007 program scheduled for February 11), an April 2006 teacher workshop (for more information, call the Museum's International Classroom Program at 215/898-4066) and, now several years in the making, a traveling exhibition to open in the fall of 2007, Surviving: The Body of Evidence.

Harrison Auditorium seating for Intelligent Design Meets the First Amendment is open, and attendees enter the Museum's auditorium through the Upper Courtyard entrance on the southeast corner of 33rd and South Streets (handicapped access entrance is on 33rd Street). The number for more information is 215/898-4890.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world.

Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street (across from Franklin Field), Philadelphia, PA 19104. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, holidays, and summer Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission donation is $8 for adults; $5 for senior citizens and students with ID; free to members, PENNcard holders, and children 6 and under; free Sunday afternoons through May 21, 2006. The Museum can be found on the web at www.museum.upenn.edu.

For general information call 215/898-4000. Penn Museum's Evolution Project Presents:ERIC ROTHSCHILD, CO-LEAD COUNSEL FOR THE PLAINTIFFS IN KITZMILLER V. DOVER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, OFFERS A LOOK INSIDE THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN CASE AT FREE PENN MUSEUM TALK MONDAY, MARCH 13, 6:30 P.M.02/15/2006PHILADELPHIA, PA 2006-- Eric Rothschild, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the recent landmark case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, offers an insider's perspective on this highly publicized intelligent design case, in a special talk, Intelligent Design Meets the First Amendment Monday, March 13, 6:30 p.m. in the Harrison Auditorium of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The free program, presented by Penn Museumπs Evolution Project, is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Institute for Law and Philosophy.Mr. Rothschild, a partner with Pepper Hamilton LLP and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, will share the factual and legal background of the Kitzmiller case, and discuss whether intelligent design is science or religion, why the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution continues to generate controversy, and how the controversy implicates important issues of religious freedom.The Kitzmiller case, decided in the plaintiffs' favor in December 2005, has been referred to as a modern-day Monkey trial, alluding to the famous State v. John Scopes trial of 1925, when a jury was asked to decide the fate of a high school biology teacher charged with illegally teaching the theory of evolution. The Dover case is being touted as the first legal test of the constitutionality of teaching intelligent design as science, and the most significant case on religious issues in public school science classes since 1987, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the teaching of creation science.The plaintiffs were represented by lawyers from Pepper Hamilton, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Pepper handled the case as part of its pro bono and public service program.The Kitzmiller case has been covered extensively by regional, national and international media. Several magazines, including Time, Harper's and The New Yorker, also wrote long essays on the case.Mr. Rothschild is a partner in Pepper Hamilton's Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department, resident in the Philadelphia office. He concentrates his trial practice in complex litigation, including reinsurance disputes, insurance insolvencies, constitutional and civil rights issues, and matters involving fraud, breach of contract and commercial lending. He is a member of the Legal Advisory Board of the National Center for Science Education, which led to his engagement as counsel in the Kitzmiller case.Following his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1993, Mr. Rothschild clerked for the Honorable Anita B. Brody of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He has practiced at Pepper Hamilton since 1994.Penn Museum's Evolution Project, chaired by Dr. Michael Weisberg, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, develops programs about the science of evolution for public, teacher and student audiences. Other programs include the Darwin Day Celebration and Evolution Teach-In (2006 program cancelled due to weather; 2007 program scheduled for February 11), an April 2006 teacher workshop (for more information, call the Museum's International Classroom Program at 215/898-4066) and, now several years in the making, a traveling exhibition to open in the fall of 2007, Surviving: The Body of Evidence.Harrison Auditorium seating for Intelligent Design Meets the First Amendment is open, and attendees enter the Museum's auditorium through the Upper Courtyard entrance on the southeast corner of 33rd and South Streets (handicapped access entrance is on 33rd Street). The number for more information is 215/898-4890.The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world.Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street (across from Franklin Field), Philadelphia, PA 19104. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, holidays, and summer Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission donation is $8 for adults; $5 for senior citizens and students with ID; free to members, PENNcard holders, and children 6 and under; free Sunday afternoons through May 21, 2006. The Museum can be found on the web at www.museum.upenn.edu.For general information call 215/898-4000. 2/22/2006 03/21/2007 9430 Symposium: Mind and Reality, February 25-26, Columbia University, NYC Mind & Reality: A Multidisciplinary Symposium on Consciousness Saturday-Sunday, February 25-26th, 2006 Low Memorial Library, Columbia University www.mindandreality.org

This weekend, February 25th-26th, the Center for the Study of Science and Religion at Columbia University will host Mind &
Reality: A Multidisciplinary Symposium on Consciousness. Supported by the John E. Fetzer Institute, this event is dedicated to enriching the dialogue between Buddhism, Hinduism, and contemporary consciousness studies. The overarching goal of this symposium is to cultivate communication between culturally diverse lines of thought and foster relationships between like-minded individuals within the Academy.

Admission to this event is free, but seating is limited. To reserve your seats today, please email info@mindandreality.org. Be sure to include the word reservation in the subject field and please note that individual reservations are limited to no more than two seats.Please also consider joining our mailing list to receive important event news and webcast information.

Keynote Speakers:Owen Flanagan & B. Alan Wallace

Participants:Ned Block * Susan Carey * Georges B. J. Dreyfus * Paul Gailey * Jay Garfield * Piet Hut * Roger Jackson * Thubten Jinpa * Anne Klein * Joseph LeDoux * Joseph Loizzo * Stephen H. Phillips * Robert Pollack * W. Teed Rockwell * Mark Siderits * Gareth Sparham * Evan Thompson * Robert A. F. Thurman * Gary Tubb * Robert Van Gulick * William Waldron * Edith Wyschogrod *

Please visit our event website (www.mindandreality.org) & weblog (www.blog.mindandreality.org) for further information & news. Mind & Reality: A Multidisciplinary Symposium on Consciousness Saturday-Sunday, February 25-26th, 2006 Low Memorial Library, Columbia University www.mindandreality.orgThis weekend, February 25th-26th, the Center for the Study of Science and Religion at Columbia University will host Mind &Reality: A Multidisciplinary Symposium on Consciousness. Supported by the John E. Fetzer Institute, this event is dedicated to enriching the dialogue between Buddhism, Hinduism, and contemporary consciousness studies. The overarching goal of this symposium is to cultivate communication between culturally diverse lines of thought and foster relationships between like-minded individuals within the Academy.Admission to this event is free, but seating is limited. To reserve your seats today, please email info@mindandreality.org. Be sure to include the word reservation in the subject field and please note that individual reservations are limited to no more than two seats.Please also consider joining our mailing list to receive important event news and webcast information.Keynote Speakers:Owen Flanagan & B. Alan WallaceParticipants:Ned Block * Susan Carey * Georges B. J. Dreyfus * Paul Gailey * Jay Garfield * Piet Hut * Roger Jackson * Thubten Jinpa * Anne Klein * Joseph LeDoux * Joseph Loizzo * Stephen H. Phillips * Robert Pollack * W. Teed Rockwell * Mark Siderits * Gareth Sparham * Evan Thompson * Robert A. F. Thurman * Gary Tubb * Robert Van Gulick * William Waldron * Edith Wyschogrod *Please visit our event website (www.mindandreality.org) & weblog (www.blog.mindandreality.org) for further information & news. 2/24/2006 03/21/2007 9431 Conference: Islam and Bioethics, March 27-28, Penn State University Conference on Islam and Bioethics: concerns, challenges and responsesPenn State University, March 27-28

This conference is organised by Dr Jonathan Brockopp from the Religious Studies Department at Penn State. It is a multidisciplinary venture which aims to explore the emerging field of Islamic bioethics, and to highlight the diversity of methodologies and practices that the field encompasses.

Registration is now open. For registration information and form, go to:

http://rockethics.psu.edu/islam_bioethics/registration.htm

Deadline for receipt of registration: March 1

Rooms are now available at the conference hotel, The Nittany Lion Inn, at the reduced rate of $85.00 per night. To make your reservations, please call800-233-7505 (from overseas +814-865-8500). You must mention the Islam and Bioethics conference to receive the $85 rate; this rate may not be available after February 28, 2006. For more housing and travel information, go to:

http://rockethics.psu.edu/islam_bioethics/travel.htm

For further information, including preliminary program, see:

http://rockethics.psu.edu/islam_bioethics/index.htm

For any questions about this conference please do not hesitate to contact:

Sandhya BhattacharyaDoctoral CandidateCollege of CommunicationsPennsylvania State UniversityState College PA 16801.USA.Tel: 001-814-865-6106e-mail: ssb149@psu.edu Conference on Islam and Bioethics: concerns, challenges and responsesPenn State University, March 27-28This conference is organised by Dr Jonathan Brockopp from the Religious Studies Department at Penn State. It is a multidisciplinary venture which aims to explore the emerging field of Islamic bioethics, and to highlight the diversity of methodologies and practices that the field encompasses.Registration is now open. For registration information and form, go to:http://rockethics.psu.edu/islam_bioethics/registration.htmDeadline for receipt of registration: March 1Rooms are now available at the conference hotel, The Nittany Lion Inn, at the reduced rate of $85.00 per night. To make your reservations, please call800-233-7505 (from overseas +814-865-8500). You must mention the Islam and Bioethics conference to receive the $85 rate; this rate may not be available after February 28, 2006. For more housing and travel information, go to:http://rockethics.psu.edu/islam_bioethics/travel.htmFor further information, including preliminary program, see:http://rockethics.psu.edu/islam_bioethics/index.htmFor any questions about this conference please do not hesitate to contact:Sandhya BhattacharyaDoctoral CandidateCollege of CommunicationsPennsylvania State UniversityState College PA 16801.USA.Tel: 001-814-865-6106e-mail: ssb149@psu.edu 2/24/2006 03/21/2007 9432 Meeting: Mid-Atlantic AAR and SBL, March 16-17, 2006, Baltimore, MD 2006 Regional MeetingMid-Atlantic AAR and Mid-Atlantic SBLMarch 16-17, 2006Radisson Hotel at Cross KeysBaltimore, MD 21210410-532-6900

15 February 2006

Colleagues,

As announced earlier, the location for this year's meeting is the Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys, just six miles north of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. As in the past, we will jointly host this meeting with the regional SBL, and our developing program is both rich and stimulating. The MAR-AAR is planning 78 presentations (listed below, by section, including abstracts, for your convenience). The MAR-SBL side of the program includes another 40 papers. We're also planning a shared Graduate Studentsí Lunch (Thursday), Mid-Atlantic Womenís Breakfast Caucus on Friday morning, and a workshop on Writing Midrash (Friday).

All presenters are expected to pre-register for the conference. You may pre-register online again this year through the national AAR link, or fill out the pre-registration form below and mail it, with payment, to Dr. Frank Connolly-Weinert, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, St. John's University, Jamaica, NY 11432. (Phone: 718-380-5723; Fax: 718-990-1907 Email fdcw@aol.com).For those who plan to stay overnight, weíve arranged a special, discounted hotel room rate with the Radisson. To obtain this rate, you must make your reservations by February 25, 2006, no exceptions! To do so, please visit the Radisson Cross Keys web site at www.radisson.com/baltimoremd and enter promotional code MAAR, or call them at 410-532-6900. We urge you to act at once, as our block of discounted rooms is limited. When you call, be sure to identify yourself as attending the Mid-Atlantic AAR and SBL Meeting.

As is our custom, MAR-AAR will award $200 to the most innovative proposal for a group session (or panel) dealing with peace issues or women's studies. To foster graduate student participation, the Executive Committee of the MAR-AAR will again award the Robert F. Streetman Prize of $200 for the best paper presented by an AAR regional student member.

Thanks for your interest in the Mid-Atlantic AAR and SBL. We look forward to your joining us for another rewarding meeting this year!

Best Wishes,Jacqueline PastisRegional Secretary, AAR Mid-Atlantic Regionpastis@lasalle.edu

2006 MAAR/SBL PROGRAM OVERVIEW

THURSDAY, MARCH 16

7:30-9:00 Registration (Mezzanine Lobby)

Coffee and Book Exhibits (Woodland)

9:00-11:45 SESSION I

11:10-12:45 SESSION II

11:50-12:45 SBL PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS

ìOverhearing Davidís Lament for Jonathan and Saul.î

Tod Linafelt, Georgetown University.

12:45-2:00 Lunch

Graduate Student Lunch, 1:00-1:50

(Crossroads Private Dining Room 1)

2:00-4:45 SESSION III

5:00-6:00 SESSION IV: AAR PLENARY (Ballroom A)

ìEvolution and Faith: What is at Stake?î

John Haught, Georgetown University.

6:10-7:15 AAR & SBL JOINT RECEPTION (Dogwood)

8:30-9:20 SESSION V: SBL PLENARY (Dogwood)

ìControlling Men: Eunuchs in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible.î

Michael P. OíConnor, The Catholic University of America.

9:30-10:00 INFORMAL EXCHANGE (Birch)

FRIDAY, MARCH 17

7:30-9:00 Registration (Mezzanine Lobby)

Coffee and Book Exhibits (Woodland)

8:00-8:50 Mid-Atlantic Regional Women's Caucus:

ìNetworking over Coffeeî (Crossroads Private Dining Room 1)

9:00-11:00 SESSION VI

11:15-12:45 SESSION VII

COMBINED AAR & SBL SESSION (11:15-12:15)

Workshop on Writing Midrash

Alicia Ostriker, Rutgers University

12:45-2:00 Lunch

MAR-AAR Business Meeting, (12:45-1:15, Talbot)

MAR-SBL Business Meeting (1:20-1:50, Dogwood)

2:00-4:45 SESSION VIII

2006 Mid-AtlanticAmerican Academy of ReligionSociety of Biblical LiteratureAnnual MeetingPreregistration Form

March 16-17, 2006Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys100 Village SquareBaltimore, MD 21210

(Please return this form by March 1, 2006)

Name ____________________________________

Institution ____________________________________

Affiliation(s): ___ AAR ___ SBL ___ AAR & SBL Other ______________

Address _____________________________________

_____________________________________

Phone ___________________ Fax _________________

Email _________________________________________

Pre-registration fee enclosed:

Regular AAR or SBL $45

Student or Senior AAR or SBL $35

Non-Members $50

After March 1 $55.00 for all categories and on-site.

I will attend:

______ Graduate Students' Lunch, Thursday (free to first 20 registrants)

______ Mid-Atlantic Regional Women's Caucus, Friday morning

Special Needs:

Child Care _________________________________________

Disability (Please Specify) ____________________________

Other _____________________________________________

Please write check to MAR-AAR and mail to:

Dr. Frank Connolly-Weinert. Dept. Theology/Religious Studies St. John's University, Jamaica, NY 11439 Phone: 718-380-5723 / 7143 Email: FDCW@aol.com

This e-bulletin is being sent to members of the AAR in the AAR's Mid-Atlantic Region and others who have declared an interest in that region's activities.

This bulletin was sent to Eric Weislogel (Z21560) at weislogel@metanexus.net. If it has not reached the correct person or e-mail address, please notify membership@aarweb.org.

You are receiving this e-mail because you are a member of the American Academy of Religion and your membership benefits include periodic e-mail announcements of interest to people in the academic study of religion. If you wish not to receive occasional group distribution e-mails from the AAR, please send e-mail to unsubscribe@aarweb.org with the subject Unsubscribe Notifications; please also put your member ID (Z21560) in the subject or body of the message. If you prefer to unsubscribe by telephone, you are welcome to call us at 1-404-727-3049.

The AAR's physical address is:

825 Houston Mill RD NE STE 300Atlanta, GA 30329-4205USA 2006 Regional MeetingMid-Atlantic AAR and Mid-Atlantic SBLMarch 16-17, 2006Radisson Hotel at Cross KeysBaltimore, MD 21210410-532-690015 February 2006Colleagues,As announced earlier, the location for this year's meeting is the Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys, just six miles north of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. As in the past, we will jointly host this meeting with the regional SBL, and our developing program is both rich and stimulating. The MAR-AAR is planning 78 presentations (listed below, by section, including abstracts, for your convenience). The MAR-SBL side of the program includes another 40 papers. We're also planning a shared Graduate Studentsí Lunch (Thursday), Mid-Atlantic Womenís Breakfast Caucus on Friday morning, and a workshop on Writing Midrash (Friday).All presenters are expected to pre-register for the conference. You may pre-register online again this year through the national AAR link, or fill out the pre-registration form below and mail it, with payment, to Dr. Frank Connolly-Weinert, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, St. John's University, Jamaica, NY 11432. (Phone: 718-380-5723; Fax: 718-990-1907 Email fdcw@aol.com). For those who plan to stay overnight, weíve arranged a special, discounted hotel room rate with the Radisson. To obtain this rate, you must make your reservations by February 25, 2006, no exceptions! To do so, please visit the Radisson Cross Keys web site at www.radisson.com/baltimoremd and enter promotional code MAAR, or call them at 410-532-6900. We urge you to act at once, as our block of discounted rooms is limited. When you call, be sure to identify yourself as attending the Mid-Atlantic AAR and SBL Meeting.As is our custom, MAR-AAR will award $200 to the most innovative proposal for a group session (or panel) dealing with peace issues or women's studies. To foster graduate student participation, the Executive Committee of the MAR-AAR will again award the Robert F. Streetman Prize of $200 for the best paper presented by an AAR regional student member.Thanks for your interest in the Mid-Atlantic AAR and SBL. We look forward to your joining us for another rewarding meeting this year!Best Wishes,Jacqueline PastisRegional Secretary, AAR Mid-Atlantic Regionpastis@lasalle.edu2006 MAAR/SBL PROGRAM OVERVIEWTHURSDAY, MARCH 167:30-9:00 Registration (Mezzanine Lobby)Coffee and Book Exhibits (Woodland)9:00-11:45 SESSION I11:10-12:45 SESSION II11:50-12:45 SBL PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS ìOverhearing Davidís Lament for Jonathan and Saul.îTod Linafelt, Georgetown University. 12:45-2:00 LunchGraduate Student Lunch, 1:00-1:50 (Crossroads Private Dining Room 1) 2:00-4:45 SESSION III 5:00-6:00 SESSION IV: AAR PLENARY (Ballroom A) ìEvolution and Faith: What is at Stake?îJohn Haught, Georgetown University. 6:10-7:15 AAR & SBL JOINT RECEPTION (Dogwood) 8:30-9:20 SESSION V: SBL PLENARY (Dogwood)ìControlling Men: Eunuchs in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible.îMichael P. OíConnor, The Catholic University of America.9:30-10:00 INFORMAL EXCHANGE (Birch) FRIDAY, MARCH 177:30-9:00 Registration (Mezzanine Lobby)Coffee and Book Exhibits (Woodland) 8:00-8:50 Mid-Atlantic Regional Women's Caucus: ìNetworking over Coffeeî (Crossroads Private Dining Room 1) 9:00-11:00 SESSION VI11:15-12:45 SESSION VII COMBINED AAR & SBL SESSION (11:15-12:15)Workshop on Writing MidrashAlicia Ostriker, Rutgers University 12:45-2:00 LunchMAR-AAR Business Meeting, (12:45-1:15, Talbot)MAR-SBL Business Meeting (1:20-1:50, Dogwood)2:00-4:45 SESSION VIII 2006 Mid-AtlanticAmerican Academy of ReligionSociety of Biblical LiteratureAnnual MeetingPreregistration Form March 16-17, 2006Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys100 Village SquareBaltimore, MD 21210(Please return this form by March 1, 2006) Name ____________________________________ Institution ____________________________________Affiliation(s): ___ AAR ___ SBL ___ AAR & SBL Other ______________ Address _____________________________________ _____________________________________Phone ___________________ Fax _________________Email _________________________________________ Pre-registration fee enclosed:Regular AAR or SBL $45Student or Senior AAR or SBL $35Non-Members $50After March 1 $55.00 for all categories and on-site. I will attend:______ Graduate Students' Lunch, Thursday (free to first 20 registrants)______ Mid-Atlantic Regional Women's Caucus, Friday morning Special Needs:Child Care _________________________________________Disability (Please Specify) ____________________________Other _____________________________________________ Please write check to MAR-AAR and mail to: Dr. Frank Connolly-Weinert. Dept. Theology/Religious Studies St. John's University, Jamaica, NY 11439 Phone: 718-380-5723 / 7143 Email: FDCW@aol.com This e-bulletin is being sent to members of the AAR in the AAR's Mid-Atlantic Region and others who have declared an interest in that region's activities. This bulletin was sent to Eric Weislogel (Z21560) at weislogel@metanexus.net. If it has not reached the correct person or e-mail address, please notify membership@aarweb.org. You are receiving this e-mail because you are a member of the American Academy of Religion and your membership benefits include periodic e-mail announcements of interest to people in the academic study of religion. If you wish not to receive occasional group distribution e-mails from the AAR, please send e-mail to unsubscribe@aarweb.org with the subject Unsubscribe Notifications; please also put your member ID (Z21560) in the subject or body of the message. If you prefer to unsubscribe by telephone, you are welcome to call us at 1-404-727-3049.The AAR's physical address is:825 Houston Mill RD NE STE 300Atlanta, GA 30329-4205USA 2/24/2006 03/21/2007 9433 Conference: Spirituality, Science and Health, March 22, Santa Clara University, CA Society of Behavioral Medicine/Santa Clara University

Present

Spirituality, Science and Health: What's Going On and Why?

Co-Sponsored by: Spirituality and Health Institute, Center for Professional Development, and the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, Santa Clara University

Conference Co-directors: Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D. and Carl E. Thoresen, Ph.D.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 9:30am - 4:30pm.

Santa Clara University, Benson Center

Cost per person $60.00, including lunch.

$25.00 for 6 CEU's

The conference will explore the latest findings linking spiritual factors with health-related processes and outcomes. The empirical evidence currently available will be reviewed along with some promising new areas for both research and practice application.

Keynote Speakers (in order of presentation):
Does Spirituality Promote Health and Prevent Disease?Carl E.Thoresen, Ph.D. (Stanford University) will discuss the emerging role of spirituality and religiousness in health, the dynamic concept of spirituality, and empirical evidence linking spirituality and religiousness to health.

How Can Spiritual and Religious Factors Prolong Life in Chronically Diseased Patients? Studies of HIV/AIDS PatientsGail Ironson, MD, Ph. D. (University of Miami) will speak on role of spirituality and religiousness in prolonging life in HIV/AIDS patients. Spiritual and religious factors that may mediate risk factors in reducing morbidity and mortality based on quantitative and qualitative data will be presented.

How Does One Learn to be Spiritual? Neglected Role of Spiritual Modeling in HealthDoug Oman, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley) will present work on how one learns to be spiritual, citing empirical work on the role of spiritual modeling processes and their connection to learning and to using spiritual practices in daily living

Adult Attachment Theory: Does it Relate to Anxiety, Compassion, Kindness and Forgiveness?Phillip Shaver Ph.D. (University of California, Davis) will cover the extensive work on the role of adult attachment theory and its relationship to health related factors, including death anxiety, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness.

Several one hour afternoon workshops will also be offered including:

1. Effects of Volunteering on Health and Well Being (Alex Harris, Ph.D. - Palo Alto VA Hospital)

2. Mindfulness-Based Stress Management (Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D. - Santa Clara University)

3. Forgiveness and Health (Fred Luskin, Ph.D. - Stanford University)

4. Spirituality in Integrative Medical Practice (Freda Dreher, M.D.- Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara, CA)

5. Mantram-Based Treatment in Health Care (Jill Bormann, RN, Ph.D.-San Diego VAMC)

6. Comprehensive, Non-Sectarian Program of Spiritual Skills (Tim and Carol Flinders, Ph.D. - Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, Tomales, CA)

7. Assessing Spiritual Factors in Practice and Research (Gail Ironson, Ph.D., M.D. - University of Miami)

8. Finding Your Vocation: A Spiritual Perspective (Diane Dreher, Ph.D. - Santa Clara University)

To register or for more information please contact Jacquie Henderson at 408-551-1981 or jahenderson@scu.edu Society of Behavioral Medicine/Santa Clara UniversityPresentSpirituality, Science and Health: What's Going On and Why?Co-Sponsored by: Spirituality and Health Institute, Center for Professional Development, and the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, Santa Clara UniversityConference Co-directors: Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D. and Carl E. Thoresen, Ph.D. Wednesday, March 22, 2006 9:30am - 4:30pm.Santa Clara University, Benson CenterCost per person $60.00, including lunch. $25.00 for 6 CEU'sThe conference will explore the latest findings linking spiritual factors with health-related processes and outcomes. The empirical evidence currently available will be reviewed along with some promising new areas for both research and practice application.Keynote Speakers (in order of presentation): Does Spirituality Promote Health and Prevent Disease? Carl E.Thoresen, Ph.D. (Stanford University) will discuss the emerging role of spirituality and religiousness in health, the dynamic concept of spirituality, and empirical evidence linking spirituality and religiousness to health. How Can Spiritual and Religious Factors Prolong Life in Chronically Diseased Patients? Studies of HIV/AIDS Patients Gail Ironson, MD, Ph. D. (University of Miami) will speak on role of spirituality and religiousness in prolonging life in HIV/AIDS patients. Spiritual and religious factors that may mediate risk factors in reducing morbidity and mortality based on quantitative and qualitative data will be presented. How Does One Learn to be Spiritual? Neglected Role of Spiritual Modeling in Health Doug Oman, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley) will present work on how one learns to be spiritual, citing empirical work on the role of spiritual modeling processes and their connection to learning and to using spiritual practices in daily livingAdult Attachment Theory: Does it Relate to Anxiety, Compassion, Kindness and Forgiveness? Phillip Shaver Ph.D. (University of California, Davis) will cover the extensive work on the role of adult attachment theory and its relationship to health related factors, including death anxiety, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness. Several one hour afternoon workshops will also be offered including: 1. Effects of Volunteering on Health and Well Being (Alex Harris, Ph.D. - Palo Alto VA Hospital) 2. Mindfulness-Based Stress Management (Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D. - Santa Clara University) 3. Forgiveness and Health (Fred Luskin, Ph.D. - Stanford University) 4. Spirituality in Integrative Medical Practice (Freda Dreher, M.D.- Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara, CA) 5. Mantram-Based Treatment in Health Care (Jill Bormann, RN, Ph.D.-San Diego VAMC) 6. Comprehensive, Non-Sectarian Program of Spiritual Skills (Tim and Carol Flinders, Ph.D. - Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, Tomales, CA) 7. Assessing Spiritual Factors in Practice and Research (Gail Ironson, Ph.D., M.D. - University of Miami) 8. Finding Your Vocation: A Spiritual Perspective (Diane Dreher, Ph.D. - Santa Clara University) To register or for more information please contact Jacquie Henderson at 408-551-1981 or jahenderson@scu.edu 2/24/2006 03/21/2007 9434 Researchers Explore Spiritual Transformation, April 5-7, 2006, UC Berkeley A three-day symposium involving over 40 distinguished investigators from almost as many institutions will gather at the University of California in Berkeley to explore the phenomena of spiritual transformation. Defined as a dramatic change in belief and behavior, one study suggests that as many as fifty percent of Americans have had such experiences and that these spiritual transformations are overwhelmingly positive. Until this three-year research study conducted by the Metanexus Institute with 22 collaborating teams, the phenomena received little attention in psychology, sociology, anthropology, neuroscience, medicine, and other disciplines. The symposium, held in conjunction with the the Center for Health Research and the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, will provide the first public findings of the research.

Spiritual Transformation: New Frontiers for Scientific Research is open to academics, professionals, students, and the interested public. Advanced registration is required and space is limited. For a list of speakers, bios, abstracts, an agenda, the venue, a prospectus/booklet about the entire research program and other information, please go to:

http://www.metanexus.net/spiritual_transformation/conference/symposium2006/ A three-day symposium involving over 40 distinguished investigators from almost as many institutions will gather at the University of California in Berkeley to explore the phenomena of spiritual transformation. Defined as a dramatic change in belief and behavior, one study suggests that as many as fifty percent of Americans have had such experiences and that these spiritual transformations are overwhelmingly positive. Until this three-year research study conducted by the Metanexus Institute with 22 collaborating teams, the phenomena received little attention in psychology, sociology, anthropology, neuroscience, medicine, and other disciplines. The symposium, held in conjunction with the the Center for Health Research and the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, will provide the first public findings of the research.Spiritual Transformation: New Frontiers for Scientific Research is open to academics, professionals, students, and the interested public. Advanced registration is required and space is limited. For a list of speakers, bios, abstracts, an agenda, the venue, a prospectus/booklet about the entire research program and other information, please go to:http://www.metanexus.net/spiritual_transformation/conference/symposium2006/ 3/2/2006 03/21/2007 9435 Grant Recipients Announced for 2006 Templeton Research Lectures: Arizona State University and Stony Brook University win three-year grants For immediate release

March 3, 2006

GRANT RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED FOR 2006 TEMPLETON RESEARCH LECTURESArizona State University and Stony Brook University win three-year grants

Contact: Julia Loving, Director of Communications and Special ProgramsMetanexus Institute215.789.2200

PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia-based Metanexus Institute announced today that Stony Brook University in New York, and Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, were the 2006 recipients of the Templeton Research Lectures grants. The three-to-four year projects provides up to $500,000 to promote important conversations at the forefront of the field of science and religion through interdisciplinary study groups and an annual distinguished lectureship. The projects were selected through an international competition.

As the pace of scientific discovery and innovation accelerates, there is an urgent cultural need to reflect thoughtfully about these epic changes and challenges notes William Grassie, Executive Director of the Metanexus Institute, who manages this international grant competition. The challenges of the 21st century require new interdisciplinary collaborations, which place questions of meanings and values on the agenda. We need to put questions about the universe and the universal back at the heart of the university.

The Stony Brook University project is headed by Dr. Robert P. Crease, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy. The project is entitled Trust: Prospects for Science and Religion. The project will explore how issues of trust play out similarly and differently in both religious and scientific enterprises. In addition to the Principal Investigator, the project involves sixteen faculty from a variety of academic disciplines at Stony Brook University, and from nearby academic, religious, and scientific institutions.

Trust is central to the practice of both science and religion on many levels - personal, public, and institutional, says Crease. Without trust, the scientific process would grind to a halt like a machine drained of oil. Trust is also central to religion - among members of a congregation, between individuals and leaders, and between individuals and God. Moreover, recent controversies have shaken confidence in both scientific and religious institutions. What fosters trust? What erodes it? How it can be restored once lost? At Stony Brook, we aim to create an interdisciplinary dialogue about a rarely discussed subject that is at the core of both fields - and about which each field has much to say to the other.

The Arizona State University initiative, based at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, is headed by Dr. Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, Professor of History. The project, entitled Facing the Challenge of Transhumanism: Religion, Science, and Technology, will examine the development and convergence of genomics, stem-cell research, robotics, nanotechnology, and neuropharmacology in the transforming and enhancing of human nature, posing difficult religious and philosophical questions in what some refer to as our posthuman future. In addition to the Principal Investigator, the project involves nine faculty from a variety of academic disciplines at ASU as well as a number of research centers and institutes within ASU.

ASU is committed to addressing the most pertinent issues of our times, notes the historian Dr. Tirosh-Samuelson. In this project we will examine and evaluate the claims of transhumanism, focusing on philosophical issues; social, legal, and political questions; environmental issues; and the religious aspects of transhumanism. This multi-faceted investigation will take into consideration the entire scope of human evolution and culturally specific conceptions of humanity. It will illustrate how the humanities can and should interface with the social and natural sciences, and how scientific discourses are culturally bound and historically situated.

The judges in this year's selection were:

* George Ellis, Physics, University of Cape Town, South Africa* Scott Gilbert, Biology, Swarthmore College.* Antje JackelÈn, Theology, Zygon Center and Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago* James Proctor, Environmental Studies, Lewis and Clark College* V.V. Raman, Physics and Humanities, Rochester Institute of Technology* W. Mark Richardson, General Theological Seminary, New York City

The Metanexus Institute advances research, education and outreach on the constructive engagement of science and religion. Metanexus is a leader in a growing network of individuals and groups exploring the dynamic interface between cosmos, nature, and culture in communities and on campuses throughout the world. Metanexus sponsors dialogue groups, lectures, workshops, research, courses, grants, and publications. Metanexus leads and facilitates over 300 projects in 37 countries. Projects include the Local Societies Initiative, the Templeton Research Lectures, and topical interdisciplinary research projects such as the Spiritual Transformation Scientific Research Project, Spiritual Capital, Religion and Health, Religion and Human Flourishing, Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology, and other endeavors. A membership organization, Metanexus hosts an online journal with over 180,000 monthly page views and 8000 subscribers in 57 countries.

Past winners of the Templeton Research Lectures grants are the University of Frankfurt, the University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University, the University of Arizona, the University of Southern California, UCLA, University of MontrÈal, Stanford University, Bar Ilan University, Columbia University, and University of California at Santa Barbara. The deadline for the 2007 applications is January 1, 2007.

The Templeton Research Lectures are made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The mission of the John Templeton Foundation is to pursue new insights at the boundary between theology and science through a rigorous, open-minded and empirically focused methodology, drawing together talented representatives from a wide spectrum of fields of expertise. Using the humble approach, the Foundation typically seeks to focus the methods and resources of scientific inquiry on topical areas that have spiritual and theological significance ranging across the disciplines from cosmology to healthcare. For more information about the Templeton Foundation, go to.

