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Transdisciplinarity in Science and Religion, No 5, 2009

Transdisciplinarity in Science and Religion, No 5, 2009

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Published by Basarab Nicolescu
Editorial
Eric Weislogel

Once again I am privileged to introduce the current issue of Transdisciplinarity in Science and Religion. This issue consists of papers and reflections drawn mainly from two events. In the “Research Works” section, you will find (with one exception) papers from the international congress, “The Dialogue Between Science and Religion in the Orthodox World,” held at the Romanian Academy in Bucharest, September 24-27, 2008. Collectively, these essays demonstrate the fruits of a constructive engagement of science and religion from an Orthodox Christian perspective. The papers are of interest from a cultural perspective in that they demonstrate (as if it still needed to be demonstrated) that there is no one thing that goes by the name of science and religion, that no such engagements can completely free themselves from their historical and geo-political situation, that there is always something ineluctably particular in every encounter. There is no one thing called “science” and no one thing called “religion.” The science and religion engagement takes place among persons, individuals with their own life-histories, their own cultural contexts, their own worldviews. The issues and concerns that face the contributors to this congress differ in many important ways from those confronting North Americans or even the participants’ neighbors to their immediate west. All of us engaged in this on-going dialogue would do well to bear in mind the fundamental particularity in which we go about our explorations.

That said, we are certainly able to draw more general insights from these particular engagements that will prove applicable to us no matter our context. How scholars and educators deal with the spread of cultic and pseudo-religious movements in post-totalitarian situations hungry once again for spiritual fulfillment will also be instructive for educators who confront the same ideas proffered by Hollywood stars in a consumer culture liable to escapism. Regardless of the significant differences in the societal meaning of “astrology” in, for instance, Serbia or Greece on the one hand and England and the U.S. on the other, science and theology educators must still deal with unstated presuppositions uncritically adopted by large segments of society that pose obstacles to a genuine quest for truth. The physicists, astronomers, and other scholars who have contributed to this issue of TSR exhibit an open and exploratory approach to dealing with both scientific discovery and religious wisdom. We have much to learn from each other.

One addition to the congress papers is the essay by Jean-François Malherbe in which he explores the implications of Heraclitean versus Parmenidean foundations for our thinking about ethics.

The papers you will find in the “Studies” section of the journal come, once again, from the international Metanexus Conference, held in Madrid in July 13-17, 2008, entitled, “Subject, Self, and Soul: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Personhood.” (See TSR4 for our previous selection of conference papers). The current sampling of papers exhibits the rich diversity of work being done in a transdisciplinary vein, with topics ranging from the nature of causality, the implications of non-reductive physicalism for the question of free will, the concept of personhood, neurotheology, practical wisdom, transdisciplinary approaches to health, and much more. The international group of contributors represent a wide variety of academic disciplines and intellectual and spiritual perspectives.

Allow me also to draw your attention to Prof. Madga Stavinshi’s report on ADSTR’s ongoing research as further evidence of the fruitfulness of engaging in transdisciplinary approaches to science and religion dialogue.

I want to express my gratitude to my colleague Gregory Hansell, Managing Director of Global Communications at the Metanexus Institute, and especially to Prof. Basarab Nicolescu for his direction of TSR
Editorial
Eric Weislogel

Once again I am privileged to introduce the current issue of Transdisciplinarity in Science and Religion. This issue consists of papers and reflections drawn mainly from two events. In the “Research Works” section, you will find (with one exception) papers from the international congress, “The Dialogue Between Science and Religion in the Orthodox World,” held at the Romanian Academy in Bucharest, September 24-27, 2008. Collectively, these essays demonstrate the fruits of a constructive engagement of science and religion from an Orthodox Christian perspective. The papers are of interest from a cultural perspective in that they demonstrate (as if it still needed to be demonstrated) that there is no one thing that goes by the name of science and religion, that no such engagements can completely free themselves from their historical and geo-political situation, that there is always something ineluctably particular in every encounter. There is no one thing called “science” and no one thing called “religion.” The science and religion engagement takes place among persons, individuals with their own life-histories, their own cultural contexts, their own worldviews. The issues and concerns that face the contributors to this congress differ in many important ways from those confronting North Americans or even the participants’ neighbors to their immediate west. All of us engaged in this on-going dialogue would do well to bear in mind the fundamental particularity in which we go about our explorations.

That said, we are certainly able to draw more general insights from these particular engagements that will prove applicable to us no matter our context. How scholars and educators deal with the spread of cultic and pseudo-religious movements in post-totalitarian situations hungry once again for spiritual fulfillment will also be instructive for educators who confront the same ideas proffered by Hollywood stars in a consumer culture liable to escapism. Regardless of the significant differences in the societal meaning of “astrology” in, for instance, Serbia or Greece on the one hand and England and the U.S. on the other, science and theology educators must still deal with unstated presuppositions uncritically adopted by large segments of society that pose obstacles to a genuine quest for truth. The physicists, astronomers, and other scholars who have contributed to this issue of TSR exhibit an open and exploratory approach to dealing with both scientific discovery and religious wisdom. We have much to learn from each other.

One addition to the congress papers is the essay by Jean-François Malherbe in which he explores the implications of Heraclitean versus Parmenidean foundations for our thinking about ethics.

The papers you will find in the “Studies” section of the journal come, once again, from the international Metanexus Conference, held in Madrid in July 13-17, 2008, entitled, “Subject, Self, and Soul: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Personhood.” (See TSR4 for our previous selection of conference papers). The current sampling of papers exhibits the rich diversity of work being done in a transdisciplinary vein, with topics ranging from the nature of causality, the implications of non-reductive physicalism for the question of free will, the concept of personhood, neurotheology, practical wisdom, transdisciplinary approaches to health, and much more. The international group of contributors represent a wide variety of academic disciplines and intellectual and spiritual perspectives.

Allow me also to draw your attention to Prof. Madga Stavinshi’s report on ADSTR’s ongoing research as further evidence of the fruitfulness of engaging in transdisciplinary approaches to science and religion dialogue.

I want to express my gratitude to my colleague Gregory Hansell, Managing Director of Global Communications at the Metanexus Institute, and especially to Prof. Basarab Nicolescu for his direction of TSR

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Published by: Basarab Nicolescu on Oct 28, 2009
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SCIENCE AND RELIGIONSeries coordinated byBasarab Nicolescu and Magda StavinschiThis volume is issued with the generous supportof the John Templeton Foundationwithin the framework of the Program“Science and Orthodoxy. Research and Education”

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