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    Are religion and science in conflict? Beginning with this question, the nature of religion and science and the differing conceptions of knowledge found in scientific and religious communities are examined.

    Are science and religion in conflict? The idea that religion and science are in conflict was popular in the nineteenth century. It has recently been revived by the 'new atheists', writers such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. But is it true? What is the relation between science and religion? Are they really at war? The paper invites students to answer this question by offering an analysis of the differing conceptions of knowledge to be found in scientific and religious communities

    About this paper

    Paper title Science, Religion, and Knowledge (Advanced)
    Subject Religious Studies
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    One 200-level PHIL, RELS or RELX paper
    RELS 225
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music, Theology

    Professor Greg Dawes:

    Teaching staff

    Lecturer: Professor Greg Dawes

    Paper Structure

    The paper has six parts:

    • Part One: The Warfare Thesis
    • Part Two: Science and Religion
    • Part Three: Creationism as Case
    • Part Four: Locating the Conflict
    • Part Five: Norms and Knowledge
    • Part Six: Science as a Religion
    Teaching Arrangements

    There will be three classes each week, with one devoted to tutorial-style discussion.

    A coursebook has been developed for this paper.
    Course outline
    View sample course outline for RELS 325
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Critical thinking.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes
    Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to
    • Describe the nineteenth-century conflict thesis and the recent responses to it
    • Offer a careful analysis of the various uses of the terms 'science' and 'religion'
    • Describe the various dimensions of religion and the debates regarding the scope of science
    • Analyse the conception of knowledge that is dominant in religious communities


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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