For immediate releaseMarch 3, 2006GRANT RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED FOR 2006 TEMPLETON RESEARCH LECTURESArizona State University and Stony Brook University win three-year grantsContact: Julia Loving, Director of Communications and Special ProgramsMetanexus Institute215.789.2200PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia-based Metanexus Institute announced today that Stony Brook University in New York, and Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, were the 2006 recipients of the Templeton Research Lectures grants. The three-to-four year projects provides up to $500,000 to promote important conversations at the forefront of the field of science and religion through interdisciplinary study groups and an annual distinguished lectureship. The projects were selected through an international competition.As the pace of scientific discovery and innovation accelerates, there is an urgent cultural need to reflect thoughtfully about these epic changes and challenges notes William Grassie, Executive Director of the Metanexus Institute, who manages this international grant competition. The challenges of the 21st century require new interdisciplinary collaborations, which place questions of meanings and values on the agenda. We need to put questions about the universe and the universal back at the heart of the university.The Stony Brook University project is headed by Dr. Robert P. Crease, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy. The project is entitled Trust: Prospects for Science and Religion. The project will explore how issues of trust play out similarly and differently in both religious and scientific enterprises. In addition to the Principal Investigator, the project involves sixteen faculty from a variety of academic disciplines at Stony Brook University, and from nearby academic, religious, and scientific institutions.Trust is central to the practice of both science and religion on many levels - personal, public, and institutional, says Crease. Without trust, the scientific process would grind to a halt like a machine drained of oil. Trust is also central to religion - among members of a congregation, between individuals and leaders, and between individuals and God. Moreover, recent controversies have shaken confidence in both scientific and religious institutions. What fosters trust? What erodes it? How it can be restored once lost? At Stony Brook, we aim to create an interdisciplinary dialogue about a rarely discussed subject that is at the core of both fields - and about which each field has much to say to the other.The Arizona State University initiative, based at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, is headed by Dr. Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, Professor of History. The project, entitled Facing the Challenge of Transhumanism: Religion, Science, and Technology, will examine the development and convergence of genomics, stem-cell research, robotics, nanotechnology, and neuropharmacology in the transforming and enhancing of human nature, posing difficult religious and philosophical questions in what some refer to as our posthuman future. In addition to the Principal Investigator, the project involves nine faculty from a variety of academic disciplines at ASU as well as a number of research centers and institutes within ASU.ASU is committed to addressing the most pertinent issues of our times, notes the historian Dr. Tirosh-Samuelson. In this project we will examine and evaluate the claims of transhumanism, focusing on philosophical issues; social, legal, and political questions; environmental issues; and the religious aspects of transhumanism. This multi-faceted investigation will take into consideration the entire scope of human evolution and culturally specific conceptions of humanity. It will illustrate how the humanities can and should interface with the social and natural sciences, and how scientific discourses are culturally bound and historically situated. The judges in this year's selection were:* George Ellis, Physics, University of Cape Town, South Africa* Scott Gilbert, Biology, Swarthmore College.* Antje JackelÈn, Theology, Zygon Center and Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago* James Proctor, Environmental Studies, Lewis and Clark College* V.V. Raman, Physics and Humanities, Rochester Institute of Technology* W. Mark Richardson, General Theological Seminary, New York CityThe Metanexus Institute advances research, education and outreach on the constructive engagement of science and religion. Metanexus is a leader in a growing network of individuals and groups exploring the dynamic interface between cosmos, nature, and culture in communities and on campuses throughout the world. Metanexus sponsors dialogue groups, lectures, workshops, research, courses, grants, and publications. Metanexus leads and facilitates over 300 projects in 37 countries. Projects include the Local Societies Initiative, the Templeton Research Lectures, and topical interdisciplinary research projects such as the Spiritual Transformation Scientific Research Project, Spiritual Capital, Religion and Health, Religion and Human Flourishing, Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology, and other endeavors. A membership organization, Metanexus hosts an online journal with over 180,000 monthly page views and 8000 subscribers in 57 countries. Past winners of the Templeton Research Lectures grants are the University of Frankfurt, the University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University, the University of Arizona, the University of Southern California, UCLA, University of MontrÈal, Stanford University, Bar Ilan University, Columbia University, and University of California at Santa Barbara. The deadline for the 2007 applications is January 1, 2007.The Templeton Research Lectures are made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The mission of the John Templeton Foundation is to pursue new insights at the boundary between theology and science through a rigorous, open-minded and empirically focused methodology, drawing together talented representatives from a wide spectrum of fields of expertise. Using the humble approach, the Foundation typically seeks to focus the methods and resources of scientific inquiry on topical areas that have spiritual and theological significance ranging across the disciplines from cosmology to healthcare. For more information about the Templeton Foundation, go to. 3/6/2006 03/21/2007 9436 John Templeton Foundation Newsletter -- Milestones, March 2006 John Templeton Foundation Newsletter -- March 2006

Milestones is a monthly newsletter of the John Templeton Foundation. In interview format, it highlights the achievements of scientists involved in new initiatives, research and programs in progress as well as awards and conferences here and abroad.

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Fusion of HorizonsExpanding and Bridging the Local Societies Initiative

By Stephen Henderson

We are trying to address one of the 'black holes' of contemporary culture, explained Dr. Roberto Poli, director of the Mitteleuropa Foundation in Bolzano, Italy. He was describing the impetus for Causality and Motivation, an upcoming workshop organized by Mitteleuropa, a grant recipient of the Local Societies Initiative (LSI) program.

For the most part, theological and ethical problems are separated into different academic ghettos, Poli elaborated. We don't want to be confined in this way. We are trying to open a new path.

Mitteleuropa's is one of many new paths opening worldwide at the well over 200 Local Societies Initiatives in 37 countries. LSI members are scientists, philosophers, clergy and laity of all denominations who are committed to establishing a dynamic interchange between science and religion. The Metanexus Institute for Science and Religion awards $15,000 in matching grants over three years to carefully selected groups, and provides supplemental grants of $10,000 for particularly innovative and effective programs.

As director of the Local Societies Initiative, Eric Weislogel, Ph.D., is enormously pleased at the rapidly expanding worldwide network, and the way that new lines of communication are breaching personal, topical, institutional and geographic barriers.

We learned quickly that there really is no such thing as 'The Science-and-Religion Dialogue,' as if it were a monolithic field of study. There are only sciences and religions--pluralities of pluralities, Weislogel said. We help bring an order of sorts to the undertaking, not so much by standardizing the dialogue, but in the sense of securing a place at the tables of discussion for all competent and committed comers.

A wide array of issues is slated for 2006. That's because while all LSIs share the same sense of purpose, a need to convene arises from markedly different environments. These societies, in other words, are rooted locally, but think globally.

Listen to Michael G. Parker, who is assistant professor in the theology department at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, in Germany. Frankfurt has a long heritage of nurturing thinkers in the fields of science and religion--Paul Tillich, Martin Buber and Theodore Adorno, among others. Nonetheless, Parker believes Germany's LSIs provide a much-needed antidote to an atomized academy.

The system here is one where scholars are very much encouraged to pursue their own interests, working alone in their rooms. Research is deep, but communication of findings is often faulty, Parker said. Thanks to the John Templeton Foundation, we are able to form a network, a true forum for people to meet and share their discoveries.

What's occurring in Germany is of particular interest to Javier Leach, Ph.D., chair of science, technology and religion at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid. Philosophy is very much present in Spanish culture, he said, but a science and religion dialogue is rather new.

In the coming months, the LSI that Leach chairs will concentrate on human evolution, a sufficiently broad topic to attract participants from a variety of disciplines. We belong to very different groups, math, physics, biology, neurology, and the human sciences like education and theology--but now we have a common project, he said. Plans are underway to incorporate a network of LSIs throughout the Iberian Peninsula and Portugal.

Those involved have a palpable sense that this is a rare opportunity for interdisciplinary exploration. You can always find critics, noted Leach, but dialogue is not so easy.

When describing the LSI network, Weislogel likes to use the word chaordic. A neologism that combines chaos and order, chaordic suggests that institutional support serves best by organizing and broadcasting what results from completely unfettered research. Putting an LSI in Indiana in touch with an LSI in Indonesia can create bridges for shared research, or what Weislogel terms a fusion of horizons.

Cooperation is all the more crucial as fundamentalism is on the rise in many major faith traditions, including Islam, Judaism and Christianity. To combat the closing of minds that fundamentalism causes, one must actively seek opposing opinions, says Dr. Ron Numbers, a professor of the history of science and medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Often I am at meetings, and I hear people say, 'I wonder what they believe?' Rather than speculating like this, isn't it better to invite people to explain what they believe? he said. We've brought together self-declared atheists and evangelical Christians and everybody found it enormously refreshing. These are people who don't normally talk to each other. That, I think, is the main virtue of these local societies. It can't hurt, after all, to hear what the other view point says. Numbers is currently making arrangements to bring a historian of science from Dehli, India to address his Wisconsin LSI.

With the same respect for contrasting viewpoints, the Life Sciences and Religion Community Forum in central Virginia concentrates on topics of concern closer to home. In 2006, they are concerned with matters of family and health: What is health and what does it mean to be healthy? What is the nature of family? Are there social situations that encourage or discourage violence? Their forum is open to the community at large and includes practitioners in the life sciences and social sciences.

An LSI at The University of the South at Sewanee is also addressing local issues, while examining the religion/science interface in the realm of environmental ethics. In a three-year program entitled Dominion, Domain and Stewardship, they are mindful of the sobering reality that homo sapiens is the only species on earth that has enough power to destroy the planet.

Moving quickly from theoretical to practical, their study seeks to develop environmentally friendly solutions for pending building projects, and to encourage sustainable living on Sewanee's 10,000-acre campus, most of which is forest. Workshops will bring together land-use decision makers at the local, county and state levels, in hopes that ethical ecology as implemented at The University of the South can have a ripple effect across surrounding Appalachian counties.

This movement out of the so-called ivory tower and into the neighborhood is a prime motivation for Stuart Crampton, who is in the department of physics at Williams College, in Massachusetts, and director of the North Berkshires Center for Religion and Science.

The goal for our LSI is to promote constructive discussion in the local community, he said. Science can and should promote wonder, awe and gratitude for all creation. Science emphasizes ideas that can be shared by all people, whatever their spirituality or religious belief. It should help us find common ground.

Mitteleuropa Foundation's Dr. Poli notes that the last twenty years have witnessed a huge expansion both in scientific knowledge and in what he calls scientific attitude. A traditionally analytic, positivistic way of doing science is now an approach, he feels, rather than the only approach.

If the same thing could happen in theology, it would really help, he concludes. For a discussion to be real, both sides must be willing to change some of their ideas.

To learn more about the Local Societies Initiative opportunities, go to:www.metanexus.net/local_societies

Encouraging exchange of information within and beyond their local communities, many LSIs have created interesting websites, such as:

Life Sciences and Religion Community of Central Virginia:www.vcu.edu/faithscienceforum

The University of the South:www.sewanee.edu/ENTREAT

Yogyakarta Society for Science and Religion, Indonesia:www.myia.or.id/profil.php

***********************************************

Stephen Henderson is a freelance writer based in New York and a frequent contributor to Milestones.

Milestones is a publication of the John Templeton Foundation.

To subscribe to any of the Foundation's various free publications, including Milestones, please go to www.templeton.org

John Templeton Foundation Newsletter -- March 2006Milestones is a monthly newsletter of the John Templeton Foundation. In interview format, it highlights the achievements of scientists involved in new initiatives, research and programs in progress as well as awards and conferences here and abroad. *********************************************** Fusion of HorizonsExpanding and Bridging the Local Societies InitiativeBy Stephen HendersonWe are trying to address one of the 'black holes' of contemporary culture, explained Dr. Roberto Poli, director of the Mitteleuropa Foundation in Bolzano, Italy. He was describing the impetus for Causality and Motivation, an upcoming workshop organized by Mitteleuropa, a grant recipient of the Local Societies Initiative (LSI) program. For the most part, theological and ethical problems are separated into different academic ghettos, Poli elaborated. We don't want to be confined in this way. We are trying to open a new path.Mitteleuropa's is one of many new paths opening worldwide at the well over 200 Local Societies Initiatives in 37 countries. LSI members are scientists, philosophers, clergy and laity of all denominations who are committed to establishing a dynamic interchange between science and religion. The Metanexus Institute for Science and Religion awards $15,000 in matching grants over three years to carefully selected groups, and provides supplemental grants of $10,000 for particularly innovative and effective programs. As director of the Local Societies Initiative, Eric Weislogel, Ph.D., is enormously pleased at the rapidly expanding worldwide network, and the way that new lines of communication are breaching personal, topical, institutional and geographic barriers.We learned quickly that there really is no such thing as 'The Science-and-Religion Dialogue,' as if it were a monolithic field of study. There are only sciences and religions--pluralities of pluralities, Weislogel said. We help bring an order of sorts to the undertaking, not so much by standardizing the dialogue, but in the sense of securing a place at the tables of discussion for all competent and committed comers. A wide array of issues is slated for 2006. That's because while all LSIs share the same sense of purpose, a need to convene arises from markedly different environments. These societies, in other words, are rooted locally, but think globally.Listen to Michael G. Parker, who is assistant professor in the theology department at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, in Germany. Frankfurt has a long heritage of nurturing thinkers in the fields of science and religion--Paul Tillich, Martin Buber and Theodore Adorno, among others. Nonetheless, Parker believes Germany's LSIs provide a much-needed antidote to an atomized academy.The system here is one where scholars are very much encouraged to pursue their own interests, working alone in their rooms. Research is deep, but communication of findings is often faulty, Parker said. Thanks to the John Templeton Foundation, we are able to form a network, a true forum for people to meet and share their discoveries.What's occurring in Germany is of particular interest to Javier Leach, Ph.D., chair of science, technology and religion at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid. Philosophy is very much present in Spanish culture, he said, but a science and religion dialogue is rather new.In the coming months, the LSI that Leach chairs will concentrate on human evolution, a sufficiently broad topic to attract participants from a variety of disciplines. We belong to very different groups, math, physics, biology, neurology, and the human sciences like education and theology--but now we have a common project, he said. Plans are underway to incorporate a network of LSIs throughout the Iberian Peninsula and Portugal. Those involved have a palpable sense that this is a rare opportunity for interdisciplinary exploration. You can always find critics, noted Leach, but dialogue is not so easy.When describing the LSI network, Weislogel likes to use the word chaordic. A neologism that combines chaos and order, chaordic suggests that institutional support serves best by organizing and broadcasting what results from completely unfettered research. Putting an LSI in Indiana in touch with an LSI in Indonesia can create bridges for shared research, or what Weislogel terms a fusion of horizons.Cooperation is all the more crucial as fundamentalism is on the rise in many major faith traditions, including Islam, Judaism and Christianity. To combat the closing of minds that fundamentalism causes, one must actively seek opposing opinions, says Dr. Ron Numbers, a professor of the history of science and medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Often I am at meetings, and I hear people say, 'I wonder what they believe?' Rather than speculating like this, isn't it better to invite people to explain what they believe? he said. We've brought together self-declared atheists and evangelical Christians and everybody found it enormously refreshing. These are people who don't normally talk to each other. That, I think, is the main virtue of these local societies. It can't hurt, after all, to hear what the other view point says. Numbers is currently making arrangements to bring a historian of science from Dehli, India to address his Wisconsin LSI.With the same respect for contrasting viewpoints, the Life Sciences and Religion Community Forum in central Virginia concentrates on topics of concern closer to home. In 2006, they are concerned with matters of family and health: What is health and what does it mean to be healthy? What is the nature of family? Are there social situations that encourage or discourage violence? Their forum is open to the community at large and includes practitioners in the life sciences and social sciences. An LSI at The University of the South at Sewanee is also addressing local issues, while examining the religion/science interface in the realm of environmental ethics. In a three-year program entitled Dominion, Domain and Stewardship, they are mindful of the sobering reality that homo sapiens is the only species on earth that has enough power to destroy the planet. Moving quickly from theoretical to practical, their study seeks to develop environmentally friendly solutions for pending building projects, and to encourage sustainable living on Sewanee's 10,000-acre campus, most of which is forest. Workshops will bring together land-use decision makers at the local, county and state levels, in hopes that ethical ecology as implemented at The University of the South can have a ripple effect across surrounding Appalachian counties. This movement out of the so-called ivory tower and into the neighborhood is a prime motivation for Stuart Crampton, who is in the department of physics at Williams College, in Massachusetts, and director of the North Berkshires Center for Religion and Science. The goal for our LSI is to promote constructive discussion in the local community, he said. Science can and should promote wonder, awe and gratitude for all creation. Science emphasizes ideas that can be shared by all people, whatever their spirituality or religious belief. It should help us find common ground.Mitteleuropa Foundation's Dr. Poli notes that the last twenty years have witnessed a huge expansion both in scientific knowledge and in what he calls scientific attitude. A traditionally analytic, positivistic way of doing science is now an approach, he feels, rather than the only approach. If the same thing could happen in theology, it would really help, he concludes. For a discussion to be real, both sides must be willing to change some of their ideas.To learn more about the Local Societies Initiative opportunities, go to:www.metanexus.net/local_societiesEncouraging exchange of information within and beyond their local communities, many LSIs have created interesting websites, such as:Life Sciences and Religion Community of Central Virginia:www.vcu.edu/faithscienceforumThe University of the South:www.sewanee.edu/ENTREATYogyakarta Society for Science and Religion, Indonesia:www.myia.or.id/profil.php***********************************************... Henderson is a freelance writer based in New York and a frequent contributor to Milestones. Milestones is a publication of the John Templeton Foundation.To subscribe to any of the Foundation's various free publications, including Milestones, please go to www.templeton.org 3/9/2006 03/21/2007 9437 What Happened to Kurt Gˆdel? - Palle Yourgrau to speak March 23, 2006 at 7:30 PM at UPenn Hillel FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

What Happened to Kurt Gˆdel? - Palle Yourgrau to speak March 23, 2006 at 7:30 PM at UPenn Hillel

What Happened to Kurt Gˆdel? is the title of a talk by Palle Yourgrau, Harry A. Wolfson Professor of Philosophy at Brandeis University scheduled for Thursday, March 23 at the UPenn Hillel. Co-sponsored by Metanexus and Tradition Confronts Innovation the UPenn Hillel based local society, the talk will take place at 7:30 PM in the auditorium of Steinhardt Hall, 215 South 39th Street, Philadelphia. It is free and open to the pubic.

Although the formal/mathematical achievements, including and especially the incompleteness theorems, of legendary logician, Kurt Gˆdel, have long been celebrated, the meaning and purpose that he himself saw in his discoveries remains insufficiently attended to. Why did this happen? Why, even when it was appreciated that his construction of new world models for Einstein's theory of relativity showed the possibility of time travel, was the point he was making in deriving these models passed over? We have here a striking illustration of a fact that Gˆdel himself was fully aware of, that reason alone cannot overthrow the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Palle Yourgrau came to the US when he was eight. He did his undergraduate work at Cornell University and received his Ph.D. from UCLA. His research interests are philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of time, Greek philosophy, Gottlob Frege and Kurt Gˆdel. A World Without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Gˆdel and Einstein (Basic, 2005) is being translated into eight languages. His 1999 monograph Gˆdel Meets Einstein, the only book-length work on Gˆdel's cosmological ideas, caused a resurgence of interest among philosophers in Gˆdel's ideas about time and relativity. Some of Yourgrau's not so recent essays include What is Frege's Relativity Argument? (Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 27, no. 2, 1997), and Can the Dead Really be Buried? (Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. XXIV, 2000).

For further information, please contact Julia Loving at 215.789.2200. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEWhat Happened to Kurt Gˆdel? - Palle Yourgrau to speak March 23, 2006 at 7:30 PM at UPenn HillelWhat Happened to Kurt Gˆdel? is the title of a talk by Palle Yourgrau, Harry A. Wolfson Professor of Philosophy at Brandeis University scheduled for Thursday, March 23 at the UPenn Hillel. Co-sponsored by Metanexus and Tradition Confronts Innovation the UPenn Hillel based local society, the talk will take place at 7:30 PM in the auditorium of Steinhardt Hall, 215 South 39th Street, Philadelphia. It is free and open to the pubic.Although the formal/mathematical achievements, including and especially the incompleteness theorems, of legendary logician, Kurt Gˆdel, have long been celebrated, the meaning and purpose that he himself saw in his discoveries remains insufficiently attended to. Why did this happen? Why, even when it was appreciated that his construction of new world models for Einstein's theory of relativity showed the possibility of time travel, was the point he was making in deriving these models passed over? We have here a striking illustration of a fact that Gˆdel himself was fully aware of, that reason alone cannot overthrow the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Palle Yourgrau came to the US when he was eight. He did his undergraduate work at Cornell University and received his Ph.D. from UCLA. His research interests are philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of time, Greek philosophy, Gottlob Frege and Kurt Gˆdel. A World Without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Gˆdel and Einstein (Basic, 2005) is being translated into eight languages. His 1999 monograph Gˆdel Meets Einstein, the only book-length work on Gˆdel's cosmological ideas, caused a resurgence of interest among philosophers in Gˆdel's ideas about time and relativity. Some of Yourgrau's not so recent essays include What is Frege's Relativity Argument? (Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 27, no. 2, 1997), and Can the Dead Really be Buried? (Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. XXIV, 2000).For further information, please contact Julia Loving at 215.789.2200. 3/9/2006 03/21/2007 9438 Seminar Series: The Center for the Study of Science and Religion, Earth Institute, Columbia University, Spring 2006 The Center for the Study of Science and Religion Presents:

The Spring 2006 Seminar Series

All seminars are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, visit http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr/

All seminars will take place in Davis Auditorium. For directions, visit http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr/davis_directions.html

Religion, Medicine and Technology: The Case of Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Thursday, April 6th, 2006, 6:00-7:30pm

Wendy Chavkin, M.D., M.P.H.

Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health; Director of the Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellowship; Chair of the Board of Directors of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health; Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American Medical Women's Association

Event Summary: A powerful nexus is emerging between states, religious authorities, declining fertility and assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). How are nations in which religion has a strong influence on government responding to this nexus to set policies for ARTs?

Darwin, Design, and the Future of Faith

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006, 6:30-8:00pm

Philip Kitcher, Ph.D.

John Dewey Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University, author of The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities, Science, Truth and Democracy, and In Mendel's Mirror: Philosophy Reflections on Biology

Event Summary: Professor Kitcher will suggest that the best way to understand Intelligent Design is to see it as a piece of dead science. He will try to show why it died, why it should remain dead, and what consequences for religious belief follow from its death.

The Molecular Reinscription of Race

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006, 6:00-7:30pm

Troy Duster, Ph.D.

Director, Institute for the History of the Production of Knowledge, NYU; President of the American Sociological Association; Senior Fellow of the Rockridge Institute; Chancellor's Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley; Author of The Legislation of Morality: Drugs, Crime, and Law and Backdoor to Eugenics

Event Summary: When the Human Genome Project ended, the announcement of the death of race in molecular genetics was premature. In the last five years, computer-assisted DNA analysis has focused on the differences between individuals and groups, for reasons that range as far and wide as identification in criminal investigations to the attempt to deliver drugs to populations based upon their predicted physiological responsiveness. This has re-introduced race into the public and professional conversations in ways few would have predicted. The social and ethical implications are consequential for social policy far removed from the original rationale for the Human Genome Project.

Visit http://www.columbia/edu/cu/cssr for directions and more information, or contact Alisa Frohman at agf2007@columbia.edu.

Center for the Study of Science & Religion

The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Phone: 212.854.1673

Fax: 212.865.8246

E-mail: cssr@columbia.edu

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr

The Center for the Study of Science and Religion Presents:The Spring 2006 Seminar SeriesAll seminars are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, visit http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr/All seminars will take place in Davis Auditorium. For directions, visit http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr/davis_directions.htmlReligion, Medicine and Technology: The Case of Assisted Reproductive TechnologiesThursday, April 6th, 2006, 6:00-7:30pmWendy Chavkin, M.D., M.P.H.Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health; Director of the Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellowship; Chair of the Board of Directors of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health; Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American Medical Women's AssociationEvent Summary: A powerful nexus is emerging between states, religious authorities, declining fertility and assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). How are nations in which religion has a strong influence on government responding to this nexus to set policies for ARTs?Darwin, Design, and the Future of FaithWednesday, April 26th, 2006, 6:30-8:00pmPhilip Kitcher, Ph.D.John Dewey Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University, author of The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities, Science, Truth and Democracy, and In Mendel's Mirror: Philosophy Reflections on BiologyEvent Summary: Professor Kitcher will suggest that the best way to understand Intelligent Design is to see it as a piece of dead science. He will try to show why it died, why it should remain dead, and what consequences for religious belief follow from its death.The Molecular Reinscription of RaceWednesday, June 7th, 2006, 6:00-7:30pmTroy Duster, Ph.D.Director, Institute for the History of the Production of Knowledge, NYU; President of the American Sociological Association; Senior Fellow of the Rockridge Institute; Chancellor's Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley; Author of The Legislation of Morality: Drugs, Crime, and Law and Backdoor to EugenicsEvent Summary: When the Human Genome Project ended, the announcement of the death of race in molecular genetics was premature. In the last five years, computer-assisted DNA analysis has focused on the differences between individuals and groups, for reasons that range as far and wide as identification in criminal investigations to the attempt to deliver drugs to populations based upon their predicted physiological responsiveness. This has re-introduced race into the public and professional conversations in ways few would have predicted. The social and ethical implications are consequential for social policy far removed from the original rationale for the Human Genome Project.Visit http://www.columbia/edu/cu/cssr for directions and more information, or contact Alisa Frohman at agf2007@columbia.edu.Center for the Study of Science & ReligionThe Earth Institute at Columbia UniversityPhone: 212.854.1673Fax: 212.865.8246E-mail: cssr@columbia.eduhttp://www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr 3/10/2006 03/21/2007 9439 Call for Papers: Wesleyan Philosophical Society, Themes in Wesleyan and Catholic Thought, Proposals Due October 1, 2006, Olivet Nazarene University Wesleyan Philosophical SocietyCall for Papers2007 Meeting

Location: Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, IL (near Chicago)Conference Date: March 1, 2007Proposal Due Date: October 1st, 2006Themes in Wesleyan and Catholic Thought

As we prepare to come together in March of 2007, we will be traveling to a place that has a long history of service in the Kingdom of God. The educational institution that is now known as Olivet Nazarene University sits on the same site as the former St. Viator's College. This sacred ground that once served the Catholic community now serves as one of our centers of Wesleyan thought, ONU. You are called to write on topics that defines the relationship between these two centers of Christian thought.

John Wesley, in his Letter to a Roman Catholick, recognizes the importance of dialog between the divergent philosophical traditions. Knowing that divergence could result in mutual destruction, he attempts to distill the central themes bridging his thought and Catholic thinkers. He sought to articulate the shared convictions between Catholics and Protestants and yet offer room for diversity of thought. Key Catholic authors such as Thomas ‡ Kempis were crucial for Wesley's development of an effective practice of Christianity based in the holy habits. With this background, Wesleyans are called to do likewise.

With a program entitled Themes in Wesleyan and Catholic Thought, the Wesleyan Philosophical Society (WPS) under the direction of 1st Vice-President L. Bryan Williams issues a Call for Papers for its 2007 annual conference. The conference will be held on March 1st in Bourbonnais, IL (near Chicago). The society will meet in conjunction with the Society of the Study of Psychology and Wesleyan Theology (SSPWT). The WPS conference is immediately followed that weekend by the meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society (WTS).

Papers are invited across the spectrum of Wesleyan Catholic intersections including Philosophy of God, Moral Theology, Responses to Papal Encyclicals, Nature and Grace, Spirituality, Just War theory versus Pacifism, Christian Social Concern, Sexual Ethics, Historical Philosophical Intersections, Women in Ministry, metaphysics, aesthetics, mysticism, Natural Theology, Philosophical Anthropology, Personalism, or other areas of interest. The Society is particularly interested in areas of connection between the two communities with recognition of outstanding differences. Specific references to John Wesley are not required. Submissions on any philosophical topic are always welcome; however, preference will be offered to those papers that explore the proposed theme.

The Society is also interested in any proposed dialogues between Wesleyan and Catholic scholars. Invitations by WPS members to scholars of the Catholic tradition to join us as guests of the society are welcome. Submissions by Catholic scholars are welcome. Joint papers or panels of scholars are invited.

Philosophy Student Call for Presentations 2007The Wesleyan Philosophical Society welcomes any undergraduate philosophy student with an interest in the Themes of Wesleyan and Catholic Thought who would like to submit proposals for poster board presentations. These poster board presentations will be available for review during breaks. Student proposals will be required to receive a recommendation from a member of the society before proposals are submitted to the Society. Registration required. A $100.00 Cash Prize will be offered to the Outstanding poster board.

Submit proposals of 250 words or less, along with name, position, and institutional affiliation (if applicable) to Brint Montgomery at Brint@snu.edu by October 1, 2006. For Student Presentations, please add a letter or email of recommendation for a member of the society. The proposal should be sent as an email attachment in Microsoft Word format. Assessment of proposals will be blinded.

L. Bryan WilliamsWarner Pacific College

Wesleyan Philosophical SocietyCall for Papers2007 MeetingLocation: Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, IL (near Chicago)Conference Date: March 1, 2007Proposal Due Date: October 1st, 2006Themes in Wesleyan and Catholic ThoughtAs we prepare to come together in March of 2007, we will be traveling to a place that has a long history of service in the Kingdom of God. The educational institution that is now known as Olivet Nazarene University sits on the same site as the former St. Viator's College. This sacred ground that once served the Catholic community now serves as one of our centers of Wesleyan thought, ONU. You are called to write on topics that defines the relationship between these two centers of Christian thought.John Wesley, in his Letter to a Roman Catholick, recognizes the importance of dialog between the divergent philosophical traditions. Knowing that divergence could result in mutual destruction, he attempts to distill the central themes bridging his thought and Catholic thinkers. He sought to articulate the shared convictions between Catholics and Protestants and yet offer room for diversity of thought. Key Catholic authors such as Thomas ‡ Kempis were crucial for Wesley's development of an effective practice of Christianity based in the holy habits. With this background, Wesleyans are called to do likewise.With a program entitled Themes in Wesleyan and Catholic Thought, the Wesleyan Philosophical Society (WPS) under the direction of 1st Vice-President L. Bryan Williams issues a Call for Papers for its 2007 annual conference. The conference will be held on March 1st in Bourbonnais, IL (near Chicago). The society will meet in conjunction with the Society of the Study of Psychology and Wesleyan Theology (SSPWT). The WPS conference is immediately followed that weekend by the meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society (WTS). Papers are invited across the spectrum of Wesleyan Catholic intersections including Philosophy of God, Moral Theology, Responses to Papal Encyclicals, Nature and Grace, Spirituality, Just War theory versus Pacifism, Christian Social Concern, Sexual Ethics, Historical Philosophical Intersections, Women in Ministry, metaphysics, aesthetics, mysticism, Natural Theology, Philosophical Anthropology, Personalism, or other areas of interest. The Society is particularly interested in areas of connection between the two communities with recognition of outstanding differences. Specific references to John Wesley are not required. Submissions on any philosophical topic are always welcome; however, preference will be offered to those papers that explore the proposed theme.The Society is also interested in any proposed dialogues between Wesleyan and Catholic scholars. Invitations by WPS members to scholars of the Catholic tradition to join us as guests of the society are welcome. Submissions by Catholic scholars are welcome. Joint papers or panels of scholars are invited.Philosophy Student Call for Presentations 2007The Wesleyan Philosophical Society welcomes any undergraduate philosophy student with an interest in the Themes of Wesleyan and Catholic Thought who would like to submit proposals for poster board presentations. These poster board presentations will be available for review during breaks. Student proposals will be required to receive a recommendation from a member of the society before proposals are submitted to the Society. Registration required. A $100.00 Cash Prize will be offered to the Outstanding poster board. Submit proposals of 250 words or less, along with name, position, and institutional affiliation (if applicable) to Brint Montgomery at Brint@snu.edu by October 1, 2006. For Student Presentations, please add a letter or email of recommendation for a member of the society. The proposal should be sent as an email attachment in Microsoft Word format. Assessment of proposals will be blinded.L. Bryan WilliamsWarner Pacific College 3/10/2006 03/21/2007 9440 Conference: 2006 Conference of the Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology, The Theological Turn in French Phenomenology, March 31-April 1 2006, Samford University 2006 Conference of the Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology

The Theological Turn in French Phenomenology

March 31-April 1, 2006, Samford University Dominique Janicaud's critique of a theological turn in the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jean-Luc Marion is well known. Only recently, though, has the work of other French phenomenologists, who likewise exemplify that theological turn, become available in English. This year's conference showcases the work of Jean-Yves Lacoste, Jean-Louis ChrÈtien, and Michel Henry.

