Fall 2023

Science and Religion

Listed in: First Year Seminar, as FYSE-119


Scott F. Kaplan (Section 01)


Science and religion have a long history of conflict, at times fighting bitterly to establish themselves as the authority that best dictates how we should view our world. Must this division exist? Are science and religion fundamentally competing viewpoints? Or should they be complementary views that, understood properly, address distinct aspects of our lives?

Some believe the latter: that science describes the physical world while religion proves moral and ethical grounding. Others believe that this distinction is artificial, and that neither religion nor science can be so easily constrained. We will sample the history of this conflict and analyze opinions on both sides. More broadly, we will examine whether and how sensitive topics, including a person's core beliefs, can be rationally discussed. We will apply our examination to current conflicts such as genetic engineering, vaccines, and artificial intelligence. The reading for this course will begin with an historic examination of early scientific concepts and the reception and opposition they received.  We will then examine the scientific process itself, discovering that it is not the neat and tidy progression popularly presented. Finally, we will address current topics for which scientific directions conflict with religious concepts or ethics.

Fall semester. Professor Kaplan

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Critical reading, discussion, and writing

FYSE 119 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM SCCE D103
Th 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM SCCE D103


Other years: Offered in Fall 2023