JASA Book Reviews for December 1975
THE SCIENTIST AND ETHICAL DECISION edited by Charles Hatfield, Intervarsity Press (1973) $2.95 (paper).
This is the second book based on contributions to an invitational scholars' conference sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies, in this case at the U. of Michigan in October, 1972. (The previous book and conference were concerned with Christianity and the Counter Culture.) The book has four major sections, the first two being more general in scope, I Ethical Principle and II Ethical Practice, and the next two dealing with specific areas, III Ethics in Genetics and IV Ethics in Psychology. The book concludes with a brief contribution by Carl Henry, "The New Image of Man."
The tone of this book is well expressed in introductory comments by the editor:
Thus what the scientist who is a Christian thinks about scientific work and ethical decision should be both significant and instructive . . . The use and abuse of technologies make it clear that the problem is unavoidably man himself: His value, his meaning and how he conceives his role in the world . . . Thus the information generated by the sciences and technologies is necessary but not sufficient for an optimal decision on what is best for man. If man is really in God's image - and that is a moral image if it is any image at all - then the biblical view of man is quite pertinent to the problem.
In the first paper, Stob states his purpose as exposing "scientific control", the exploitation and pollution of external nature and the chemical, biological and psychological manipulation of man, to the scrutiny of Christian ethics. He does this by
( 1) depicting the rise of Western science and technology; (2) setting forth a Christian understanding of man's relation to nature; (3) by commenting on selected features of the current scientific engagement with man; and (4) by remarking on the role and use of the Bible in moral decision making.
In interacting to Stob's paper, Ronald Nash amplifies the question of how Christian ethics can aid the scientist in determining his moral duty. In his own words, "I am trying to throw some light on why it is sometimes so difficult for Christians to determine their duty." Nash makes a strong distinction between doing the right thing and doing the good thing.
In a second interaction to Stob's paper, Stanley Obitts takes a further look at the development of science, particularly the roles of Descartes and Kant. Obitts traces to Kant, "this separation of scientific judgments about facts from moral judgments about values which lies behind the imposition of man's selfish values upon the world controlled by science which concerns us today."
The second section contains papers by Hanley Abramson, John McIntyre, Kenneth Pike and Walter Hearn, and each has merit. I found of particular interest McIntyre's, "Is the Scientist for Hire?", in which the legal ethics of the scientist as a professional are compared to those of a lawyer and a medical doctor. He concludes, "The same ethic guides all professions . . . The scientist's primary responsibility is to his client or employer. Thus, classified work, (e.g., for the department of defense) is proper for a scientist." Further, "the scientist is not responsible for the actions of his client or employer." However, scientists do have responsibilities to society when not serving in their professional capacites. McIntyre argues from a Biblical perspective that the obligations of a scientist when servm*g in a professional capacity may be quite different from those when he acts as an individual.
I also found most refreshing the paper by Walter Hearn, "Whole People and Half Truths', which is an honest examination of personal ethics in science. I recommend this for all science students.
The third section is composed of well thought out
papers by V. Elving Anderson, "Genetic Control and
Human Values" and by J. Frank Cassel, "The Ethics of
Genetics", The fourth section primarily deals with the
reaction of Ralph Underwager, Lawrence Crabb and
David Busby to the psychology of B. F. Skinner. For
example, from Underwager,
I rather expect that the more people hear clearly what he is saying, the more openness and readiness there will be to hear the word of God's grace. Go to it, Skinner! The clear and forthright proclamation of the law in which Skinner is engaged makes it possible for the Christian to witness and to proclaim the good news of the Gospel.
This feeling for Skinner is obviously not shared by all. I found a number of new concepts (for me) in the book and found my time reading it well spent. I highly recommend it to other A.S.A. members.
Reviewed by Bernard J. Piersma, Professor of Physical Chemistry, Houghton College, Houghton, New York.
VIOLENCE by Os Guinness. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1974, 52 pp., Paperback, $1.25.
Os Guinness is an Englishman born in China and educated at the University of London. He has been associated with Francis Schaeffer at L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland.
This pamphlet contains a revised and updated version of Chapter 5 of Guinness' book, The Dust of Death. According to the publisher, this publication is the result of readers' requests. It concentrates on the problem of violence and its meaning.
It is pretty heavy reading, not something you would turn to for relaxation. Liberally peppered with quotations, it requires a good deal of concentration to follow the development of thought.
THE AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE by John R. W. Stott. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1974, 44 pp., Paperback, $.25.
Has John R. W. Stott ever written anything dull? He certainly ranks with the most readable Christian writers of our time. His logic is always clear and easy to follow.
This pamphlet, while not presenting any original ideas about the Bible's authority, gives a concise formula for arriving at the evangelical view of Scripture. Stott's argument is that we first are lead to faith in Christ via the Scriptures. Then we accept the doctrine of the Bible that was espoused by Christ. In other words, "historical documents evoke our faith in Jesus, who then gives us a doctrine of Scripture."