Speakers & ScheduleConference ProgramFriday, March 31, 2006

1:30-3:00PM SPEAKER: KEVIN HART (University of Notre Dame)IT/IS TRUECHAIR: B. KEITH PUTT (Samford University)

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-4:15 SPEAKER: CLAYTON CROCKETT (University of Central Arkansas)THE TRUTH OF LIFE: MICHEL HENRY ON MARXCHAIR: SHARON BAKER (Messiah College)

4:15-5:15 SPEAKER: BRIAN TREANOR (Loyola-Marymount University) EMBODIED EARS: BEING IN THE WORLD AND HEARING THE OTHERCHAIR: ERIC BOYNTON (Allegheny College)

5:15-5:30Break

5:30-6:30 SPEAKER: J. AARON HANSON (Vanderbilt University)MICHEL HENRY, IMMANENCE, AND ANXIETYCHAIR: NOÀLLE VAHANIAN (Lebanon Valley College)

6:45-8:00 Reception: FLAG COLONNADE ROOM

Saturday, April 1, 2006

9:30-10:30AM SPEAKER: JOHN A. SIMMONS (Vanderbilt University)CONTINUING TO LOOK FOR GOD IN FRANCE: ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PHENOMENOLOGY AND THEOLOGY CHAIR: JEFFREY DUDIAK (The King's University College)

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-11:45 SPEAKER: JOSEPH BALLAN (Syracuse University) MUSIC UNHEARD AND UNHEARD-OF: HEARING, SEEING, AND SINGING IN JEAN-LOUIS CHR…TIEN CHAIR: NORMAN WIRZBA (Georgetown College)

11:45-12:00 Break

12:00-1:00 SPEAKER: RONALD MERCER (University of Evansville) RADICAL PHENOMENOLOGY REVEALS A MEASURE OF FAITH AND THE NEED FOR A LEVINASIAN OTHER IN HENRY'S LIFE CHAIR: DENNIS SANSOM (Samford University)

1:00-2:45Lunch

2:45-3:45SPEAKER: JOSHUA B. DAVIS (Vanderbilt University) THE CALL OF GRACE: JEAN-LOUIS CHR…TIEN AND THE THEOLOGICAL CONDITIONS FOR RADICAL PHENOMENOLOGY CHAIR: MEROLD WESTPHAL (Fordham University)3:45-4:45SPEAKER: CHRISTINA GSCHWANDTNER (University of Scranton) CAN WE HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD: MICHEL HENRY AND THE WORDS OF CHRIST CHAIR: MARK GEDNEY (Gordon College)

4:45-5:15 Break

5:15-6:45SPEAKER: JEAN-YVES LACOSTE (College of Blandings)PHENOMENALITY AND THE IRREDUCIBLE CHAIR: JOHN CAPUTO (Syracuse University)

7:15-9:00SCPT Banquet: McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant

Accommodations:

PRIMARY CONFERENCE HOTEL:

COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT BIRMINGHAM HOMEWOOD500 Shades Creek ParkwayHomewood, AL 35209205-879-0400http://marriott.com/property/propertypage/BHMHW

A block of 45 rooms has been reserved until March 17, 2006 for SCPT conference attendees. All rooms are non-smoking unless otherwise requested. When booking reservations, request special Samford University/SCPT rate: Single/Double Occupancy: $109

SECONDARY CONFERENCE HOTEL:

DRURY INN AND SUITES BIRMINGHAM SOUTHWEST160 State Farm ParkwayBirmingham, AL 35209800-325-0720http://www.druryhotels.com/properties/birminghamsw.cfm

A block of 20 rooms has been reserved until March 17, 2006 for SCPT conference attendees. When booking reservations, request special Samford/SCPT rates: Double Queen Occupancy: $74 / Single King Occupancy: $69

There will be shuttle service provided between the hotels and the University.

Registration:

Registration fees include conference materials and catered reception on Friday evening (nonrefundable).

Pre-Registration: $65, must be received by March 17, 2006Registration: $85, after March 17, 2006Banquet (optional):$60, must be received by March 28, 2006

Banquet: The conference banquet will be held at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant. The $60.00 banquet fee covers private room, appetizers, salad, a choice of entree, a choice of dessert, wine, gratuity, and tax.

Pre-registration and Banquet form is available for print-out. Please complete form and return with a check (payable to Samford University) or cash by March 17, 2006 to:

B. Keith PuttPhilosophy DepartmentSCPT ConferenceSamford University800 Lakeshore DriveBirmingham, AL 35229

Conference Location:

For registration and all lectures:

The Great RoomMemory Leake Robinson Hall (Map Building 32)Samford UniversityBirmingham, AL

Directions and Maps:For detailed directions and maps, visit http://www.samford.edu/maps.html

Transportation:

Area airport:

Birmingham International Airport (BHM)http://www.bhamintlairport.com/5900 Airport HighwayBirmingham, AL 35212

The airport is approximately 12 miles from the university. Allow 20 to 25 minutes travel time.

Ground transportation to and from airport:

eShuttlehttp://eshuttle.net/205-702-4566

This shuttle service will provide Sunday morning airport transportation with advanced notice. Those intending to fly out Sunday morning should schedule the return trip when taking this shuttle to the hotel upon arrival.

Meteors Shuttle205-980-1083

Birmingham Door to Doorhttp://www.birminghamdoortodoor.com/205-591-5550The directions and maps site above includes a link to this shuttle service, but please note that the Sunday schedule does not begin until 1:00 pm. Those who intend to fly out Sunday morning should use one of the other two services or a taxi.

Several taxi companies service the airport with one-way fares to the University running between $20.00 and $25.00.

Contact Information:

B. Keith PuttPhilosophy DepartmentSamford University205-726-4264bkputt@samford.edu

Dennis SansomPhilosophy DepartmentSamford University205-726-2839dlsansom@samford.edu 2006 Conference of the Society for Continental Philosophy and TheologyThe Theological Turn in French PhenomenologyMarch 31-April 1, 2006, Samford University Dominique Janicaud's critique of a theological turn in the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jean-Luc Marion is well known. Only recently, though, has the work of other French phenomenologists, who likewise exemplify that theological turn, become available in English. This year's conference showcases the work of Jean-Yves Lacoste, Jean-Louis ChrÈtien, and Michel Henry.Speakers & Schedule Conference ProgramFriday, March 31, 20061:30-3:00PM SPEAKER: KEVIN HART (University of Notre Dame) IT/IS TRUE CHAIR: B. KEITH PUTT (Samford University)3:00-3:15 Break3:15-4:15 SPEAKER: CLAYTON CROCKETT (University of Central Arkansas) THE TRUTH OF LIFE: MICHEL HENRY ON MARX CHAIR: SHARON BAKER (Messiah College)4:15-5:15 SPEAKER: BRIAN TREANOR (Loyola-Marymount University) EMBODIED EARS: BEING IN THE WORLD AND HEARING THE OTHER CHAIR: ERIC BOYNTON (Allegheny College)5:15-5:30Break5:30-6:30 SPEAKER: J. AARON HANSON (Vanderbilt University) MICHEL HENRY, IMMANENCE, AND ANXIETY CHAIR: NOÀLLE VAHANIAN (Lebanon Valley College) 6:45-8:00 Reception: FLAG COLONNADE ROOMSaturday, April 1, 20069:30-10:30AM SPEAKER: JOHN A. SIMMONS (Vanderbilt University) CONTINUING TO LOOK FOR GOD IN FRANCE: ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PHENOMENOLOGY AND THEOLOGY CHAIR: JEFFREY DUDIAK (The King's University College)10:30-10:45 Break10:45-11:45 SPEAKER: JOSEPH BALLAN (Syracuse University) MUSIC UNHEARD AND UNHEARD-OF: HEARING, SEEING, AND SINGING IN JEAN-LOUIS CHR…TIEN CHAIR: NORMAN WIRZBA (Georgetown College)11:45-12:00 Break12:00-1:00 SPEAKER: RONALD MERCER (University of Evansville) RADICAL PHENOMENOLOGY REVEALS A MEASURE OF FAITH AND THE NEED FOR A LEVINASIAN OTHER IN HENRY'S LIFE CHAIR: DENNIS SANSOM (Samford University)1:00-2:45Lunch2:45-3:45 SPEAKER: JOSHUA B. DAVIS (Vanderbilt University) THE CALL OF GRACE: JEAN-LOUIS CHR…TIEN AND THE THEOLOGICAL CONDITIONS FOR RADICAL PHENOMENOLOGY CHAIR: MEROLD WESTPHAL (Fordham University)3:45-4:45 SPEAKER: CHRISTINA GSCHWANDTNER (University of Scranton) CAN WE HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD: MICHEL HENRY AND THE WORDS OF CHRIST CHAIR: MARK GEDNEY (Gordon College)4:45-5:15 Break5:15-6:45 SPEAKER: JEAN-YVES LACOSTE (College of Blandings) PHENOMENALITY AND THE IRREDUCIBLE CHAIR: JOHN CAPUTO (Syracuse University)7:15-9:00 SCPT Banquet: McCormick & Schmick's Seafood RestaurantAccommodations: PRIMARY CONFERENCE HOTEL:COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT BIRMINGHAM HOMEWOOD500 Shades Creek ParkwayHomewood, AL 35209205-879-0400http://marriott.com/property/propertypage/BHMHWA block of 45 rooms has been reserved until March 17, 2006 for SCPT conference attendees. All rooms are non-smoking unless otherwise requested. When booking reservations, request special Samford University/SCPT rate: Single/Double Occupancy: $109SECONDARY CONFERENCE HOTEL:DRURY INN AND SUITES BIRMINGHAM SOUTHWEST160 State Farm ParkwayBirmingham, AL 35209800-325-0720http://www.druryhotels.com/properties/birminghamsw.cfm A block of 20 rooms has been reserved until March 17, 2006 for SCPT conference attendees. When booking reservations, request special Samford/SCPT rates: Double Queen Occupancy: $74 / Single King Occupancy: $69There will be shuttle service provided between the hotels and the University. Registration: Registration fees include conference materials and catered reception on Friday evening (nonrefundable). Pre-Registration: $65, must be received by March 17, 2006Registration: $85, after March 17, 2006Banquet (optional):$60, must be received by March 28, 2006Banquet: The conference banquet will be held at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant. The $60.00 banquet fee covers private room, appetizers, salad, a choice of entree, a choice of dessert, wine, gratuity, and tax.Pre-registration and Banquet form is available for print-out. Please complete form and return with a check (payable to Samford University) or cash by March 17, 2006 to:B. Keith PuttPhilosophy Department SCPT ConferenceSamford University800 Lakeshore DriveBirmingham, AL 35229Conference Location:For registration and all lectures:The Great RoomMemory Leake Robinson Hall (Map Building 32)Samford UniversityBirmingham, ALDirections and Maps: For detailed directions and maps, visit http://www.samford.edu/maps.htmlTransportation: Area airport:Birmingham International Airport (BHM) http://www.bhamintlairport.com/ 5900 Airport HighwayBirmingham, AL 35212The airport is approximately 12 miles from the university. Allow 20 to 25 minutes travel time.Ground transportation to and from airport: eShuttle http://eshuttle.net/ 205-702-4566This shuttle service will provide Sunday morning airport transportation with advanced notice. Those intending to fly out Sunday morning should schedule the return trip when taking this shuttle to the hotel upon arrival.Meteors Shuttle205-980-1083Birmingham Door to Door http://www.birminghamdoortodoor.com/ 205-591-5550 The directions and maps site above includes a link to this shuttle service, but please note that the Sunday schedule does not begin until 1:00 pm. Those who intend to fly out Sunday morning should use one of the other two services or a taxi. Several taxi companies service the airport with one-way fares to the University running between $20.00 and $25.00.Contact Information:B. Keith PuttPhilosophy Department Samford University205-726-4264bkputt@samford.edu Dennis SansomPhilosophy Department Samford University205-726-2839dlsansom@samford.edu 3/10/2006 03/21/2007 9441 Reflections on Key Books and Publications, by John D. Barrow

  • The Left Hand of Creation: The Origin and Evolution of the Expanding Universe. With Joseph Silk. (Heinemann, London; Basic Books, New York, 1983; various paperback and foreign language editions; Enlarged edition, 1995) One of the earliest popularizations of the new cosmology that emerged during the period from 1974 to 1983.

  • L'Homme et le Cosmos. With Frank J. Tipler. (Radio France Imago, Paris, 1984) A series of radio interviews about the links between life and the universe.

  • The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. With Frank J. Tipler. (Oxford University Press, 1986; various languages; 2nd edition, 1996) This classic book investigates all aspects of the anthropic principles in cosmology and other sciences. Remarkable for its wide-ranging and detailed coverage of history, philosophy, theology, astronomy, physics and chemistry. It became a highly influential book for the interface between science and religion.

  • The World Within the World. (Oxford University Press, 1988; various languages; 2nd edition, 1995) Discusses the origins of the concept of laws of Nature and the distinctive aspects of the laws of Nature that science has discovered in the universe. Discusses many of the relations between ancient religious beliefs and scientific pictures of the world, especially the links between monotheistic beliefs and the emergence of the idea of lawfulness in Nature.

  • Theories of Everything: The Quest for Ultimate Explanation. (Oxford University Press, 1991; various languages.) This book grew out of the centenary Gifford Lecture series given at Glasgow University . It discusses the idea of ultimate explanation, tracing it from its mythological precursors to early scientific attempts to formulate theories of everything, by Boscovich, Eddington and Einstein. It introduces the new candidate provided by string theory and shows that while a theory of everything of the physicists' sort is necessary to explain the world, it is far from sufficient. The book lists and discusses all the other aspects of the world that must be understood if we are to understand the phenomena that are seen in the universe.

  • Pi in the Sky: Counting, Thinking and Being. (Oxford University Press, 1992; various languages) This book grapples with the meaning of mathematics. It begins by tracing the origins of counting in ancient cultures and follows the development of mathematics to increasingly abstract levels. The central question it addresses is why does mathematics describe the way the world works and how does that understanding help us understand what mathematics is?

  • Perche il Mondo e Matematico?(Laterza, Rome, 1992; various languages) A series of lectures delivered at the University of Milan to a general student audience about the nature of mathematics.

  • The Origin of the Universe. (Orion, London; Basic Books, New York, 1993; 26 languages) A short, simple description of what we think about the origin of the universe. The first volume in the Science Masters series that was subsequently published in many languages and as an audio book.

  • The Artful Universe. (Oxford University Press, 1995; various languages) This book looks at the links between our aesthetics senses and the nature of the universe round us. We have emerged out of the physical world and we reflect many of its features. This book discusses topics like music, art, complexity, landscape appreciation, the appearance and influence of the night sky, color, fractals and Jackson Pollock's abstract expressionism. It was recently republished as an enlarged new edition under the title The Artful Universe Expanded.

  • Impossibility: the limits of science and the science of limits. (Oxford University Press, 1998; various languages) A novel discussion of the limits of science, mathematics and human thinking. This book shows that the limits of scientific explanation are as revealing as its successes. The most mature theories that we possess seem always to be self-limiting. They predict that at some level they cannot predict. Discusses the relevance of Gˆdel's incompleteness theorem for physics and what cosmological questions appear to be unanswerable.

  • Between Inner Space and Outer Space. (Oxford University Press, 1999; various languages) A collection of essays and pieces of journalism that appeared largely in foreign languages covering topics such as science and religion, humanity's place in the universe, science and art, quantum reality, the nature of mathematics, theories of everything, and cosmology.

  • The Universe that Discovered Itself. ( Oxford University Press, 2000) New extended edition of The World Within the World.

  • The Book of Nothing. ( Jonathan Cape , London , 2000; Pantheon, New York , 2001; various languages) A study of all aspects of the vacuum, the void, zero, and nothing. This book argues that the response to these concepts was pivotal in the history of mathematics, physics, philosophy, theology and literature. It discusses the nature of the vacuum in modern physics, the multiple vacua of string theory and inflationary cosmology, the theological background to the idea of creation out of nothing, and the derivation of all numbers from the empty set in mathematics.

  • Infinities. (Editizione Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Milan in Italian, 2002) Background description of the content of the scenes in the award-winning play Infinities performed in Milan and Valencia .

  • The Constants of Nature: From Alpha to Omega. ( Jonathan Cape , London , 2002; Pantheon, New York ; 2003; various languages) This book discusses the origins and meanings of the numbers that define the nature of the universe that we have come to call the constants of Nature. Remarkably, although we can measure them with greater accuracy that anything else in Nature, no one has ever succeeded in explaining or predicting any of their values. In particular, will a theory of everything ever be able to explain their values and are they really constant at all?

  • The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless. ( Jonathan Cape , London ; Pantheon, New York , 2005; various languages) Could be said to be the reciprocal of the Book of Nothing, The Infinite Book considers all aspects of the infinite - in theology, mathematics, philosophy, fantasy, science, and even science fiction. It distinguished three types of infinity - mathematical, physical, and transcendental - and shows how an attitude towards physical infinities still plays a guiding role in the development of our latest theories of particle physics, black holes, and cosmology.

  • The Artful Universe Expanded, 2005. (Oxford University Press, 2005; 2nd edition) New expanded edition of The Artful Universe.

Further research publications and more detailed CV information can be found at John Barrow's departmental web page.

3/13/2006 03/21/2007 9442 March 22, 2006 -- Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Lecture Series: Franklin and his Gods Please join the Ben Franklin Tercentenary and John Templeton Foundation for Franklin and his Gods on March 22, 2006. A free lecture by Kerry S. Walters, William Bittinger Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair at Gettysburg University, examining Ben Franklin's lifelong spiritual journey and struggle to reconcile scientific rationalism with religious faith.

6:00pm. FREE, with reception and commemorative booklet for all attendees. For more information, call 215 545-3870. No RSVP necessary and everyone is invited.

Christ Church20 N. American St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106, United States

For more information on the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Lecture Series and other Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary events please go to www.benfranklin300.org Please join the Ben Franklin Tercentenary and John Templeton Foundation for Franklin and his Gods on March 22, 2006. A free lecture by Kerry S. Walters, William Bittinger Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair at Gettysburg University, examining Ben Franklin's lifelong spiritual journey and struggle to reconcile scientific rationalism with religious faith. 6:00pm. FREE, with reception and commemorative booklet for all attendees. For more information, call 215 545-3870. No RSVP necessary and everyone is invited.Christ Church20 N. American St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106, United StatesFor more information on the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Lecture Series and other Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary events please go to www.benfranklin300.org 3/13/2006 03/21/2007 9443 The 2006 ESSSAT Prizes for research, communication, and student ESSSAT, the European Socioety for the Study of Science And Theology, awards three prizes every other year. The ESSSAT Research Prize 2006 goes to Anne Runehov for a dissertation on brain research and mystical experience. The ESSSAT Communication Prize 2006 goes to Kresimir Cerovac for Croatian radio programmes on religion and science. The ESSSAT Student Prize 2006 goes to Andreas Losch for a paper on objective and personal aspects of knowledge. These prizes are awarded by the European Society for the Study of Science and Theology, which is a scholarly society of scientists, historians, philosophers and theologians. The prizes will be presented at the Eleventh European Conference on Science and Theology in Iasi, Romania, April 5-10, 2006. These conferences are organized every other year by the European Society for the Study of Science and Theology, ESSSAT. President of ESSSAT is the Dutch philosopher of religion Willem B. Drees (Leiden University).

The ESSSAT Research Prize 2006 is awarded to Anne Runehov from Uppsala, Sweden, for her work Sacred or Neural? Neuroscientific Explanations of Religious Experience: A Philosophical Evaluation. This dissertation was defended at Uppsala University. In dealing with neuroscientific explanations of religious experience, Runehov has addressed a topic that is both controversial and 'cutting edge'. Her analysis of two neuroscientific research programs, by Persinger and by Newberg and d'Aquili, both of which have attracted much scholarly and public attention, is of interest for scholarly discourse as well as for public debate. With clear definitions and carefully crafted arguments, this study makes a significant contribution to the emerging field of neuro-theology. The Prize, sponsored by the Radboud Foundation, consists of 2000 euro, as well as coverage of travel to and participation in the next European Conference on Science and Theology, to be held in Iasi, Romania, April 5-10, 2006, where she may present her research.

Scholarly study of the interactions of science and religion is not just a matter for academics. It is also of major public interest, as controversies over evolution and intelligent design, concerns over genetic technologies, and wonder about the mysteries of the universe show. The ESSSAT Communication Prize has been awarded to Mr. Kresimir Cerovac. Every month since 1998, Croatian Catholic Radio has broadcast programmes on science and theology and on scientific developments that present ethical challenges. Subjects treated range from evolution via ecology to the human brain, from cloning to artificial intelligence, from the Big Bang to mysticism. Mr Cerovac has also authored more than 120 newspaper articles and a book. The ESSSAT Communication Prize is sponsored by the Counterbalance Foundation, and consists of 1500 euro, as well as coverage of travel and participation in the XIth European Conference on Science and Theology.

The ESSSAT Student Prize 2006 has been awarded to Andreas Losch, Germany, for a contribution on the personal, constructive component in scientific and theological research. Constructive-critical realism allows him to describe in a new and interesting way the epistemological and methodological relationship between science and theology. The ESSSAT Student Prize 2006 consists of 1000euro and free participation in the ESSSAT Conference in Romania.

Additional Information for the editor:More information on ESSSAT, its prizes and its conferences, can be found at www.ESSSAT.org; information on the sponsors of the prizes at www.radboudstichting.nl and www.counterbalance.org. For more information related to this press release, one may approach Prof.dr. Willem B. Drees, Faculty of Theology, Leiden University, the Netherlands; T. +31 71 5272580 (w) or +31 71 515 0375; E-mail w.b.drees@let.leidenuniv.nl

On the winners of the 2006 prizes:An abstract of Runehov's thesis is available at http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=4718. She can be reached at anne.runehov@teol.uu.se

Kresimir Cerovac can be reached at kresimir.cerovac@mingorp.hr

Andreas Losch's e-mail adress is andreaslosch@web.de ESSSAT, the European Socioety for the Study of Science And Theology, awards three prizes every other year. The ESSSAT Research Prize 2006 goes to Anne Runehov for a dissertation on brain research and mystical experience. The ESSSAT Communication Prize 2006 goes to Kresimir Cerovac for Croatian radio programmes on religion and science. The ESSSAT Student Prize 2006 goes to Andreas Losch for a paper on objective and personal aspects of knowledge. These prizes are awarded by the European Society for the Study of Science and Theology, which is a scholarly society of scientists, historians, philosophers and theologians. The prizes will be presented at the Eleventh European Conference on Science and Theology in Iasi, Romania, April 5-10, 2006. These conferences are organized every other year by the European Society for the Study of Science and Theology, ESSSAT. President of ESSSAT is the Dutch philosopher of religion Willem B. Drees (Leiden University).The ESSSAT Research Prize 2006 is awarded to Anne Runehov from Uppsala, Sweden, for her work Sacred or Neural? Neuroscientific Explanations of Religious Experience: A Philosophical Evaluation. This dissertation was defended at Uppsala University. In dealing with neuroscientific explanations of religious experience, Runehov has addressed a topic that is both controversial and 'cutting edge'. Her analysis of two neuroscientific research programs, by Persinger and by Newberg and d'Aquili, both of which have attracted much scholarly and public attention, is of interest for scholarly discourse as well as for public debate. With clear definitions and carefully crafted arguments, this study makes a significant contribution to the emerging field of neuro-theology. The Prize, sponsored by the Radboud Foundation, consists of 2000 euro, as well as coverage of travel to and participation in the next European Conference on Science and Theology, to be held in Iasi, Romania, April 5-10, 2006, where she may present her research.Scholarly study of the interactions of science and religion is not just a matter for academics. It is also of major public interest, as controversies over evolution and intelligent design, concerns over genetic technologies, and wonder about the mysteries of the universe show. The ESSSAT Communication Prize has been awarded to Mr. Kresimir Cerovac. Every month since 1998, Croatian Catholic Radio has broadcast programmes on science and theology and on scientific developments that present ethical challenges. Subjects treated range from evolution via ecology to the human brain, from cloning to artificial intelligence, from the Big Bang to mysticism. Mr Cerovac has also authored more than 120 newspaper articles and a book. The ESSSAT Communication Prize is sponsored by the Counterbalance Foundation, and consists of 1500 euro, as well as coverage of travel and participation in the XIth European Conference on Science and Theology.The ESSSAT Student Prize 2006 has been awarded to Andreas Losch, Germany, for a contribution on the personal, constructive component in scientific and theological research. Constructive-critical realism allows him to describe in a new and interesting way the epistemological and methodological relationship between science and theology. The ESSSAT Student Prize 2006 consists of 1000euro and free participation in the ESSSAT Conference in Romania.Additional Information for the editor: More information on ESSSAT, its prizes and its conferences, can be found at www.ESSSAT.org; information on the sponsors of the prizes at www.radboudstichting.nl and www.counterbalance.org. For more information related to this press release, one may approach Prof.dr. Willem B. Drees, Faculty of Theology, Leiden University, the Netherlands; T. +31 71 5272580 (w) or +31 71 515 0375; E-mail w.b.drees@let.leidenuniv.nl On the winners of the 2006 prizes:An abstract of Runehov's thesis is available at http://publications.uu.se/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=4718. She can be reached at anne.runehov@teol.uu.seKresimir Cerovac can be reached at kresimir.cerovac@mingorp.hrAndreas Losch's e-mail adress is andreaslosch@web.de 3/13/2006 03/21/2007 9446 Lecture: Owen Gingerich, Contemporary Science & Traditional Christianity--Reflections on the Contributions of John Polkinghorne, Eastern Nazarene College, 15 March 2006 The John Polkinghorne Society at Eastern Nazarene College (Quincy, Mass.) Announces a Lecture by Owen Gingerich on Contemporary Science & Traditional Christianity: Reflections on the Contributions of John Polkinghorne.

15 March 2006; Mann Student Center Auditorium 7:30PM

Owen Gingerich, Research Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University and a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, will give a lecture on March 15th at Eastern Nazarene College on Contemporary Science & Traditional Christianity: Reflections on the Contributions of John Polkinghorne.

The lecture (along with a specially arranged video greeting from John Polkinghorne) will be in the Mann Student Center Auditorium at 7:30pm on March 15th.

It is sponsored by the newly-founded John Polkinghorne Society at Eastern Nazarene College, with partial funding from the Local Societies Initaitive of the Metanexus Institute.

The Polkinghorne Society webpage can be accessed at: http://www.enc.edu/history/polk.html.

Questions about the lecture or the Society can be directed to: donald.a.yerxa@enc.edu. The John Polkinghorne Society at Eastern Nazarene College (Quincy, Mass.) Announces a Lecture by Owen Gingerich on Contemporary Science & Traditional Christianity: Reflections on the Contributions of John Polkinghorne.15 March 2006; Mann Student Center Auditorium 7:30PMOwen Gingerich, Research Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University and a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, will give a lecture on March 15th at Eastern Nazarene College on Contemporary Science & Traditional Christianity: Reflections on the Contributions of John Polkinghorne.The lecture (along with a specially arranged video greeting from John Polkinghorne) will be in the Mann Student Center Auditorium at 7:30pm on March 15th. It is sponsored by the newly-founded John Polkinghorne Society at Eastern Nazarene College, with partial funding from the Local Societies Initaitive of the Metanexus Institute. The Polkinghorne Society webpage can be accessed at: http://www.enc.edu/history/polk.html. Questions about the lecture or the Society can be directed to: donald.a.yerxa@enc.edu. 3/14/2006 03/21/2007 9447 Workshop: Sophia Association for Cultural Studies, Exploring the Interface of Mathematics and Wisdom, 17-19 March 2006, Castelgandolfo, Italy Second International Workshop of Mathematics (exploring the interface of Mathematics and Wisdom) promoted by the Sophia Association for Cultural Studies ACS) of the Focolare Movement

Castelgandolfo, (Rome) Italy, 17-19 March 2006

Mathematicians in Dialogue: an Epistemological Approach

Dialogue is at the very heart of mathematics: dialogue among mathematicians, dialogue with experts of other fields, dialogue in pursuit of truth. Moreover, dialogue has proved to be a successful path not only towards a more fruitful service to others, but also leading to new important notions. As the Italian, 1990 Wolf Award recipient Ennio De Giorgi has put it, often the most interesting ideas have come from afar, suggested by analogy, and through the consideration of facts and theories from fields of knowledge quite distant from one's own. In this three day Workshop the importance of dialogue will be explored on a theoretical and practical level. To this end the program includes a guided group experience in which participants will work together investigating open questions in one of four selected areas:

A closer look at the role of identity in the foundations of mathematics and the development of a new, non-standard, dynamic form of identity (animated by Prof. Lidia Obojska, Department of exact sciences, Academy of Podlasie, Siedlce, Poland; and Dr. Judith Povilus, Associate Director of the Sophia Institute for Cultural Studies of the Focolare Movement)

Introduction to population dynamics (animated by Prof. Ugo Gianazza, Department of Mathematics, University of Pavia, Italy; Prof. Marcin Zygmunt, Department of Applied Mathematics, AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland; and Prof. Gabriella Segalla-Pickett, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA)

Particle interaction and statistical mechanics (animated by Prof. Lamberto Rondoni, Department of Mathematics, Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy and Prof. Paul O'Hara, Department of Mathematics, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, USA)

Statistics for environment and public health (animated by Prof. Lucio Torelli, Department of Mathematics, University of Trieste, Italy and Dr. Arnold Dekkers, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, the Netherlands)

In addition the program will include:

Mathematicians in dialogue: with one another, with God, with the world keynote address by Dr. Judith Povilus, Associate Director of the Sophia Institute for Cultural Studies of the Focolare Movement;

Mathematics and medicine in dialogue Prof. Lucio Torelli, Department of Mathematics, (School of Medicine), University of Trieste, Italy;

Mathematics and architecture in dialogue Prof. Lamberto Rondoni, Department of Mathematics, (School of Architecture), Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy;

Ontological instances: mathematics and theology in dialogue, panel discussion with Prof. Lukas Kamykowski, Pontifical Academy of Theology of Krakow, Poland and Dr. Judith Povilus.

For further information contact: mathzero@focolare.org(The programs of ACS are funded in part by a Local Societies Initiative Grant of the Metanexus Institute.)

Second International Workshop of Mathematics (exploring the interface of Mathematics and Wisdom) promoted by the Sophia Association for Cultural Studies ACS) of the Focolare MovementCastelgandolfo, (Rome) Italy, 17-19 March 2006Mathematicians in Dialogue: an Epistemological ApproachDialogue is at the very heart of mathematics: dialogue among mathematicians, dialogue with experts of other fields, dialogue in pursuit of truth. Moreover, dialogue has proved to be a successful path not only towards a more fruitful service to others, but also leading to new important notions. As the Italian, 1990 Wolf Award recipient Ennio De Giorgi has put it, often the most interesting ideas have come from afar, suggested by analogy, and through the consideration of facts and theories from fields of knowledge quite distant from one's own. In this three day Workshop the importance of dialogue will be explored on a theoretical and practical level. To this end the program includes a guided group experience in which participants will work together investigating open questions in one of four selected areas: A closer look at the role of identity in the foundations of mathematics and the development of a new, non-standard, dynamic form of identity (animated by Prof. Lidia Obojska, Department of exact sciences, Academy of Podlasie, Siedlce, Poland; and Dr. Judith Povilus, Associate Director of the Sophia Institute for Cultural Studies of the Focolare Movement)Introduction to population dynamics (animated by Prof. Ugo Gianazza, Department of Mathematics, University of Pavia, Italy; Prof. Marcin Zygmunt, Department of Applied Mathematics, AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland; and Prof. Gabriella Segalla-Pickett, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA)Particle interaction and statistical mechanics (animated by Prof. Lamberto Rondoni, Department of Mathematics, Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy and Prof. Paul O'Hara, Department of Mathematics, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, USA)Statistics for environment and public health (animated by Prof. Lucio Torelli, Department of Mathematics, University of Trieste, Italy and Dr. Arnold Dekkers, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, the Netherlands)In addition the program will include:Mathematicians in dialogue: with one another, with God, with the world keynote address by Dr. Judith Povilus, Associate Director of the Sophia Institute for Cultural Studies of the Focolare Movement;Mathematics and medicine in dialogue Prof. Lucio Torelli, Department of Mathematics, (School of Medicine), University of Trieste, Italy;Mathematics and architecture in dialogue Prof. Lamberto Rondoni, Department of Mathematics, (School of Architecture), Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy;Ontological instances: mathematics and theology in dialogue, panel discussion with Prof. Lukas Kamykowski, Pontifical Academy of Theology of Krakow, Poland and Dr. Judith Povilus.For further information contact: mathzero@focolare.org (The programs of ACS are funded in part by a Local Societies Initiative Grant of the Metanexus Institute.) 3/14/2006 03/21/2007 9448 United Nations News Conference to Announce 2006 Templeton Prize, Wednesday, March 15TH CONTACT:Donald LehrThe Nolan/Lehr Group

FOR RELEASE:(212) 967-8200 / dlehr@templetonprize.org

United Nations News Conference to Announce2006 Templeton Prize, Wednesday, March 15TH

The 2006 Templeton Prize Laureate will be announced at a news conference on Wednesday, March 15th at 11:00 AM at the Church Center for the United Nations, 44th Street and First Avenue in New York City. Each year the prize is awarded to a living individual who has shown extraordinary originality in research or discoveries to advance understanding of God and spiritual realities. The Templeton Prize news conference will be webcast live and archived at www.templetonprize.org.

The Duke of Edinburgh will present the prize at a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, May 3rd.

The Templeton Prize is the world's largest annual monetary award given to an individual. Created by global investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton and first awarded in 1973, the prize seeks to encourage and honor those who advance religion and spiritual matters in much the same way the Nobel Prizes honor scientific and humanitarian pursuits. The monetary value of the Templeton Prize - 795,000 pounds sterling, more than $1.4 million - is set always to exceed the Nobel Prizes to underscore Templeton's belief that benefits from advances in spiritual discoveries can be quantifiably more vast than those from other worthy human endeavors.

The award's full name is the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities, although it commonly known as the Templeton Prize.

John M. Templeton, Jr., M.D., President of the John Templeton Foundation and Sir John's son, notes that the prize's full name places a proper focus on an important aspect of the award. The prize highlights scientific research and discoveries that can help open such spiritual realities as purpose, love, and thanksgiving to new perspectives and, in turn, reveal new information about divinity and matters of the spirit.

Besides directly honoring the recipient, the foundation also seeks to encourage and inspire additional contributions, assistance, and recognition toward such research. An international, interfaith panel of nine judges considers all religions when making the award. The 2006 Templeton Prize Laureate will join a distinguished circle of former recipients. Last year's award went to Charles H. Townes, Professor in the Graduate School at the University of California at Berkeley. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964 for his investigations into the properties of microwaves, which resulted first in the maser, and later his co-invention of the laser. Townes has spent decades as a leading advocate for the convergence of science and religion. His 1966 article, The Convergence of Science and Religion, established Townes as a unique voice - especially among scientists - that sought commonality between the two disciplines.

Theoretical cosmologist George F.R. Ellis received the 2004 Templeton Prize. Ellis advocates balancing the rationality of evidence-based science with faith and hope, a view shaped in part by his firsthand experiences in South Africa as it peacefully transformed from apartheid to multi-racial democracy. He describes that history as a confounding of the calculus of reality that can only be explained as the causal effect of forces beyond the explanation of hard science, including issues such as aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and meaning. Ethics is as much a part of the universe as mathematics, Ellis says, something we discover rather than invent, and it follows that there are deep ethical truths built into the physical universe.

