||God, Physics and the Human Prospect
||Dr. Doug Harink and Dr. Randy Haluza-DeLay
AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION:
||credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
||This course is intended for students in their senior
study and will focus on the dialogue between scientific and
other ways of knowing. Topics will be drawn from Physics,
Theology and Sociology that will illuminate such motivating
questions as 1) How can Science and Theology engage in a
conversation of mutual understanding and transformation? 2)
How, or in what ways, has science changed our ideas about what
it means to be human? and 3) Given these changes, how then
ought we to live our lives?
Same as SOCI 395 and THEO 375.
Prerequisites: Six credits in one or more of Physics,
Sociology or Theology
- Alister E. McGrath Science and Religion 2nd Edition (SR)
- Richard Dawkins The God Delusion (GD)
DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
||This course will involve the participation and cooperation of three
scholars, trained in three distinct fields of inquiry. If we imagine a
continuum, we would place the physicist at one end, the theologian at
the other, and the sociologist somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately,
it is possible to study physics without paying much attention to the
human condition. A similar case can be made for theological
speculations, where the flesh and blood of the human condition is
sometimes obscured in favor of "other-worldly" concerns. The social
scientist, on the other hand, is expected to have both feet planted
firmly in the comings and goings of everyday life. At one time or
another, each and every one of us bumps up against issues relating to
science and theology. These issues touch our lives, and we need to be
able to make some sense out of their apparent complexity. Throughout
the course, then, humankind will remain the focal point of our concern.
It is our intention that students of the social sciences and the
humanities will leave this course with a more profound appreciation for
the important role science plays in our lives. All too often, arts
students cultivate a naive understanding of science and its place in
the world. On the other side of the coin, we will encourage science
students to develop a sensitivity for the kinds of questions that fall
outside the purview of the so-called "hard sciences"; questions
concerning ultimate meaning and purpose. In short, our chief aim is to
demonstrate to students that the contributions of science and theology
can significantly enrich human life. The King's University is
an ideal venue through which to offer a course of this type. We have
three divisions (natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities),
and all full-time students are required to take particular "core"
courses, thereby ensuring a well-rounded, interdisciplinary orientation
which encourages the integration of learning and life.
Three Most Significant Features of God, Physics and the Human Prospect:
course will explore the deeper dialogue between Science and Theology
rather than concentrating on what are perceived as areas of controversy
between Science and Theology . A central motivation for this
exploration are the questions:
- How can Science and Theology engage in a conversation of mutual understanding and transformation?
- How, or in what ways, has science changed our ideas about what it means to be human? and
these changes, how then ought we to live our lives? To accomplish this
end Physics, Theology and Sociology have been chosen as vehicles that
will draw together senior students from each of the 3 divisions of The
King's University. Our intent will be to focus on the positive
benefits that each of these disciplines can bring to bear on
understanding our human modes of knowing and being in the cosmos.
Physics and the Human Prospect will be deliberately cross-disciplinary
and will be populated by students in their senior years of either
Humanities, Social Science or Natural Science degree programs. As well,
the course will be jointly developed and team taught by professors from
each of the above named divisions.
- The course will enable
students to appreciate and understand better the language and culture
of the scientific enterprise and how this is manifested in the various
disciplines of study. It will foster a discussion of how Scientific,
Theological and Sociological perspectives must inform one another in
order to present a more complete picture of our place in the
- Setting the Stage (I):
- An introduction to the course and viewing of sections from the film Contact. Setting the stage and sketching the "big pictures"
- Reflections on Contact from a ...
- Nature and Nature's Laws..
will introduce students to the radical shift in worldview that began
with Newton and has left an indelible stamp on not only physics but
other aspects of human thought. The intent is to provide a historical
overview of the emergence of specific paradigmatic tendencies as well
as the emergence of new disciplines fashioned (at least initially)
after the Newtonian model. Important parallel themes will be a
discussion of Comtean Positivism and the rise of European Sociology,
"Newton as Theologian" and "Newton and the Theologians". We will
explore the way in which the Newtonian framework and subsequent
developments in physics "lay claim" to our perception of the world.
- Historical Considerations:
emergence of a "scientific worldview" in apparent distinction from
other religious worldviews has created a tension that could be
described (albeit simplistically) as "fact versus faith". During these
two weeks the nuances of this tension will be explored. Theological
responses (and reactions) including deism, theological romanticism and
idealism will be discussed Following McGrath, Ian Barbour and others,
we will consider four ways of relating science and religion: 1)
conflict, 2) independence, 3) dialogue and 4) integration. This will
enable us to explore what could be termed the "Theological failure of
nerve" as we see a number of phenomena including:1 the shift from
creation and incarnation to origins and miracles 2 the shift from
"gospel truth" to "laws of nature" 3 the shift from person to
individual 4 the shift from participation to causal agency. We will
also begin to explore the atheistic attacks of scientists such as
- Science and Religion (Similarities and Differences- I)
this lecture we begin to examine the structural similarities between
science and religion. Among other things, we will look at the "faith"
content of science and the evidential content of religion.
- How Science Challenges (Changes) our Notions of Reality - Reality, Realism, and Anti-Realism
- Using Models in Science and Religion - What "really" is "real" or How do Theology and Sociology Challenge Science?
- Our Changing View of "Human" - From the The Genome to GMO's viewing clips from the movie GATTACA
- Contemporary Debates
- Cosmology and Quantum Physics
- After Adam... (Harlow) Recent Genetic Science and Christian Theology on Human Origins
- Evolutionary Biology and Intelligent Design
- Science and Miracles
you believe in miracles? To some the question will sound quaint, even
absurd, yet miracles play, arguably, an important role in scripture and
are taken seriously by many believers. How can we "believe in miracles"
in an age of science?
- The "New Atheism"
- How do we respond to the positions of persons such as Richard Dawkins?