Stott has two books which discuss this issue in more detail: Understanding the Bible and Christ the Controversialist. This present booklet is based on an address given at Urbana 73 InterVarsity Missionary Convention.
SEXUAL FREEDOM by V. Mary Stewart. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1974, 20 pp., Paperback, $.25.
V. Mary Stewart identifies herself "as a sinner redeemed by Christ," a psychologist, and a single woman. She was coverted two years ago at the age of 27.
She writes about sex, "the most hotly debated functions of human existence," and she seeks to reflect biblical truth in doing so. The three sexual functions she discusses are fornication, masturbation and sexual fantasizing. Experienced in all three, she comes to the conclusion that the Christian knows more fully the "joy of life" by abandoning them.
An abridged form of this booklet appeared in His magazine, the student publication of InterVarsity. This article was ostensibly intended to dissuade college students from engaging in the sexual behavior described. Hopefully the reader will have the insight to realize that Stewart's experience should not be considered normative nor her logic irrefutable. For example, her argument that masturbation restricts the stimulus for sexual arousal is not very good psychology. The concept of stimulus generalization allows for stimuli other than the conditioned one to elicit the response. As a matter of fact, behavior therapists have employed masturbation and erotic materials for some time in seeking to correct the sexual maladjustments of clients.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND THE CHURCH, by Donald Bridge and David Phypers. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1973, 160 pp., $1.75.
The authors have written this book for the lay Christian who might be excited or puzzled by the present charismatic movement, and not for the academician or theologian. The book is the result of the authors' interactions as church officers with Christians both in church and school. It was originally published in London by InterVarsity Press in 1973.
The book has a preface and 13 chapters that are divided into three main sections: spiritual gifts: their place in the church; the baptism of the spirit and spiritual gifts; and appropriating spiritual gifts.
In the book many questions about spiritual gifts are discussed: what are they; are they supernatural or natural; what was their function in the early church; and do they have a place in the church today? The authors feel that these questions have unnecessarily divided the church. They desire that Christians approach this subject with open minds and teachable hearts. In their writing they exemplify the humility that they encourage readers to display in areas of difficulty.
The authors write in a conciliatory, diffident, non-dogmatic tone but not at the expense of stating their view on controversial issues. They argue persuasively
that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are extant and available to the church today. More specifically, : they contend that the distinction between temporary and permanent gifts cannot be sustained. Therefore, the gifts of prophecy, healing, miracles, tongues, and apostles continue today. The gift of apostleship for example, cannot be regarded as having been withdrawn with the death of the twelve apostles. While the qualifications for the original twelve apostles cannot be met by any Christian today, there were other disciples (James, Bamabas, Andronicus, Junias, Timothy, Silas) described in the New Testament who did not meet them either and yet they are called apostles.
Demon possession occurs today according to the authors. It is different from a spiritual attack and mental illness, although the distinction between them is unclear. If opposition to the gospel and the servants of God are symptoms of demon possession, it is difficult to understand how the authors can argue that the Western nations are largely free from it.
Dispensationalists will disagree with the authors contention that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was anticipated in the Old Testament. They confuse the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and His baptism. Since the church was a mystery in the Old Testament, it can be deduced that the baptism of the Holy Spirit which formulates that church was also unknown and unanticipated.
Reviewed by Richard Lee Ruble, Professor of Psychology, John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas 72761.
SCIENCE, MAN AND SOCIETY 2nd Ed., by Robert B. Fischer, W. B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 1975 208 pages, Paper.
In Science, Man and Society, former ASA president Robert Fischer has designed a text to help students to gain some perspective on the nature of science and to illustrate the diverse roles that science plays in shaping modern society. Chemist-college administrator Fischer begins by developing a working definition of science that he contrasts with a variety of other descriptive statements about science. In elaborating his definition through the early chapters Fischer carefully develops his theme of the humanness of scientific endeavor. Brief vignettes or comments drawn from the lives of scientists are effectively used in examining such elements as personal motivation, cycles and facts in research, the problem of communication, and the international scope of science. Some popular misconceptions are buried in the process.
Chapter 3 covers ground often placed under the umbrella of philosophy of science by considering 'individual authority, collective judgment, presuppositions, limitations and "truth". The difference between science and scientism is clearly drawn.
The relationship between science and technology is examined in Chapter 4. An historical approach is used to support Fischer's contention that "science and technology are distinct from each other, and that there are cross-links between the two". Along the same line, areas of interaction with the arts and humanities are brought into focus. The theme of Science and Higher Education is developed in Chapter 5. In perhaps the best section of the book Fischer sketches the development of the early American college and university, noting the curricular ties to Cambridge and Oxford and the unity of purpose (educate persons for the professions), curriculum (classical studies), and conviction (a Christian perspective) running through these colonial institutions. This unity is seen as lost in the development of the typical modern institution. Such topics as the place of science in liberal education, interdisciplinary study, problem of specialization, and financing are appropriately placed here. Chapter 6 deals with the relation between science and government. An historical sketch provides some picture of an unfolding pattern which has seen the Federal Government change "from a position of aiding science and technology to a position in which government guides science and technology." Some problems related to the present state of affairs are considered.