Holmes Rolston III, University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University and a Presbyterian minister known as the father of environmental ethics, received the prize in 2003 for his work joining biology and religion to better understand Earth's evolutionary ecosystems. The Rev. Dr. John C. Polkinghorne, a mathematical physicist and Anglican priest, won in 2002 for his application of scientific habits to explore Christianity.

Editors Please Note: Background information on this year's Templeton Prize recipient will be released in advance under strict embargo. If you have previously received embargoed press materials, you will again this year. If you have not received such information in advance before, please contact Donald Lehr at (212) 967-8200 or dlehr@templetonprize.org.

2006 Templeton Prize To Be Announced Wednesday, March 15th in New York City

CONTACT:Donald Lehr The Nolan/Lehr GroupFOR RELEASE:(212) 967-8200 / dlehr@templetonprize.orgUnited Nations News Conference to Announce 2006 Templeton Prize, Wednesday, March 15THThe 2006 Templeton Prize Laureate will be announced at a news conference on Wednesday, March 15th at 11:00 AM at the Church Center for the United Nations, 44th Street and First Avenue in New York City. Each year the prize is awarded to a living individual who has shown extraordinary originality in research or discoveries to advance understanding of God and spiritual realities. The Templeton Prize news conference will be webcast live and archived at www.templetonprize.org.The Duke of Edinburgh will present the prize at a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, May 3rd.The Templeton Prize is the world's largest annual monetary award given to an individual. Created by global investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton and first awarded in 1973, the prize seeks to encourage and honor those who advance religion and spiritual matters in much the same way the Nobel Prizes honor scientific and humanitarian pursuits. The monetary value of the Templeton Prize - 795,000 pounds sterling, more than $1.4 million - is set always to exceed the Nobel Prizes to underscore Templeton's belief that benefits from advances in spiritual discoveries can be quantifiably more vast than those from other worthy human endeavors.The award's full name is the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities, although it commonly known as the Templeton Prize.John M. Templeton, Jr., M.D., President of the John Templeton Foundation and Sir John's son, notes that the prize's full name places a proper focus on an important aspect of the award. The prize highlights scientific research and discoveries that can help open such spiritual realities as purpose, love, and thanksgiving to new perspectives and, in turn, reveal new information about divinity and matters of the spirit.Besides directly honoring the recipient, the foundation also seeks to encourage and inspire additional contributions, assistance, and recognition toward such research. An international, interfaith panel of nine judges considers all religions when making the award. The 2006 Templeton Prize Laureate will join a distinguished circle of former recipients. Last year's award went to Charles H. Townes, Professor in the Graduate School at the University of California at Berkeley. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1964 for his investigations into the properties of microwaves, which resulted first in the maser, and later his co-invention of the laser. Townes has spent decades as a leading advocate for the convergence of science and religion. His 1966 article, The Convergence of Science and Religion, established Townes as a unique voice - especially among scientists - that sought commonality between the two disciplines.Theoretical cosmologist George F.R. Ellis received the 2004 Templeton Prize. Ellis advocates balancing the rationality of evidence-based science with faith and hope, a view shaped in part by his firsthand experiences in South Africa as it peacefully transformed from apartheid to multi-racial democracy. He describes that history as a confounding of the calculus of reality that can only be explained as the causal effect of forces beyond the explanation of hard science, including issues such as aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and meaning. Ethics is as much a part of the universe as mathematics, Ellis says, something we discover rather than invent, and it follows that there are deep ethical truths built into the physical universe.Holmes Rolston III, University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University and a Presbyterian minister known as the father of environmental ethics, received the prize in 2003 for his work joining biology and religion to better understand Earth's evolutionary ecosystems. The Rev. Dr. John C. Polkinghorne, a mathematical physicist and Anglican priest, won in 2002 for his application of scientific habits to explore Christianity. Editors Please Note: Background information on this year's Templeton Prize recipient will be released in advance under strict embargo. If you have previously received embargoed press materials, you will again this year. If you have not received such information in advance before, please contact Donald Lehr at (212) 967-8200 or dlehr@templetonprize.org.2006 Templeton Prize To Be Announced Wednesday, March 15th in New York City 3/14/2006 03/21/2007 9449 Fact Sheet on John D. Barrow

November 29, 1952 ñ John David Barrow is born in London, England, to Lois Miriam Barrow (nee Tucker), a homemaker and Walter Henry Barrow, an engineering company stores manager.

1964-1971 ñ Attends Ealing Grammar School, London.

1974 ñ Receives Bachelor of Science (1 st Class Honours) in mathematics from Van Mildert College, Durham University. Begins research studentship at Magdalen College and at Department of Astrophysics, Oxford University.

1975 ñ Marries Elizabeth Mary East, a nurse. They have three children, David Lloyd (b.1978), Roger James (b.1981), and Louise Elizabeth (b.1984).

1977 ñ Receives D.Phil. in astrophysics from University of Oxford with a thesis entitled ìNon-Uniform Cosmological Models,î supervised by Dennis Sciama.

1977-78 ñ Serves as Lindemann Commonwealth Fellow at University of California, Berkeley, Department of Astronomy.

1977-80 ñ Appointed Junior Research Lecturer at Christ Church and Oxford, Department of Astrophysics.

1980-81 ñ Serves as Miller Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, Physics Department.

1981 ñ Appointed Lecturer in the Astronomy Centre, University of Sussex, a post he holds until 1989.

1983 ñ The Left Hand of Creation: The Origin and Evolution of the Expanding Universe (with Joseph Silk) published ( Heinemann, UK ; Basic, USA ; various languages).

1984 ñ L'Homme et le Cosmos (with Frank J. Tipler) published (Radio France Imago).

1986 ñ The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (with Frank J. Tipler) published (Oxford University Press; various languages). Receives Nuffield Foundation Science Fellowship.

1988 ñ The World Within the World published (Oxford University Press; various languages).

1989 ñ Appointed Professor, Astronomy Centre, University of Sussex, a post he holds until 1999. He is also Acting Director of the Astronomy Centre from 1989-90 and Director from 1995-99.

Delivers Gifford Lectures at Glasgow University in its centennial year, the youngest Gifford Lecturer ever. Receives Samuel Locker Prize in Astronomy.

1990 ñ Delivers Collingwood Memorial Lecture, Durham.

1991 ñ Theories of Everything: The Quest for Ultimate Explanation published (Oxford University Press; various languages). Developed from the Gifford Lectures.

1992 ñ Pi in the Sky: Counting, Thinking and Being published (Oxford University Press; various languages). Perche il Mondo e Matematico? , published (Laterza, Rome ). Receives Royal Society Leverhulme Senior Fellowship. Delivers George Darwin Lecture of the Royal Astronomical Society.

1993 ñ The Origin of the Universe published ( Orion, UK ; Basic, USA ). Delivers Spinoza Lecture, Amsterdam.

1994 ñ Named Senior Research Fellow of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council of the UK, a post he holds until 1999.

1995 ñ The Artful Universe published (Oxford University Press; various languages).

1998 ñ Impossibility: the limits of science and the science of limits published (Oxford University Press; various languages).

1999 ñ Appointed Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge. He is also appointed Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project, a new initiative to improve the understanding and appreciation of mathematics and its applications among young people and the general public.

Between Inner Space and Outer Space published (Oxford University Press; various languages). Named Professorial Fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge. Receives Kelvin Medal from the Royal Glasgow Philosophical Society and delivers the Kelvin Lecture. Awarded honorary Doctor of Science by University of Hertfordshire. Forum Fellow, World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland (and 2000).

2000 ñ The Universe that Discovered Itself (new extended version of The World Within the World ) published (Oxford University Press). The Book of Nothing published (Jonathan Cape, UK; Pantheon USA ; various languages). Delivers the Flamsteed Lecture, Derby.

2001 ñ Delivers Tyndall Memorial Lecture, Bristol.

2002 ñ Play, Infinities , is performed (in Italian) at the Teatro la Scala, Milan, and again in 2003 under the direction of Luca Ronconi and in Spanish at the Valencia Festival. Infinities receives the 2002 Premi Ubu award for best play in the Italian theater and the 2003 Italgas Prize for the promotion of science.

The Constants of Nature: From Alpha to Omega published ( Jonathan Cape UK ; Pantheon USA ; various languages). Elected member of the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR). Delivers Whitrow Lecture of the Royal Astronomical Society. Delivers Brasher Lecture, Kingston.

2003 ñ Appointed Gresham Professor of Astronomy, Gresham College, London, until 2007. This is the oldest science professorship in the world, founded in 1596. It provides for an annual series of public lectures on astronomy and related physical sciences. Elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), London.

2004 ñ Elected Vice President of Clare Hall, Cambridge. Delivers Carl Von Weizsäcker Lectures, Hamburg. Delivers McCrea Centenary Lecture, Sussex. Delivers Hubert James Lecture, Purdue.

2005 ñ The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless , published (Jonathan Cape, UK; Pantheon USA ; various languages). The Artful Universe Expanded (a new edition of The Artful Universe ) published (Oxford University Press). Made Honorary Professor of Physics University of Nanjing. Receives Lacchini Prize and Medal of the Unione Astrofili Italiani. Delivers Wood Memorial Lecture, Newcastle. Delivers Hamilton Lecture, Trinity Dublin

2006 ñ Millennium Mathematics Project is awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for educational achievement. Named 2006 Laureate of the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities.

3/14/2006 03/21/2007 9450 John D. Barrow Wins 2006 Templeton Prize CONTACT:Donald Lehr(212) 967-8200 / (917) 304-4058dlehr@templetonprize.org / www.templetonprize.org

JOHN D. BARROW WINS 2006 TEMPLETON PRIZE

NEW YORK, MARCH 15 - John D. Barrow, a noted cosmologist whose writings about the relationship between life and the universe, and the nature of human understanding, have created new perspectives on questions of ultimate concern to science and religion, has won the 2006 Templeton Prize. The prize, valued at 795,000 pounds sterling, approximately $1.4 million, was announced today at a news conference at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York.Barrow, 53, who serves as Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge, has used insights from mathematics, physics, and astronomy to set out wide-ranging views that challenge scientists and theologians to cross the boundaries of their disciplines if they are to fully realize what they may or may not understand about how time, space, and matter began, the behavior of the universe (or, perhaps, multiverses), and where it is all headed, if anywhere.His work - including 17 books translated into 27 languages and written in accessible, lively prose, hugely popular lectures, and more than 400 scientific papers - has illuminated understanding of the universe and cast the intrinsic limitations of scientific inquiry into sharp relief. It has also given theologians and philosophers inescapable questions to consider when examining the very essence of belief, the nature of the universe, and humanity's place in it.As Thomas Torrance, himself a Templeton laureate (1978), wrote in his nomination of Barrow, The hallmark of his work is a deep engagement with those aspects of the structure of the universe and its laws that make life possible and which shape the views that we take of that universe when we examine it. The vast elaboration of that simple idea has lead to a huge expansion of the breadth and depth of the dialogue between science and religion.In particular, Barrow's engagement with frontier science and mathematics, developing multidisciplinary perspectives on subjects such as the mysteries of nothingness and infinity, and the potentially intelligible realms of the laws of Nature and the limits of scientific explanation, has jarred religious and scientific perspectives in such a way as to open pathways of understanding which may allow both to comprehend each other more fully.The Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities was founded in 1972 by philanthropist and global financial pioneer Sir John Templeton. Given annually to a living person to encourage and honor the advancement of knowledge in spiritual matters, it is the world's best known religion prize and the largest annual monetary prize of any kind given to an individual. In establishing the prize's monetary value, Sir John's stipulated that it always be worth more than the Nobel Prizes as a way to underscore that research and advances in spiritual discoveries can be quantifiably more significant than disciplines recognized by the Nobels.HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will award the prize to Barrow in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, May 3rd.

In remarks prepared for the news conference, Barrow said, Astronomy has transformed the simple-minded, life-averse, meaningless universe of the sceptical philosophers. It breathes new life into so many religious questions of ultimate concern and never-ending fascination. Many of the deepest and most engaging questions that we grapple with still about the nature of the universe have their origins in our purely religious quest for meaning. The concept of a lawful universe with order that can be understood and relied upon emerged largely out of religious beliefs about the nature of God.He added, Our scientific picture of the universe has revealed time and again how blinkered and conservative our outlook has often been, how self-serving our interim picture of the universe, how mundane our expectations, and how parochial our attempts to find or deny the links between scientific and religious approaches to the nature of the universe.Barrow, who received his doctorate (D.Phil) in astrophysics from the University of Oxford in 1977, first caught wide attention with his 1986 book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, co-authored with Frank J. Tipler. The book investigates all aspects of anthropic principles in cosmology and other sciences, traversing history, philosophy, theology, astronomy, physics and chemistry. In the subsequent two decades it has become an essential work for those who explore the deep questions at the interface of science and religion, while the anthropic principle has become an inescapable factor in the evaluation of contemporary cosmological theories.That was followed in 1988 by The World Within the World, a wide-ranging study of the origin and development of the concept of the laws of Nature in all their forms, and then in 1989 by Barrow's Gifford Lectures at Glasgow University in the centennial year of the celebrated lectures. At 36, he was the youngest lecturer in the history of the series. Based broadly on the emerging interest in theories of everything, Barrow's talks before capacity crowds employed easy-to-follow reasoning, engaging links between different fields, anecdotes, and eye-opening new ideas to provide a fresh take on the complexity of the universe.The lectures led to Theories of Everything: The Quest for Ultimate Explanation, published in 1991. It continued Barrow's taming of enormous subjects of staggering implications, weaving together considerations from a wide range of topics, raising as many questions as he answers, and showing clearly how it comes about that a theory of everything, while necessary to understand the universe, is far from sufficient.His later works have explored a huge range of subjects on the science and religion interface at a level that speaks to lay readers and specialists alike. Topics include the nature and utility of mathematics (Pi in the Sky, 1992), the links between the universe and human aesthetic appreciation (The Artful Universe, 1995 and The Artful Universe Expanded, 2005), and how the universe is peculiarly characterized by what cannot be known about it (Impossibility: the limits of science and the science of limits, 1998).That provocative formula was expanded to the theater in 2002 with the Italian production of Infinities, directed by Luca Ronconi. Barrow's five-part play that picks at accepted parameters of infinity with dramatizations that disturb as often as delight introduced many new staging techniques to the theater. In one segment, Borges' parable of the Library of Babel - a repository of book after book in an endless maze of galleries - is brought to life as the audience wanders through corridors of mirrors brimming with identical characters, suggesting the impossibility of uniqueness in an infinite universe. In another, aging folk consider the unexpected consequences - religious, social, and personal - of living forever. The play, which ran two seasons in Milan and received the 2002 Premi Ubu as the year's best work in the Italian theater and the 2003 Italgas Prize, exquisitely dovetails with Barrow's ease of movement between matters physical and spiritual. As he once told a columnist, The nature of the infinite is and always has been a central question in theology as well as in science and mathematics.It also points to his strength as a highly educated scholar with a knack for the common touch. In a recent lecture at London's Royal Society (Barrow was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003), for instance, he peppered his remarks with instructions on detecting art fraud, why it is possible to send a rocket to the Moon with pinpoint precision but not predict tomorrow's weather, and how to win at dice every time.Barrow's research has been at the forefront of many areas of cosmology for thirty years and has most recently been concerned with the ways in which astronomy can test the constancy of the so-called constants of Nature. Again, these questions have unexpected implications for the nature of life in the universe which are explored in all their ramifications in his book, The Constants of Nature (2002).John David Barrow was born in London in 1952 to Walter and Lois Barrow, an engineering company stores manager and his homemaker wife. When he entered Van Mildert College at Durham University in 1971, he became the first of his family to attend university in that century. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics (1st Class Honours), he earned his doctorate (D.Phil.) at Oxford with his thesis, Non-Uniform Cosmological Models under the supervision of renowned cosmologist Dennis Sciama, and was elected to a Junior Research Lectureship at Christ Church, Oxford in 1977. He then held research fellowships at the astronomy and physics departments at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the department of astrophysics, Oxford.In 1989 he moved to the Astronomy Centre at the University of Sussex, becoming a full professor in 1989, and served as Director from 1995 until he was appointed Professor of Mathematical Sciences in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge in 1999. He was also elected a Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge and has been vice president since 2004. At Cambridge he was also appointed Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project, a many-faceted education initiative aimed at young people, aged five to 19, to help them understand and appreciate mathematics and its applications. Last month, the program was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in the UK Honours list.Barrow's most recent book is The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless (2005), which might be considered the reciprocal of his earlier Book of Nothing (2000). It considers all aspects of the infinite and explores its similarities and differences in the realms of mathematics, science, and theology. These two studies reveal how the concepts of infinity and nothing - in all of their various manifestations - played distinctive pivotal roles in the development of mathematics, physics, astronomy, logic, theology and philosophy.In 2002, Barrow was appointed Gresham Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College in London, a position once held by Sir Christopher Wren. Founded in 1596, it is the world's oldest science professorship. Barrow also has the curious distinction of having delivered lectures on cosmology in such unexpected venues as the Venice Film Festival, 10 Downing Street, Windsor Castle and the Vatican Palace.John Barrow and his wife of 31 years, Elizabeth Mary (East), have three children ranging in ages from 21 to 27. They live in Cambridge.

CONTACT:Donald Lehr(212) 967-8200 / (917) 304-4058dlehr@templetonprize.org / www.templetonprize.orgJOHN D. BARROW WINS 2006 TEMPLETON PRIZE NEW YORK, MARCH 15 - John D. Barrow, a noted cosmologist whose writings about the relationship between life and the universe, and the nature of human understanding, have created new perspectives on questions of ultimate concern to science and religion, has won the 2006 Templeton Prize. The prize, valued at 795,000 pounds sterling, approximately $1.4 million, was announced today at a news conference at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York. Barrow, 53, who serves as Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge, has used insights from mathematics, physics, and astronomy to set out wide-ranging views that challenge scientists and theologians to cross the boundaries of their disciplines if they are to fully realize what they may or may not understand about how time, space, and matter began, the behavior of the universe (or, perhaps, multiverses), and where it is all headed, if anywhere. His work - including 17 books translated into 27 languages and written in accessible, lively prose, hugely popular lectures, and more than 400 scientific papers - has illuminated understanding of the universe and cast the intrinsic limitations of scientific inquiry into sharp relief. It has also given theologians and philosophers inescapable questions to consider when examining the very essence of belief, the nature of the universe, and humanity's place in it. As Thomas Torrance, himself a Templeton laureate (1978), wrote in his nomination of Barrow, The hallmark of his work is a deep engagement with those aspects of the structure of the universe and its laws that make life possible and which shape the views that we take of that universe when we examine it. The vast elaboration of that simple idea has lead to a huge expansion of the breadth and depth of the dialogue between science and religion. In particular, Barrow's engagement with frontier science and mathematics, developing multidisciplinary perspectives on subjects such as the mysteries of nothingness and infinity, and the potentially intelligible realms of the laws of Nature and the limits of scientific explanation, has jarred religious and scientific perspectives in such a way as to open pathways of understanding which may allow both to comprehend each other more fully. The Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities was founded in 1972 by philanthropist and global financial pioneer Sir John Templeton. Given annually to a living person to encourage and honor the advancement of knowledge in spiritual matters, it is the world's best known religion prize and the largest annual monetary prize of any kind given to an individual. In establishing the prize's monetary value, Sir John's stipulated that it always be worth more than the Nobel Prizes as a way to underscore that research and advances in spiritual discoveries can be quantifiably more significant than disciplines recognized by the Nobels. HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will award the prize to Barrow in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, May 3rd.In remarks prepared for the news conference, Barrow said, Astronomy has transformed the simple-minded, life-averse, meaningless universe of the sceptical philosophers. It breathes new life into so many religious questions of ultimate concern and never-ending fascination. Many of the deepest and most engaging questions that we grapple with still about the nature of the universe have their origins in our purely religious quest for meaning. The concept of a lawful universe with order that can be understood and relied upon emerged largely out of religious beliefs about the nature of God. He added, Our scientific picture of the universe has revealed time and again how blinkered and conservative our outlook has often been, how self-serving our interim picture of the universe, how mundane our expectations, and how parochial our attempts to find or deny the links between scientific and religious approaches to the nature of the universe. Barrow, who received his doctorate (D.Phil) in astrophysics from the University of Oxford in 1977, first caught wide attention with his 1986 book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, co-authored with Frank J. Tipler. The book investigates all aspects of anthropic principles in cosmology and other sciences, traversing history, philosophy, theology, astronomy, physics and chemistry. In the subsequent two decades it has become an essential work for those who explore the deep questions at the interface of science and religion, while the anthropic principle has become an inescapable factor in the evaluation of contemporary cosmological theories. That was followed in 1988 by The World Within the World, a wide-ranging study of the origin and development of the concept of the laws of Nature in all their forms, and then in 1989 by Barrow's Gifford Lectures at Glasgow University in the centennial year of the celebrated lectures. At 36, he was the youngest lecturer in the history of the series. Based broadly on the emerging interest in theories of everything, Barrow's talks before capacity crowds employed easy-to-follow reasoning, engaging links between different fields, anecdotes, and eye-opening new ideas to provide a fresh take on the complexity of the universe. The lectures led to Theories of Everything: The Quest for Ultimate Explanation, published in 1991. It continued Barrow's taming of enormous subjects of staggering implications, weaving together considerations from a wide range of topics, raising as many questions as he answers, and showing clearly how it comes about that a theory of everything, while necessary to understand the universe, is far from sufficient. His later works have explored a huge range of subjects on the science and religion interface at a level that speaks to lay readers and specialists alike. Topics include the nature and utility of mathematics (Pi in the Sky, 1992), the links between the universe and human aesthetic appreciation (The Artful Universe, 1995 and The Artful Universe Expanded, 2005), and how the universe is peculiarly characterized by what cannot be known about it (Impossibility: the limits of science and the science of limits, 1998). That provocative formula was expanded to the theater in 2002 with the Italian production of Infinities, directed by Luca Ronconi. Barrow's five-part play that picks at accepted parameters of infinity with dramatizations that disturb as often as delight introduced many new staging techniques to the theater. In one segment, Borges' parable of the Library of Babel - a repository of book after book in an endless maze of galleries - is brought to life as the audience wanders through corridors of mirrors brimming with identical characters, suggesting the impossibility of uniqueness in an infinite universe. In another, aging folk consider the unexpected consequences - religious, social, and personal - of living forever. The play, which ran two seasons in Milan and received the 2002 Premi Ubu as the year's best work in the Italian theater and the 2003 Italgas Prize, exquisitely dovetails with Barrow's ease of movement between matters physical and spiritual. As he once told a columnist, The nature of the infinite is and always has been a central question in theology as well as in science and mathematics. It also points to his strength as a highly educated scholar with a knack for the common touch. In a recent lecture at London's Royal Society (Barrow was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003), for instance, he peppered his remarks with instructions on detecting art fraud, why it is possible to send a rocket to the Moon with pinpoint precision but not predict tomorrow's weather, and how to win at dice every time. Barrow's research has been at the forefront of many areas of cosmology for thirty years and has most recently been concerned with the ways in which astronomy can test the constancy of the so-called constants of Nature. Again, these questions have unexpected implications for the nature of life in the universe which are explored in all their ramifications in his book, The Constants of Nature (2002). John David Barrow was born in London in 1952 to Walter and Lois Barrow, an engineering company stores manager and his homemaker wife. When he entered Van Mildert College at Durham University in 1971, he became the first of his family to attend university in that century. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics (1st Class Honours), he earned his doctorate (D.Phil.) at Oxford with his thesis, Non-Uniform Cosmological Models under the supervision of renowned cosmologist Dennis Sciama, and was elected to a Junior Research Lectureship at Christ Church, Oxford in 1977. He then held research fellowships at the astronomy and physics departments at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the department of astrophysics, Oxford. In 1989 he moved to the Astronomy Centre at the University of Sussex, becoming a full professor in 1989, and served as Director from 1995 until he was appointed Professor of Mathematical Sciences in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge in 1999. He was also elected a Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge and has been vice president since 2004. At Cambridge he was also appointed Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project, a many-faceted education initiative aimed at young people, aged five to 19, to help them understand and appreciate mathematics and its applications. Last month, the program was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in the UK Honours list. Barrow's most recent book is The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless (2005), which might be considered the reciprocal of his earlier Book of Nothing (2000). It considers all aspects of the infinite and explores its similarities and differences in the realms of mathematics, science, and theology. These two studies reveal how the concepts of infinity and nothing - in all of their various manifestations - played distinctive pivotal roles in the development of mathematics, physics, astronomy, logic, theology and philosophy.In 2002, Barrow was appointed Gresham Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College in London, a position once held by Sir Christopher Wren. Founded in 1596, it is the world's oldest science professorship. Barrow also has the curious distinction of having delivered lectures on cosmology in such unexpected venues as the Venice Film Festival, 10 Downing Street, Windsor Castle and the Vatican Palace. John Barrow and his wife of 31 years, Elizabeth Mary (East), have three children ranging in ages from 21 to 27. They live in Cambridge. 3/15/2006 03/21/2007 9451 TODAY 11am: Templeton Prize LIVE webcast Please join us via a simultaneous webcast at www.templetonprize.org for the announcement of the winner of the 2006 Templeton Prize For Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities. The webcast features the press conference at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City, Wednesday, March 15 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Be the first to know who the newest Templeton Prize Laureate will be!

Following the live segment, the webcast will also be archived and available on www.templetonprize.org. Please join us via a simultaneous webcast at www.templetonprize.org for the announcement of the winner of the 2006 Templeton Prize For Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities. The webcast features the press conference at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City, Wednesday, March 15 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Be the first to know who the newest Templeton Prize Laureate will be!Following the live segment, the webcast will also be archived and available on www.templetonprize.org. 3/15/2006 03/21/2007 9452 Unexpected Truth Statement by John D. Barrow
At The Templeton Prize News Conference, March 15, 2006

A little over a year ago I was in a great church - the Basilica of St Mark in Venice.  Its predecessor was raised in the year 832 to house the mortal remains of St Mark the Evangelist which had supposedly been brought to Venice from Alexandria four years earlier by two Venetian merchants.   They are alleged to have hidden the remains of the martyred Saint under layers of pork so as to avoid the attentions of Muslim customs officials.

The present Byzantine style Basilica with its distinctive cluster of low domes was begun in 1063 and consecrated in 1089.  Today, it sits next to the Doge's Palace on the edge of St Mark's Square, attracting tourists and pigeons rather than pilgrims with a facade to launch a thousand postcards.

I arrived at the church in the early evening with a small group of other scientists for a guided tour after it had closed to visitors for the day.  When we entered it was almost in total darkness.  There are few windows and those are small and far from transparent.  We were asked to sit in the centre, allowing just a few faint floor lights and an occasional electric candle to guide us to our seats.   Above us there was only darkness.

Then, very slowly, the light levels slowly rose, above us and around us, and the interior began to be illuminated by a discreet system of hidden sodium lights.  The darkness around us gave way to a spectacular golden light.  The arching ceilings above us were covered in a spectacular gleaming mosaic of glass and gold.  Between the 11th and the 15th centuries nearly 11,000 square feet of gold mosaic was made, square by square, mixing gold with glass by a delicate process that is still not fully understood, to produce this sparkling golden sanctuary.  Appearances can be deceptive.

But, on reflection, what was more striking to me was the realisation that the hundreds of master craftsmen who had worked for centuries to create this fabulous sight had never seen it in its full glory.  They worked in the gloomy interior aided by candlelight and smoky oil lamps to illuminate the small area on which they worked but not one of them had ever seen the full glory of the golden ceiling.  For them, like us, 500 years afterwards, appearances were deceptive.

Our Universe is a bit like that too.  The ancient writers who celebrated the heavens' declaration of the glory of the Lord saw only through a glass darkly.  Unbeknown to them and countless others who followed them, the Universe has revealed itself by the instruments that modern science has made possible to be far bigger, more spectacular, and more humbling than we ever imagined it to be.

The Universe appears big and old, dark and cold, hostile to life as we know it, dangerous, and costly to explore.  Many a philosopher of the past concluded that the Universe was meaningless and antithetical to life: a bleak and black realm in which our little planet is a temporary outcome of the blind forces of Nature.  Yet, appearances may again be deceptive.

Over the past 75 years, astronomers have illuminated the vault of the heavens in a completely unexpected way.  The Universe is not only big but it is getting bigger.  It is expanding.  Great clusters of galaxies are moving away from each other at increasing speeds.  This means that the size of the Universe we can see is inextricably bound up with its age.  It is big because it is old.

These huge periods of time are important for our own existence.  We are made of complicated atoms of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, along with many others; maybe one day other forms of terrestrial intelligence will be made of silicon atoms.  The nuclei of all these atoms do not come ready-made with the Universe.  They are put together by a long slow-burning sequence of nuclear reactions in the stars.  It takes almost 10 billion years for this stellar alchemy to burn hydrogen to helium, and on to beryllium, and carbon and oxygen and beyond, before the dying stars explode in supernovae and spread their life-giving debris around the Universe where it finds its way into grains of dust, planets, and ultimately into people.  The nucleus of every carbon atom in our bodies has been through a star.  We are closer to the stars than we could ever have imagined.

So you begin to understand why it is no surprise that the Universe seems so big and so old.  It takes nearly ten billion years to make the building blocks of living complexity in the stars and because the Universe is expanding it must be at least ten billion light years in size.  We could not exist in a Universe that was significantly smaller.

The vastness of the Universe is often cited as evidence for the extreme likelihood of life elsewhere. While there may be life - even conscious life - elsewhere, shear size is not compelling: we see that the Universe needs to be billions of light years in size just to support one lonely outpost of life.  An economy-sized Universe, just the size of our Milky Way Galaxy, with its 100 billion stars and possible planetary systems, seems room enough for all we hold dear.  But it would be little more than a month old.  Barely enough time to pay off your credit card bill, let alone evolve complexity and life from sub-atomic simplicity.

Any Universe that is a home for life must be big and old.  But this means that it must also be dark and cold.  As time passes, the expanding Universe gets cooler and cooler, and energies fall as space is stretched.  The inferno of the past "big bang" must, after billions of years, be replaced by the dark night sky we see around us containing just a faint glimmer of microwaves, echoing its hot beginnings, just three degrees above absolute zero of cold, but still detectable in the snow of white noise on an untuned TV screen in our living rooms.  The dark night sky that provoked so many human responses to our place in the Universe is a necessary part of a life-supporting Universe.

Life can only arise and persist in a Universe that is big and old, dark and cold, with its planets and stars and galaxies separated by vast distances.  These are necessary features of a life-supporting Universe.  Astronomy has transformed the simple-minded, life-averse, meaningless Universe of the sceptical philosophers.  It breathes new life into so many religious questions of ultimate concern and never-ending fascination.  Many of the deepest and most engaging questions that we grapple with still about the nature of the Universe have their origins in our purely religious quest for meaning.  The concept of a lawful Universe with order that can be understood and relied upon emerged largely out of religious beliefs about the nature of God.  The atomistic picture of matter arose long before there could have been any experimental evidence for or against it.  Out of these beliefs came confidence that there was an unchanging order behind the appearances that was worth studying.  Great questions about the origin and end of the Universe, possible the sources of all observed complexity, and the potential infinity of space grew out of our religious focus on the great questions of existence and the nature of God.  And, like all great questions, they can turn out to have answers that take us down unexpected paths, further and further away from the familiar and the everyday: multiverses, extra dimensions, the bending of time and of space - all may reveal a Universe than contains more than is needed for life, more even than is needed for speculation.  We see now how it is possible for a Universe that displays unending complexity and exquisite structure to be governed by a few simple laws - perhaps just one law - that are symmetrical and intelligible, laws which govern the most remarkable things in our Universe - populations of elementary 'particles' that are everywhere perfectly identical.

It is to this simple and beautiful world behind the appearances, where the lawfulness of Nature is most elegantly and completely revealed, that physicists look to find the hallmark of the Universe. Everyone else looks at the outcomes of these laws.  The outcomes are often complicated, hard to understand, and of great significance - they even include ourselves - but the true simplicity and symmetry of the Universe is to be found in the things that are not seen.  Most remarkable of all, we find that there are mathematical equations, little squiggles on pieces of paper, that tell us how whole Universes behave.  For there is a logic larger than Universes that is the more surprising because we can understand a meaningful part of it and thereby share in its appreciation.

Once we thought everything in the Universe was made of the things material that we find on Earth. We have now discovered that this too was only a first guess.  More than 70 per cent of the Universe is composed of a form of dark energy whose precise identity is unknown.  It reveals it presence by its dramatic effect upon the expansion of the Universe.  Unlike all other known forms of matter, which exert gravitational attractive forces on other forms of matter and amongst themselves, this dark form of energy responds repulsively to gravity, causing all material to accelerate away from it, creating an acceleration in the expansion of the Universe that began to occur when it had reached about 75 per cent of its presence extent.  This discovery about our Universe was a surprise - like discovering something totally unexpected about an old friend.  Again, appearances were deceptive.

So, with the Universe, as it was that evening in St Mark's, things are not always as they seem when we look upwards.  The whole is so much more than the sum of its parts.  The architects of our religious and scientific pictures of the Universe, and the many commentators on their meanings that followed them, could see only a small part of what there is, and knew only a small part of what it has to teach us about our place in the Universe.  We begin to see afresh the extraordinary nature of our local environment and the link that attaches life to the vastness of space and time.  Appearances can indeed be deceptive.

There are some who say that just because we use our minds to appreciate the order and complexity of the Universe around us that there is nothing more to that order than what is imposed by the human mind.  That is a serious misjudgement.  Were it true then we would expect to find our greatest and most reliable understanding of the world in the everyday events for which millions of years of natural selection have sharpened our wits and prepared our senses.  And when we look towards the outer space of galaxies and black holes, or into the inner space of quarks and electrons, we should expect to find few resonances between our minds and the ways of these worlds.  Natural selection requires no understanding of quarks and black holes for our survival and multiplication.   And yet, we find these expectations turned upon their heads.  The most precise and reliable knowledge we have about anything in the Universe is of events in a binary star system more than 3000 light years from our planet and in the sub-atomic world of electrons and light rays, where it is accurate to better than nine decimal places.  And curiously, our greatest uncertainties all relate to the local problems of understanding ourselves - human societies, human behaviour, and human minds - all the things that really mattered for human survival.  But that is because they need to be complex - were our minds simple enough to be understood they would be too simple to understand.

