Putting Things in Perspective
From: Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 41 (December 1989): 193.
In developing Christian perspectives on scientific problems one of our major tasks is to realize that different conclusions are often the result of the diverse backgrounds and experiences we each bring to an issue. In addition, nearly all of the phenomena we consider have different "levels of explanation." In our lead article in this issue, Marvin McDonald gives us the first of a two-part series examining "hierarchy theory." He examines the implications of these concepts for the relationships of scientific and theological consideration of evolutionary biology, molecular biology, and epistemology.
In addition to awareness of basic philosophical concepts in the relationship of science and Christian faith we are often faced with everyday problems and frustrations of formulating and presenting our science/faith views in the workplace. Richard Bube gives us a blow-by-blow account of his problems with a university bureaucracy. His experience with a change of administration, which resulted in the threatened elimination of a twenty year-old seminar on science and religion, is all too typical of the biases that face us today in these days of supposed "academic freedom." We can have free exhange of ideas so long as we do not emphasize biblical Christianity!
In the bioethical realm, Armand Nicholi discusses the importance of the world view of the investigator and the clinician. He emphasizes that it does make a difference whether our view of our fellow human beings is based on an atheistic view of life and the world around us or whether we think of ourselves and our fellow human beings as created in the image of God.
With increasing concern about crime in our society and what we should do about it there are many proposals for dealing with the problem, and most of these center on the punishment and/or rehabilitation of the criminal. Jack Balswick gives us a Christian sociologist's perspective on how we can apply biblical principles to punishment - principles that incorporate both motive and act with both justice and mercy. In addition, there is need for concern with public safety, deterrence, restitution to the victim, and restoration of the criminal.
One of the major challenges to those who are investigating the origin of life is to define the real essence of "life." David Wilcox examines this question in the light of recent studies on DNA coding. He suggests that "the real essence of life is the information or patterns which, although carried on DNA, are not determined by it."
In the Communications section, Richard Bube discusses "determinism" and "chaos" in the light of a recent publication in Science magazine. Denis Burkitt emphasizes the modifications that occur in both scientific observations and hypotheses and in biblical interpretation, and urges us to continually integrate our scientific and Christian thinking.
One final note... Having edited our journal for six years, I reached the conclusion that it was time for a change. As was announced at our annual meeting in Marion, Indiana last August, John W. Haas, Jr. of the Chemistry Department of Gordon College, has agreed to serve as editor. Jack brings to the journal his years of experience as one of our reviewers, as well as his knowledge of the philosophy and history of science. I trust that we will all give him support and encouragement as he seeks to make Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith a publication which honestly seeks to relate and explain science and evangelical Christianity to both the scientific and the theological communities.
I thank the members of the Editorial Board and our Consulting Editors as well as other reviewers for their time and their efforts to help make our papers readable, accurate, and of maximum significance. These people are to be commended for their part in making our journal a truly "peer-reviewed publication," a status that I could honestly affirm in answers to letters associated with the promotion and tenure process for several of our authors. I especially thank Ruth Herr, Ann Woodworth, and Nancy Hanger for their often tedious, time-consuming and valuable services as Managing editors. These women have been largely responsible for all of the practical details involved in publishing Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith