RLST 354 RELIGION AND SCIENCE Fall 2014 Historic Encounters, Contemporary Issues
"The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Instructor: Rose Ann Christian Phone: (410) 704-2751 Office: Liberal Arts 4125 e-mail: email@example.com
Office Hours: Tuesday, 11:00-12:00 and 5:00-5:30; Thursday, 12:00-1:00 and 5:00-5:30; and by appointment. Please feel welcome to stop by during regular office hours. Should your schedule conflict with my scheduled office hours, please don't hesitate to request an appointment.
Class communications: Please check your Towson e-mail account regularly throughout the semester for messages concerning the class. ...view middle of the document...
During the first part of the semester, we will investigate the two most famous episodes to date in the encounter between science and religion: (1) the fascinating controversy setting Galileo Galilei at odds with Catholic authorities in the 17 century and culminating in the censorship of histh writing; and (2) the debate among scientists and theologians in the 19 century centering on Charlesth Darwin's revolutionary proposal as to the "origin of species." In the course of our explorations, we will read selections from Galileo's and Darwin's surprisingly accessible and thoroughly engaging works. Additionally, we will consider the powerful intellectual commitments, both philosophical and theological, that affected the reception of each man's thought. Finally, we will note ways in which each of these episodes set the stage for continuing debate.
In the second half of the course, we will explore developments in contemporary science and we will take up issues of contemporary concern. We will investigate with care the debate over the relation of religion and science centering on evolution, science education, and religion in the U.S. Additionally, we will consider the implications for religious belief and practice of developments in various branches of science. Thus we will survey, albeit briefly, relevant advances in cosmology, neuroscience, and psychology. Finally, we will consider scientific study of religion informed by advances in evolutionary biology. In all this, we will find ourselves reflecting on the status of religion in the contemporary world and pondering the prospects for its future, given the ascendency and prestige of the scientific world view.
LEARNING OUTCOMES On successful completion of this course, students will be able to: (a) explain and illustrate (in essay format) differing views of the relation between religion and
science; (b) discuss (in essay format) the controversy resulting in the Catholic Church's censorship of
Galileo's writing; (c) discuss (in essay format) the historical context, argumentative structure, and perceived
implications of Darwin's On the Origin of Species; (d) explain (in essay format) theological debate informed by advances in contemporary
astronomy, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience; (e) evaluate (in essay format) the debate over science education in the U.S. initiated by
proponents of "Intelligent Design" (ID); (f) discuss (in essay format) contemporary studies of religion informed by evolutionary and
COURSE REQUIREMENTS (1) Reflective paper on reading assignment. Instructions forthcoming (1000-1200 words) (10 %)
Due Tuesday, September 23. (2) Midterm exam, essay format. (25 %) Thursday, October 16. (3) Paper topic due: Thursday, Oct. 30. (4) Preliminary outline of and bibliography for you research paper. Typed. (5%). Due Tues. Nov. 11. (5) Research paper (3000-4500 words). (30 %) Due Tuesday, Nov. 25. (6) Final exam, essay format. (30%) Tuesday, December 16, 10:15-12:...