In all the science we pursue we are used to seeing progress.  Our first attempts to grasp the laws of Nature are often incomplete. They capture just a part of the truth or they see it through a glass only darkly.  Some think that our progress is like a never-ending sequence of revolutions which overthrow the old order, condemned never to converge upon anything more definitive than a more useful style of thinking.  But scientific progress doesn't look like that from the inside.  Our new theories extend and subsume old ones.  The former theories are recovered in some limited situation - slow motions, weak gravitational fields, large sizes, or low energies - from the new. Newton's 300-year old theory of mechanics and gravity has been superseded by Einstein's which will be succeeded by M theory or its unknown successor in the future.  But in a thousand years time schoolchildren will still study Newton's theories, and engineers will still rely upon them, just as they do today.  They will be the simple limiting form for slow motions and weak gravity of the ultimate theory, whatever it turns out to be.  So, in our religious conceptions of the Universe, we also use approximations and analogies to have some grasp of ultimate things.  They are not the whole truth but this does not stop them being a part of the truth: a shadow that is cast in a limiting situation of some simplicity.  Our scientific picture of the Universe has revealed time and again how blinkered and conservative our outlook has often been, how self-serving our interim picture of the Universe, how mundane our expectations, and how parochial our attempts to find or deny the links between scientific and religious approaches to the nature of the Universe. 

Sir John Templeton has sought to encourage this impartial dialogue in the firm belief that religion and science can supply mutual illumination and appreciation of the wonders of our Universe and inspire us to seek out and comprehend the truth in new ways - a truth that is unfailingly unexpected and so often not at all like it first appears.

www.templetonprize.org Astronomy has transformed the simple-minded, life-averse, meaningless Universe of the sceptical philosophers. It breathes new life into so many religious questions of ultimate concern and never-ending fascination. Many of the deepest and most engaging questions that we grapple with still about the nature of the Universe have their origins in our purely religious quest for meaning. 3/17/2006 03/21/2007 9453 Conference: Ian Ramsey Center, Putting Science and Religion in its Place, July 13-16th 2006, St. Anne's College, Oxford Putting Science and Religion in its Place: New Visions of Nature?

July 13th - 16th 2006St Anne's College, Oxford, UK

This year's annual Ian Ramsey Centre summer conference is being held in collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara, where a major research project entitled 'New Visions of Nature' is moving towards completion. A special feature of this UCSB project is its interdisciplinary character, involving the participation of physical and social scientists, anthropologists, historians, philosophers and theologians.

The aim of our conference is to ask what it means to put discussions of 'science-and-religion' in their contexts, and to explore in depth the tensions between universalist and particularist ways of understanding nature, science and religion.

SPEAKERS will include:John Hedley Brooke - Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre and Professor of Science and Religion, University of OxfordJames Proctor - Director of the 'New Visions in Nature' project, UC Santa BarbaraWillem Drees - University of Leiden and President of ESSSATDavid Livingstone - Queen's University, BelfastRonald Numbers - University of Wisconsin (Madison)Nicolaas Rupke - Georg-August University, Goettingen

CONTRIBUTED PAPERS are welcome. Please read the attached information, or to go our webpage at http://www.ianramseycentre.org/ and follow the link to Conference 2006.

FURTHER DETAILS of the Ian Ramsey Centre can also be found on our website, as can the facility for ONLINE CONFERENCE BOOKING by credit card, using the University of Oxford's new secure facility.

The Conference Director, Dr Mike Parsons (mike.parsons@theology.ox.ac.uk), is happy to answer questions about the academic programme. Booking and administrative queries should be directed to Mrs Cynthia Hall at the Ian Ramsey Centre (ian-ramsey-centre@theology.ox.ac.uk).

Mike ParsonsExecutive Director, Ian Ramsey Centre, and Conference Director.mike.parsons@theology.ox.ac.uk

Putting Science and Religion in its Place: New Visions of Nature? July 13th - 16th 2006St Anne's College, Oxford, UKThis year's annual Ian Ramsey Centre summer conference is being held in collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara, where a major research project entitled 'New Visions of Nature' is moving towards completion. A special feature of this UCSB project is its interdisciplinary character, involving the participation of physical and social scientists, anthropologists, historians, philosophers and theologians.The aim of our conference is to ask what it means to put discussions of 'science-and-religion' in their contexts, and to explore in depth the tensions between universalist and particularist ways of understanding nature, science and religion.SPEAKERS will include:John Hedley Brooke - Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre and Professor of Science and Religion, University of OxfordJames Proctor - Director of the 'New Visions in Nature' project, UC Santa BarbaraWillem Drees - University of Leiden and President of ESSSATDavid Livingstone - Queen's University, BelfastRonald Numbers - University of Wisconsin (Madison)Nicolaas Rupke - Georg-August University, GoettingenCONTRIBUTED PAPERS are welcome. Please read the attached information, or to go our webpage at http://www.ianramseycentre.org/ and follow the link to Conference 2006.FURTHER DETAILS of the Ian Ramsey Centre can also be found on our website, as can the facility for ONLINE CONFERENCE BOOKING by credit card, using the University of Oxford's new secure facility.The Conference Director, Dr Mike Parsons (mike.parsons@theology.ox.ac.uk), is happy to answer questions about the academic programme. Booking and administrative queries should be directed to Mrs Cynthia Hall at the Ian Ramsey Centre (ian-ramsey-centre@theology.ox.ac.uk).Mike ParsonsExecutive Director, Ian Ramsey Centre, and Conference Director.mike.parsons@theology.ox.ac.uk 3/23/2006 03/21/2007 9454 Public Lecture: Isthmus Society, Science and Islam: From Pluralism to Religious Essentialism, April 4, 2006, University of Wisconsin, Madison Science and Islam: From Pluralism to Religious Essentialism

A public lecture presented by S. Irfan Habib

Historian of science at the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies, New Delhi. Professor Habib has worked on the intellectual and institutional influences on science in nineteenth-century India and has also explored the relationship between science and nationalism. These days he is interested in investigating the debate on science and rationality within the specific context of the formation science and Islam. Through his work in nineteenth- and twentieth-century India, he is trying to counter the current trends in Islam of essentializing science as Islamic science.

He has co-edited the volume Situating the History of Science: Dialogues with Joseph Needham (Oxford Univ. Press, 1999) and has also co-authored a book, Domesticating Modern Science: A Social history of science and culture in colonial India (Tulika, 2004).

April 4, 2006 (Tuesday)4 - 5 PMRoom 3650, Humanities Building455 N. Park St.Madison, WI

Sponsored by:

Isthmus SocietyDialogue among Religions and Sciences at UW-MadisonIsthmus@mailplus.wisc.edu

Co-Sponsored by:

Robert F. and Jean E. Holtz Center for Science and Technology StudiesUW-Madison Middle East Studies ProgramThe Metanexus Institute, Local Societies InitiativeNew College MadisonThe Lubar Institute for Study of the Abrahamic Religions

~ Free and Open to the Public ~

Science and Islam: From Pluralism to Religious Essentialism A public lecture presented by S. Irfan Habib Historian of science at the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies, New Delhi. Professor Habib has worked on the intellectual and institutional influences on science in nineteenth-century India and has also explored the relationship between science and nationalism. These days he is interested in investigating the debate on science and rationality within the specific context of the formation science and Islam. Through his work in nineteenth- and twentieth-century India, he is trying to counter the current trends in Islam of essentializing science as Islamic science. He has co-edited the volume Situating the History of Science: Dialogues with Joseph Needham (Oxford Univ. Press, 1999) and has also co-authored a book, Domesticating Modern Science: A Social history of science and culture in colonial India (Tulika, 2004).April 4, 2006 (Tuesday) 4 - 5 PM Room 3650, Humanities Building455 N. Park St. Madison, WI Sponsored by:Isthmus Society Dialogue among Religions and Sciences at UW-Madison Isthmus@mailplus.wisc.edu Co-Sponsored by:Robert F. and Jean E. Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies UW-Madison Middle East Studies Program The Metanexus Institute, Local Societies InitiativeNew College Madison The Lubar Institute for Study of the Abrahamic Religions ~ Free and Open to the Public ~ 3/23/2006 03/21/2007 9455 Conference: Carl Howie Center for Science, Art and Theology, Taking Care/Dying Well: Artistic, Medical and Religious Perspectives on Death and Dying, April 6, 2006, Union Theological Seminary/PSCE The Carl Howie Center for Science, Art and Theology at the Union Theological Seminary / PSCE of Richmond and the Life Sciences and Religion Community Forum of Central Virginia, present:

Taking Care / Dying Well: Artistic, Medical and Religious Perspectives on Death and Dying

Thursday April 6th, 2006, 4pm - 9pm atUnion Theological Seminary / PSCE3401 Brook Road, Richmond VA

4pm - Video presentation and discussion, Deconstructed Dialogues by Martha Curtis and Robbie Kinter from VCU's School of the Arts, with panelists Henry Simmons and Laura Finch

5pm - Presentation and discussion, Fearful Symmetry by Scarlett Sams

5:30pm - Dinner -- Registration required for dinner http://www.union-psce.edu/carlhowie/registration.shtml

7pm - Keynote speaker Dr Joanne Lynn, with panelists Charles Brown, Ev Worthington and Tim Ford

Sculpture exhibit The Human Condition by Christina Weisner will be on display throughout the event

Please visit http://www.union-psce.edu/carlhowie/index.shtml for more info on the Howie Center or http://www.vcu.edu/faithscienceforum/index.html for more info on the Life Sciences and Religion Community Forum.

For researchers, an additional event will be held Friday April 7th 9am-12noon. This will be an interdisciplinary research/scholarship meeting about death & dying and related issues. Free and open to all VCU and Union / PSCE faculty, staff and graduate students interested in conducting research on death & dying.

Friday April 7th, 2006, 9am - 12 noon. Rooms 104-105 in the Medical Sciences Building (MSB), 1217 E Marshall Street, MCV Campus of VCU.

Featured speaker will be Dr Joanne Lynn, expert on aging and end-of-life care. Dr Lynn will provide an overview of the needs and opportunities for clinical research and policy research. Michelle Kienholz from the VCU Office of Research will provide an overview of federal funding mechanisms and relevant tools. Attendees will be encouraged to describe their own research, resources, and interests in this area, and to seek interdisciplinary collaborators.

As seating is limited, registration is required via email to Brian Cassel at jbcassel@vcu.edu The Carl Howie Center for Science, Art and Theology at the Union Theological Seminary / PSCE of Richmond and the Life Sciences and Religion Community Forum of Central Virginia, present:Taking Care / Dying Well: Artistic, Medical and Religious Perspectives on Death and DyingThursday April 6th, 2006, 4pm - 9pm at Union Theological Seminary / PSCE 3401 Brook Road, Richmond VA4pm - Video presentation and discussion, Deconstructed Dialogues by Martha Curtis and Robbie Kinter from VCU's School of the Arts, with panelists Henry Simmons and Laura Finch5pm - Presentation and discussion, Fearful Symmetry by Scarlett Sams5:30pm - Dinner -- Registration required for dinner http://www.union-psce.edu/carlhowie/registration.shtml7pm - Keynote speaker Dr Joanne Lynn, with panelists Charles Brown, Ev Worthington and Tim FordSculpture exhibit The Human Condition by Christina Weisner will be on display throughout the eventPlease visit http://www.union-psce.edu/carlhowie/index.shtml for more info on the Howie Center or http://www.vcu.edu/faithscienceforum/index.html for more info on the Life Sciences and Religion Community Forum. For researchers, an additional event will be held Friday April 7th 9am-12noon. This will be an interdisciplinary research/scholarship meeting about death & dying and related issues. Free and open to all VCU and Union / PSCE faculty, staff and graduate students interested in conducting research on death & dying. Friday April 7th, 2006, 9am - 12 noon. Rooms 104-105 in the Medical Sciences Building (MSB), 1217 E Marshall Street, MCV Campus of VCU.Featured speaker will be Dr Joanne Lynn, expert on aging and end-of-life care. Dr Lynn will provide an overview of the needs and opportunities for clinical research and policy research. Michelle Kienholz from the VCU Office of Research will provide an overview of federal funding mechanisms and relevant tools. Attendees will be encouraged to describe their own research, resources, and interests in this area, and to seek interdisciplinary collaborators. As seating is limited, registration is required via email to Brian Cassel at jbcassel@vcu.edu 3/23/2006 03/21/2007 9456 Presentations: Center for the Study of Health, Religion and Spirituality, Spring 2006 Events, April 17, 18 & 24th 2006, Indiana State University Assessing the Evidence for ReincarnationChris Bache, Ph.D., professor of Religious Studies at Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio (Co-sponsored with the ISU Department of Geology, Geography, & Anthropology)Monday April 17, 2006 - 3:00 pmRoom DeDe III in the Hulman Memorial Student Union, ISU Campus, Terre Haute, IN

Psychologists and Clergy Working TogetherMark R. McMinn, Ph.D., ABPPRech Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College, Wheaton, ILMonday April 17, 2006 - 7:00 pm (Refreshments Provided)Landsbaum Center for Medical Education; 1433 N. 6 1/2 Street, TerreHaute, IN

Relational Cognitive Therapy: A Christian Approach to PsychotherapyMark R. McMinn, Ph.D., ABPPRech Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College, Wheaton, ILTuesday, April 18, 2006- 11:00 amRoom DeDe III in the Hulman Memorial Student Union, ISU Campus, TerreHaute, IN

Understanding the Intelligent Design ControversyNeil A. Manson, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mississippi(Co-Sponsored with the ISU Department of Philosophy)Monday April 24, 2006 - 3:15 pmHolmstedt Hall Room 116, ISU Campus, Terre Haute, IN

Panel Discussion on Intelligent Design: Philosophical, Theological, &
Scientific PerspectivesMonday April 24, 2006 - 7:00 pm(Co-Sponsored with the ISU Department of Philosophy)DeDe III in the Hulman Memorial Student Union, ISU Campus, Terre Haute,IN

Feel free to pass this information along to anyone who might be interested.

For more information on the following programs, call (812) 237-2449, (812) 237-2446, or (812) 237-2467; e-mail us at: tjohnson1@isugw.indstate.edu, bennett6@isugw.indtate.edu, or pykris@isugw.indstate.edu; or visit our web-site at: www.indstate.edu/psych/cshrs.The Center for the Study of Health, Religion, and Spirituality was founded in 2003 at Indiana State University with support from the university, the Department of Psychology, and the Metanexus Institute. The Center's principles are to draw on the best in psychological and behavioral science methods to understand and illuminate the universal value and meaning of religious and spiritual experience, particularly as it promotes health and well-being. The Center is respectful of all religious and spiritual traditions, recognizing that each has enriched humanity and the understanding of the highest principles of wisdom and well-being.

The Center advocates that the highest levels of scholarship and methodological rigor should be applied to studying questions regarding health, religion, and spirituality. Contributions and methods from different fields of inquiry (e.g., social sciences, philosophy and humanities, biological sciences, etc.) are essential. Good scholarship requires that viewpoints and insights from diverse religious and spiritual traditions are respectfully considered and used to inform research questions and methods.

Thomas J. Johnson, Ph.D.Professor of PsychologyAssociate Director - Center for the Study of Health, Religion, & SpiritualityIndiana State University450 North 7th StreetTerre Haute, IN 47809Phone: (812) 237-2449Fax: (812) 237-4378 Assessing the Evidence for ReincarnationChris Bache, Ph.D., professor of Religious Studies at Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio (Co-sponsored with the ISU Department of Geology, Geography, & Anthropology)Monday April 17, 2006 - 3:00 pmRoom DeDe III in the Hulman Memorial Student Union, ISU Campus, Terre Haute, INPsychologists and Clergy Working TogetherMark R. McMinn, Ph.D., ABPPRech Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College, Wheaton, ILMonday April 17, 2006 - 7:00 pm (Refreshments Provided)Landsbaum Center for Medical Education; 1433 N. 6 1/2 Street, TerreHaute, INRelational Cognitive Therapy: A Christian Approach to PsychotherapyMark R. McMinn, Ph.D., ABPPRech Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College, Wheaton, ILTuesday, April 18, 2006- 11:00 amRoom DeDe III in the Hulman Memorial Student Union, ISU Campus, TerreHaute, INUnderstanding the Intelligent Design ControversyNeil A. Manson, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mississippi(Co-Sponsored with the ISU Department of Philosophy)Monday April 24, 2006 - 3:15 pmHolmstedt Hall Room 116, ISU Campus, Terre Haute, INPanel Discussion on Intelligent Design: Philosophical, Theological, &Scientific PerspectivesMonday April 24, 2006 - 7:00 pm(Co-Sponsored with the ISU Department of Philosophy)DeDe III in the Hulman Memorial Student Union, ISU Campus, Terre Haute,INFeel free to pass this information along to anyone who might be interested.For more information on the following programs, call (812) 237-2449, (812) 237-2446, or (812) 237-2467; e-mail us at: tjohnson1@isugw.indstate.edu, bennett6@isugw.indtate.edu, or pykris@isugw.indstate.edu; or visit our web-site at: www.indstate.edu/psych/cshrs. The Center for the Study of Health, Religion, and Spirituality was founded in 2003 at Indiana State University with support from the university, the Department of Psychology, and the Metanexus Institute. The Center's principles are to draw on the best in psychological and behavioral science methods to understand and illuminate the universal value and meaning of religious and spiritual experience, particularly as it promotes health and well-being. The Center is respectful of all religious and spiritual traditions, recognizing that each has enriched humanity and the understanding of the highest principles of wisdom and well-being.The Center advocates that the highest levels of scholarship and methodological rigor should be applied to studying questions regarding health, religion, and spirituality. Contributions and methods from different fields of inquiry (e.g., social sciences, philosophy and humanities, biological sciences, etc.) are essential. Good scholarship requires that viewpoints and insights from diverse religious and spiritual traditions are respectfully considered and used to inform research questions and methods.Thomas J. Johnson, Ph.D.Professor of PsychologyAssociate Director - Center for the Study of Health, Religion, & SpiritualityIndiana State University450 North 7th StreetTerre Haute, IN 47809Phone: (812) 237-2449Fax: (812) 237-4378 3/23/2006 03/21/2007 9457 Conference: Euresis-Sezione di Catania, La persona, la realt‡ e le teorie scientifiche (Person, reality and scientific theories), 21 March 2006, University of Catania, Italy Euresis - Sezione di Catania, in collaboration with the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Catania and the Interuniversity Higher School for the Specialization in Teaching, have organized a Conference on:La persona, la realt‡ e le teorie scientifiche(Person, reality and scientific theories)March 21 2006 at 5.30 p.m.in the Main Lecture Hall of the Dept. of Physics and AstronomyVia Santa Sofia, 64, Catania, Italy.

The lecturer will be Prof. Giuseppe Del Re, Full Professor of Theoretical Chemistry in the University of Naples Federico II and chairman of the board of the Italian Ministry of Education for the evaluation of the teaching of scientific disciplines in the high schools.

This conference is intended to continue the exploration of the relationship between the human person and the meaning of the reality that Euresis - Sezione di Catania started with the conference of Dr. Luca Doninelli in November 2005.

The conference is organized thanks to the generous support of the Metanexus Institute, Philadelphia, provided to Euresis through the Local Societies Initiative Program.

For more information on the conference, please contact:

Prof. Raffaele Bonomo, Dept. of Chemistry of the University of Catania.E-mail: rbonomo@dipchi.unict.it

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Antonino Francesco LANZA INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania Via S. Sofia, 78 95123 Catania. Italy Tel +39-095-7332-238 Fax. +39-095-330592 (Attn. A. F. Lanza) Euresis - Sezione di Catania, in collaboration with the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Catania and the Interuniversity Higher School for the Specialization in Teaching, have organized a Conference on: La persona, la realt‡ e le teorie scientifiche (Person, reality and scientific theories) March 21 2006 at 5.30 p.m. in the Main Lecture Hall of the Dept. of Physics and AstronomyVia Santa Sofia, 64, Catania, Italy.The lecturer will be Prof. Giuseppe Del Re, Full Professor of Theoretical Chemistry in the University of Naples Federico II and chairman of the board of the Italian Ministry of Education for the evaluation of the teaching of scientific disciplines in the high schools.This conference is intended to continue the exploration of the relationship between the human person and the meaning of the reality that Euresis - Sezione di Catania started with the conference of Dr. Luca Doninelli in November 2005.The conference is organized thanks to the generous support of the Metanexus Institute, Philadelphia, provided to Euresis through the Local Societies Initiative Program.For more information on the conference, please contact:Prof. Raffaele Bonomo, Dept. of Chemistry of the University of Catania. E-mail: rbonomo@dipchi.unict.it--------------------------------------------------------------------- Antonino Francesco LANZA INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania Via S. Sofia, 78 95123 Catania. Italy Tel +39-095-7332-238 Fax. +39-095-330592 (Attn. A. F. Lanza) 3/23/2006 03/21/2007 9458 Lecture: William Grassie, Science and the Sacred, 26 March 2006, Unitarian Church, Westport, CT Science and the Sacred

William Grassie to speak in Westport on Sunday, March 26

The Interfaith Council of Westport & Weston Connecticut will host a lecture and discussion on Sunday, March 26 at 4 pm with Dr. William Grassie, executive director of the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science. The lecture is entitled Science and the Sacred: Towards the Constructive Engagement of Religion and Science and will be held at the Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Road, in Westport, CT. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, go to: http://www.uuwestport.com/science.html

Science and the Sacred provides a sweeping overview of multiple issues and challenges at the intersection of religion and science. On campus and out in communities, in print and online, we are witnessing a new and far-reaching intellectual encounter that seeks to engage the estranged domains of science and religion in a constructive dialogue. What, where, when, how, who and why the constructive engagement between science and religion? This discussion is an introduction and invitation to join in a challenging and exciting adventure at a unique moment in the natural history of the planet and the cultural evolution of our species.

William Grassie is founder and executive director of the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science. Metanexus currently runs some 300 projects at universities in 37 countries. Grassie also serves as executive editor of the Instituteπs online magazine and discussion forum with over 180,000 monthly page views and over 8000 regular subscribers in 57 different countries. He has taught in a variety of positions at Temple University, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania. Grassie received his doctorate in religion from Temple University in 1994 and his bachelor degree from Middlebury College in 1979. Prior to graduate school, Grassie worked for ten years in religiously-based social service and advocacy organizations in Washington, D.C; Jerusalem, Israel-Palestine; Berlin, Germany; and Philadelphia, PA. He is the recipient of a number of academic awards and grants from the American Friends Service Committee, the Roothbert Fellowship, and the John Templeton Foundation. He is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). For more information, go to http://www.metanexus.net

The purpose of the Westport & Weston Interfaith Council is to promote a climate of understanding and respect for the many religious traditions, to work together to foster religious values we hold in common, and to speak to contemporary issues affecting our community Science and the SacredWilliam Grassie to speak in Westport on Sunday, March 26The Interfaith Council of Westport & Weston Connecticut will host a lecture and discussion on Sunday, March 26 at 4 pm with Dr. William Grassie, executive director of the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science. The lecture is entitled Science and the Sacred: Towards the Constructive Engagement of Religion and Science and will be held at the Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Road, in Westport, CT. The event is free and open to the public.For more information, go to: http://www.uuwestport.com/science.htmlScience and the Sacred provides a sweeping overview of multiple issues and challenges at the intersection of religion and science. On campus and out in communities, in print and online, we are witnessing a new and far-reaching intellectual encounter that seeks to engage the estranged domains of science and religion in a constructive dialogue. What, where, when, how, who and why the constructive engagement between science and religion? This discussion is an introduction and invitation to join in a challenging and exciting adventure at a unique moment in the natural history of the planet and the cultural evolution of our species.William Grassie is founder and executive director of the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science. Metanexus currently runs some 300 projects at universities in 37 countries. Grassie also serves as executive editor of the Instituteπs online magazine and discussion forum with over 180,000 monthly page views and over 8000 regular subscribers in 57 different countries. He has taught in a variety of positions at Temple University, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania. Grassie received his doctorate in religion from Temple University in 1994 and his bachelor degree from Middlebury College in 1979. Prior to graduate school, Grassie worked for ten years in religiously-based social service and advocacy organizations in Washington, D.C; Jerusalem, Israel-Palestine; Berlin, Germany; and Philadelphia, PA. He is the recipient of a number of academic awards and grants from the American Friends Service Committee, the Roothbert Fellowship, and the John Templeton Foundation. He is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). For more information, go to http://www.metanexus.netThe purpose of the Westport & Weston Interfaith Council is to promote a climate of understanding and respect for the many religious traditions, to work together to foster religious values we hold in common, and to speak to contemporary issues affecting our community 3/24/2006 03/21/2007 9459 Grant Program: CTNS, Science and Transcendence Advanced Research Series, Berkeley CA, Application Deadline 15 June 2006 Grant program to break new ground- $1.3 million in research grants to explore the intersection between Science and Transcendence

Grant Applications Taken Through June 15, 2006

(Berkeley, CA, March 25, 2006) - The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS), based in Berkeley, CA has announced an advanced research grant series for inter-disciplinary research partnered with a series of conferences to explore the creative interface between science and transcendence. The STARS - Science and Transcendence Advanced Research Series consists of two parts. First, as a series of conferences and secondly as a grant program designed to sponsor small teams of scientists and humanities scholars to explore more deeply the interface between the latest scientific discoveries and theories, and their implications for ultimate reality. The program builds on the recently successful CTNS Science and the Spiritual Quest program (www.ctns.org/ssq), and has been funded by the John Templeton Foundation (www.templeton.org)

This grant program is designed to break new ground and move scientific and humanities research beyond the more familiar and traditional questions of science and religion and instead spawn new and innovative research in the area of science and ultimate reality, said Dennis Hair, program director for STARS. We hope to provide scientists who demonstrate outstanding potential with the ability to conduct research on the ways science, in light of philosophical and theological reflection, points towards the nature, character, and meaning of transcendence.

There will be 150 applicants selected to attend one of three advanced conferences to take place in the Mexican Rivera next January. Led by many of the top scientists and theologians of our time, topics for these conferences include; Cosmology, Physics and the Possibility of Life; Evolution, ET and the Significance of Life in the Universe; and Complexity Theory, Emergence and the Influence of Life on Matter. After those initial 150 grants, twenty prominent research teams will be awarded $20,000 grants to complete research projects. These will then be followed by five grants for $100,000 and two grants for $200,000 in a competitive environment to further science and transcendence research. Conference applications are due by June 15, 2006 and may be downloaded online at www.ctns.org/stars or will be mailed by calling (510) 848-2350. Planning Grants and Research Grant applications will be available April 15th online at www.ctns.org/stars.

About STARS

STARS is a program administered by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, www.ctns.org, in Berkeley, California and intends to further explore the role of scientific discovery and its role in ultimate reality. The program builds upon the twenty-five year track record of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, and the Science and the Spiritual Quest program where over 120 distinguished scientists from the major world religions lectured in public conferences from Boston to Bangalore, describing the many ways in which science serves for them as a path to spirituality, exploring the many connections between their scientific pursuits and their spiritual practices. More information can be found at www.ctns.org/stars.

About the John Templeton FoundationIn pursuing research at the boundary between science and religion, the Foundation seeks to unite credible and rigorous science with the exploration of humanity's basic spiritual and religious quests.

Working closely with scientists, theologians, medical professional, philosophers and other scholars, the Foundation encourages substantive dialogue in order to stimulate research and reflection in the relationship between science and religion. The Foundation especially seeks to stimulate rigorous scholarly/scientific advances that increase understanding of the ultimate aspects of human purpose, and of the vast potential for creativity and progress, which can be inspired by the collaboration of science and religion.

Media Contact:

Silas DeaneLogic Media Group(615) 244-8035Silas@logicmediagroup.com Grant program to break new ground- $1.3 million in research grants to explore the intersection between Science and TranscendenceGrant Applications Taken Through June 15, 2006(Berkeley, CA, March 25, 2006) - The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS), based in Berkeley, CA has announced an advanced research grant series for inter-disciplinary research partnered with a series of conferences to explore the creative interface between science and transcendence. The STARS - Science and Transcendence Advanced Research Series consists of two parts. First, as a series of conferences and secondly as a grant program designed to sponsor small teams of scientists and humanities scholars to explore more deeply the interface between the latest scientific discoveries and theories, and their implications for ultimate reality. The program builds on the recently successful CTNS Science and the Spiritual Quest program (www.ctns.org/ssq), and has been funded by the John Templeton Foundation (www.templeton.org)This grant program is designed to break new ground and move scientific and humanities research beyond the more familiar and traditional questions of science and religion and instead spawn new and innovative research in the area of science and ultimate reality, said Dennis Hair, program director for STARS. We hope to provide scientists who demonstrate outstanding potential with the ability to conduct research on the ways science, in light of philosophical and theological reflection, points towards the nature, character, and meaning of transcendence.There will be 150 applicants selected to attend one of three advanced conferences to take place in the Mexican Rivera next January. Led by many of the top scientists and theologians of our time, topics for these conferences include; Cosmology, Physics and the Possibility of Life; Evolution, ET and the Significance of Life in the Universe; and Complexity Theory, Emergence and the Influence of Life on Matter. After those initial 150 grants, twenty prominent research teams will be awarded $20,000 grants to complete research projects. These will then be followed by five grants for $100,000 and two grants for $200,000 in a competitive environment to further science and transcendence research. Conference applications are due by June 15, 2006 and may be downloaded online at www.ctns.org/stars or will be mailed by calling (510) 848-2350. Planning Grants and Research Grant applications will be available April 15th online at www.ctns.org/stars. About STARSSTARS is a program administered by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, www.ctns.org, in Berkeley, California and intends to further explore the role of scientific discovery and its role in ultimate reality. The program builds upon the twenty-five year track record of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, and the Science and the Spiritual Quest program where over 120 distinguished scientists from the major world religions lectured in public conferences from Boston to Bangalore, describing the many ways in which science serves for them as a path to spirituality, exploring the many connections between their scientific pursuits and their spiritual practices. More information can be found at www.ctns.org/stars.About the John Templeton FoundationIn pursuing research at the boundary between science and religion, the Foundation seeks to unite credible and rigorous science with the exploration of humanity's basic spiritual and religious quests.Working closely with scientists, theologians, medical professional, philosophers and other scholars, the Foundation encourages substantive dialogue in order to stimulate research and reflection in the relationship between science and religion. The Foundation especially seeks to stimulate rigorous scholarly/scientific advances that increase understanding of the ultimate aspects of human purpose, and of the vast potential for creativity and progress, which can be inspired by the collaboration of science and religion.Media Contact:Silas DeaneLogic Media Group(615) 244-8035Silas@logicmediagroup.com 3/29/2006 03/21/2007 9460 Lecture: Wendy Chavkin, Do Religion and Medicine Collide? The Case of Assisted Reproductive Technologies, 6 April 2006, Columbia University, NY The Center for the Study of Science and Religion -
The Earth Institute at Columbia University

The CSSR Spring 2006 Seminar Series Presents:

ìDo Religion and Medicine Collide? The Case of Assisted Reproductive Technologiesî

Speaker: Wendy Chavkin, M.D., M.P.H.Date: Thursday April 6th, 6:00-7:30pmLocation: Davis Auditorium, Schapiro Center, Columbia UniversityDirections: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr/davis_directions.htmlSubway: 116th Street stop on the 1Information: 212.854.1673 - www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr

Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Wendy Chavkin, M.D., M.P.H. has used her extensive expertise in the field of women's health to become one of the foremost voices calling for change at the critical juncture where politics and reproductive health collide. On Thursday, April 6th, Dr. Chavkin will once again make a strong statement for women's health when she explores the powerful nexus between states, religious authorities, declining fertility and assisted reproductive technologies. Is the development and implementation of assisted reproductive technologies hindered or helped by nations in which religion has a strong influence on government?

Dr. Wendy Chavkin currently serves as director of the Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellowship, which brings together scholar-activists from around the world to focus on reproductive rights and health policy questions, and chair to the Board of Directors of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. From 1994 to 2002 she was editor-in-chief of The Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, and from 1984 to 1988, she served as director of The Bureau of Maternity Services and Family Planning in New York City's Department of Health. She has published prolifically concerning women's reproductive health issues for over two decades, including the consequences of welfare reform for the health of women and children, occupational health, reproductive health in medical education, HIV, and illegal drug use in pregnancy. Dr. Chavkin was the 2004-2005 Fulbright New Century Scholar for her research on Fertility Decline and the Empowerment of Women and is the Principal Investigator for the Finding Common Ground Project.

To reconsider the large question -- is the natural normative? -- from both scientific and religious perspectives at once, and to examine the social, medical and political implications of our current inability to reach a single answer, the Center for the Study of Science and Religion (CSSR) was founded in the summer of 1999. The CSSR is an interdisciplinary, inter-school, collaborative forum for the examination of issues lying at the boundary of the scientific and religious ways of comprehending the world and our place in it.

Visit http://www.columbia/edu/cu/cssr for directions and more information, or contact Alisa Frohman at agf2007@columbia.edu.

