Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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164 I Dialogue metaphysics, and he presents a set of categories and ideas that resolve the problems of science and religion through the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Issues is divided into three major sections: Historical, Logical and Substantive. The first section of the book illuminates the interface of science and religion. Unlike those who claim there is no conflict between the two systems, Barbour focuses his attention on the areas where religious assertions become philosophical (and thus become sometimes scientific) and where scientific assertions become metaphysical (thus acting back through philosophy to religion). Barbour includes an instructive chapter called, "From the Sciences to the Humanities," in which he attempts to show that the balance between objectivity and personal involvement is necessary in all disciplines and that the social sciences have the same epistemological problems as the sciences. This is a modification of C. P. Snow's provocative "Two Cultures" essay. Barbour breaks down the stereotypes of science/objectivity, humanities/subjectivity and shows that the separation Snow describes is only social and linguistic. Of course, such a broad, pervasive cultural problem has no easy solutions, but Barbour's comments provide an interesting complement to Snow's and set the stage for his detailed comparison of the methods of science and religion which follows. If we were to assume that science and religion were completely antithetical pursuits rather than evolving intellectual enterprises, the great similarities would be robbed of their impact. Barbour observes that there is no uninterpreted revelation. This leads the reader to recall a previous discussion where H. R. Hanson demonstrated that there is no uninterpreted, or "bare," scientific fact. Thus Barbour establishes a difficult epistemological point about theory-laden observation in a rather painless but unmistakable comparison. The analysis of the methods of religion focuses on liberal Protestant theology but raises most of the key issues about religion in its various functions of theology, community, personal experience, language, and as history in ways that invite serious reflection and further analysis. After balancing the contrasts and parallels of science and religion, Barbour turns to an analysis of the language of both in order to reveal the solution to the interpretive problem of scientific and religious thinking. This book is a tremendous accomplishment. It treats a tough problem with respect and covers all the major areas with admirable scope and depth and with copious footnotes. It is certainly the place to begin a study of the problems of science and religion, and in addition serves well as a bibliographic and reference tool for advanced students. This is an ideal book for the relatively unsophisticated Mormon audience. The subject of science and religion in the Church has been treated either as a false problem which Mormonism, embracing all truth, need not confront, or as a subject which can be satisfied by the testimonial assurances of some prominent Churchman-scientist. We, as a Church, have avoided, for the last half-century at least, serious attempts to reconcile our theological views with other intellectual currents in the world even while more of our community now seems in need of it and qualified to evaluate it. Particularly in the area of science and religion, where Mormonism makes so many provocative assertions, the silence is surprising. Hopefully, attention to Barbour's fine book will stimulate some analysis of the unique ideas of Mormonism.