Science and Religion

A Critical Survey

Holmes III Rolston

This landmark book, first published in 1987, is now back in print, with a new introduction by its award-winning author. An interdisciplinary approach to the central themes of scientific and religious thought, this book was widely heralded upon its publication for the richness and depth of its contribution to the science and religion dialogue.

According to Holmes Rolston III, there are fundamental questions that science alone cannot answer; these questions are the central religious questions. He uses the scientific method of inquiry to distill key issues from science, and then he integrates them in a study that begins with matter and moves through life, mind, culture, history, and spirit.

Incorporating religious and scientific worldviews, he begins with an examination of two natural sciences: physics and biology. He then extrapolates examples from two human sciences: psychology and sociology. Next, he moves to the storied universe and world history, raising and addressing religious questions. "Never in the histories of science and religion have the opportunities been greater for fertile interaction between these fields, with mutual benefits to both," states Rolston. The re-publication of this book provides current researchers and students in the field an invaluable, timeless methodological resource. The new introduction offers updated insights based on new scientific research.

Preface / vii

Introduction to the 2006 Edition. Human Uniqueness and Human Responsibility: Science and Religion in a New Millennium / xi

  • An Open Future / xii
  • Matter, Energy, Information / xiv
  • Genetics: Past, Present, and Future / xviii
  • Human Uniqueness: Brain, Mind, Culture / xxiv
  • Mind Knowing Nature: Realism and Social Construction / xxxi
  • Science and Conscience / xxxv
  • Historical and Cruciform Nature: Life Persisting in Perishing / xxxix

Chapter 1. Methods in Scientific and Religious Inquiry / 1

  • Theories, Creeds, and Experience / 1
  • Models, Patterns, Paradigms / 8
  • Objectivity and Involvement / 16
  • Scientific and Religious Logic / 22

Chapter 2. Matter: Religion and the Physical Sciences / 33

  • Newtonian Mechanism / 34
  • Quantum Mechanics and Indeterminacy / 41
  • Relativity and Matter-Energy / 54
  • Microphysical and Astrophysical Nature / 65

Chapter 3. Life: Religion and the Biological Sciences / 81

  • Biochemistry and the Secret of Life / 82
  • Evolution and the Secret of Life / 90
  • The Cybernetics of Life / 124
  • The Life Struggle / 133

Chapter 4. Mind: Religion and the Psychological Sciences / 151

  • The Possibility of a Human Science / 151
  • Religion and Freudian Psychoanalysis / 159
  • Religion and Behavioral Science 170
  • Religion and Humanistic Psychologies / 183

Chapter 5. Culture: Religion and the Social Sciences / 198

  • Society and the Individual: Models, Laws, Causes / 200
  • Interpretive Social Science / 210
  • Religion as a Social Projection / 219
  • Values in Social Science / 226

Chapter 6. Nature and History / 238

  • Nature after Science / 238
  • Hard Naturalism / 247
  • Soft Naturalism / 253
  • Eastern Perspectives / 258
  • The Dimension of History / 269
  • Suffering / 286

Chapter 7. Nature, History, and God / 297

  • Nature and Supernature / 298
  • Scientific-Existentialist Theism / 306
  • Process Theism / 315
  • Transscientific Theism / 322
  • Insight in Science and Religion: Doing the Truth / 335

Index / 349