The concluding chapter looks again at man - his rationality, creativity, humanness - in a world increasingly affected by science and technology. For Fisher an approach involving an "ecology of understanding" is needed if the many serious issues involving individual man and society are to find solutions.
In considering man and society Fischer does not neglect the religious side of man or the cultural role played by religion. The subject is introduced naturally without resorting to preaching or artificial appeal. The tone is set in the preface "This book is not intended, however, to be a partisan plea for my own Weltanschauung. I am very willing to identify and make such a plea, but to do so would not be in keeping with the purpose of this book."In less than 200 pages Fischer has superbly accomplished his task. Students in science courses for nonmajors at an introductory level as well as the general public can gain insight into the wider dimension of science through this well structured and clearly written book. In using the first edition for three years, I observed a highly favorable student response. The were surprised to find a scientist who could write clearly. The new edition closely follows the pattern of its predecessor with amplification and strategic updating at many points. A series of helpful discussion questions has been added. The most significant change is the addition of carefully chosen pictures, charts, cartoons and a smashing full-color cover. I suspect that readers from the life sciences would re-title the book Physical Science, Man and Society because the illustrations overwhelmingly favor the "hard" sciences. This book ranks with the best of the growing number of books about science.
Reviewed by J. W. Haas, Jr., Gordon College, Wenham, Massachuetts.
PROEXISTENCE by Udo Middlemann, Downers
Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1974, 136 pp., $1.95.
Udo Middlemann is an associate of Francis A. Schaeffer at L'Abri Fellowship. He was born in Germany, has a law degree from Freiburg University, and received theological training at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis.
This book is the outcome of encounters with men and women who came to L'Abri to find meaning in their lives. It has a Ereface, five chapters and notations. The title is based on the observation that "God is for existence, not against it," and "is meant to suggest the stance of the Christian in the world."
In the book the author intends to suggest how people can express their unique identity and recognize that their lives are significant. There are some valid points made in the book, but for the most part they are obvious, and simplistic (pp. 28, 29, 49). The nonChristian for the most part, would probably agree with the idealism (pp. 57, 58, 83). In reading this book, one is reminded of Abraham Lincoln's description of a lawyer friend, "I never saw a man who could take so many big words and stuff them into such a small idea."
One point at which the book could have been vastly improved is in defining terms. The following are used without a clear definition: identity (p. 13), reality (p. 13), transcendence (p. 16), zero (p. 27), humans (p. 27), capitalist (p. 27), and craftsmanship (p. 28). A dictionary definition leaves one short of the operational one needed if action is to ensue.
The author seems to be inconsistent when he implies on page 30 that one's identity is not determined by what one does, but on page 35 that one's identity is. On page 27 one is shaped by one's job, but on page 35 one is not. His consistent use of "man" to refer to humanity (pp. 14, 15) is typical of evangelical writers but will appear sexist to many people. He attributes to technological "man" the belief that social and psychological engineering will produce a world of peace (p. 9). This is undoubtedly an overgeneralizaton. Stilted writing hinders readability. For example: "Man is the only being that is unable not to question his identity ... (p. 14)." From the technical viewpoint, at least three typesetting errors occur (pp. 15, 17, 48).
The book abounds in assumptions, nebulous ideas and non-sequiturs (pp. 15, 19). Those who are already in agreement with the author will be carried riqht aloniz but the disclaimers will stumble at many places.
There are a host of unscientific statements in the book in reference to animals (p. 16), imagination (p. 17), phonemes (p. 18), and property (p. 41). To take property as an example, the statement is made that "as far as we know . . . animals can own nothing." Compare that statement with the findings that birds build and defend nests, rats collect and hoard food, baboons select and protect sexual mates, Canadian wolves mark and claim geographical territory.
InterVarsity Press has produced many helpful books but this one does not contribute in any significant way to the betterment of the Christian community or humanity in general.
Reviewed by Richard Lee Ruble, John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas 72761
Chapter one examines the role of work, which is viewed as ordinarily a means for one to express his creativity. Human creativity arises because we are made in God's image. Also considered in this chapter is the relation of the Christian to money and leisure. The analysis is especially helpful in showing the value of man's creative activity, both in intellectual areas and in the things he makes. There is also a helpful consideration of ways one can be creative in jobs that appear mundane. This discussion thus avoids the common evangelical trap of considering work as an economic necessity or, at best, a means of contacting non-Christians.
Chapter two covers Biblical concepts of property. Property rights are seen as primarily protecting a person's creativity-protecting the means and results of his creative work. The rights of property are not contradictory to Scriptural concepts of social justice or community in the Church. Property and community each affirm the dignity of the individual.
