Science and Christian Belief 22.2 (October 2010)
Alexander (Denis)
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
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  1. Guest Editorial: A Christian Perspective on Human Enhancement (D. Gareth Jones) - 114
  2. Victor Stenger’s Scientific Critique of Christian Belief (David J. Bartholomew) – 117
    Abstract: In two recent books, Victor Stenger claims to show that, using the scientific method, it is possible to show that the ‘God Hypothesis’ must be rejected. To a large extent his refutation is based on the use of ideas of statistical inference. The purpose of this paper is to show that the scientific method is incapable of achieving the goals set for it by Stenger and that, in particular cases, his use of it is fallacious. We deal first with intercessory prayer experiments and then with his understanding of statistical significance, meta-analysis and scientific sampling. In conclusion it is pointed out that a rigorous use of scientific method must include all the evidence which, in the case of Christianity, involves a serious examination of the evidence relating to the incarnation.
  3. Determinism, Brain Function and Free Will (Peter Clark) – 133
    Abstract: The philosophical debate about determinism and free will is far from being resolved. Most philosophers (including Christians) are either compatibilists, asserting that determinism is compatible with free will, or libertarians, arguing that free will requires a fundamental indeterminism in nature, and in particular in brain function. Most libertarians invoke Heisenbergian uncertainty as the required indeterminism. The present paper, by a neurobiologist, examines these issues in relationship to biblical teaching on the brain-soul relationship. It distinguishes different levels of determinism, including genetic and environmental determinism, and argues that these are incomplete, whereas the physical (or ‘Laplacian’) determinism of brain function is almost total. In particular, it is argued that the attempt to support the libertarian concept of free will on the foundation of Heisenbergian uncertainty applied to the brain is problematic for both conceptual and quantitative reasons.
  4. Why Christian Theology Should Accept that Miracles Occur (Atle Ottesen Sovik) – 151
    Abstract: In this article I argue that Christian theology, in order to be sufficiently coherent, should claim that miracles, like those described in the New Testament, do occur. I discuss first an argument by Wolfhart Pannenberg that any theory of God must be based on revelation, and suggest an improvement to Pannenberg’s line of reasoning. Presupposing that Christian theology must hold that God has revealed himself decisively through Christ, I then discuss whether or not Christian theology can reject that miracles happen. Based on arguments from the discussion of Pannenberg, I argue – against scholars like David Griffin and Arthur Peacocke – that Christian theology should accept that miracles occur in order to be sufficiently coherent. The reason for this is that if miracles do not happen it is more coherent to believe that God is not revealed decisively through Christ, than to believe that he is.
  5. OBITUARY: Donald Wiseman (1918 – 2010)
  6. A Soul Alive in Christ (a response to "Turl (John) - Substance Dualism or Body-Soul Duality?", by David Booth, with a response by John Turl) – 167
  7. Dualism that Makes Contact with Science (Peter Clark; another response to "Turl (John) - Substance Dualism or Body-Soul Duality?") – 171
  8. Scientific Explanations of Religious Experience? (a response to "Richmond (Patrick) - Scientific Explanations of Religious Experience and Their Implications for Belief", by C.J. Schorah, with a response by Patrick Richmond) – 167
  9. Book Reviews, Including:-
    "Coyne (Jerry A.) - Why Evolution is True" (Ken Mickleson)
    "Nevin (Norman C.) - Should Christians Embrace Evolution?".

  • See Link.
  • On loan to Anita (15/08/19).

"Jones (D. Gareth) - A Christian Perspective on Human Enhancement"

Source: Alexander (Denis) - Science and Christian Belief 22.2 (October 2010)

  1. The paper correctly points out that there is a continuum between standard medical technologies and “enhancements”, and that each needs to be treated on its merits, scientific / medical as well as “religious” / moral. The author doesn’t seem swayed by the “no playing God” lobby, as an a priori argument against transhumanism1. He points out that some of the claims are too fanciful for theological reflection. He sees no reason why helpful developments shouldn’t be encouraged, provided the risks, side-effects and diversion of funds from more urgent matters are taken into account. He seemed (to my mind) too ready to accept the use of performance-enhancing drugs for exams and such-like2. He points out that no amount of improvement and longevity is enough – but (cateris paribus), more is surely better.
  2. Compare with
    1. "Regis (Ed) - Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition: Science Slightly over the Edge", and
    2. "Grossman (Lev), Kurzweil (Ray) - 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal".
  3. A useful link:- Link (Defunct) ("CSC WG - Human Enhancement – A Discussion Document")

In-Page Footnotes ("Jones (D. Gareth) - A Christian Perspective on Human Enhancement")

Footnote 2: Two issues –
  • What are exams for? … at least partly to compare people’s abilities and application – so we need a level playing field (as in sports).
  • Can such enhancements be used continually, without side-effects – if so I agree that they are a “good thing” – though not for exams for the reason given above. But continual use may not be healthy.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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