Chapter 1. Methods in Scientific and Religious Inquiry

"Human Uniqueness," new introduction 2006 edition. Download/print in PDF format.

1. Theories, creeds, and experience 
    The hypothetico-deductive method and theory-laden facts
    Verification and falsification
    Testing creeds in experience
2. Models, patterns, paradigms 
    Scientific and religious paradigms
    Pervasive and persuasive characteristics of paradigms
    Paradigms, anomalies, and "bliks"
3. Objectivity and involvement 
    Dedication and universal intent
    Informed judgment and decision
    Observer involvement in science and religion
4. Scientific and religious logic 
    Science as the systematic search for causes
    Religion as the systematic search for meanings
    Causal laws and patterns of meaning
    Self-implicating meanings

Chapter 2. Matter: Religion and the Physical Sciences

1. Newtonian mechanism
    A revolution in explanations
    Matter-in-motion: the mechanistic world
    Primary and secondary explanations and qualities
    The Divine Architect
2. Quantum mechanics and indeterminacy 
    Electronic characteristics of nature
    Uncertainty and indeterminacy
    Observer involvement and loss of picturability
    Randomness and interaction
    Organisms in the microphysical world
3. Relativity and matter-energy 
    The relativity of time, mass, energy, simultaneity
    Matter in the spacetime field
    God and relativity
4. Microphysical and astrophysical nature 
    Humans on the scale of complexity
    The anthropic principle and the fine-tuned universe
    Mutability and permanence in nature
    Mathematics and historical experience

Chapter 3. Life: Religion and the Biological Sciences

1. Biochemistry and the secret of life
    Electronic and molecular characteristics of life
    Biological molecules as informational molecules
    Historical continuity in life
    Particular individuality in life
2. Evolution and the secret of life
    The Darwinian revolution
    Incremental evolution and natural selection for biofunction
    Troubles in evolutionary explanation
    Evolution as a random walk
    Chemical evolution and the incubation of life
    The evolution of mind
    Evolutionary development as a trend upslope
    The incompleteness of evolutionary theory
3. The cybernetics of life
    Life as a cybernetic system
    Genetic sets as propositional, logical, normative
    Randomness and trial-and-error learning
    Evolution as a prototype of rationality
    Evolutionary theism
4. The life struggle
    Suffering in the prolife struggle
    The backup pelican chick
    Sickle cell anemia and the hemoglobin molecule
    The way of nature as the way of the cross

Chapter 4. Mind: Religion and the Psychological Sciences

1. The possibility of a human science
    A science of persons?
    Causal laws and personal agency
    Objective science and the subjective life
2. Religion and Freudian psychoanalysis 
    The unconscious mind
    Religion as psychological projection and illusion
    Difficulties in the psychoanalytic model
    The search for a Parenting Cause
3. Religion and behavioral science
    Stimulus, response, and conscious life
    Difficulties in the behaviorist model
    Rationality, freedom, and responsible decision
    Behaviorism and religion
    Cognitive psychology: persons as cognitive processors
4. Religion and humanistic psychologies
    The self in personality theory
    Self-actualizing persons
    Value assumptions and inadequacies in humanistic psychologies 
    The self in historical and cosmic contexts

Chapter 5. Culture: Religion and the Social Sciences

1. Society and the individual: models, laws, causes
    The law of the three stages
    Models of society: organismic, equilibrating, structural-functional and cybernetic systems
    Conflict and change in historical society
    Individual agency in the social system
2. Interpretive social science
    Communities of shared meaningfulness
    The scientific study of religious "prejudice"
    Meaning systems and causal laws
    Society as a text to be interpreted
3. Religion as a social projection
    The collective function of religion
    Nonsocial dimensions in religious life
    The religious problem in secular society
    Sociology and the future of religion
4. Values in social science
    A value-free science?
    Value presumptions and consequences in social theory
    Naturalistic and therapeutic tendencies in social science
    Good and evil in the cultural community

