The Religion and Science Debate: Why Does it Continue? edited by Harold W. Attridge (Yale 2009).
This volume, like the Gifford Lectures, is part of a series. According, as found in the introduction of this volume, to the deed of Dwight Harrington Terry, the object of the the Lectures on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy is that,
a series of lectures be given by men eminent in their respective departments, on ethics, the history of civilization and religion, biblical research, all sciences and branches of knowledge which have an important bearing on the subject, all the great laws of nature, especially of evolution . . . to the end that the Christian spirit may be nurtured in the fullest light of the world’s knowledge and that mankind maly be helped to attain its highest possible welfare and happiness upon this earth.
A number of notable titles have come out of the Terry Lectures, including Pail Tillich’s The Courage to Be, John Dewey’s, A Common Faith, Erich Fromm’s Psychoanalysis and Religion, Paul Ricoeur’s Freud and Philosophy, and John Polkinghorne’s Belief in God in an Age of Science (among a number of others). The Religion and Science Debate is from the one-hundredth such lecture, which was structured not as a single speaker giving a series of lectures from which a tome might arise, but rather a series of panel discussions with a resulting anthology of articles. Because it has taken the form of an anthology, this debate may not rise to the heights of the very best from the Terry Series, but it is a timely volume that may be with us all for some time.
When one brings up the topic of what is supposed to be a conflict between science and religion, one does not look first at method (although one might wish to look at Descartes Bones) but at the peculiar controversy over evolution. By in large, the contributors to this volume focus on the later to illustrate the former. All the contributors are veterans of this debate, and a some (Ronald Numbers and Alvin Plantinga) have been highlighted in this blog before. Let us simply look at each essay in its turn. Read the rest of this entry »