Religious Studies | Science, Religion, and the Environment
R202 | 4629 | Sideris


R202 Science, Religion & The Environment (3 Cr.) 10:30-11:20 D SY 200
*Carries COAS AHTI Credit (Sideris)

Both science and religion have their myths of "dominion" over nature and
animals. Both have a lot to say about the origins of life and the creation
of the world and both have made predictions about the end of the earth and
its inhabitants. Both, too, have been criticized for contributing to the
destruction of our environment and for devaluing nonhuman forms of life.
This course examines those arguments that hold science or religion -or
both- at least partially responsible for our environmental crisis.  The
aim of this course is not to persuade you of the evils of religion
or science (though you may find them so) but, rather, to acquaint you with
a number of arguments that have been and continue to be leveled at
scientific and religious views of nature. We will examine the arguments
regarding the environmentally-destructive aspects of science and religion
separately.

The first part of the course will deal with religion (almost entirely
Christian views), the second with science. In the third and final part, we
will re-visit some of those arguments that put the blame on science or
religion. We will do so by means of reading some authors in science and
religion who have attempted to respond to those criticisms directly; we
will also read works of authors whose views represent in some way a
departure from the sort of thinking for which scientists and theologians
are often criticized by environmentalists - that is, authors whose views
contribute to a more positive relationship between science, religion, and
the environment. This course is intended to be open-ended. What you decide
about these arguments is up to you. But you will, by the end of the
course, have a clearer understanding of why you agree or disagree with the
position that science and religion are responsible for our environmental
crisis.

Requirements : Regular attendance, 2 essay exams; 2 short (about 5 pp.)
papers on topics to be announced.