Chapter three reviews philosopic thought from the eighteenth century to the present. it generally recapitulates Schaeffer's writing on this subject but focuses on concepts of reality. It points out the error of modem thinking which leads to a totally subjective world view-a view that perceives only one's individual experiences at a particular moment as the totality of reality. With this description of the subjective mentality, Middelmann develops his next chapters.
Chapter four discusses selfishness that arises when one has a subjective, self-centered view of reality. When we fail to see the reality of other people, of the world about us and history, and of God and His working we become selfish. The chapter considers several examples of Old and New Testament individuals of faith who looked to God rather than to themselves and their immediate situations when they faced problems. In looking to God to work out His purposes beyond the immediate circumstances, they did not put themselves first; thus they were able to lose their lives for His sake and find true life (Matt. 10:39).
Chapter five discusses the relation of Christians to the state and political movements. Here the basic problem is again selfishness, which leads to placing false hopes in either the establishment or the revolution. The Christian is to be subject to governmental rule; for, even if the government is not perfect, some degree of order is preferable to chaos. Subjection is qualified when laws conflict with God's will, but one should not rebel in a selfish way-that is when his own desires conflict with the government. The Christian should view his world in terms of a larger reality than himself and his immediate situation; he must look to God and His working in the total span of history. This does not imply inaction; God's people are to permeate and influence the structures of society; the Church is to demonstrate that Christ has healed relations among men. In so doing, Christians can demonstrate the relevance of their faith to the needs of society. Christians are to work for God's order in these efforts, but they must realize that what they can attain will be imperfect and that it takes time for God to work out His plan in history. Ultimate perfection will come when Christ returns to establish His kingdom.
In brief, Middelmann's work is helpful in presenting a Christian perspective on some very practical areas of living. It gives a well balanced Scriptural view on several controversial subjects such as property rights and relations of Christians and the state. The balance avoids allowing the Christian to place God's seal on whatever "ism" of the secular left or right he would support anyway. It is common for a philosophically oriented writer to appear abstract; Middelmarm gives sufficient concrete examples to avoid this difficulty. Though particular subjects are treated comprehensively, they are not treated exhaustively; particular examples and illustrations of a Christian course of action are meant to stimulate the reader's thinking, rather than simply prescribe what every Christian should do in every situation.
Review by David A. Saunders, Boston Biomedical Research Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.
POLITICS: A Case for Christian Action, by Robert D. Linder and Richard V. Pierard, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois (1973). 160 pp. Paperback. $1.75.
Two of the authors of Protest and Politics have joined together to encourage Christian students to put their faith into practice while avoiding the twin paralyzing extremes of other-worldly pietism or nihilistic frustration. They counter the objections that have been raised against Christian participation in politics and argue that "one of the great cop-outs of our time is the suggestion that because Christ's kingdom is not of this world, his followers should stay out of political life.
Linder and Pierard urge Christians to become involved to act in the areas of modern concern, racism, war and pollution; and they point to four men in public life who can be taken as models of such involvement: Paul Simon, former lieutenant governor of Illinois; Albert H. Quie, congressman from Minnesota; congressman John B. Anderson of Illinois; and Senator Mark 0. Hatfield of Oregon. They remind us that at the national governor's conferences in 1965 and 1966, Senator Hatfield cast the only vote against the administrations policies in Southeast Asia.
Areas of practical reform are high on the authors' list of motives for Christian involvement in politics. These areas include the curbing of the excessive influence of the rich in politics, judicial and legal reform to recapture the ideal of "equality before the law," and restoring confidence in government at all levels.
The importance of university students in the political process stems from the size of the student population, their role as the future leaders of society, their energy and enthusiasm, their idealism, and their participation in the formulation of political awareness and ideals at this time in their own lives.
Christians have unique contributions to offer the political process, the authors argue. These contributions include an understanding of the need for balance and moderation, a social conscience, a sense of integrity, the preparation to look at issues and not at men, and the possibility of exercising a stewardship of influence. Christians entering the political process personally, however, need to be aware of the necessity and the dangers of compromise, the complexity of the issues that will not yield to simplistic solutions, the harsh reality that politics is slow hard work, and the requirement of intense personal self-sacrifice.
The importance of a Christian awareness of political
reality and responsibility is brought home by a quote
given from Pastor Martin Niemoeller,
...in Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. They came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
To which the authors reply in conclusion,
Forces of evil are abroad in the land and Christians must combat them. There are great issues to be confronted - proverty, racism, war, environmental pollution, drug abuse and many others. Who, in the name of Jesus Christ, will stand and speak for Martin Niernoeller? Will you? Now is the time to stand, the time to speak!
EVOLUTION, PSYCHOLOGY AND THE BIBLICAL IDEAL OF LOVE by Pearle F. Stone Wood, Exposition Press, New York, 1973. 45 pp. $4.00.