Chapter 6. Nature and History

1. Nature after science
    Immensity, diversity, unity in the natural world
    Energetic, formational, informational nature
    Intelligibility and mystery in nature after science
    Discontinuity and continuity in the human place in nature
    Natural history
2. Hard naturalism
    An economical and scientific worldview
    Nature without supernature
    Persons as epiphenomenal in nature
    Difficulties in hard naturalism
3. Soft naturalism
    Creative and transformative nature
    Nature as a realm of values
    Persons as children of nature
    Difficulties in soft naturalism
4. Eastern perspectives
    Nature as maya, illusion, and samsara, spinning world
    Brahman and sunyata as explanatory of natural history
    The Tao and binary nature
    Difficulties in the Eastern perspectives
5. The dimension of history
    Idiographic richness in history
    The dramatic character of history
    Narrative and causal explanations
    Meanings and directions in history
6. Suffering
    Suffering in nature and history
    A cruciform naturalism

Chapter 7. Nature, History, and God

1. Nature and supernature
    Emergence, the natural, and the supernatural
    Supernature and supercharged nature
    Superintending levels in the Earth story
    The Divine Spirit in historical nature
2. Scientific-existentialist theism
    God beyond nature and history
    God in the existential self
    Difficulties in scientific-existentialist theism
    Causes and meanings: the complementary languages
3. Process theism
    Nature as organic process
    God as the ground of order and novelty
    God as creative persuasion and conserver of values
    The becoming God
    Religious adequacy of the process God
4. Transscientific theism
    God as the One who loves in freedom
    God in nature, history, Jesus Christ
    God in righteous love and personal life
    Counterevidence to the gracious Presence
5. Insight in science and religion: Doing the the truth
    Correspondent truthfulness
    The transformation of science into interpretive history
    Information and reformation: science, values, and truth 
    Doing the truth on the cutting edge of nature and history


Selected critical notice of Science and Religion: A Critical Survey

Langdon Gilkey (Theology, University of Chicago Divinity School), says of Science and Religion, "It is, I think, the finest volume in this field to date." "Rolston is one of three "impresarios of religion-science events" whose "example and organizing talents have encouraged a great deal of my work in the field." In understanding the "four major categories in terms of which nature has been experienced and known, ... I am especially and vastly indebted to Micea Eliade, Lawrence Sullivan, and, for modern science, Holmes Rolston, III." Rolston makes a "fascinating, perceptive and (to me) very original exploration of the theme of the intertwining of energy and pain, life and suffering (and their common result: more life, new life, and new life forms)." "The great Dying yields the great Renewal." "No one has made this point more perceptively, clearly, and profoundly than Rolston." In Nature, Reality, and the Sacred: The Nexus of Science and Religion(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), citations passim.

Donald Musser (Philosophy, Stetson University), in a critical review for The International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, says, "Rolston ... has produced a book that rivals Ian Barbour'sIssues in Science and Religion as the best in the field. ... I highly recommend this book ... it will become the standard in the field." (International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 26(1989):185-192)

John J. Compton (Philosophy, Vanderbilt University): Science and Religion "marvelously combines the elements needed for any thoughtful examination of the intersections of science and religion today--it is comprehensive ... it is rich in scientific and theological detail, it is methodologically self-aware and circumspect at every point, both in respect of the sciences and religious thought and in respect to its own developing argument, and it has a developing argument, inspired by a powerful constructive vision of the wholeness of the human endeavor to understand, of which, it is argued, the sciences and religious reflection form complementary parts. And as sheer grace for the reader, the book is engagingly and trenchantly written, perfused with insightful epigram, a text to delight as well as to illumine. ... This is a robust challenge (made) with rare erudition and skill." (Critical Review of Books in Religion: Annual Supplement to the Journal of the American Academy of Religion 2[1989]:425-427.