Center for the Study of Science & ReligionThe Earth Institute at Columbia UniversityPhone: 212.854.1673Fax: 212.865.8246E-mail: cssr@columbia.eduWebsite: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr The Center for the Study of Science and Religion -The Earth Institute at Columbia UniversityThe CSSR Spring 2006 Seminar Series Presents:ìDo Religion and Medicine Collide? The Case of Assisted Reproductive TechnologiesîSpeaker: Wendy Chavkin, M.D., M.P.H.Date: Thursday April 6th, 6:00-7:30pmLocation: Davis Auditorium, Schapiro Center, Columbia University Directions: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr/davis_directions.htmlSubway: 116th Street stop on the 1Information: 212.854.1673 - www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Wendy Chavkin, M.D., M.P.H. has used her extensive expertise in the field of women's health to become one of the foremost voices calling for change at the critical juncture where politics and reproductive health collide. On Thursday, April 6th, Dr. Chavkin will once again make a strong statement for women's health when she explores the powerful nexus between states, religious authorities, declining fertility and assisted reproductive technologies. Is the development and implementation of assisted reproductive technologies hindered or helped by nations in which religion has a strong influence on government?Dr. Wendy Chavkin currently serves as director of the Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellowship, which brings together scholar-activists from around the world to focus on reproductive rights and health policy questions, and chair to the Board of Directors of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. From 1994 to 2002 she was editor-in-chief of The Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, and from 1984 to 1988, she served as director of The Bureau of Maternity Services and Family Planning in New York City's Department of Health. She has published prolifically concerning women's reproductive health issues for over two decades, including the consequences of welfare reform for the health of women and children, occupational health, reproductive health in medical education, HIV, and illegal drug use in pregnancy. Dr. Chavkin was the 2004-2005 Fulbright New Century Scholar for her research on Fertility Decline and the Empowerment of Women and is the Principal Investigator for the Finding Common Ground Project.To reconsider the large question -- is the natural normative? -- from both scientific and religious perspectives at once, and to examine the social, medical and political implications of our current inability to reach a single answer, the Center for the Study of Science and Religion (CSSR) was founded in the summer of 1999. The CSSR is an interdisciplinary, inter-school, collaborative forum for the examination of issues lying at the boundary of the scientific and religious ways of comprehending the world and our place in it.Visit http://www.columbia/edu/cu/cssr for directions and more information, or contact Alisa Frohman at agf2007@columbia.edu.Center for the Study of Science & ReligionThe Earth Institute at Columbia UniversityPhone: 212.854.1673Fax: 212.865.8246E-mail: cssr@columbia.eduWebsite: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cssr 3/29/2006 03/21/2007 9461 Job Opportunity: Faculty of Theology, Andreas Idreos Professorship of Science and Religion, October 2007, Oxford University Andreas Idreos Professorship of Science and Religion

The University intends to elect a new Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion from 1 October 2007 or earlier if possible. The post, which is based in the Faculty of Theology, is currently held by Professor John Brooke, who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of Science and Religion. The University seeks to appoint a successor of equivalent academic standing.

The chair has been created by means of a munificent benefaction from Dr Andreas Idreos. This interdisciplinary professorship is devoted to research and teaching in (i) questions raised for Theology by the natural and human and social sciences (including moral and social questions), and (ii) the impact of Theology on the natural, human and social sciences. The person appointed will have an outstanding research and publication record in their chosen field of Science and Religion. It is expected that he or she will benefit from Oxford's international renown as a base for their own research activities. A non-stipendiary fellowship at Harris Manchester College is attached to the post.

Further particulars, including details of how to apply, are available from http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/fp/ or from the Registrar:

University OfficesWellington SquareOxford, OX1 2JDTel. 01865 270200

The closing date is Monday 8 May 2006. Andreas Idreos Professorship of Science and ReligionThe University intends to elect a new Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion from 1 October 2007 or earlier if possible. The post, which is based in the Faculty of Theology, is currently held by Professor John Brooke, who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of Science and Religion. The University seeks to appoint a successor of equivalent academic standing.The chair has been created by means of a munificent benefaction from Dr Andreas Idreos. This interdisciplinary professorship is devoted to research and teaching in (i) questions raised for Theology by the natural and human and social sciences (including moral and social questions), and (ii) the impact of Theology on the natural, human and social sciences. The person appointed will have an outstanding research and publication record in their chosen field of Science and Religion. It is expected that he or she will benefit from Oxford's international renown as a base for their own research activities. A non-stipendiary fellowship at Harris Manchester College is attached to the post. Further particulars, including details of how to apply, are available from http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/fp/ or from the Registrar:University OfficesWellington SquareOxford, OX1 2JD Tel. 01865 270200The closing date is Monday 8 May 2006. 3/29/2006 03/21/2007 9462 Meeting Reminder: Joshua Lipschutz, MD, Spirituality, Religion and Health Interest Group, 5 April 2006, University of Pennsylvania A reminder of the April meeting of the University of Pennsylvania's Spirituality, Religion, and Health Interest Group

Wednesday, April 5, 200610:00 to 11:30 AMHUP's Hirst Auditorium (Dulles 1)JOSHUA H. LIPSCHUTZ, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, will lead a discussion of the article Religiosity in a Hemodialysis Population and Its Relationship to Satisfaction with Medical Care, Satisfaction with Life, and Adherence, American Journal of Kidney Diseases 44, no. 3 (September 2004): 488-497.

The article is available on-line through the Pastoral Care website's Interest Group page (www.uphs.upenn.edu/pastoral/events/srhig.html).

For more information, call the Department of Pastoral Care at 215-662-2591.

ALSO:Please visit our web site's home page (www.uphs.upenn.edu/pastoral) for information on the 9th Annual Spirituality Research Symposium at Penn on April 25th. A reminder of the April meeting of the University of Pennsylvania's Spirituality, Religion, and Health Interest GroupWednesday, April 5, 200610:00 to 11:30 AMHUP's Hirst Auditorium (Dulles 1) JOSHUA H. LIPSCHUTZ, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, will lead a discussion of the article Religiosity in a Hemodialysis Population and Its Relationship to Satisfaction with Medical Care, Satisfaction with Life, and Adherence, American Journal of Kidney Diseases 44, no. 3 (September 2004): 488-497.The article is available on-line through the Pastoral Care website's Interest Group page (www.uphs.upenn.edu/pastoral/events/srhig.html). For more information, call the Department of Pastoral Care at 215-662-2591.ALSO:Please visit our web site's home page (www.uphs.upenn.edu/pastoral) for information on the 9th Annual Spirituality Research Symposium at Penn on April 25th. 3/30/2006 03/21/2007 9463 International Conference: SophiaEuropa, Action Theories, 6-8 October 2006, Pontifical Salesian University, Rome International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Action theories: Social action, Theory of Mind, Philosophy of Action, religious Action.

To be held at the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome, Friday 6-Sunday 8 October 2006.

The Conference aims to clarify the main distinction between diverse theories of action and to tackle the different issues of information from a different point of view. The conference will also provide an opportunity for networking on an interdisciplinary basis for academics interested in these research areas. The programme will be confirmed by 20 May 2006. Each systematic issue will be represented by two speakers. In general, these two have their respective background in the so-called hard sciences, philosophy and theology.

The conference is organized by SophiaEuropa, Areas: 1) Causality and Motivation and 2) Nature, Intentionality and Finality, with the support of the Pontifical Salesian University. Each speaker will have 50' at his disposal, discussion included. The conference will take place at the Salesian University, Rome. Travel and lodging expenses will be covered by the organization.

Deadline for abstract submissions: May 20, 2006

Languages: Italian and English

It is intended to publish the proceedings.

Confirmed speakers are:

Mario Toso (Pontifical Salesian University, Rome)Roberto Poli (Trento University, Italy)Antonio Russo (Trieste University, Italy)Fulvio Longato (Trieste University, Italy)Giovanni Russo (Pontifical Theological Faculty, Messina, Italy)Stephan Schaede(FEST, Heidelberg, Germany)Rainer Nagel (T¸bingen University, Faculty of Mathematics, Germany)Carmelo Vigna (Venezia University, Italy)Max Seckler (T¸bingen University, Germany)Gregor Nickel (Universiy of T¸bingen, Faculty of Mathematics)

Other invited speakers:

Angela Ales Bello (Pontifical Lateran University, Rome)Johanna Seibt (University of Aarhus, Denmark)Giuseppe Abb‡ (Pontifical Salesian University, Rome)Marc Leclerc (Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome)Claude Troisfontaines (University of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)Jean-Louis Veillhard-Baron (University of Poitiers, France)Simone D'Agostino (Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome)Antonio Clericuzio (University of Cassino, Italy)Card. Georges Marie Cottier, Vatican CityEnrico Berti (University of Padova, Italy)

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:AristotelesThomas of AquinasMartin LutherMelchior CanusFranz BrentanoLujo BrentanoMaurice BlondelEtienne GilsonJacques MaritainBenedetto CroceGiovanni Gentile and his schoolHenri de LubacEdith SteinEdmund HusserlAlfred N. Whitehead

With the Patronage of: Prof. Dr. Mario Toso, Rector of the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome; Mons. Prof. Dr. Francesco Coccopalmerio, Auxiliary Bishop, Milan and Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; Card. Walter Kasper, Vatican City; Card. Georges M. Cottier, Vatican City; Prof. Dr. Stefano De Martino, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Trieste.

For further information, if you are interested in attending the Conference and/or contributing your own ideas, please send an email (with one-half page abstract) to: Antonio Russo at russoan@units.it.

Prof. DDR. Antonio Russo

Office:Dipartimento di FilosofiaVia Androna Campo Marzio, 1034123 Triestetel: 0039/0405584430fax: 0039/040311796e-mail: russoan@units.ithttp://www.univ.trieste.it/~dipfilo/c_corsodistudi.htmlHome:Viale Giulio Cesare, 118, B/1400193 Romatel: 0039/0637351591mobile: 3355946709e-mail: mj0154@mclink.ithttp://360.yahoo.com/lutiarussohttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/SophiaTrieste

Lodging: Pontifical Salesian University, Piazza dell'Ateneo Salesiano, 1, 00139 Rome www.unisal.it/.

--

Conference Advisory Board:

Antonio Russo, University of TriesteGianfranco Coffele, Pontifical Salesian University, RomeRoberto Poli, Trento University and Mitteleuropa Foundation, BolzanoMauro Mantovani, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Pontifical Salesian University

International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Action theories: Social action, Theory of Mind, Philosophy of Action, religious Action.To be held at the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome, Friday 6-Sunday 8 October 2006. The Conference aims to clarify the main distinction between diverse theories of action and to tackle the different issues of information from a different point of view. The conference will also provide an opportunity for networking on an interdisciplinary basis for academics interested in these research areas. The programme will be confirmed by 20 May 2006. Each systematic issue will be represented by two speakers. In general, these two have their respective background in the so-called hard sciences, philosophy and theology.The conference is organized by SophiaEuropa, Areas: 1) Causality and Motivation and 2) Nature, Intentionality and Finality, with the support of the Pontifical Salesian University. Each speaker will have 50' at his disposal, discussion included. The conference will take place at the Salesian University, Rome. Travel and lodging expenses will be covered by the organization. Deadline for abstract submissions: May 20, 2006Languages: Italian and EnglishIt is intended to publish the proceedings.Confirmed speakers are: Mario Toso (Pontifical Salesian University, Rome)Roberto Poli (Trento University, Italy)Antonio Russo (Trieste University, Italy)Fulvio Longato (Trieste University, Italy)Giovanni Russo (Pontifical Theological Faculty, Messina, Italy)Stephan Schaede(FEST, Heidelberg, Germany)Rainer Nagel (T¸bingen University, Faculty of Mathematics, Germany)Carmelo Vigna (Venezia University, Italy)Max Seckler (T¸bingen University, Germany)Gregor Nickel (Universiy of T¸bingen, Faculty of Mathematics)Other invited speakers:Angela Ales Bello (Pontifical Lateran University, Rome)Johanna Seibt (University of Aarhus, Denmark)Giuseppe Abb‡ (Pontifical Salesian University, Rome)Marc Leclerc (Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome)Claude Troisfontaines (University of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)Jean-Louis Veillhard-Baron (University of Poitiers, France)Simone D'Agostino (Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome)Antonio Clericuzio (University of Cassino, Italy)Card. Georges Marie Cottier, Vatican CityEnrico Berti (University of Padova, Italy)Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: AristotelesThomas of AquinasMartin LutherMelchior CanusFranz BrentanoLujo BrentanoMaurice BlondelEtienne GilsonJacques MaritainBenedetto CroceGiovanni Gentile and his schoolHenri de LubacEdith SteinEdmund HusserlAlfred N. WhiteheadWith the Patronage of: Prof. Dr. Mario Toso, Rector of the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome; Mons. Prof. Dr. Francesco Coccopalmerio, Auxiliary Bishop, Milan and Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; Card. Walter Kasper, Vatican City; Card. Georges M. Cottier, Vatican City; Prof. Dr. Stefano De Martino, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Trieste.For further information, if you are interested in attending the Conference and/or contributing your own ideas, please send an email (with one-half page abstract) to: Antonio Russo at russoan@units.it.Prof. DDR. Antonio RussoOffice:Dipartimento di FilosofiaVia Androna Campo Marzio, 1034123 Triestetel: 0039/0405584430fax: 0039/040311796e-mail: russoan@units.ithttp://www.univ.trieste.it/~dipfilo/c_corsodistudi.html Home:Viale Giulio Cesare, 118, B/1400193 Romatel: 0039/0637351591mobile: 3355946709e-mail: mj0154@mclink.ithttp://360.yahoo.com/lutiarussohttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/SophiaTries... Pontifical Salesian University, Piazza dell'Ateneo Salesiano, 1, 00139 Rome www.unisal.it/.--Conference Advisory Board:Antonio Russo, University of TriesteGianfranco Coffele, Pontifical Salesian University, RomeRoberto Poli, Trento University and Mitteleuropa Foundation, BolzanoMauro Mantovani, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Pontifical Salesian University 3/31/2006 03/21/2007 9464 Lecture Series: Simon Conway Morris, Astrobiology and Evolution, April 2006, University of Arizona, Tucson Astrobiology and the Sacred Presents: UA's Templeton Research Fellow, 2006

English paleobiologist Simon Conway Morris, professor of earth sciences at the University of Cambridge, England, will be presenting four lectures on how the processes of natural selection for life on Earth may inform our predictions for possible forms of extraterrestrial life. Conway Morris is the distinguished author of The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals and Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. A book signing will be held at the first lecture on Monday, April 3rd. All lectures are without charge and will be held at the Center for Creative Photography from 7-8pm.

Monday, April 3rdThe Ubiquity of Evolutionary Convergence: From Molecules to Societies

Tuesday, April 4thEyes to See, Brains to Think: The Inevitable Evolution of Intelligence

Wednesday, April 5thMeeting the Aliens: Galactic Hide and Seek?

Monday, April 10thDarwinπs Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of Creation

COMING SOON:

Pattiann Rogers - PoetWednesday, April 19thCenter for Creative Photography, 7-8pm≥In an Open Field on a Clear Night: Life in an Expanding Universe≤ - A reading by distinguished poet Pattiann Rogers on the spiritual, mysterious, celebratory, and frightening elements of the living universe as we experience it today. Author of 11 collections, including Song of the World Becoming and the recent Generations. Book signing.

David Grinspoon - Planetary ScientistWednesday, April 26thCenter for Creative Photography, 7-8pmSearching for Life, Searching for Minds: Astrobiology and the Problem of Design in Nature - Where astrobiology has been and where itπs going, including alien life in the popular culture, by Principal Scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder. Book signing.

Ben Bova - WriterWednesday, May 3rdCenter for Creative Photography, 7-8pmThe Living Universe - Overview of what we know about life in the universe, from the perspective of a renowned science fiction writer, and author of over 100 fiction and non-fiction books. Book signing.

Carol Cleland - PhilosopherWednesday, May 10thCenter for Creative Photography, 7-8pmHow to Search for Extraterrestrial Life without a Definition of Life - A professor of philosophy from the University of Colorado tackles the issue of how we define life when we only have one example and don't know how strange life beyond Earth might be. Book signing.

For more information about speakers and their talks, visit our website at the URL address: http://www.scienceandreligion.arizona.edu Astrobiology and the Sacred Presents: UA's Templeton Research Fellow, 2006English paleobiologist Simon Conway Morris, professor of earth sciences at the University of Cambridge, England, will be presenting four lectures on how the processes of natural selection for life on Earth may inform our predictions for possible forms of extraterrestrial life. Conway Morris is the distinguished author of The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals and Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. A book signing will be held at the first lecture on Monday, April 3rd. All lectures are without charge and will be held at the Center for Creative Photography from 7-8pm.Monday, April 3rdThe Ubiquity of Evolutionary Convergence: From Molecules to SocietiesTuesday, April 4thEyes to See, Brains to Think: The Inevitable Evolution of IntelligenceWednesday, April 5thMeeting the Aliens: Galactic Hide and Seek?Monday, April 10thDarwinπs Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of CreationCOMING SOON:Pattiann Rogers - PoetWednesday, April 19thCenter for Creative Photography, 7-8pm≥In an Open Field on a Clear Night: Life in an Expanding Universe≤ - A reading by distinguished poet Pattiann Rogers on the spiritual, mysterious, celebratory, and frightening elements of the living universe as we experience it today. Author of 11 collections, including Song of the World Becoming and the recent Generations. Book signing.David Grinspoon - Planetary ScientistWednesday, April 26thCenter for Creative Photography, 7-8pmSearching for Life, Searching for Minds: Astrobiology and the Problem of Design in Nature - Where astrobiology has been and where itπs going, including alien life in the popular culture, by Principal Scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder. Book signing.Ben Bova - WriterWednesday, May 3rdCenter for Creative Photography, 7-8pmThe Living Universe - Overview of what we know about life in the universe, from the perspective of a renowned science fiction writer, and author of over 100 fiction and non-fiction books. Book signing.Carol Cleland - PhilosopherWednesday, May 10thCenter for Creative Photography, 7-8pmHow to Search for Extraterrestrial Life without a Definition of Life - A professor of philosophy from the University of Colorado tackles the issue of how we define life when we only have one example and don't know how strange life beyond Earth might be. Book signing.For more information about speakers and their talks, visit our website at the URL address: http://www.scienceandreligion.arizona.edu 3/31/2006 03/21/2007 9465 Annual Forum: Global Dialogue Institute, Global Philosophy Forum, Consciousness, Connectivity & Integral Models of Reality, 8 April 2006, Haverford College, PA Global Dialogue Instituteís Global Philosophy Forum Presents an annual forum onConsciousness, Connectivity & Integral Models of Reality: A Deep Dialogue on Science & Philosophy in Quest of the Unified Field of Reality

Haverford College, Sharpless AuditoriumSaturday, April 8, 2006, 1:00PM TO 5:00PM

Supported by the Distinguished Visitorís Program ñ Haverford College

Chair & Coordinator:

Ashok GangadeanProfessor of Philosophy, Haverford CollegeFounder-Director of the Global Dialogue Institute

Featuring Keynote Presentations by (bios may be viewed below):

Dr. Ursula GoodenoughProfessor of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, and author of The Sacred Depths of NatureEmergence: Natureís Mode of Creativity

Dr. Karl H. Pribram, M.D.Distinguished Research Professor, Georgetown University and Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Mason University in the School of Computational SciencesìHolistic Processes, Brain Function and Integral Consciousnessî

Dr. Daniel A. Monti, M.D.Executive and Medical Director of the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University HospitalìMindBody: the Key to Integrative Medicineî

With General Commentator and Discussant:

Dr. Andrew B. Newberg, M.D.Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology and Psychiatry at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, and staff physician in Nuclear Medicine; author of Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief, and The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Belief

________________________

Global Philosophy ForumA Dialogue on Consciousness, Connectivity and Integral Models of Reality

Each presentation will be about 45 minutes, followed by brief discussion. After all three presentations, there will be a more extended dialogue between the panelists that will open up to involve the audience. This Event is free and open to the public. Audience participation is encouraged.

Some Queries for Our Dialogue

In the past several decades there have been exciting developments at the frontiers of Science, Philosophy and Spirituality. Frontier scientists have been in quest of the fundamental laws and patterns of the universe, and this quest has led them to an emerging Integral Science and explorations in the Unified Field of Nature. At the same time trends in global spirituality have sought to uncover the ultimate patterns of consciousness and common ground across religious and spiritual worldviews. This fundamental quest for Unifying Forces, Common Ground and the Unified Field that links diverse realities together has opened profound issues in the convergence of Science, Philosophy and Spirituality as we enter the 21st Century:

Is there a fundamental common ground (Integral Reality) between science and spirituality?Are there fundamental patterns of the universe that connect nature and consciousness? Is Nature an Integral or Holistic field or system?

Is the Unified Field of Physics and Nature the very same Unified Field of Reason and Consciousness? What is New Science? What is Integral Intelligence?

Are the diverse disciplines of the Liberal Arts linked in any coherent way?Is there a fundamental connection between Mathematics and Consciousness? Is there a common deep structure between Mathematics and the structures of awareness? Can Mathematics link Nature and Rational awareness?

What does it mean to say that Nature is a Living Integrative and Learning System? Does Consciousness pervade Nature? What is Chaos and Complexity?Can Evolutionary Biology make significant links between the patterns of Nature, human consciousness, and structures of Life? Is there an integral narrative or story here?

What is the link between mind, body and religious experience? Can new knowledge of the functioning of the brain illuminate spiritual life and religious experience? Can an emerging paradigm of Integral Science and Spirituality provide resources to decode the deep links between mind and healing? Can mind and consciousness play a role in healing? Can recent advances in MindBody Medicine open new dimensions for a deep dialogue between Science and Spirituality? What are the roles of mind and consciousness in Integrative Medicine?

These are some the leading questions that will be explored in this exciting dialogue that brings together certain leading figures in the frontiers of Science, Global Philosophy and Spirituality (See attached flyer for details)

Ashok K. GangadeanForum Coordinator and Chair,Founder-Director of the Global Dialogue InstituteProfessor of PhilosophyHaverford College370 Lancaster AvenueHaverford, PA 19041-1392agangade@haverford.eduTel: 610 896-1030Fax: 610 896-4926

________________________

About the Speakers

Ursula Goodenough is currently Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis MO. She was educated at Radcliffe and Barnard Colleges (B.A. Zoology, 1963), Columbia University (M.A. Zoology, 1965) and Harvard University (Ph.D. Biology, 1969), did 2 years of postdoctoral at Harvard, and was Assistant and Associate Professor of Biology at Harvard from 1971-1978 before moving to Washington University. Her primary teaching has been a cell biology course for undergraduate biology majors; she also co-teaches a course, The Epic of Evolution, with a physicist and a geologist, for non-science students. Her research has focused on the cell biology and (molecular) genetics of the sexual phase of the life cycle of the unicellular eukaryotic green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and, more recently, on the evolution of the genes governing mating-related traits. She has also studied the molecular basis for flagellar motility, the assembly of the Chlamydomonas cell wall, and the inheritance of chloroplast DNA. Her laboratory is currently supported by grants from the NIH, NSF, and USDA. She wrote 3 editions of a widely adopted textbook, Genetics, and has served in numerous capacities in national biomedical arenas, including service on NIH and NSF review panels, membership on committees of the NRC, editorial boards for several professional journals, and many positions in the American Society for Cell Biology, including the presidency. She serves on the editorial board of Zygon, and wrote a book on this subject, The Sacred Depths of Nature (Oxford University Press, 1998), which offers religious perspectives on our scientific understandings of Nature, particularly biology at a molecular level.

Daniel A. Monti, M.D. graduated cum laude from Canisius College, and summa cum laude from the State University of New York (at Buffalo) School of Medicine. He completed his residency training in Psychiatry at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, where he also completed a research scholars program. He currently is the Director of the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Monti is a nationally recognized expert in the field of mind-body medicine, complementary medicine, and the Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), which is a mind-body treatment tool. He has lectured extensively on these topics and has numerous related scholarly publications. Dr. Monti has been the recipient of several research awards in the field of mind-body medicine, and he has recently received a large grant from the National Institutes of Health for studying the effects of an innovative stress reduction program for women with cancer.

Andrew B. Newberg, M.D. (Haverford Alumnus) is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology and Psychiatry at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania and is a staff physician in Nuclear Medicine. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1993. His primary area of research has focused on specific neuropsychiatric disorders and on various activation studies designed to explore how brain function is associated with various mental states. Dr. Newberg has been particularly involved in the study of mystical and religious experiences as well as the more general mind/body relationship in both the clinical and research aspects of his career. Much of his research has focused on the relationship between brain function and various mystical and religious experiences. His research also includes understanding the physiological correlates of acupuncture therapy, meditation, and other types of alternative therapies. He has taught medical students, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as medical residents about stress management, spirituality and health, and the neurophysiology of religious experience. He has published numerous articles and chapters on brain function, brain imaging, and the study of religious and mystical experiences. He has also co-authored two books entitled Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief and The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Belief, which explore the relationship between neuroscience and spiritual experience. The latter book received the 2000 award for Outstanding Books in Theology and the Natural Sciences presented by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences.

Karl H. Pribram received his MD degree at the University of Chicago during the Hutchins period and went on to become certified in the specialties of neurological surgery and behavioral psychotherapy. However, most of his career over the past half century has been devoted to brain/behavior research which he pursued at the Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology while Karl Lashley was director; at Yale University where Pribram taught neurophysiology and physiological psychology; and for 30 years at Stanford University where he received a lifetime research career award from the National Institute of Health as professor of neuroscience in the Departments of Psychology and of Psychiatry. Upon becoming Emeritus at Stanford, Pribram accepted the position of James P. and Anna King Distinguished University Professor at Radford University, supported by the Virginia Commonwealth Eminent Scholar Program. In 1992, he received an honorary doctorate in psychology from the University of Montreal, and in 1996, he received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Bremen. Currently, Pribram teaches at Georgetown University as Distinguished Research Professor and at George Mason University in the School of Computational Sciences as Distinguished Visiting Professor. He is the recipient of many awards, the latest from the Society of Experimental Psychology for his seminal role in the cognitive revolution and for his pioneering contributions to the computational, theoretical, and physiological foundations of brain function and behavior. Over 50 students have received their Doctorates in Pribram's laboratory and another 50 worked as post-doctoral students. Two hundred eighty peer-reviewed data papers were published as a result of these collaborations. In addition, some 250 theoretical papers and 20 books and monographs were completed. The most noteworthy of these are Plans and the Structure of Behavior (with George Miller and Eugene Galanter); Freud's Project Reassessed (with Merton Gill); Languages of the Brain, Experimental Paradoxes and Principles in Neuropsychology; What makes Man Human (the 39th James Arthur Lecture on the Evolution of the Human Brain); and Brain and Perception, Holonomy and Structure in Figural Processing. Edited volumes (with contributions from the editor) encompassed such topics as brain and behavior; learning and memory; the psychophysiology of the frontal lobes; the hippocampus; neural networks; and values.

Global Dialogue Instituteís Global Philosophy Forum Presents an annual forum on Consciousness, Connectivity & Integral Models of Reality: A Deep Dialogue on Science & Philosophy in Quest of the Unified Field of RealityHaverford College, Sharpless AuditoriumSaturday, April 8, 2006, 1:00PM TO 5:00PMSupported by the Distinguished Visitorís Program ñ Haverford CollegeChair & Coordinator: Ashok Gangadean Professor of Philosophy, Haverford CollegeFounder-Director of the Global Dialogue Institute Featuring Keynote Presentations by (bios may be viewed below):Dr. Ursula Goodenough Professor of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, and author of The Sacred Depths of NatureEmergence: Natureís Mode of CreativityDr. Karl H. Pribram, M.D. Distinguished Research Professor, Georgetown University and Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Mason University in the School of Computational Sciences ìHolistic Processes, Brain Function and Integral ConsciousnessîDr. Daniel A. Monti, M.D. Executive and Medical Director of the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University HospitalìMindBody: the Key to Integrative Medicineî With General Commentator and Discussant:Dr. Andrew B. Newberg, M.D. Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology and Psychiatry at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, and staff physician in Nuclear Medicine; author of Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief, and The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Belief________________________Global Philosophy ForumA Dialogue on Consciousness, Connectivity and Integral Models of RealityEach presentation will be about 45 minutes, followed by brief discussion. After all three presentations, there will be a more extended dialogue between the panelists that will open up to involve the audience. This Event is free and open to the public. Audience participation is encouraged.Some Queries for Our DialogueIn the past several decades there have been exciting developments at the frontiers of Science, Philosophy and Spirituality. Frontier scientists have been in quest of the fundamental laws and patterns of the universe, and this quest has led them to an emerging Integral Science and explorations in the Unified Field of Nature. At the same time trends in global spirituality have sought to uncover the ultimate patterns of consciousness and common ground across religious and spiritual worldviews. This fundamental quest for Unifying Forces, Common Ground and the Unified Field that links diverse realities together has opened profound issues in the convergence of Science, Philosophy and Spirituality as we enter the 21st Century:Is there a fundamental common ground (Integral Reality) between science and spirituality?Are there fundamental patterns of the universe that connect nature and consciousness? Is Nature an Integral or Holistic field or system?Is the Unified Field of Physics and Nature the very same Unified Field of Reason and Consciousness? What is New Science? What is Integral Intelligence?Are the diverse disciplines of the Liberal Arts linked in any coherent way?Is there a fundamental connection between Mathematics and Consciousness? Is there a common deep structure between Mathematics and the structures of awareness? Can Mathematics link Nature and Rational awareness?What does it mean to say that Nature is a Living Integrative and Learning System? Does Consciousness pervade Nature? What is Chaos and Complexity?Can Evolutionary Biology make significant links between the patterns of Nature, human consciousness, and structures of Life? Is there an integral narrative or story here?What is the link between mind, body and religious experience? Can new knowledge of the functioning of the brain illuminate spiritual life and religious experience? Can an emerging paradigm of Integral Science and Spirituality provide resources to decode the deep links between mind and healing? Can mind and consciousness play a role in healing? Can recent advances in MindBody Medicine open new dimensions for a deep dialogue between Science and Spirituality? What are the roles of mind and consciousness in Integrative Medicine?These are some the leading questions that will be explored in this exciting dialogue that brings together certain leading figures in the frontiers of Science, Global Philosophy and Spirituality (See attached flyer for details) Ashok K. GangadeanForum Coordinator and Chair, Founder-Director of the Global Dialogue Institute Professor of PhilosophyHaverford College370 Lancaster AvenueHaverford, PA 19041-1392agangade@haverford.eduTel: 610 896-1030Fax: 610 896-4926________________________About the SpeakersUrsula Goodenough is currently Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis MO. She was educated at Radcliffe and Barnard Colleges (B.A. Zoology, 1963), Columbia University (M.A. Zoology, 1965) and Harvard University (Ph.D. Biology, 1969), did 2 years of postdoctoral at Harvard, and was Assistant and Associate Professor of Biology at Harvard from 1971-1978 before moving to Washington University. Her primary teaching has been a cell biology course for undergraduate biology majors; she also co-teaches a course, The Epic of Evolution, with a physicist and a geologist, for non-science students. Her research has focused on the cell biology and (molecular) genetics of the sexual phase of the life cycle of the unicellular eukaryotic green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and, more recently, on the evolution of the genes governing mating-related traits. She has also studied the molecular basis for flagellar motility, the assembly of the Chlamydomonas cell wall, and the inheritance of chloroplast DNA. Her laboratory is currently supported by grants from the NIH, NSF, and USDA. She wrote 3 editions of a widely adopted textbook, Genetics, and has served in numerous capacities in national biomedical arenas, including service on NIH and NSF review panels, membership on committees of the NRC, editorial boards for several professional journals, and many positions in the American Society for Cell Biology, including the presidency. She serves on the editorial board of Zygon, and wrote a book on this subject, The Sacred Depths of Nature (Oxford University Press, 1998), which offers religious perspectives on our scientific understandings of Nature, particularly biology at a molecular level. Daniel A. Monti, M.D. graduated cum laude from Canisius College, and summa cum laude from the State University of New York (at Buffalo) School of Medicine. He completed his residency training in Psychiatry at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, where he also completed a research scholars program. He currently is the Director of the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Monti is a nationally recognized expert in the field of mind-body medicine, complementary medicine, and the Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), which is a mind-body treatment tool. He has lectured extensively on these topics and has numerous related scholarly publications. Dr. Monti has been the recipient of several research awards in the field of mind-body medicine, and he has recently received a large grant from the National Institutes of Health for studying the effects of an innovative stress reduction program for women with cancer. Andrew B. Newberg, M.D. (Haverford Alumnus) is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology and Psychiatry at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania and is a staff physician in Nuclear Medicine. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1993. His primary area of research has focused on specific neuropsychiatric disorders and on various activation studies designed to explore how brain function is associated with various mental states. Dr. Newberg has been particularly involved in the study of mystical and religious experiences as well as the more general mind/body relationship in both the clinical and research aspects of his career. Much of his research has focused on the relationship between brain function and various mystical and religious experiences. His research also includes understanding the physiological correlates of acupuncture therapy, meditation, and other types of alternative therapies. He has taught medical students, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as medical residents about stress management, spirituality and health, and the neurophysiology of religious experience. He has published numerous articles and chapters on brain function, brain imaging, and the study of religious and mystical experiences. He has also co-authored two books entitled Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief and The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Belief, which explore the relationship between neuroscience and spiritual experience. The latter book received the 2000 award for Outstanding Books in Theology and the Natural Sciences presented by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences.Karl H. Pribram received his MD degree at the University of Chicago during the Hutchins period and went on to become certified in the specialties of neurological surgery and behavioral psychotherapy. However, most of his career over the past half century has been devoted to brain/behavior research which he pursued at the Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology while Karl Lashley was director; at Yale University where Pribram taught neurophysiology and physiological psychology; and for 30 years at Stanford University where he received a lifetime research career award from the National Institute of Health as professor of neuroscience in the Departments of Psychology and of Psychiatry. Upon becoming Emeritus at Stanford, Pribram accepted the position of James P. and Anna King Distinguished University Professor at Radford University, supported by the Virginia Commonwealth Eminent Scholar Program. In 1992, he received an honorary doctorate in psychology from the University of Montreal, and in 1996, he received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Bremen. Currently, Pribram teaches at Georgetown University as Distinguished Research Professor and at George Mason University in the School of Computational Sciences as Distinguished Visiting Professor. He is the recipient of many awards, the latest from the Society of Experimental Psychology for his seminal role in the cognitive revolution and for his pioneering contributions to the computational, theoretical, and physiological foundations of brain function and behavior. Over 50 students have received their Doctorates in Pribram's laboratory and another 50 worked as post-doctoral students. Two hundred eighty peer-reviewed data papers were published as a result of these collaborations. In addition, some 250 theoretical papers and 20 books and monographs were completed. The most noteworthy of these are Plans and the Structure of Behavior (with George Miller and Eugene Galanter); Freud's Project Reassessed (with Merton Gill); Languages of the Brain, Experimental Paradoxes and Principles in Neuropsychology; What makes Man Human (the 39th James Arthur Lecture on the Evolution of the Human Brain); and Brain and Perception, Holonomy and Structure in Figural Processing. Edited volumes (with contributions from the editor) encompassed such topics as brain and behavior; learning and memory; the psychophysiology of the frontal lobes; the hippocampus; neural networks; and values. 4/4/2006 03/21/2007 9466 Grant Opportunities: CTNS-STARS, Exploring the Intersection Between Science & Transcendence, January 2007, Berkeley, CA CTNS-STARS is offering grants to explore the intersection between Science & Transcendence

STARS is a program administered by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (www.ctns.org)in Berkeley, California and intends to further explore the role of scientific discovery and its role in ultimate reality. The program builds upon the twenty-five year track record of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, and the Science and the Spiritual Quest program where over 120 distinguished scientists from the major world religions lectured in public conferences from Boston to Bangalore, describing the many ways in which science serves for them as a path to spirituality, exploring the many connections between their scientific pursuits and their spiritual practices.