The authoress graduated with honors from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1922 and subsequently received an M.A. from Northwestern, did graduate work at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and taught in the areas of high school math, college Bible, philosophy, psychology and sociology. She offers "a solution to the basic dilemma that there is a contradiction between the teachings of the Hebrew-Christian tradition and those of modern evolutionary theory." Unfortunately both her scientific precision and her Christian theology are sufficiently dilute that the promised harmonization offers little comfort to either evolutionists or Christians. The tone is set early in the book and can be discerned from the following quotation.
I believe that even if we did not have the HebrewChristian tradition, recognition of the implications of the evolutionary process as seen in the development of society would lead us to appreciation of the fundamental importance of the message of the 'Sermon on the Mount.'
The principal impression conveyed by her little book is the effort by one raised in a Christian context and building on that cultural foundation to attempt to show that foundation can be constructed on the basis of evolutionary understanding; it would be an interesting exercise to see what would have happened if she had no Christian background to build on, but that, of course, is not possible. The evolutionary process quickly becomes anthropornorphized or divinized so that it may be spoken of as having "dictates" and "goals," and to it are attributed creative and constructive powers which take the form of "love" in the human being.
One can feel the sincere warmth of the authoress as
she addresses her theme, but this merely accentuates
the regret that her concept of theology extends not
much further than the Fatherhood of God and the
Brotherhood of man.
THEOLOGY, PHYSICS AND MIRACLES by Werner Schaaffs. Translated by Richard L. Renfield from the German, THEOLOGIE UND PHYSIK VOR DEM WUNDER. Canon Press, Washington, D.C. (1974). 100 pp. Paperback. $2.95.
It is the purpose of Prof. Schaaffs, professor of physics at Berlin Technical University, to show that the objections of modem theologians against biblical miracles are based on outmoded understanding of physical science. The theological key to Prof. Schaaffs' reasoning is his interpretation of Genesis 1:31; since this passage states that the natural laws of creation are ,'very good," it is improper to argue that God later set these laws aside to perform miracles. Rather it must be taken as a presupposition that "all the miracles of the Old and New Testament, including the Resurrection, are consistent with the natural laws of creation." The scientific key to the author's approach is the conclusion that modem physical understanding depends upon a statistical description of physical reality and hence makes miracles plausible.
As far as theology is concerned, Prof. Schaafs believes that the high point occurred in the early church and is summarized in the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. The error of modern demythologizing theologians such as Bultmann has been the result of their failure to realize that science has changed radically in the last hundred years from a position of physical determinism to one of physical indeterminism.
In spite of much valid and helpful material, the book takes on a curious flavor due to manifestations of unwarranted dogmatism or unexpected naivete on the part of the author. He argues that the acceptance of the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe makes "the demand for a Creator-God ... unavoidable." His arguments that atomistic indeterminism leads directly to macroscopic indeterminism appear simplistic. He claims to have explained the miracle of Moses' burning bush in terms of solar heating of "the volatile aroma of a large bush beyond its flash point," in the absence of wind or winged insects. On several occasions he makes the mistake of supposing that scientific indeterminism, i.e., chance, is the foundation for human freedom of choice; in one place he even goes so far as to say, "Like human beings, the atomic system behaves freely." In describing the relationship between soul and body, the author departs from both scientific and biblical evidence for the whole person and argues for a body-soul dualism, with the soul and the body living in two separate worlds. He calls "the human spirit ... a bit of God's Spirit," and attributes omnipresence to the Devil with the words, "Just as the Spirit of the Lord has access ... to each atom in our body, so the confuser, too, has access to them."
The book starts with a curious exchange between the author of the Foreword, who commends the book, but rebukes Schaaffs for seeking to demonstrate that all miracles have a scientific explanation and for championing evolution over fiat creation, and a "word from the publisher" that expresses Dr. Schaaffs' "serious reservations" about the criticisms of the Foreword.
Basically Dr. Schaaffs is on the right track but he
has so interlaced a sound integration of science and
theology with speculative and debatable material that
his book is appreciably weakened for general use.
Reprinted from Christianity Today.
THEMATIC ORIGINS OF SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT: Kepler to Einstein, by Gerald Holton, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1973). 495 pp. Paperback. $3.95
This book contains a collection of essays written by the Professor of Physics at Harvard University in the area of "the history of science and related studies," over a period of about one decade. Its theme is to spell out the "thematic" content of science, "a dimension that can be conceived as orthogonal to the empirical and analytical content." In a variety of ways the author emphaizes the human ingredient in scientific research and the role of nonrational processes in the growth of scientific models.
The largest single portion of the book deals with an
historical study of Einstein and the development of
the theory of relativity - over 200 pages. The author
makes clear that the attempt to prostitute the physical
theory of relativity to support ethical and moral relativism has no grounds whatsoever.
Relativity theory, of course, does not find that truth depends on the point of view of the observer, but on the contrary, reformulates the laws of physics so that they hold good for every observer, no matter how he moves or where he stands. Its central meaning is that the most valued truths in science are wholly independent of the point of view.
