01: The July/August issue of the magazine Touchstone is devoted to theIntelligent Design movement, which seeks to replace Darwinian science with a scientific model of origins that makes room for a creator, even if evolution did take place.
The magazine ran another special issue on this movement a few years ago when it was largely unknown except for those working in the religion and science fields. As several articles indicate, ID–or, as it is called by proponents, the “wedge”– is now drawing a strongly critical reaction or “backlash” in the scientific community but also finding increasing media and public attention and new momentum in classrooms (with new court decisions allowing alternative views on Darwinian evolution to be taught).
There seems to be a split between ID thinkers, with one group pressing for more scientific research and academic publication to verify ID concepts (even while bemoaning prejudice in the academy) while others focus on dismantling Darwinist influence to help win the culture wars.
(The issue costs $6 and is available from: Touchstone, P.O. Box 410788, Chicago, IL 60641; http://www.touchstonemag.com)
02: The new book Religion And Patterns of Social Transformation, edited by Kinka Marinovic Jerolimov, Sinisa Zrinscak and Irena Borowik and published by the Institute for Social Research in Zagreb, Croatia, fills a much needed gap in providing information and analysis of religious change in Eastern European countries including Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, and eastern Germany. The book’s contributors, mostly sociologists from Central and Eastern Europe, discuss findings from the growing body of survey research in this region.
Many of the contributors draw on the currently contested secularization theory holding that increased (and belated) modernization and pluralism in these countries is adversely affecting religious belief and practice. But they also provide some distinctive twists to their theories: Sociologist Marjan Smrke of Slovenia writes that churches in Central and Eastern Europe use a strategy of “social mimicry,” portraying themselves as oppressed minorities to mask the fact that they are actually quite large and influential.
Other chapters cover new religions, the effect of generations in understanding belief and adherence, and the role of Eastern and Central European churches in the formation of the European Union.
For information on this book, write: Institute for Social Research, Amruseva 11, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia.