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The Science and Religion Dialogue

Past and Future

Edited By Michael Welker

This book documents the conference on The Science and Religion Dialogue: Past and Future, held at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, October 25-29, 2012. The conference commemorated the 100 th anniversary of the birth of Sir John Templeton and the 25 th anniversary of the establishment of the John Templeton Foundation. It brought together about 60 active participants, all of them prominent scholars from many countries and many academic fields. Most of them have been engaged in the Science and Religion Dialogue for the last two or three decades. This book reports on multi-year international and interdisciplinary research projects at leading institutions. The contributions start with presentations by Hans Joas, Martin Nowak and John Polkinghorne and range from Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics and Biology to Philosophical Theology and Religious Ethics. Special topics of the dialogue between Science and Religion are also dealt with, such as Eschatology and Anthropology; Cosmology, Creation, and Redemption; Evolutionary Biology and the Spirit; and The Role of Thought Experiments in Science and Theology.
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The Use of Metaphors when Talking about the Nature of Organisms

The LEGO-fox


The relationship between science and religion is burdened by a divisive history at many levels and it is a difficult task to identify areas in which science, religion and theology can interact productively.1 It seems obvious that attempts by either side to do the job of the other are doomed to fail; with what I mean attempts by scientists to declare what religion is about2 or religion deciding how science is done or what scientific insights are acceptable.3 Attempts to forge a joint narrative from elements of scientific and religious traditions are interesting but may quickly reach the limits of what each side takes for granted in their respective narratives. There is however, one area, in which I have great hopes for a productive interaction between theologians, clergy and scientists. A legitimate area of joint concern for both sides is the spiritual and mental wellbeing of humankind.

Science and its extension in technology affects the lives of people in direct physical as well as indirect spiritual and mental ways. It is easy to see that the consequences of technological progress affect people in ways that religious leaders and people of faith are called upon to react. Examples are the consequences of reproductive technologies on human live and wellbeing as well as the impact of economic activity on the environment. There are, however, also more subtle ways that science affects the life of people that I want to discuss in this short contribution and which also should...

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