Final sections on the growth of science ("the pursuit of science is itself not necessarily a science") and science education argue for the need for a balance between the extremes of scientisin and an attempt to live a meaningful life without due regard for scientific insights. The book is valuable as a means to show what science is, rather than what science appears to be in conventional summaries of scientific material.
SYMPOSIUM ON SCIENCE AND HUMAN PURPOSE of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, Zygon, Volume 8, Numbers 3 and 4, September-December 1973. 484 pp. $5.00. (Two Reviews)
Although not actually a book, this collection of 14
papers with a Prologue by Ralph Wendell Burhoe and
an Epilogue by George Arkell Riggan, from a symposium held at the Institute on Man and Science, in
Rensselaerville, New York, October 25-30, 1972, offers
valuable insights into current thinking on a topic o
broad interest. For Christian men and women of science
who may commonly be immersed in an evangelical culture, it is a good experience to see the best offered by
men who in general adopt a Teilbardian approach and
a process philosophy without second thought, Editor
Burhoe sets the stage in the Prologue when he candidly
We are convinced that it is necessary to find ways to square our views of human purpose with the new scientific knowledge, even to integrate with contemporary scientific views some basic elements of the great religious system that has prevailed over the past 2,500 years in the West where the great expansion of modern science originated.
This theme is perpetuated in a later paper by Burhoe on "The Concepts of God and Soul in a Scientific View of Human Purpose,"
We are seeking to relate the scientific insights to the older cultural, philosophic and religious traditions since those traditions have shaped viable societies in the past and may contain at least some hints of what we must do to shape viable societies in the present or future.
With the Judaeo-Christian religious insights thus relegated to whatever possible small hints they might yet contain, it is not surprising that god and soul become only symbol words, that the "invariance found in a scientifically established logical or mathematical equation ... is almost the model to explain what theologians meant in saying god. . . " and that "the failure of the scientific model of reality to provide an attribute of 'personhood' to god' may be readily accepted since 11 such personhood may not be necessary." Philosophically conditioned interpretations of the scientific record ride roughshod over both reality and the biblical revelation in the nanw of science. The biblical doctrine of an "eternal bell" as well as immortality created in .,resurrection" both fail to be "credible in any literal way in terms of twentieth-century secular and scientific ways of viewing man and the world." Finally even the language of theologuese runs away and leaves the reader standing with mouth open.
Today the sciences present a model about life that is equivalent in meaning to religious views of soul. The real core of human nature is not any particular body but an enduring pattern of flow. The flow pattern is generated by the interaction of the energy and boundary conditions set by habitat (or cosmotype), genotype, and culturetype, resulting in unending successions of ever-evolving levels of living forms. Culturally transmitted information may be cathected with genetically derived somatic structures to orient human behavior to these longer-range goals of life embodied in the soul.
Other authors participating in this symposium give an imposing list of names: Dobzhansky, Eccles, and Laszlo, to name but a few. With few exceptions each attempts to smuggle values into a scientific worldview by some non-scientific process - the most frequently encountered, of course, being the evolutionary interpretation of reality. Comments by author Parsegian in "Biological Trends within Cosmic Processes" are typical.
The struggle of each individual to live as long as possible and especially the abundant provisions that nature has made for each species to perpetuate itself suggest that there is even moral obligation to continue the evolutionary processes, whatever the reason. . . . Taking lessons from the long evolutionary strivings of the past, reason demands that a primary purpose of man be the maintenance of conditions that assure his own survival and that assure evolutionary progression.
There are valuable insights and comments scattered throughout the book, and it is certainly worthwhile reading for anyone interested in efforts to produce an ethics on the basis of science, either alone or adjusted in some slight way toward a religious perspective. Birch, in "A Biological Basis for Human Behavior", realizes clearly that "In which direction man should develop is a matter of values and ethics, not of biology. . . . There is no way to derive values from biology. . , Science and technology lead us to the judgments but leave us there without help."
The name of Jesus appears for the first (and one of the few times) time on p. 374 in the paper by A. R. Peacocke on "The Nature and Purpose of Man in Science and Christian Theology." Peacocke's paper is far more perceptive of the biblically based Christian worldview than any other paper in the symposium. It is well worth reading as a commendable attempt to synthesize a worldview incorporating both evolutionary thinking and biblical theology. As a consequence Peacocke is roundly criticized in the Epilogue by George Arkell Riggan,
The logic of this theology obviously is not processual. Basically it is Cartesian, the logic of an inverted Newtonian ontology in which externally related atoms are displaced by externally related spirits.
The conclusion of his Epilogue, reveals the position of Riggan and probably the majority of those participating in this effort: "We trust the cosmic evolutionary process that brought us into being and designed us for significant participation in its continuing creativity." Evolutionary process has become god, and the idolatry involved is not even recognized.
Reviewed by Richard H. Bube, Department at Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305.
