Past and Future
Edited By Michael Welker
Eschatology, Anthropology, and Concepts of Law
1. The relevance of specific forms and contents in the organization of research and dialogue
My academic background is in the areas of theology and philosophy. I did post-doctoral work on Alfred North Whitehead1 and thus got involved in the dialogue with natural scientists. Whitehead was a mathematician and amateur scientist and provided stimulating interdisciplinary insights. One of his basic interests was the complexity of cultural evolution. He acknowledged the fact that in modernity cultures center very much on mathematized science, and, to be sure, as a mathematician, he was in favor of this development. However, he observed that it comes with a price. He saw the danger that a culture strongly focused on mathematized sciences lowers or even distorts sensitivities for religious, ethical and aesthetic dynamics. He argued that a vibrant culture has to balance these various dimensions and strive for their mutual strengthening.
I found this perspective quite convincing. With this background in mind today, I should like to speak first about the relevance of creating different specific forms and formats in the organization of interdisciplinary research and dialogue. I will then pick up on three topics already mentioned by John Polkinghorne, topics that were successful in the interdisciplinary science and religion dialogue.
The John Templeton Foundation has in many ways been creative and innovative in supporting the science and religion discourse. It has supported a range of forms and formats of academic cooperation and interaction. I should first like to highlight my appreciation for research formats that Dr. Mary Ann Meyers has cultivated in the framework...
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