The goal of STARS is to sponsor research by small teams of scientists and humanities scholars on the ways science, in light of philosophical and theological reflection, points towards the nature, character and meaning of ultimate reality. These teams will be composed of at least one scientist, as well as a philosopher or theologian. Priority will be given to young scientists with outstanding potential who are relatively new to interdisciplinary research.

STARS has two components - Conferences and Grants.

** Inter-Disciplinary Conferences, Mexico 2007 **

STARS will convene a series of three interdisciplinary conferences in the Mexican Riviera, on the Yucatan Peninsula in January 2007. The conferences will showcase an aspect of how current scientific discoveries and theories relate to our understanding of ultimate reality. Led by many of the top scientists and theologians of our time, topics for these conferences include:

Conference 1: January 4-8, 2007Cosmology, Physics, and the Possibility of Life

Speakers include:

John D. Barrow, FRS Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK

Don Howard, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA

Robert John Russell, Professor of Theology and Science, Graduate Theological Union and Director, Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, California, USA

Trinh Xuan Thuan, Professor of Astronomy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA

____________

Conference 2: January 11-15, 2007Evolution, ET, and the Significance of Life in the Universe

Speakers include:Francisco J. Ayala, Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences and Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

John D. Barrow, FRS Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK

Paul Davies, Professor of Natural Philosophy, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Macquarie University, Australia

Chris McKay, Planetary Scientist with the Space Science Division of NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California, USA

Robert John Russell, Professor of Theology and Science, Graduate Theological Union and Director, Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, California, USA

____________

Conference 3: January 18-22, 2007Complexity Theory, Emergence, and the Influence of Life on Matter

Speakers include:Paul Davies, Professor of Natural Philosophy, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

George F.R. Ellis, Professor of Applied Mathematics, Distinguished Professor of Complex Systems, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Nancey Murphy, Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA

Alicia Juarrero, Professor of Philosophy at Prince George's Community College, Maryland, USA

Robert John Russell, Professor of Theology and Science, Graduate Theological Union and Director, Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, California, USA

Alwyn Scott, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

To read more about the theme and speakers for our three January 2007 STARS conferences, to access a conference application form, or to read about incentives for early registration, go to the STARS conference section of our webpage at: http://www.ctns.org/stars/conferences. Applications are due June 15, 2006.

** Inter-Disciplinary Research Grants **

1. There will be 20 initial research planning grants of $20,000 each will be awarded to the most promising research teams (a total of $400,000);

2. These will be followed by five major research grants of up to $100,000 (a total of $500,000);

3. Finally, 2 research grant renewals of up to $200,000 will be awarded (a total of $400,000).

STARS conference applications and research grants will be awarded on a highly competitive basis. Grant applications will be available online April 15, 2006 at www.ctns.org/grants.

STARS eNewsletter

You are invited to view the first eNewsletter from STARS at www.ctns.org/stars/enews/enews_V1_I1.html. The eNewsletter is free, and you may subscribe or unsubscribe at any time.

If would like more information about the STARS program and opportunities please send an email to us at: ctns-stars@ctns.org and we will be happy to provide more information about how to become involved.

You can also visit the STARS webpage at http://www.ctns.org/stars.

Dennis W. Hair, Ph.D.Director, Science and Theology Advanced Research Series (STARS)www.ctns.org/stars

Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS)Berkeley, CAwww.ctns.org

____________

About the John Templeton Foundation

In pursuing research at the boundary between science and religion, the Foundation seeks to unite credible and rigorous science with the exploration of humanity's basic spiritual and religious quests.

Working closely with scientists, theologians, medical professional, philosophers and other scholars, the Foundation encourages substantive dialogue in order to stimulate research and reflection in the relationship between science and religion. The Foundation especially seeks to stimulate rigorous scholarly/scientific advances that increase understanding of the ultimate aspects of human purpose, and of the vast potential for creativity and progress, which can be inspired by the collaboration of science and religion.

CTNS-STARS is offering grants to explore the intersection between Science & TranscendenceSTARS is a program administered by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (www.ctns.org)in Berkeley, California and intends to further explore the role of scientific discovery and its role in ultimate reality. The program builds upon the twenty-five year track record of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, and the Science and the Spiritual Quest program where over 120 distinguished scientists from the major world religions lectured in public conferences from Boston to Bangalore, describing the many ways in which science serves for them as a path to spirituality, exploring the many connections between their scientific pursuits and their spiritual practices. The goal of STARS is to sponsor research by small teams of scientists and humanities scholars on the ways science, in light of philosophical and theological reflection, points towards the nature, character and meaning of ultimate reality. These teams will be composed of at least one scientist, as well as a philosopher or theologian. Priority will be given to young scientists with outstanding potential who are relatively new to interdisciplinary research. STARS has two components - Conferences and Grants.** Inter-Disciplinary Conferences, Mexico 2007 **STARS will convene a series of three interdisciplinary conferences in the Mexican Riviera, on the Yucatan Peninsula in January 2007. The conferences will showcase an aspect of how current scientific discoveries and theories relate to our understanding of ultimate reality. Led by many of the top scientists and theologians of our time, topics for these conferences include:Conference 1: January 4-8, 2007Cosmology, Physics, and the Possibility of LifeSpeakers include:John D. Barrow, FRS Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK Don Howard, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA Robert John Russell, Professor of Theology and Science, Graduate Theological Union and Director, Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, California, USA Trinh Xuan Thuan, Professor of Astronomy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA ____________Conference 2: January 11-15, 2007Evolution, ET, and the Significance of Life in the UniverseSpeakers include:Francisco J. Ayala, Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences and Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Santa Barbara, USAJohn D. Barrow, FRS Professor of Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK Paul Davies, Professor of Natural Philosophy, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Macquarie University, AustraliaChris McKay, Planetary Scientist with the Space Science Division of NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California, USARobert John Russell, Professor of Theology and Science, Graduate Theological Union and Director, Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, California, USA ____________Conference 3: January 18-22, 2007Complexity Theory, Emergence, and the Influence of Life on Matter Speakers include:Paul Davies, Professor of Natural Philosophy, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Macquarie University, Sydney, AustraliaGeorge F.R. Ellis, Professor of Applied Mathematics, Distinguished Professor of Complex Systems, University of Cape Town, South Africa Nancey Murphy, Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA Alicia Juarrero, Professor of Philosophy at Prince George's Community College, Maryland, USARobert John Russell, Professor of Theology and Science, Graduate Theological Union and Director, Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, California, USA Alwyn Scott, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, University of Arizona, Tucson, USATo read more about the theme and speakers for our three January 2007 STARS conferences, to access a conference application form, or to read about incentives for early registration, go to the STARS conference section of our webpage at: http://www.ctns.org/stars/conferences. Applications are due June 15, 2006.** Inter-Disciplinary Research Grants **1. There will be 20 initial research planning grants of $20,000 each will be awarded to the most promising research teams (a total of $400,000);2. These will be followed by five major research grants of up to $100,000 (a total of $500,000);3. Finally, 2 research grant renewals of up to $200,000 will be awarded (a total of $400,000).STARS conference applications and research grants will be awarded on a highly competitive basis. Grant applications will be available online April 15, 2006 at www.ctns.org/grants.STARS eNewsletterYou are invited to view the first eNewsletter from STARS at www.ctns.org/stars/enews/enews_V1_I1.html. The eNewsletter is free, and you may subscribe or unsubscribe at any time.If would like more information about the STARS program and opportunities please send an email to us at: ctns-stars@ctns.org and we will be happy to provide more information about how to become involved.You can also visit the STARS webpage at http://www.ctns.org/stars.Dennis W. Hair, Ph.D.Director, Science and Theology Advanced Research Series (STARS)www.ctns.org/starsCenter for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS)Berkeley, CAwww.ctns.org____________About the John Templeton FoundationIn pursuing research at the boundary between science and religion, the Foundation seeks to unite credible and rigorous science with the exploration of humanity's basic spiritual and religious quests. Working closely with scientists, theologians, medical professional, philosophers and other scholars, the Foundation encourages substantive dialogue in order to stimulate research and reflection in the relationship between science and religion. The Foundation especially seeks to stimulate rigorous scholarly/scientific advances that increase understanding of the ultimate aspects of human purpose, and of the vast potential for creativity and progress, which can be inspired by the collaboration of science and religion. 4/4/2006 03/21/2007 9467 Field Analysys of the Literature on Religion, Spirituality, and Health

Metanexus Salus. 4,494 Words.

“While the literature on religion, spirituality, and health has improved since our first review in 1999, a great deal remains to be accomplished. This review addresses current problems in the field and makes recommendations for activities worth pursuing, not worth pursuing, and about an important clarification of the aims of such research.”


FIELD ANALYSIS OF THE LITERATURE ON RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY, AND HEALTH

By Richard P. Sloan

 

INTRODUCTION

While the literature on religion, spirituality, and health has improved since our first review in 1999, a great deal remains to be accomplished. This review addresses current problems in the field and makes recommendations for activities worth pursuing, not worth pursuing, and about an important clarification of the aims of such research.

CURRENT PROBLEMS IN THE FIELD

Paucity of Evidence

The most thorough review of the empirical evidence is that of Powell et al. in 20031. This review is vastly superior to the voluminous but highly questionnable Handbook of Religion and Health by Koenig et al.2. We have shown, for example, that the Handbook overestimates by a considerable margin the number of studies that support the proposition that religious involvement is associated with beneficial health outcomes3.

In the Powell et al. review, 9 hypotheses about the connection between religion and health were evaluated. Powell et al. concluded that only in the case of studies of attendance at religious services and mortality was the evidence persuasive. In all other cases – that religion or spirituality protects against cardiovascular disease, against cancer mortality, that deeply religious people are protected against death, that religion or spirituality protects against disability, that religion or spirituality slows the progression of cancer, that people who use religion to cope with difficulties live longer, that religion or spirituality improves recovery from acute illness, and that being prayed for improves physical recovery from acute illness – the evidence was at best equivocal.

It is true that studies of religious attendance and mortality are the strongest of the lot but even so, there are significant problems with them. These problems include self-selection4, 5, residual confounding6, measurement error in the self-report of attendance7, 8, and data dredging9. Most of these problems characterize the field as a whole, too.

Heterogeneity of Findings

Even among studies that are well conducted and show effects of attendance on mortality, there is considerable heterogeneity in the findings. For example, Hummer et al. found that after adjusting for confounders and covariates including functional status and social connection, frequency of religious attendance was inversely associated with mortality in a study of over 21,000 subjects10. However, the protective effect was entirely absent for patients with cancer and only marginally significant for patients with heart disease, the two diseases that account for the bulk of deaths in the US. Omen and Reed found that in a community sample of 1931 affluent, largely white adults over age 55 in Marin County, California11, religious attendance was associated with reduced mortality in multivariate model (RR = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.62, 0.94), an effect seen for both men and women. However, when they used a different measure of attendance and added individual items representing various types of social engagement, the risk ratio rose to 0.81 (95% CI = 0.81, 1.00) and the model retained museum or art gallery attendance (RR=0.81, 95% CI = 0.63, 1.04) as a marginally significant effect. In contrast to the main finding of Oman and Reed, the Tecumseh Community Health12 and Alameda County studies13, frequency of attendance at religious services was inversely associated to mortality but after control for all relevant covariates, this relationship held only for women. In contrast, for men but not women in the Tecumseh study, frequency of attendance at meetings of voluntary organizations was associated with reduced mortality while religious attendance was not12. In a study by Schoenbach14, the effect of religious attendance on mortality was seen primarily for white men only. In the Duke cohort (N=3968) of the EPESE study, the effect of religious attendance was significant in the multivariate model, but in the full model, the effect for men achieved only marginal significance (RR=0.83, 95% CI 0.69-1.00) 15. In the New Haven EPESE cohort, no such association was found16 but more generally, social and productive activities were associated with reduced mortality17.

Residual Confounding

A broader problem with the religious attendance literature is the inability of studies conducted to date to tease apart attendance from more general efforts to remain active in one’s community. While this is difficult, it is not in principle impossible and evidence from several community studies suggests that this distinction is important. For example, in the New Haven cohort of the EPESE study, attendance at religious services was not associated with future mortality but engagement in community and social activities was, suggesting that the broad category of remaining active in older age more generally is the operative factor. Such engagement could mean attendance at religious services but could also include volunteering at schools or literacy programs, going to the public library, or working in a community center.

Some studies, while showing associations between religious attendance and reduced mortality, do so from the perspective that religious attendance is one of many indices of social engagement. For example, in a cohort of 15,938 subjects, age 55 or older, enrolled in the National Health Interview Survey, attendance at religious services in the past two weeks was inversely related to mortality but so were attending shows, movies, and concerts, socializing with friends and neighbors, visits with relatives, and volunteerism18. Not surprisingly, analysis of a subset of these data restricted to participants age 70 years and over showed the same findings19.

Measurement issues

One of the central concerns of this literature is a lack of specificity of religion and spirituality, the putative “independent” variables in these studies. A similar, although not identical problem arises for the outcome variables. No scientific inquiry can proceed without rigorous specification of the variables in question. The difficulty in clearly defining independent and dependent variables no doubt contributes significantly to the paucity of evidence described above.

One would assume that religion, in contrast to spirituality, is easier to specify and although this may be so in principle, in practice difficulties have arisen

Independent Variables

In the literature examining the health correlates of religious involvement, there are almost as many different definitions of religious involvement as there are studies. A great many studies have examined self-reported attendance at religious services as an index of involvement. Other have assessed self-reported prayer, reading the Bible or other religious texts, listening to religious radio, or watching religious TV. Others studies have addressed denominational differences, e.g., Christians vs. Jews, Protestants vs. Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists vs. residents of New York City. Still others have operationalized religiosity as the degree of orthodoxy within a given religion, e.g., orthodox vs. reform vs. nonreligious Jews.

Such diversity of definitions of religiosity have an advantage and a disadvantage. From a measurement perspective, if these different ways of operationalizing religiosity resulted in consistent results, we would be increasingly confident that they all tap into an underlying construct of religiosity. In the absence of such consistent findings – the current state of the evidence – such definitional inconsistencies lead more to confusion than clarity. This may be why studies of religious attendance and mortality – in which both the independent and dependent variables are relatively unambiguous – are the strongest of the studies on religion and health.

But even in this case, there are significant measurement problems. Presser and Stinson have demonstrated a significant self-presentation bias in studies of religious attendance and mortality that employ interview methods, either in person or by phone8. They suggest that during such interviews, specific questions about church attendance are understood by many participants as asking whether or not the participants are good Christians. In the interpersonal setting of the interview, questions about religious attendance - “how often do you attend religious services? More than once/week? Once/week? Once or twice/month? – engage a self-presentation bias that leads participants inflate their estimates of church attendance.

The alternative method of data collection – time use estimation - asks participants about the activities they engaged in during the past week with no reference to any particular activity. For example, participants are asked what they did at 9 am on last Monday? ….10 am on Monday?... and so on throughout the entire week, including Saturday and Sunday, when participants could report attendance at religious services.Presser and Stinson showed that time use estimation leads to a substantial reduction in self-reported attendance at religious services compared to interview methods that ask specifically about how often the participants attended services. Hadaway et al. have similarly demonstrated such overestimation7,20.

The problem is worse still with definitions of spirituality. Recognizing this lack of clarity, Larimore et al. attempt to provide some guidance, endorsing what they refer to as “positive spirituality,” which “involves a developing and internalized personal relationship with the sacred or transcendent” (p. 71, 21). Positive spirituality, to be encouraged by the physician, is characterized by “honesty, self-control, love, joy, peace, hope, patience, generosity, forgiveness, thankfulness, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, understanding, and compassion” (p. 71) as means toward better mental and physical health21. These values are virtues to be sure but we have no evidence that they are associated with better health. And questions should arise about whether it is the business of physicians to promote them, regardless of their merits as a whole. Suggesting that it is the business of physicians to make recommendations about the values that their patients hold represents and arrogant and unwarranted extension of the role of a doctor.

In contrast to this list of virtues, Miller and Thoresen, in a review article, report that in popular usage, “spirituality” is distinguished from material reality and as such, refers to the transcendent, something beyond the self22. Anandarajah and Hight agree. They assert that “world’s great wisdom traditions suggest that some of the most important aspects of spirituality lie in the sense of connection and inner strength, comfort, love, and peace that individuals derive from their relationship with self, others, nature, and the transcendent” (p. 87, 23).

According to a draft report of a consensus panel on spirituality in medical education, spirituality transcends rituals, dogmas, institutions, and religions. It refers to the striving for meaning, growth, development, transcendental experience, and ultimate hope that keeps humans going. This definition agrees in general with that of Anandarajah and Hight. Studies that use the popular FACIT-SWB (for spiritual well-being) instrument generally are consistent with this definition of spirituality. The FACIT-SWB operationalizes spirituality as consisting of two factors: a sense of meaning, peace, and purpose in life and faith24.

The “spiritual index of well-being”25 takes an entirely different view of the term. This index is a 12-item scale consisting of two subscales assessing self-efficacy and “life scheme” with the latter reflecting a sense of self-directedness. This is spirituality as Horatio Alger, the great American striving for accomplishment. In the SWIB, there is nothing about transcendence, nothing about other directedness. Spiritual well-being consists in knowing what you want and believing that you can get it.

Because definitions of spirituality that appear in the literature are more diverse and less well established than definitions of religiosity, it is extremely difficult to draw conclusions about whether spirituality is associated with health outcomes.

Outcome Variables

In the case of the outcome variables in the literature on religion and spirituality and medicine, the problem is not that the variables are poorly defined but rather that they vary widely from study to study.

Again, the Powell et al. review is informative. In the 9 hypotheses they identify, the following outcome variables appear: mortality, protection against CVD, cancer mortality, disability, cancer progression, and recovery from acute illness. The Handbook of Religion and Health has a great many chapters, each devoted to a different outcome variable. Among those variables are hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, disability, pain, health behavior, immune system dysfunction, depression, suicide, marital instability, delinquency, substance abuse, and schizophrenia. And within each of these chapter headings, there are multiple outcome variables.

And within each of these categories, there are multiple variants. For example, the chapter on cardiovascular disease cites studies that examine improved functioning, adherence to treatment, and diminished health concerns a year after cardiac transplantation, length of stay in ICUs, length of stay in the hospital, pain medication required, arrhythmic events, blood pressure, functional status, disability, and blood lipids.

This variety of outcome variables results in part from the different interests of investigators. Nevertheless, the enormous variety makes it difficult to come to general conclusions about associations with religiosity. What are we to say if, for example, one study showed that attendance at religious services was associated with lower blood pressure while another failed to show any relationship between frequency of prayer and blood lipids?

The Sharpshooter’s Fallacy and Related Problems

In many cases, individual studies will measure many of these variables. A problem produced by this strategy is the likelihood that if enough outcome variable are measured, one certainly will achieve statistical significance. This is the problem of multiple comparisons that arises from the failure to adjust the level of significance for the number of statistical tests conducted (6). Physicist Robert Park has referred to this as the “sharpshooter’s fallacy’: the sharpshooter empties the six-gun into the side of the barn and then draws the bullseye. An excellent example of this problem is provided by a study of Koenig and colleagues in which well over 100 outcome variables were measured26. Such a strategy guarantees that some of the variables collected will achieve a level of statistical significance unless alpha levels are adjusted downward.

Such analytic behavior falls well short of what is methodologically acceptable for hypothesis testing. The only appropriate stance to take regarding such fishing expeditions is that they are exploratory investigations: any associations that achieve a 0.05 level of significance should then be tested as hypotheses in new datasets with appropriate control for multiple comparisons.

A related problem, not often easy to detect, is that in the large datasets very often used in these studies, it is possible to cut the data in a great many ways before conducting analyses. So for example, Helm et al. reported that among a sample of the elderly who were not functionally disabled, private religious behavior, e.g., reading the Bible, watching religious TV, prayer, was associated with reduced mortality27. Because in the entire sample, no such relationship between private religious behavior and mortality existed, one must wonder why the authors decided that dichotomizing the data on functional status was crucial. More likely, they cut the dataset in multiple ways, e.g., by sex, race, education, etc. until a “significant” finding emerged. The absurd conclusion they drew – that private religious behavior protects only those who engage in it for a lifetime - is consistent with this view. After all, how did Helm and his colleagues know that those already disabled did not also have such a habit of private religious behavior?

Reliance on datasets designed for other purposes

Many of these problems arise directly from the use of large datasets that contain information on religious activities and beliefs and health variables but were designed for other purposes. This encourages a practice referred to as “data-dredging,” in which investigators, now aided by the availability of powerful computers, conduct analysis after analysis until something “emerges.”

Failure to adequately consider ethical and theological issues

At least three significant ethical problems arise in connection with attempts to link religious activities to health outcomes: manipulation, invasion of privacy, and causing harm.

Manipulation Health professionals even in these days of consumer advocacy retain influence over their patients by virtue of their medical expertise. This threat to patient autonomy was raised most recently by Cassell in the New England Journal of Medicine28. When doctors depart from areas of established expertise to promote a non-medical agenda, they abuse their status as professionals and violate the implicit norms of the physician patient relationship. Some physicians apparently believe that they should inquire into the patient’s spiritual life in the service of making recommendations that link religious practice with better health outcomes. Is it really appropriate, as Matthews et al.29 recommend, for a physician to ask patients what he or she can do to support their faith or religious commitment?

Privacy A second ethical consideration involves the limits of medical intervention. If religious or spiritual factors were shown convincingly to be related to health outcomes, they then would join such factors as socio-economic status and marital status (30), already well established as significantly associated with health. While physicians may choose to engage patients in discussions of these matters to better understand them, we would consider it unacceptable for a physician to counsel a single patient to marry because the data show that marriage is associated with lower mortality30. This is because we generally regard financial and marital matters as private and personal, not the business of medicine, even if they have health implications. There is an important difference between “taking into account” marital, financial, or religious factors and “taking them on” as the objects of interventions.

Causing Harm A third ethical problem concerns the possibility of actually doing harm. Linking religious activities and better health outcomes can be actively harmful to patients, who already must confront age-old folk wisdom that illness is due to their own moral failure31. Within any individual religion, are the more devout adherents “better” people, more deserving of health than others? If evidence showed health advantages of some religious denominations over others, should physicians be guided by this evidence to counsel conversion? Attempts to link religious and spiritual activities to health are reminiscent of the now discredited research suggesting that different ethnic groups show differing levels of moral probity, intelligence, or other measures of social worth31. Because all of us, devout or profane, ultimately will succumb to illness, we should avoid the additional burden of guilt for moral failure to those whose physical health fails before our own.

 

THE AIMS OF RESEARCH ON RELIGION AND HEALTH

Beyond the empirical issues, there is a broader issue to be addressed: given the significant place that religion holds in the US and the substantial ethical issues that arise in connection with religion and health, what, precisely, is the larger objective of studies that seek to examine connections between religious practices and health? In other areas of biomedical research, studies, either epidemiological or experimental, attempt to illuminate underlying pathophysiological mechanisms in a way that leads to development of new treatments. To take the example of studies that repeatedly show relationships between depression and heart disease, the aim of most researchers is to identify the pathophysiological mechanisms so that new interventions can be developed. Such interventions might involve treatment of depression or treating mechanisms in the causal pathway.

If this analogy seems inappropriate, consider that Koenig et al. have commented that if religious beliefs and activities really help the patient to be physically or mentally healthier then "this finding has major implications for our struggling health care system" (p. 5 2). Others suggest that by implementing religious practices in medicine, management of chronic disease may be improved32 and health care costs can be reduced33. Harris et al. recommend introducing prayer into medical practice34. Larimore et al. encourage physicians to bring religion and spirituality into their clinical practices21.

In the case of depression and heart disease, this approach makes sense and the path to therapeutic interventions is plausible. It is far from clear that this is the case with religious involvement and its putative health effects. The analogy to treating depression – treating insufficient religious devotion, were this shown by the epidemiological literature to be associated with poor health – is highly problematic. While physicians can treat depression with pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy, not only is there no parallel treatment for low religious devotion but it would be ethically impermissible for physicians to make recommendations that their patients engage in religious behavior of one sort or another.

Alternatively, again following the case of depression and heart disease, a physician might attempt to intervene at the level of the mechanism in the causal pathway, e.g., enhanced platelet reactivity or reduced autonomic regulation of the cardiovascular system, to reduce the risk associated with heart disease, without addressing the depression at al. In a parallel fashion, if there were solid evidence that religious devotion were associated with lower risk of a specific disease and the intervening mechanisms were clearly understood, a physician might intervene at the level of these mechanisms without making recommendations about religious beliefs or behavior. On the surface, this might be ethically permissible but religious involvement would be reduced to a marker rather than a mechanism.

 

WHAT TO DO? WHAT NOT TO DO?

Areas of research not worth pursuing

Neuroimaging Studies

Recently, Andrew Newberg, a neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has conducted neuroimaging studies of meditation and demonstrated that this practice leads to differences in regional cerebral blood flow. In itself, there is nothing objectionable or, for that matter, very interesting about this finding since there are blood flow differences in the brain that correspond to virtually all human activity including writing about, or reading about, research studies on religion and health.

What is objectionable about this is the implication that there is something special the religious experience because it has neurophysiological underpinnings. According to his website, Dr. Newberg claims that neuroscience can elucidate the nature of mystical experiences, their importance in human evolution, and why the abiding need for a concept of God is imperative for the survival of the human species (http://www.andrewnewberg.com/default.asp).

Identifying areas of the brain that light up during prayer or meditation has little value and almost certainly is not worth the resources such studies consume. Not only are they wasteful but they trivialize the religious experience by suggesting that it is nothing more than increased activity of a region of the brain.

Assessing the impact of distant, intercessory prayer

As indicated above, most studies of religion, spirituality, and health are observational in nature and as such, cannot control exposure to the religious activities or attitudes thought to be associated with health benefits. In such studies, confounding and self-selection become significant problems.In contrast to these observational studies, research on the impact of distant, intercessory prayer (IP) permits random assignment to treatment conditions and double blind assessment of outcomes. Unfortunately, these advantages over epidemiological studies of religion and health are more apparent than real. Significant problems characterize all aspects of these studies. At the level of the treatment variable, the inability to understand the characteristics of prayer make it impossible to determine with certainty the degree of exposure to the putative therapeutic agent, a problem which does not exist in randomized controlled trials. At the level of the outcome variables, there is a different type of uncertainty: the inability of IP researchers to specify the outcomes likely to be influenced by IP leads to a shotgun approach that violates standards of statistical analysis. Finally, the absence of a persuasive mechanism linking IP to outcomes has led to assertions about the revolutionary nature of the IP “findings” that are greatly overstated and fail to appreciate the nature of true scientific revolutions.

These limitations demonstrate that further study of IP is not justified.

Studying Mechanistic Pathways

Any theory about how religion and spirituality might influence health should specify the intervening pathways. However, presenting a laundry list of potential physiological mediators, e.g., IL6, elevated BP, increased behavioral sanctions against risk behavior, is not sufficient.

Even a sophisticated list of potential mechanisms is premature. Efforts to understand mechanisms must wait until there is solid evidence of an association between religious involvement and health outcomes. As Powell et al. have demonstrated, only in the case of religious attendance and mortality does the evidence reach this level. And even in this case, as discussed above, serious questions arise.

What is worth pursuing?

The most obvious direction for this literature is to conduct a relatively definitive study of what appears to be the strongest findings to date: the link between attendance at religious services and mortality. As an observational study, such a project can never be free of the potential biases of self-selection and confounding.

But a new, well-designed study can do more to address these concerns than previous studies that have relied on existing databases designed for other purposes entirely. Thus, a study designed from the start to investigate this matter can address the concern about self-presentation bias associated with interview methods that Presser and Stinson8 have identified by employing time use estimation. It could address the potential confound associated with a more general inclination to engage in socially productive, community activities suggested by Cohen35. It could address the issue of assessing the differences in the availability of religious and community resources to participants as a way of teasing apart whether reduced mortality is associated with a more general interest in social engagement or a more specific interest in religious involvement. Such a study has another advantage: an unambiguous outcome variable.

 

CONCLUSIONS

Even a well-conducted study is only a means for understanding the elements of religious involvement that promote health. Because of the substantial ethical problems identified above, it can never be the basis for active introduction of religious activities in clinical medicine.

A parallel activity must address the general aims of such an inquiry and more generally, of studies that attempt to determine the health correlates of religious involvement. Explicit recognition of the limits of such studies, regardless of their findings, is required. These limits pertain to activities of medical clinicians and relate to the bioethical imperatives associated, among other things, with threats to the religious freedom of patients. That is, the principle of patient autonomy requires that clinicians recognize the power of their role as medical expert and assiduously avoid coercive or manipulative actions related to religious activities. This restriction also is related to a recognition that physicians lack expertise in religious matters and that the clinical setting is one in which they are required to limit their attempts to influence patients to the medical matters in which they possess expertise. Recommending an antibiotic for pneumonia is not manipulative in this setting; recommending, either explicitly or implicitly, that a patient attend religious services is. Recognition of the bioethical principle of nonmaleficence requires that in the clinical setting, physicians avoid causing harm.

And although not specifically a bioethical principle, a dose of humility is required. Increasingly, physicians are called upon to consider the importance of spirituality in the lives of their patients. Physicians not only are encouraged to probe deeply into the spiritual lives of their patients but also to function as arbiters of appropriate and inappropriate spiritual beliefs, e.g., 21,23,36). As such, the roles of physician and clergy become conflated and physicians are asked to become guides to the spiritual lives of their patients, an astonishingly arrogant assumption of responsibilities for which they have no training whatsoever. The bitter irony of this stance is that as physicians choose to spend time exploring matters of spirituality with their patients, an activity for which they have no qualifications, they will have even less time to attend to basic recommendations about disease prevention, which is not only within their domain of expertise and within the practical limits of their interactions with patients but also is their responsibility.

 


REFERENCES

1 Powell LH, Shahabi L, Thoresen CE. Religion and spirituality. Linkages to physical health. Am Psychol 2003;58(1):36-52.
2 Koenig HG, McCullough ME, Larson DB. Handbook of Religion and Health. New York: Oxford; 2001.
3 Sloan RP, Bagiella E. Claims about religious involvement and health outcomes. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2002;24(1):14-21.
4 Bagiella E, Hong V, Sloan RP. Religious attendance as a predictor of survival in the EPESE cohorts. Int J Epidemiol 2005.
5 Norton MR, Sloan RP, Bagiella E. A New Approach To The Statistical Analysis Of Cardiovascular Data. J Appl Physiol 2005.
6 Sloan RP, Bagiella E, Powell T. Religion, spirituality, and medicine. The Lancet 1999;353:664-667.
7 Hadaway DK, Marler PL, Chaves M. What the polls don't show: A closer look at U.S. church attendance. American Sociological Review 1993;58:741-752.
8 Presser S, Stinson L. Data collection mode and social desirability bias in self-reported religious attendance. American Sociological Review 1998;63:137-145.
9 Davey Smith G, Ebrahim S. Data dredging, bias, or confounding. BMJ 2002;325(7378):1437-1438.
10 Hummer RA, Rogers RG, Nam CB, Ellison CG. Religious involvement and U.S. adult mortality. Demography 1999;36:273-285.
11 Oman D, Reed D. Religion and mortality among the community-dwelling elderly. American Journal of Public Health 1998;88:1469-1475.
12 House J, Robbins C, Metzner H. The association of social relationships and activities with mortality: Prospective evidence from the Tecumseh Community Health Study. American Journal of Epidemiology 1982;116:123-140.
13 Strawbridge WJ, Cohen RD, Shema SJ, Kaplan GA. Frequent attendance at religious services and mortality over 28 years. American Journal of Public Health 1997;87:957-961.
14 Schoenbach VJ, Kaplan BH, Fredman L, Kleinbaum DG. Social ties and mortality in Evans County, Georgia. Am J Epidemiol 1986;123(4):577-91.
15 Koenig HG, Hays JC, Larson DB, George LK, Cohen HJ, McCullough ME, et al. Does religious attendance prolong survival? A six-year follow-up study of 3,968 older adults. J Gerontol 1999;54:M370-376.
16 Idler EL, Kasl SV. Religion, disability, depression, and the timing of death. American Journal of Sociology 1992;97:1052-1079.
17 Glass TA, Mendes de Leon C, Marottoli RA, Berkman LF. Population based study of social and productive activities as predictors of survival among elderly Americans. BMJ 1999;319:478-483.
18 Rogers RG. The effects of family composition, health, and social support linkages on mortality. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 1996;37:326-338.
19 Goldman N, Korenman S, Weinstein R. Marital status and health among the elderly. Social Science and Medicine 1995;40:1717-1730.
20 Hadaway CK, Marler PL, Chaves M. Overreporting church attendance in America: Evidence that demands the same verdict. American Sociological Review 1998;63(1):122-130.
21 Larimore WL, Parker M, Crowther M. Should clinicians incorporate positive spirituality into their practices? What does the evidence say? Ann Behav Med 2002;24(1):69-73.
22 Miller WR, Thoresen CE. Spirituality, religion, and health. An emerging research field. Am Psychol 2003;58(1):24-35.
23 Anandarajah G, Hight E. Spirituality and medical practice: using the HOPE questions as a practical tool for spiritual assessment. Am Fam Physician 2001;63(1):81-9.
24 Brady MJ, Peterman AH, Fitchett G, Mo M, Cella D. A case for including spirituality in quality of life measurement in oncology. Psychooncology 1999;8(5):417-28.
25 Daaleman TP, Frey BB. The Spirituality Index of Well-Being: A New Instrument for Health-Related Quality-of-Life Research. Ann Fam Med 2004;2(5):499-503.
26 Koenig HG, George LK, Hays JC, Larson DB, Cohen HJ, Blazer DG. The relationship between religious activities and blood pressure in older adults. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 1998;28:189-213.
27 Helm HM, Hays JC, Flint EP, Koenig HG, Blazer DG. Does private religion activity prolong survival? A six-year follow-up study of 3,851 older adults. Journal of Gerontology 2000;55A:M400-M406.
28 Cassell EJ. Consent or Obedience? Power and Authority in Medicine. N Engl J Med 2005;352(4):328-330.
29 Matthews DA, McCullough ME, Larson DB, Koenig HG, Swyers JP, Milano MG. Religious commitment and health status. Archives of Family Medicine 1998;7:118-124.
30 Sorlie P, Backlund E, Keller J. US mortality by economic, demographic and social characteristics: the National Longitudinal Mortality Study. American Journal of Public Health 1995;85:949-956.
31 Gould SJ. The Mismeasure of Man. New York: Norton; 1981.
32 King DE, Mainous AG, 3rd, Pearson WS. C-reactive protein, diabetes, and attendance at religious services. Diabetes Care 2002;25(7):1172-6.
33 Pearce MJ, Chen J, Silverman GK, Kasl SV, Rosenheck R, Prigerson HG. Religious coping, health, and health service use among bereaved adults. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 2002;32:179-199.
34 Harris WS, Gowda M, Kolb JW, Strychacz C, P., Vacek JL, Jones PG, et al. A randomized, controlled trial of the effects of remote, intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients admitted to the coronary care unit. Archives of Internal Medicine 1999;159:2273-2278.
35 Cohen S. Psychosocial stress, social networks, and susceptibility to infection. In: Koenig HG, Cohen HJ, editors. The Link between Religion and Health. New York: Oxford; 2002.
36 Larimore WL. Providing basic spiritual care for patients: should it be the exclusive domain of pastoral professionals? Am Fam Physician 2001;63(1):36, 38-40.


Richard P. Sloan, Ph.D., professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, is an internationally regarded commentator on the subject of prayer and medicine. Dr. Sloan believes that while faith/prayer may bring comfort to many people, there are no scientific methods to accurately measure the value of faith/prayer.

Dr. Sloan's research at Columbia focuses on the mechanisms by which psychological risk factors such as hostility, depression, and anxiety contribute to the risk of heart disease. His research team, which includes cardiologists and psychiatrists, is exploring a psychophysiological model of coronary disease that identifies the autonomic nervous system as the link between psychological factors and atherosclerosis.

Dr. Sloan is the author of the forthcoming book "Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine" (St. Martin's Press, November 2006).


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©2006 Metanexus Institute

Published on 2006.3.31

While the literature on religion, spirituality, and health has improved since our first review in 1999, a great deal remains to be accomplished. This review addresses current problems in the field and makes recommendations for activities worth pursuing, not worth pursuing, and about an important clarification of the aims of such research. 4/7/2006 03/21/2007 9468 Neuroscientific Study of Religious and Spiritual Phenomena: A Field Analysis Introduction

With the rapidly expanding field of research exploring religious and spiritual phenomena, there have been many perspectives regarding the validity, importance, relevance, and need for such research. There is also the ultimate issue of how such research should be interpreted with regard to epistemological questions. The best way to evaluate this field is to determine the methodological issues that currently affect the field and explore how best to address such issues so that future investigations can be as robust as possible and make this body of research more mainstream.

It should also be mentioned at the outset that the overall study of religious and spiritual phenomena requires at its root, an analysis of very complex, very compelling, and very subjective experiences. Hence the field of cognitive neuroscience offers one of the most important fields of study to explore such phenomena. It is unfortunate that various perspectives regarding this research are often uninformed or misinformed regarding the nature and potential results of such research. Perspectives range from the highly religious to the highly materialistic with concerns from “writing off” religious experience on one hand to being unimportant on the other. These criticisms miss several major issues such as the challenge to cognitive neuroscience for exploring arguably some of the most complex mental phenomena human beings have. With many current studies on emotion, laughter, morality, and happiness being reported almost daily, there should also be substantial information regarding complex human experiences vis a vis the study of religious and spiritual phenomena. Furthermore, it is a great challenge to science to develop appropriate definitions, measurement tools, and methods in order to study such phenomena. The results from these studies will also provide important mechanistic data that may help elucidate any potential health effects, positive or negative, that are associated with religion and spirituality. The religious and spiritual perspectives also stand to gain tremendously from this interaction since the results might help towards a new and deeper understanding of these phenomena. This research may also lead to a better understanding not only of specific types of experiences, but of a wide range of phenomena that pertain to religion including love, altruism, charity, forgiveness, worship, theology, and epistemology. However, it should be stated that such leaps must be made carefully, fully acknowledging the dynamic relationship between science and religion. While some of these applications are still far off, the potential benefits should be obvious.

This paper will review four dimensions of this area of research with a critical perspective on methodology and statistical analysis. The four dimensions as they relate to the neuroscientific study of religious and spiritual phenomena are: 1) Appropriate measures and definitions; 2) Subject selection and comparison groups; 3) Study design and biostatistics; and 4) Theological and epistemological implications.

1. Measurement and Definition of Spirituality and Religiousness

One of the most important issues related to the measurement of religious and spiritual phenomena has to do with correlating subjective and objective measures. For example, if a particular type of meditation reduces blood pressure or is associated with changes in cerebral metabolism, it is critical to know what was actually experienced by the individual.

Subjective Measures

In some sense, the most important measures of religious and spiritual phenomena are those that pertain to the subjective nature of the experience. When any person has a religious or spiritual experience, they can usually try to describe it in terms of various cognitive, behavior, and emotional parameters. Furthermore, a person will usually define the experience as “spiritual” which distinguishes the experience from others which are regarded as “non-spiritual”. The issue of measuring the subjective nature of these phenomena is akin to opening the mysterious “black box” in which something is happening, but it is not immediately observable by an outside investigator. The problem becomes more difficult when trying to compare experiences across individuals and across cultures. A spiritual experience for a Jew may be vastly different than a spiritual experience for a Hindu. Furthermore, there is likely to be a continuum of experiences ranging from barely perceptible to absolutely mystical (d’Aquili and Newberg, 1993). The question for any researcher is how to qualitatively ascertain the subjective component of such experiences. Is there a way to quantify and compare these subjective feelings and thoughts individuals have regarding their spiritual experiences? It is difficult to develop adequate scales to measure spirituality and religiousness. Many existing scales are difficult to find in the literature especially when they are reported in non-scientific journals that are not typically cited or referenced in literature reviews (Larson, Swyers, and McCullough, 1998).

A number of attempts have been reported in the literature to develop a self-reporting scale that measures the subjective nature of a particular religious or spiritual phenomenon. The book, Measures of Religiosity (Hill and Hood, 1999), provides fertile grounds for various scales and questionnaires that assess everything from a person’s feeling of commitment to awe to hope to the direct apprehension of God. Some have been assessed for validity and reliability, which is critical if these scales are to have any use in future research studies. Testing the validity implies that the results return information about what the scale is supposed to measure (Patten, 2000). For example, a valid scale of a feeling of hopefulness would ask questions regarding the amount of hope a person has. If this scale did not address hope, but rather happy emotional responses, it would not be a valid measure of hope. Reliability assesses whether the scale when given to the same person at different time points yields roughly the same results (Patten, 2000). While it is important to assess the reliability and validity of scales, this is particularly problematic with regard to religious and spiritual phenomena. The reason for this difficulty is the problem with defining these terms. If someone defines spiritual as a feeling of “awe” and another defines it as a feeling of “oneness”, what types of questions should be used to assess spirituality? A questionnaire that asks about feelings of awe might not truly be measuring spirituality and therefore, until clear and operational definitions of spirituality and religiousness can be determined, there will always be the potential problem of developing valid scales. Reliability is also a problem since spirituality and religiousness can be very consistent or widely variable within an individual. Thus, they might subjectively feel differently at different time points and therefore, the reliability of any scale with the intention to measure spirituality is always problematic.

Another problem with individual scales is whether they are useful across traditions and cultures. For example, many of the scales that are referenced in Measures of Religiosity are Christian-based, and therefore, may not be useful for evaluating Jewish or Buddhist perspectives. Fortunately, there are other scales which either have a more universal quality or at least can be modified to accommodate other perspectives. However, this might bring into question the validity and reliability of such scales in different contexts.

There is another interesting problem with scales that attempt to measure the subjective nature of spiritual or religious phenomena. This arises from the fact that most scales of spirituality and religiousness require the individual to respond in terms of psychological, affective, or cognitive processes. Thus, questions are phrased: How did it make you feel? What sensory experiences did you have? What did you think about your experience? On one hand, such measures are very valuable to individuals interested in exploring the neural correlates of such experiences because psychological, affective, and cognitive elements can usually be related to specific brain structures or function. However, the problem with phrasing questions in this way is that one never actually escapes the neurocognitive perspective to get at something that might be “truly” spiritual. It might be suggested that the only way in which an investigator can reach something which is truly spiritual would be through a process of elimination in which all other factors – i.e. cognitive, emotional, sensory – are eliminated through the analysis, leaving only the spiritual components of the experience. In other words, the most interesting result from a brain scan of someone in prayer would be to find no significant change in the brain during the time that the individual has the most profound spiritual experience.

As described above, part of the problem with developing adequate measures is ensuring that they measure what they claim to measure. A subjective scale designed to measure the degree of an individual’s religiosity needs to focus on the things which make someone religious. However, this first requires a clear definition of religiousness and spirituality. Furthermore, these definitions must be operationalized so that any measure or study can have a firm enough grasp to actually measure something (Koenig, 1998, Koenig, McCullough, and Larson, 2001). To that end, it is important to avoid narrow definitions that might impede research and also to avoid broad definitions that cannot be measured. For example, definitions of religion that pertain to a single God would eliminate almost two billion Hindu and Buddhist individuals from analysis. On the other hand, a definition of religiousness that is too broad might end up including many bizarre experiences and practices such as cults or devil worship.

One final issue, which is related to problems with definitions, is that there are so many approaches to religious and spiritual phenomena that it is often difficult to generalize from one study to another. Some scholars have pointed out that one type of meditation practice may be very different from other types, or one type of experience might be substantially different that other types (Andresen, 2000; Andresen and Forman, 2000). It is certainly critical to ensure that any study clearly states the specific practices, sub-practices, and traditions involved. Furthermore, changes in the brain associated with one type of meditative practice may not be specifically related to a different type of practice. Of course, the dynamic nature of this body of research may also provide new ways of categorizing certain practices or experiences so that one can address the question regarding whether different types of meditation truly are different, or are only experienced to be different.

Objective Measures of Spirituality

Objective measures of religious and spiritual phenomena that pertain to the neurosciences include a variety of physiological and neurophysiological measures. Recent advances in fields such as psychoneuroendocrinology and psychoneuroimmunology address the important interrelationship between the brain and body. Any thoughts or feelings perceived in the brain ultimately have effects on the functions throughout the body. While this can complicate measures as well as introduce confounding factors, this integrated approach allows for a more thorough analysis of religious and spiritual phenomena (Newberg and Iversen, 2003). Several types of measures which have already been reported in the literature include measures of autonomic nervous system activity. These are the most common approaches to specific religious and spiritual practices such as meditation or prayer. A number of studies have revealed changes in blood pressure and heart rate associated with such practices (Sudsuang, Chentanez, and Veluvan, 1991; Jevning, Wallace, and Beidebach, 1992; Koenig, McCullough, and Larson, 2001). It is interesting that the actual changes may be quite complex, involving both a relaxation as well as an arousal response. Early work by Gellhorn and Kiely (1972) developed a model of the physiological processes involved in meditation based almost exclusively on autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity, which while somewhat limited, indicated the importance of the ANS during such experiences. These authors suggested that intense stimulation of either the sympathetic or parasympathetic system, if continued, could ultimately result in simultaneous discharge of both systems (what might be considered a “breakthrough” of the other system). Several studies have demonstrated predominant parasympathetic activity during meditation associated with decreased heart rate and blood pressure, decreased respiratory rate, and decreased oxygen metabolism (Sudsuang, Chentanez, and Veluvan, 1991; Jevning, Wallace, and Beidebach, 1992; Travis, 2001). However, a recent study of two separate meditative techniques suggested a mutual activation of parasympathetic and sympathetic systems by demonstrating an increase in the variability of heart rate during meditation (Peng, Mietus, Liu, et al., 1999). The increased variation in heart rate was hypothesized to reflect activation of both arms of the autonomic nervous system. This notion also fits the characteristic description of meditative states in which there is a sense of overwhelming calmness as well as significant alertness. Also, the notion of mutual activation of both arms of the ANS is consistent with recent developments in the study of autonomic interactions (Hugdahl, 1996).

Measures of hormone and immune function have more recently been explored especially as an adjunct measure to various clinical outcomes (O'Halloran, Jevning, Wilson, et al., 1985; Walton, Pugh, Gelderloos, and Macrae, 1995; Tooley, Armstrong, Norman, and Sali, 2000; Infante, Torres-Avisbal, and Pinel, et al., 2001). Thus, if a hypothetical study showed that the practice of meditation results in reductions in cancer rates, then it might be valuable to measure the immunological and hormonal status of the individuals to determine the physiological basis of the effect. Certain cancers are related to abnormalities in immune (i.e. leukemia or lymphoma) or hormonal function (i.e. breast and prostate cancer). It is also important to note that alterations in various hormones and immune functions may be related to specific changes in brain function. Further, this interaction can be bidirectional. Thus, certain brain states may enhance hormonal status, but these hormonal states may in turn affect brain function. This can particularly be observed in women with premenstrual syndrome, but there are other circumstances in which various neurohormones can alter emotional, cognitive, and behavioral states.
Neurophysiological changes associated with religious and spiritual states can be obtained through a number of techniques that each have their own advantages and disadvantages. In general, the primary requirement is that the methodology evaluates functional changes in the brain. However, there are many ways of measuring such functional changes. Early studies of meditation practices made substantial use of electroencephalography (EEG) that measures electrical activity in the brain (Banquet, 1973; Hirai, 1974; Hebert, Lehmann, 1977; Corby, Roth, Zarcone, Kopell, 1978). EEG is valuable because it is relatively non-invasive and has very good temporal resolution. In other words, the instant that an individual achieves a certain state, the EEG should change accordingly. For this reason, it has continued to be useful in the evaluation of specific meditation states (Lehmann et al., 2001; Aftanas and Golocheikine, 2002; Travis and Arenander, 2004). The major problem with EEG is that spatial resolution is very low so that any change can only be localized over very broad areas of the brain. Another problem is that analysis can be difficult because of the extensive amount of recordings that are made during any session. However, EEG may be particularly valuable to include in studies employing functional imaging techniques since the EEG may help to signal certain states, or at the very least, ensure that the individual being studied has not fallen asleep.

Functional neuroimaging studies of religious and spiritual phenomena might become one of the most important techniques since the results have physiological, clinical, and potentially philosophical relevance to the issues related to such phenomena. To date, brain imaging studies have utilized positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In general, such techniques can measure functional changes in the brain in pathological conditions, in response to pharmacological interventions, and during various activation states. Activation states have included sensory stimulation (i.e. vision, auditory, etc.), motor function and coordination, language, and higher cognitive functions (i.e. concentration) (Newberg and Alavi, 1996). The changes that can be measured include more general physiological processes such as cerebral blood flow and metabolism, in addition to many aspects of the neurotransmitter systems. For example, the serotonin, dopamine, opiate, benzodiazepine, glutamate, and acetylcholine systems have all been evaluated in a number of brain states (Newberg and Alavi, 2003; Warwick, 2004; Kennedy and Zubieta, 2004).

While functional neuroimaging studies have contributed greatly to the understanding of the human brain, they each have their own advantages and limitations with respect to evaluating religious and spiritual phenomena. Functional MRI primarily measures changes in cerebral blood flow. In general, this is a valid method for measuring cerebral activity since a brain region that is activated during a specific task will experience a concomitant increase in blood flow. This coupling of blood flow and activity provides a method for observing which parts of the brain have increased activity (increased blood flow) and decreased activity (decreased blood flow). Functional MRI has several advantages. Functional MRI has very good spatial resolution and can be coregistered with an anatomical MRI scan that can be obtained in the same imaging session. This allows for a very accurate determination of the specific areas of the brain that are activated. Functional MRI also has very good temporal resolution so that many images can be obtained over very short periods of time, as short as a second. Thus, if a subject was asked to perform 10 different prayers sequentially while in the MRI, the differences in blood flow could be detected in each of those 10 prayer states. Finally, fMRI does not involve any radioactive exposure. The disadvantages are that images must be obtained while the subject is in the scanner and the scanner can make up to 100 decibels of noise. This can be very distracting when individual are performing various spiritual practices such as meditation or prayer. However, several investigators have successfully utilized fMRI and have performed the study by having subjects practice their meditation technique at home while listening to a tape of the fMRI noise so that they become acclimated to the environment (Lazar, Bush, Gollub, Fricchione, Khalsa, Benson, 2000). The MRI noise can also affect brain activity, particularly in the auditory cortex. Functional MRI also relies on a tight coupling between cerebral blood flow and actual brain activity, which while a reasonable assumption, is not true in all cases. Well known examples in which brain activity and blood flow are not coupled include stroke, head injury, and pharmacological interventions (Newberg and Alavi, 2003). However, a detailed evaluation of this coupling in all brain states has not been performed. One final disadvantage is that at the present moment, fMRI cannot be used to evaluate individual neurotransmitter systems.

PET and SPECT imaging also have advantages and disadvantages for studying religious and spiritual phenomena. The advantages include relatively good spatial resolution for PET (comparable to fMRI) and slightly worse for SPECT imaging. PET and SPECT images can also be coregistered with anatomical MRI, but this must be obtained during a separate session and therefore, matching the scans is more difficult. PET and SPECT both require the injection of a radioactive tracer so radioactivity is involved, although usually this is fairly low. Depending on the radioactive tracer used, a variety of functional parameters can be measured including blood flow, metabolism (which more accurately depicts cerebral activity), and many different neurotransmitter components. The ability to measure these neurotransmitter systems is unique to PET and SPECT imaging. Such tracers can measure either state or trait responses. It should also be mentioned that some of the more common radioactive materials such as fluorodeoxyglucose (that measures glucose metabolism) can be injected through an existing intravenous catheter when the subject is not in the scanner. This allows for a more conducive environment for performing practices such as meditation and prayer. This tracer becomes “locked” in the brain during the injection period and the person can then be scanned after the person has completed their practice, but still measure changes associated with the practice (Herzog, 1990-1991; Newberg, Alavi, Baime, Pourdehnad, Santanna, and d'Aquili, 2001). A major drawback to PET and SPECT imaging, in addition to the radioactive exposure, is that these techniques have generally poor temporal resolution. Depending on the tracer, the temporal resolution can be as good as several minutes and as bad as several hours or even days. PET or SPECT would be very difficult to use in order to study 10 different prayer states in the same session. However, 2 or 3 states might be measured in the same imaging session if the appropriate radiopharmaceutical is used (Lou, Kjaer, Friberg, Wildschiodtz, Holm, Nowak, 1999). The result of this discussion is that depending on the goals of the study, various neuroimaging techniques might be better or worse.

There are other more global problems that affect the ability to interpret the results of all functional imaging studies. The most important of which is how to be certain what is actually being measured physiologically and how it compares to various subjective experiences. There are already potential problems addressing what a particular scan finding means in terms of the actual activity state of the brain. For example, it is not clear what will be observed if there is increased activity in a group of inhibitory neurons. Would that result in increased or decreased cerebral activity as measured by PET or fMRI? The bigger problem is trying to compare the physiological changes observed to the subjective state. With regard to religious and spiritual experience, it is not possible to intervene at some “peak” experience to ask the person what they are feeling. Therefore, if a person undergoes fMRI during a meditation session and they have a peak experience, how will the researcher know which scan findings relates to it? In addition, there are typically a number of changes in the brain with varying degrees of strength. It is not clear what degree of change should be considered a relevant change (i.e. 10% or 20%, etc.). From a statistical perspective, analyzing images has a number of problems including how to compare images across subjects and conditions and how to take into account the problems of multiple comparisons both in terms of activation states and also in terms of individual brain regions. A program called statistical parametric mapping (SPM) has been developed which can be used to evaluate various images and works by normalizing the images, coregistering the images and then analyzing them pixel by pixel for significant changes (Friston, Holme, Worsley, Poline, Frith, and Frackowiak, 1995). This is a very conservative statistical approach because of the problem with multiple comparisons and therefore subtle changes may be missed. Of course, the question still arises as to whether changes observed which are not significant in SPM are still clinically relevant. Furthermore, in the study of religious and spiritual states, it may be important to evaluate subjects on an individual basis since such states may be highly variable phenomenologically across subjects.

In spite of these limitations, neuroimaging studies have been successfully utilized to evaluate specific spiritual and meditative practices. There are currently six known studies which have spanned the different neuroimaging techniques (Herzog, 1990-1991; Lou, Kjaer, Friberg, Wildschiodtz, Holm, Nowak, 1999; Lazar, Bush, Gollub, Fricchione, Khalsa, Benson, 2000; Newberg, Alavi, Baime, Pourdehnad, Santanna, and d'Aquili, 2001; Kjaer, Bertelsen, Piccini, Brooks, Alving, and Lou, 2002; Newberg, Pourdehnad, Alavi, d’Aquili, 2003). Interestingly, there appears to be some coherence of their findings with the frontal lobes, parietal lobes, thalamus, and limbic system appearing to be related in network associated with such practices. It may be that the variety of different types of practices activate a network of brain structures in relatively similar ways. It is also interesting that there do seem to be some differences that correlate well with the variations among the approaches. One study also measured changes in the dopamine system and found increased activity during meditation related practices (Kjaer, Bertelsen, Piccini, Brooks, Alving, and Lou, 2002). Thus, the level of complexity of our understanding continues to improve as more studies are performed. Future studies will certainly be necessary to more thoroughly evaluate the neurophysiological changes that occur in the brain during various religious and spiritual phenomena.

2. Subject Selection and Comparison Groups

Another interesting methodological issue in the study of religious and spiritual phenomena is to determine who are the most appropriate subjects to study and who should represent the comparison group(s). The issue of whom to study with regard to religious and spiritual phenomena depends somewhat on the definition of the phenomena. Obviously, if a researcher wanted to evaluate physiological changes during meditation, there would be thousands of different possible groups to consider studying. It is important to determine which elements of a particular practice or experience are of most interest. The more specific a researcher wants to be in terms of the phenomena, the more focused will be the subject group. For example, if a researcher wanted to study the physiological effects of the Rosary, the group would have to consist of those individual who practice the Rosary. If the focus is on feelings of unity, there may be many different practices that could be chosen, or perhaps the study group will consist of individuals from many different backgrounds. An important issue in this regard is the level of expertise or proficiency of the individuals being studied. In the case of meditative practices, there could be varied results between novice, experienced, and master level individuals. These differences could be related to whether more novice individuals can perform the practice in a manner that is similar to their usual level of practice while under the scrutiny of the researcher. For example, the noise of an MRI scanner may result in a novice not being able to perform their practice of meditation adequately while a more experienced individual may have less of a problem with the distraction. Thus, the difference observed might be related to the fact that one of them successfully performed the practice rather true differences between the practices. It is also important to select individuals that have similar socioeconomic and health backgrounds. If Franciscan nuns are less likely to smoke, then their brain scans might differ from a group of other individuals who do smoke.

The other major issue in terms of subject selection relates to the comparison or control groups. One possibility, which is frequently employed in functional neuroimaging studies is that the individual acts as their own comparison. Studies of various meditative practices typically compare the meditation state to the subject’s own baseline waking state. Others have suggested that a more appropriate comparison would be a state in which they are doing a task that is similar, but has no specific spiritual meaning. For example, one study explored whether different mantras (some spiritual some not) have different effects on the brain electrical activity during meditation (Telles, Nagarathna, and Nagendra, 1998). Another issue with regard to using subjects as their own comparison involves excluding other factors that are part of the practice. Thus, a practice that involves burning incense would be better to compare to a baseline state in which incense is also used. Otherwise, the primary change observed would be in the olfactory regions of the brain and may have nothing to do with the spiritual practice. Similarly, if a practice requires the eyes to be open (i.e. reading prayers), then the baseline state should have the subject with their eyes open, or possibly even reading non-religious texts. Some studies have looked at such differences and have found distinctions in cerebral activity depending on whether a subject was reading a religious or non-religious text (Azari, 2001). Other types of practices might also be used as comparisons including artistic and creative practices, athletic events, or cognitive and visuo-spatial tasks. Comparison groups could be other practitioners in the same tradition, but with different levels of expertise or practitioners in other traditions in which similar practices are performed. These groups might help to determine longitudinal effects of various spiritual practices, but factors such as age and health might interfere with the interpretation of such studies.

Placebo groups are another important problem with the study of religious and spiritual phenomena. It is not clear what a placebo would represent in many cases since most people who are spiritual know whether or not they are actually performing their spiritual practice. Placebo groups in this case more likely will represent other tasks that resemble the spiritual one, but are lacking the specific spiritual content. Thus if reading a prayer is going to be studied, then reading a non-religious text would represent a reasonable comparison group.

3. Study Design and Biostatistical Analysis

Based on the above review of the existing literature and the proposed operational definition of spiritual experience, there are at least seven neuroscientific paradigms which can readily contribute to the initial operationalization of spiritual experience (Larson, Swyers, and McCullough, 1998). These seven paradigms include: 1) the neurophysiology of spiritual interventions, 2) spiritual interventions associated with psychopharmacological agents, 3) drug-induced spiritual experiences, 4) neuropathologic and psychopathologic spiritual experiences, 5) spiritual experiential development in infants, children and adolescents, and 6) physical and psychological therapeutic interventions. After these study designs are considered, the biostatistical issues with such studies can be reviewed.

The Neurophysiology of Spiritual Interventions

The first paradigm involves an experimental spiritual intervention such as prayer or meditation with concomitant measures of a psychological- and spiritual- dependent evaluation. This will help to define and delineate the nature of the spiritual intervention itself. These psychological and spiritual measures can then be compared to simultaneously derived neurobiological parameters, such as electroencephalographic activity, cerebral blood flow, cerebral metabolism, and neurotransmitter activity. Such measures can be performed with state of the art imaging techniques including positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Body physiological scalar parameters such as blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, and galvanic skin responses (that measures autonomic nervous systems activity) can also be measured. Other body physiological parameters such as immunological assessments, hormonal concentrations, and autonomic activity should also be included to complete a thorough analysis of the effects of spiritual interventions.

Altering Spiritual Interventions

The second existing paradigm that might be employed to investigate spiritual experience from a neuroscientific approach uses pharmacological agents or other interventions in an attempt to alter spiritual interventions. Using this paradigm, a previously measured spiritual practice will be compared to the same practice with the addition of some intervention. For example, studies might attempt to show the effects of an opiate antagonist on the strength of the subjective experience of meditation or prayer. Preliminary studies (on one or a few subjects) of this type have shown no effect on EEG patterns during meditation when subjects were given either an opiate or benzodiazepine antagonist (Sim and Tsoi, 1992). The effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation, other pharmacological agents, or even surgical procedures (performed for other purposes) could be evaluated. However, it is clear that more extensive studies measuring a number of neurophysiological parameters are required. Other agonists and antagonists may be utilized to determine their ability to augment or diminish spiritual experiences. In addition, the exploration of various pharmacological agents on spiritual interventions may help to delineate the role of different neurotransmitter systems. Such studies also offer the possibility of measuring dose responses in terms of spiritual interventions.

Drug-Induced Spiritual Experiences

A third paradigm that might be employed utilizes those people whose use of hallucinogenic agents has resulted in intensive spiritual experiences. Since it has long been observed that drugs such as opiates, LSD, and stimulants can sometimes induce spiritual experiences, careful studies of the types and characteristics of drug-induced spiritual experiences, perhaps utilizing modern imaging techniques, may help elucidate which neurobiological mechanism are involved in more "naturally derived" spiritual experiences. Some studies related to the use of such hallucinogenic agents have already been performed (Vollenweider, Leenders, Scharfetter, Maguire, Stadelmann, Angst, 1997; Vollenweider, Vontobel, Hell, Leenders, 1999; Vollenweider, Vontobel, Oye, Hell, Leenders, 2000), but a more extensive study of such agents, particularly in relation to religious and spiritual experiences is required. Comparing this paradigm to naturally occurring spiritual phenomena may allow for a better distinction of pathologic and non-pathologic spiritual experiences. There are obvious ethical and legal considerations with studies such as these (although studies outside of the United States may be more possible). However, subjects who have had pharmacologically induced spiritual experiences can be studied using radioactive analogues of such agents as a means of determining the concentration of receptors and their agonists. Another related approach would be to study the effects of drug withdrawal on spiritual experience. However, there are no reports in the literature of such findings.

Neuropathologic and Psychopathologic Spiritual Experiences

A fourth paradigm would utilize patients with various known neuropathologic and psychopathologic conditions. Neurological conditions including seizure disorders, particularly in the temporal lobes, brain tumors, and stroke, have been associated with spiritual experiences or alterations in religious beliefs. For example, temporal lobe epilepsy has been associated with hyperreligiosity and religious conversions (Bear, 1979; Bear and Fedio, 1977). Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and mania also have been associated with spiritual experiences and religious conversions. Delineating the type of pathology and the location of that pathology will aid in determining the neurobiological substrate of spiritual experience. Thus, neuropsychiatric disorders can be an effective tool for the neuroscience of spiritual experience.

Research on pathological conditions has classically been used to elucidate the normal functions of biological systems. Spiritual experiences in psychiatric and neurological disorders may be central to the identification of largely nascent neurobiological systems that subserve “normal” spiritual experience. This presents a crucial distinction to the historic psychiatric implication that spiritual experience is an expression of psycho- or neuro- pathology. This provides a framework in which normal spiritual experience can occur in pathological and normal conditions and pathologic spiritual episodes might occur in individuals with or without psychopathological disorders. However, care must be taken to avoid referring to spiritual experience only in pathological terms or associated with pathological conditions as well as not reducing spiritual experiences only to neurophysiological mechanisms.

Spiritual Experiential Development

There has been a fairly extensive literature regarding the developmental aspects of religion and spiritual experience (Fowler, 1981; Tamminen, 1994; Oser, 1991). These reports consider the overall development of spiritual experience from infancy through adolescence and into adulthood. There is also consideration of the necessary neurocognitive developments for spiritual experience to arise. For example, a more primitive form of undifferentiated faith may occur in infancy while the more complex aspects of spiritual experience which include cognitive, cultural, and affective components usually requires growth into adulthood (Fowler, 1981). Most of these analyses of spiritual experiential development are grounded in psychology. However, neuroscience may be able to utilize these findings and compare them to the development of various brain structures and neurocognitive processes. This may help elucidate which brain structures and functions are required for various components of spiritual experience. The developmental approach can also be viewed from the end of life perspective. For example, alterations in spiritual functions may be associated with diffuse neuropathological conditions (e.g. dementia). Furthermore, it may be useful to study alteration in spiritual functions that are associated with decrements in neurocognitive functions as well as decrements in physical health.

Physical and Psychological Therapeutic Interventions

There are a large number of ongoing studies which have explored the therapeutic effects of meditation, stress management, prayer, and other related interventions for various psychological and physical disorders including anxiety disorders, hypertension, coronary artery disease, cancer, and the human immunodeficiency virus (Kabat-Zinn, 1992; Carson, 1993; Levin 1989, 1994; Miller 1995; Leserman 1989; Zamarra 1996; Massion 1995; Schneider 1995). While these studies focus on the effects of the intervention on various disease parameters, it may be possible to “piggy-back” onto these studies to include measures of spiritual experience and well-being. Utilizing measurement scales already available in the literature, it may be possible to determine the relationship of spiritual experiences and well-being to the intervention as well as to the progression of the disorder. Performing high quality studies is essential to demonstrating the relationship between spirituality and health especially in light of the various criticisms that have been raised regarding methodological issues with these early studies (Sloan, Bagiella, and Powell, 1999; Sloan and Bagiella, 2002).

Statistical Analysis Issues

In terms of statistical analysis, there are several issues that arise in the study of religious and spiritual phenomena. To begin with, religious and spiritual phenomena are frequently very complex with many different components. As mentioned above, these components can be both subjective and objective. In order to account for this variety of components, there are frequently a number of variables that must be factored into the statistical analysis. Thus, simple statistical comparisons will frequently oversimplify the findings and may miss important covariates that may have significant contributions to the findings. Every effort should be made to perform statistical analyses in studies of religious and spiritual phenomena with the same rigor and complexity as other biomedical studies. To this end, it is imperative that well qualified statisticians are utilized to evaluate data from these studies in order to ensure the highest quality of such research.

Another problem that may be somewhat unique to rel