A Second Review of a Symposium on Science and Human PurposeI found myself agreeing strongly with statements like "the counterculture movements would be laughable were it not for the fact that the poverty of our primary culture - in its failure to present a credible vision of human purpose - makes men hungering for it turn to the most ridiculous visions that purport to provide if' (Burhoe, p. 181), and especially the final statement that "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever" (p. 480).
The tone was high in general. It was uplifting to read Birch's rejection of Monod's "chance and necessity" thesis, or an eminent scientist like Dobzhansky maintaining that man is indeed not just another animal, in opposition to what seems to be the prevailing intellectual climate.
I recommend this book for reading mainly for philosophers with scientific training, and possibly as a reference for courses like "science and society" for seniors with strong philosophy and science backgrounds.
Reviewed by Martin LaBar Central Wesleyan College, Centro, South Carolina 29630
A TRIP INTO YOUR UNCONSCIOUS, by W. A. Mambert and B. Frank Foster, Acropolis Books: Washington, D.C., 1973. pp 279; $6.95 cloth, $3.95 paper.
There is little redeeming social value in this book to merit serious review. However it is a prototype of the current genre of "pop" religious psychology, which reflects the philosophical/religious mood of the time.
It is probably artificial to view history in decades, but there are some crude correlations between "pop" books and the moods of recent decades. The post-war 1950's was the silent generation, yearning for peace and quiet after the tumult of war, presided over by benign grandfather Eisenhower. Two key books of pop religious psychology were The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, and Peace of Mind by Joshua Liebman. Both offered a bland humanistic religious theology and a re-assuring interpretation of depth psychology. Freud and psychoanalysis were the keystones of psychology. The symbolic author of the decade was J. D. Salinger, whose chronicles of the Glass family combined an uncommitted but earnest religious concern with profound psychological conflict. In Catcher in the Rye, the psychologically traumatized youth finds rescue and peace at the hands of the friendly psychiatrist. Psychodynamic understanding of the self was the salvation of the soul.
The troublesome 1960's moved from blandness to bombast. Social action and social salvation became the tenor of the day. Individual psychoanalysis went out and encounter groups came in. Esalen was the church of experience, ecstacy, encounter, and enlightenment. The interpersonal psychology and transactional analysis became the fulcrum, centered on Thomas Harris' I'm O.K., You're O.K. In religious circles these concepts found application in the popular books by Reuel Howe on Christian group dialogue and Howard Clinebell on church growth groups. The best seller of the genre was Keith Miller's A Taste of New Wine. Social relationships now became the salvation of the soul.
The curious 1970's has shown a turning again toward the inward self. But in a different way, for rational psychodynamics and scientific psychology are out. The modal psychology of the day is anti-social, anti-rational, anti-psychiatric. The key figure is R. D. Laing, a radical, British, existentialist psychoanalyst, whose best seller is a collection of cryptic aphorisms, titled Knots. There is no balm in the traditional psychological knowledge of self-that is passe. So too is the discovery of the self in social relations. Usher in a new mysticism aiid syncretistic religious philosophy. The symbolic author of the decade is Carlos Casteneda. Beginning with The Adventures of Don Juan, he presents a menage of quasi-scientific anthropology, mysticism, romantic primitivism, and existential philosophy, in the body of the ephemeral new healer who is a primitive shaman.
The book under review is an excellent example of current pop religious psychology in the mood of the times. It is written for popular audiences by a psychologist and a Baptist minister training in Jungian analysis. Their message is that you can find the good life through a mystical psychological appreciation of the self. You do not examine your motivations, your behavior, or your values. Rather you plumb the depths of your primitive unconscious through dream analysis. (A rather simplistic cookbook analysis at that.)
But the matter does not stop there, for true to the times, the authors manage to include all the "consciousness-expanding" fads of the day to aid their cause. There is a place for psychic prophets, like Edgar Cayce, for parapsychology, for communication with the dead, for spiritism, and for similar mystic phenomena, experience, and groups, who all share a "supra-conscious" religious philosophy. This is syncretistic religion at its apogee, and syncretistic psychology at its banal depth. Congruent as this book is with the ambience of the day, it will no doubt be gobbled up by those who believe the blurb on the cover, that this all will help you "experience a new awareness of yourself."
Reviewed by E. Mansell Pattison, Department of Psychiatry and
Human Behavior, University of California, Irvine.
TO LIVE AND TO DIE, by Robert H. Williams, ed., New York: Springer-Verlag, 1974, 346 pp.
Robert H. Williams is professor of medicine and Head of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Washington at Seattle. He provides a preface, prologue, epilogue, and five chapters. Other contributors include Joseph Fletcher, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and E. Mansell Pattison.
This book of readings has 27 chapters on matters relating to life and death. The contributing authors present major considerations, emphasize their own concepts, discuss future patterns for living and give some recommended readings. There is a wide range of topics included, such as euthanasia, origin of life, careers, children, crime, and law.
