Richard W. Kropf, Editor
Since its inception in October or 1996, the aim of DIALOGOS has been to be an on-line periodical promoting a conversation between the various sciences, philosophy, and theology in a way that would be readily accessible to all who might have an interest in these subjects, particularly as they relate to one another. More immediately, the intent is to close the gap that exists on the internet between the largely arcane and esoteric discussions carried out by members of a particular scientific or academic discipline, and the largely unmoderated, free-wheeling, and often fruitless exchanges that take place on "usenet" groups that are normally open to the general public.
While hardly unique (dialogos meaning "dialogue" in Greek), the title of this journal has been chosen carefully in terms of a triple play on the ancient term LOGOS or "word" with its connotations of a body of knowledge (the various sciences or "-ologies"), the rationality or "logic" of philosophical discourse, and the quest for meaning or purpose that remains the aim of religion. The guiding principle is the belief that it is only through ("DIA") courteous and respectful discourse with each other -- true "dialogue"-- can people make any real progress towards mutual understanding, harmony, and peace. As world events so amply illustrate, leave out any of these three essential elements -- knowledge, rationality, and a sense of meaning -- rational discourse, and with it, much of human society, like a defective tripod, totters on the brink of collapse. Instead, when working together, these three elements, while each remains distinct, should converge toward an apex of ultimate truth .
For those who have already read the first two issues, it will come as no surpise to find the name of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1883-1955) frequently invoked. This often controversial Jesuit priest and paleontologist was a co-discoverer of Peking man -- as well as one of those originally duped by claims for "Piltdown Man" (see "Teilhard and the UN" for more on this aspect of his life). Teilhard firmly believed that it is only in the convergence of all the sciences, including the "research" of religious experience or mysticism, that the human race can achieve its full destiny or as he often termed it, the "Omega-Point". While it is not the intention of the editor to make this journal exclusively into an organ of teilhardian thought, the inspiration provided by his vision (some have even gone so far as to say that he "predicted" the world wide web with his notion of the "noosphere") will still have a significant influence on the aim on this journal. For more about Teilhard, see the following sketch or two newly-formed websites devoted to his thought, one from a Teilhard Study Group headquartered in Caen, France using both French and English, and the other sponsored by the Dutch Foundation Teilhard de Chardin featuring a quarterly journal, GAMMA, currently available in both Dutch and English.
While solicited feature articles may be occasionally longer, other contributions should be kept, if at all possible, to no more than three pages or about two thousand words in length. They are to be written in the English language in a style readily understandable to persons without special training in the discipline to which the writer belongs, as well as to the educated public. Special words or foreign phrases not generally found in an English language dictionary are to be translated or explained. "Footnotes" or other references are to be incorporated in the body of the text, "scientific style". Letters or comments should be retricted to five hundred words or less. Submission should be by e-mail attachments, either in plain ASCII/Dos format or in HTML format.
Some special cautions for prospective contributors from each discipline (in addition to the above general editorial comments):
First, scientists are requested to clearly distinguish between established data, generally accepted hypotheses, and more speculative theories. In other words, scientists are expected to follow scientific methodology and emphasize scientific truth. Similar distinctions should also apply within the realm of the social sciences (in which we might also include historical studies) even though they have their own methodology which may be not quite the same as that of "hard science".
Second, philosophers are to be reminded that it is the rationality of a philosophical approach that is most crucial for the success of this intended dialogue. Thus, while they are welcome to speculate on the perennially "big questions" of philosophy (e.g., Why is there something rather than nothing? Do humans have a "soul"? How ought we to live? Etc. etc.), it should be kept in mind that it will be their primary function, in this case, to be mediators between two very distinct ways of looking at reality and facilitators of dialogue between them.
Third, theologians and other religionists are expected to maintain an attitude of respect at all times for traditions other than their own, as well as for the empirical sciences and for the kind of philosophical reasoning which theology and interreligious dialogue must necessarily employ. References to or quotations from sources normative for particular traditions (the various sacred scriptures) may be used as illustrative of those traditions, but are not to be used in the mode of "proof texts" for purposes of proselytization.
These same guidelines will also apply to comments offered in response, but these will be confined to no more than one page in length.
A final reminder to all, and not just to believers: this dialogue requires a certain ability to "bracket" one's own views in order to understand that of another. Commitment to the Truth, whatever its means of discovery, must remain the underlying value that informs our effort. With these ground rules, we should have a constructive and forward-looking dialogue. (RWK, editor)
For more information on the instigator and chief editor of
this journal and on those whom he frequently or occsaionally
consults -- depending on their expertise -- see
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