Frederick Ferré (Distinguished Research Professor, Philosophy, University of Georgia), says, "This book is a delight. ... It is up to the minute on methodological developments, ... clear and responsible.... Everyone in the field will need to work with this text." (Book endorsement)

Robert J. Russell (Physics, Theology, Director of the Center for the Study of Theology and the Natural Sciences, Berkeley), says, "I value this work greatly for attempting and, by and large, succeeding at bringing science and religion into a meaningful and creative relationship." (Book endorsement)

John F. Haught (Theology, Philosophy, Georgetown University, says that Science and Religion is "a monumental work, one deserving of widespread usage by theologians and scientists alike. Carefully organized and beautifully written, ... the book is truly outstanding. One may safely predict that it will enrich discussion of science and religion for many years to come." (Theological Studies 49(1988):368-370)

David Foxgrover, in a review for the Christian Century, says that Science and Religion is "a superb and subtle book that will become a standard in the field. ... It stands on its own as a creative attempt to deal with one of the 20th century's central theological issues." (Christian Century 105, no. 4, 1988, pages 132-133)

Ian Barbour (Physics, Theology, Carlton College), the leading world authority in science and religion) says, "This is a remarkable book and I predict its widespread use. ... This first rate book can be highly recommended to anyone seeking access to the best of recent thought." (Book endorsement)

Karl Peters (Religion, Rollins College, former editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science) says that Rolston's is "the best current comprehensive treatment of science and religion," written with "particular genius," "an excellent text that should be studied by every seminary student and graduate student in religious studies who wishes to relate religious thinking to the contemporary sciences." He adds that it "is to be placed alongside Ian G. Barbour's Issues in Science and Religion and A. R. Peacocke's Creation and the World of Science." (Book endorsement)

Donald W. Shriver (President, Union Theological Seminary, New York), says that Science and Religion is "one of the most important books I have read in years and absolutely the best on science and religion that I have ever read."

Joseph Pickle (Religion, Colorado College): Science and Religion is "notable for its breadth and depth ...filled with admirably argued and powerfully presented treatments of critical issues. ... the most substantial argument for a position on the relationship of science and religion that is eminently worth arguing ... finely nuanced and carefully developed." Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 23(1988):203-205)

Charles Birch (Biologist, University of Sydney, Australia, winner of the Templeton Prize), says that Science and Religion is "quite the best on that subject." (Personal correspondence)

James W. Jones (Department of Religion, Rutgers University), in a discussion of systems theory, cites Science and Religion as providing "stunning examples of the theological use of such a systems perspective." (Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 27[1992]:201-202)

Jeff Astley (School of Education, University of Durham, England): Science and Religion "is likely to become the standard text on this subject: a valuable source of information and reflection ... containing an up-to-date, large-scale map. ... The arguments are clearly presented and the language is often pithy and memorable. ... The theist will welcome the depth of the author's spirituality as well as his learning, and relish his out-flanking attacks on scientists, and their camp-followers, who have overreached themselves in their claims for the explanatory power of the theory of natural selection, the adequacy of certain psychological models of the mind, and the possibility of value-free social science." (British Journal of Religious Education 11[1989]:49-50)

S. Mark Heim (Philosophy of Religion, Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, Massachusetts) says, "Science and Religion is ... conceived on a very broad scale and carried through across a wide range of disciplines, from physics to psychology. The apparent superficiality of such a massive project is avoided by an impressive marshalling of specific cases, and by sustained attention to a few crucial questions. Since its publication in 1966, Ian Barbour's Issues in Science and Religion has served as a standard textbook in this area. Rolston's work provides a first rate alternative and supplement. ... The distinguishing feature of Rolston's book is the way in which he has organized the material around a sustained and nuanced argument. ... Rolston's study is careful, and yet freshly suggestive in the manner it probes the nature of scientific theory. ... The book deserves and will find wide use." (Christian Scholar's Review 17(1988):490-491).

Harold H. Oliver (Philosophical Theology, Boston University School of Theology) says that in the contemporary dialogue between science and religion, "Any list of the most notable contributors in this field would include the names of Thomas F. Torrance, A. R. Peacocke, Ian Barbour, Ralph Burhoe, Stanley Jaki and Holmes Rolston, III." Journal of the American Academy of Religion60 (No. 3, 1992):379-404, on p. 390, p. 403)

John H. Wright (Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley) calls Science and Religion "an extraordinarily complete basic treatment." in "Theology, Philosophy, and the Natural Sciences," Theological Studies 52(4)(1991):651-668.