Tentative conclusions are indicated on the subjects presented. Some of what is written here will be familiar and unappealing to the average reader; some will be unfamiliar and uninteresting; some will be relevant and stimulating. The intended audience seems to be medical students and physicians although others in the helping professions can profit from reading this book.
Reviewed by Richard Ruble, Department of Psychology, John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
Gods Truth is a book by a scientist who shows why it makes sense to believe the Bible. Dr. Hayward is a Principal Scientific Officer in a British Government research laboratory. All his adult life he has studied the Bible with the same analytical enquiry that he applies to his scientific work, and this has led him to an intense conviction that the Bible is indeed the Word of God. Most people who dismiss the Bible today have never read it, claims Alan Hayward, whose work as a research physicist has taught him never to believe anything without examining the evidence. Dr. Hayward has examined the evidence and he is convinced that the Bible cannot be proved untrue.
Gods Truth covers in three parts such topics as: Fulfilled prophecy, evidence for the Resurrection' the uncanny harmony of scripture, the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible, the authorship of the Bible books, the accuracy of copyists and translators, problems of interpretation, the historical accuracy of the Bible, apparent errors and contradictions, the Bible and Science, miracles, the flood, creation, evolution, "prehistoric" man, and the problem of suffering. Thus the book appears on the surface to try to cover too many topics in so few pages. But the book is by this very nature an excellent introductory textbook into the major problems in Christian Evidences and Apologetics. "This book was written for ordinary men and women." And for this reason Dr. Hayward uses simple English and tries to avoid what might be called scientific language. Dr. Hayward increases the value of the book by consulting with world famous experts in writing the various sections of his book (e.g., F. F. Bruce advised him on Chapters 16 to 18).
Dr. Hayward, starts his book by asking and answering the question: "Why Bother?" just as the complexity of the human body (Dr. Hayward's example) has been taken for granted, so has the Bible, because it has become so commonplace we do not give it a second glance. Gods Truth is written for people "motivated by that powerful urge, the spirit of curiosity which lies behind all research and discovery. People prepared to examine a few facts about the Bible."
Part One of God's Truth is a statement of "some remarkable facts about the Bible," which, Dr. Hayward thinks, supports the contention that the only possible explanation is the factual reliability of the Bible. "Yes this all sounds very plausible on its own, but what about all the damning evidence against the Bible?" Dr. Hayward in Part Two attempts to deal with all the most popular objections to the Bible. Part Three is "for people whose minds are half made up." This last part attempts to tell you how you can settle the matter of the nature of the Bible once and for all. You who are interested in how this can be accomplished should buy the book and read for yourselves!
Reviewed by T. L. Miethe, Ph.D. Candidate in philosophy at Saint Louis University.
JUDGE FOR YOURSELF, by Gordon R. Lewis,
Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1974, 127
This is not a book for the lazy, the complacent or the unconcerned. Judge For Yourself goes beyond the simplistic Bible study that many engage in so that they can feel comfortable; it lays down a challenge for both the Christian and the non-Christian to take seriously the message of Jesus Christ and its implications for today. On the front cover is the comment, "for those who are tired of being told what to think," and Lewis directs himself to this audience. Instead of drawing a multitude of conclusions and speaking dogmatically on the topics under consideration, he states a question, summarizes various options and then guides the reader in seeking his own conclusion based on a multitude of Scriptures provided in each chapter which speak to some facet of the problem being discussed. While realizing that Christians can agree on the main points of an issue once they are appropriately enlightened by the Bible, Lewis is sensitive to the fact that there may be shades of meaning and understanding on a topic, and that not all Christians have grown to the same level of knowledge and comprehension of the faith.
The range of topics covers most of the basic questions which confront Christians today and which, if answered properly, show conclusively the depth of meaning and value offered in a Christian life. Lewis begins with two key questions: "Is Christ the only way to God?" and a corollary: "What about those who have never heard of Christ or trusted him?". Only when these two issues have been resolved and the authority of Jesus is established can there be a foundation for answers to further questions. The problems of suffering and miracles are then dealt with in separate chapters. The final three chapters deal with perhaps the most difficult questions, difficult because they are the most personal. Questions about hypocrisy in the church and whether the Christian faith and life really work in the world of today require more than an intellectual "Here's what the Bible says" answer; they require a personal assessment of our own lives so that we can "go ... and tell what great things the Lord has done. . ." (Mark 5:19).
While Lewis does present arguments against Biblical teachings and criticisms of the Christian position, he does so in capsule, summary form. This could leave him open to the charge of building straw men to knock down. However, as one studies the Christian response in each section, an awareness quickly comes that the issues are being dealt with fairly. In addition, there are references at the end of each chapter to direct the reader to primary sources if a fuller discussion of alternate positions is desired.
This book serves as an excellent guide either for individual study or group discussion and puts the Christian in a much better position to deal intelligently with some of the basic questions of life today.
Reviewed by Donald F. Calbreath, Director of Clinical Chemistry, Watts Hospital, Durham, North Carolina 27705.