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Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 23, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2003

Cynthia S. W. Crysdale
Pages 243-259

Playing God?
Moral Agency in an Emergent World

Arguments against intervening in nature's ways have been used against many new technologies in the last century. Many of these arguments have employed the metaphor of "playing God." In this essay I briefly review the use of the term "playing God" in recent decades. I then examine the cosmology that lies implicit in this language. My thesis is that the language of "playing God" (or not) overlooks the dynamic, evolutionary nature of world process—the role played by the indeterminacy of statistical probabilities. I review the notion of "emergent probability" (Lonergan) in order, in the end, to advocate an ethic of risk that both recognizes the dangers of hubris and includes an open and emergent view of creation.

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