History of Western Science and Religion

HIS 3460
Department of History
University of Florida
Fall 2007
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HIS 3460:  Office: Flint 225
Dr. Gregory T 4th; R 4-5th.; or by appt

 In 1948 the theologian Paul Tillich put together a collection of sermons that became a well known book entitled The Shaking of the Foundations. Tillich was offering, from his standpoint as an existential theologian, a response to modernism's failure to confront the human dilemma. In his own way Tillich was trying to rescue religious meaning in the face of the nihilism that seemed to confront humankind at every turn.

    But how did we get to this point? A major contributing factor in the history of the West has been without question the mutual influence of science and religion as both have developed especially since the seventeenth century. As scientists have gained increasingly impressive knowledge about the workings of the physical and biological worlds the question of whether religious meaning includes meaning that resides in nature itself has been judged as problematical. Many have concluded that, as John Dillenberger has put it, the vertical dimension between God and nature has been broken.

    In this course we will investigate points in Western history where the focused involement of science and religion has been decisive for the future development of their interaction. Beginning with a period in which the relation between God and the world was not problematical we will proceed to the eighteenth century, when that relation was placed into question. We will then inquire about the reasons why a so-called scientific worldview, from which spirit was banished, was not able to remain unchallenged and why, in our own century, a religious understanding of nature flourishes.



at Goerings Book Store.


1.  Ian Barbour, When Science Meets Religion
2.  David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers, eds.  When Christianity and Science Meet
3.  John Hedley Brooke, Science and Religion: Some Historical Reflections
4.  Websites as indicated in syllabus below.\
Written/oral assignment:.
    Each student has been assigned to a team in the list below.  (It is possible to switch with another person, but I must be notified in writing by a note signed by both parties.)  The members of each team should meet well in advance of the presentation date to decide how the topic will be divided and coordinated.  Clicking on the topic in the list will identify issues associated with the topic and some general sources.  These sources should be divided among team members according to the individual presentations.

    Every student has also been assigned to a cross examining team.  Responsibilities here include framing questions to panel members after all have presented and then handing in the questions posed after class.

.  On the day of the presentation the team will be responsible for conducting the class for one period.  Each person will make an 8-10 minute  presentation on an issue associated with the topic, answering any questions that may arise, first from the cross examiners and then from the class.   In conjunction with the preparation for his or her issue, individual team members will hand in a 4-5 page typed, double-spaced paper, with a bibliography of sources included.  Sources shoud include those provided for the topic, supplemented by others.  No more than 75% of the sources should come from the web.  (Articles published in journals that are online count as non-web sources.) 

    Criteria of evaluation include: effectiveness in identifying issue clearly, knowledge of issue, communication skill, orally and in writing.

List of presentations

Date due  Topic and presenters Cross examiners  Date due Topic  and presenters Cross examiners
Sep 11 1.  Reason and Revelation   Nov 6 6. Cosmology and Religion  
  Daniel Babin Jonathan Fish   Jonathan Fish Courtney Weisman
  Gary Beemer Sandon Stevens   Starr Elliot Brian Wenzel
  Alissa Bell Lydia Epple   Joseph Ely Chris Vanlandingham
  Chris Brecht Jaye Madden   Aileen Rieck Greg Hunsucker
Sep 20 2.  Galileo and the Church   Nov 8v 1  7.  The Scopes Trial  
  Joshua Jones Aileen Rieck   Sandon Stevens Katrina Reinke
  Jennifer Kinser Stephanie Schroeder   Lydia Epple Jennifer Kinser
  Andy Plyler Jennifer Shorstein   Jaye Madden Evan Kell
    Brian Deligero   Greg  Hunsucker  
Sep 27 3. Newton and Religion   Nov 13 8.  The Rise of Creationism  
  Gillian Kartzinel Lacey Chapa   Cliff Stoner Jacquelyn Tumminello
  Nghi Lam Maha  Kashan   Stephanie Schroeder Ryan McNay
  Christina Steppi Sahil Modi   Jennifer Shorstein Michelle Myrick
    Samantha Passman   Brian Deligero Nicole Arduengo
Oct 9 4. The Classical Argument from Design   Nov 20 9.  God (and Religion) as the Problem  

Ryan McNay

Daniel Babin   Jacob Harper  
  Michelle Myrick Gary Beemer   Evan Kell Starr Elliott

Nicole Arduengo

Alyssa Bell

Harrison Diamond

Gillian Kartzinel


Angelica Ramdhari

Chris Brecht

Katrina Reinke

Angelica Ramdhari

Oct 25 5. Darwin's religion   Nov 29 10.  Intelligent Design  
  Lacey Chapa Jacob Harper   Jacquelyn Tumminello Joseph Ely
  Maha  Kashan Harrison Diamond   Christo Vanlandingham Nghi Lam
  Sahil Modi Cliff Stoner   Brian Wenzel Christina Steppi
  Samantha Passman Andy Plyler   Courtney Weisman Joshua Jones

Dicussion Forum:

Explanation of the discussion forum will be given in class, but, to avoid a penalty of 1/3 letter grade per week, you should subscribe to the listserv (i.e., complete items 1 and 2 below) by 6 September as follows:

1.  Send an email to f07-4844-request@clas.ufl.edu with a message body of subscribe. Do not put anything in the Subject line.  This action subscribes you at whatever email address you are using (so don't use a friend's account to subscribe).  You will receive back 2 messages.  One, titled "Majordomo results", will inform you that your request to subscribe must be authenticated and indicates that you must send another message.  The other, titled "Confirmation for subscribe f07-4844", tells you how to send the authentication message.
2.  Send the authentication message as directed.  You can eliminate typing errors by using your "copy" and "paste" functions to insert the requested message into your email message.  You will now receive 2 more messages from Majordomo, one indicating the authentication has been successful and another welcoming you to the list.  The latter contains information about about the list.
3.  Once enrolled you can participate in the listserv discussion forum by simply sending your email to
When you contribute to the listserv, make sure one can tell who you are (i.e., include your name if it is not clear from your email address),
You are responsible for printing out the four contributions you wish to submit to me.  This must be done by class time on 29 Nov.

 . Grades:

Grades are determined from a mid-term examination (35%), presentation (15%),  cross examination (5%), class participation (5%), discussion forum (5%), and the cumulative final (35%)

Attendance policy:
Regular attendance is expected. You are responsible for announcements and changes in schedule made in class. . With a legitimately documented written excuse I will discuss making up a a missed quiz or exam. If the final exam is missed it will be counted as a zero unless a proper excuse is provided, whereupon it will result in an "I" for the course. Quizzes may be given either at the end of the beginning of the hour. Tardiness is not cause for extra time or a make-up.

Acceptable and unacceptable excuses:
Acceptable excuses for missing a quiz or an exam must be submitted within 2 class meetings of the date of last absence. They must be legitimately documented, written, and possible for the instructor to verify independently. If an absence is due to a visit to the infirmary, please make sure that the person signing the slip indicates the time of day of your visit in the same ink and handwriting as the signature.

Unacceptable excuses include:
1) oversleeping
2) ignorance of quiz/exam date
3) excuses not properly documented
4) non-documentable excuses

HIS 3460

History of Science and Religion
Prof. Gregory
Fall, 2007

Class Schedule
Aug  23 Introduction to the course

Introductions of class members 
Basic assumptions 
  Overview of course: Discussion 

Reading:  Begin Ian Barbour, When Science Meets Religion, Chapter 1

Aug 28 Continued general introduction 
"The Soul of the Universe"

Reading:  Ian Barbour, When Science Meets Religion, Chapters 2-5

Aug 30  General considerations continued

Reading: Barbour, Chapter 6

Sep  4 General historiographical considerations

Brooke, SR, Introduction + Chapter 1 
Lindberg and Numbers, CSM, Introduction 
Sep 6 Science in antiquity 


1. Frederick Gregory, "Science and Religion in Western History" Read "Introduction" and section on "Antiquity and the Middle Ages" 
David Lindberg, "Science and the Early Christian Church," Isis , Vol. 74, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 509-530   Available through JSTOR as   E-Journal.  Use the E-Journals Locator link  under the Journals link on the UF Library Home Page.

Sep 11 Science in the Middle Ages

Team 1 Presentation: Reason and Revelation

Lindberg and Numbers, WCSM, Chapter 1 

Sep 13 Scientific Revolution

2.  Brooke, SR, Chapters 2, 3 (up to section on Galileo and Wilkins) 
Tycho Brahe
Sep 18 Galileo

1.  Excerpts from Galileo Galilei,
Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina
2.  Excerpts from Galileo Galilei,
Dialogue on the Great World Systems
3.  Lindberg and Numbers, WCSM, Chapter 2

4.  Brooke, SR, Finish Chapter 3

Sep 20 Team 2 Presentation: Galileo and the Church

Sep 25 Newton's achievement

1. Brooke, SR, Chapter 4 
2. Lindberg and Numbers, WCSM, Chapter 3

Sep 27 Team 3 Presentation: Newton and religion

Read Newton and Leibniz
Oct 2 Seeds of heresy in the 17th century

1.  Excerpts from Thomas Hobbes,
Leviathan  We will read 1)  Chapter V, 2)  the last portion of Chapter VIII, and  3)  Chapter 31. 
2.  Benedictus Spinoza, "
Concerning God," from Ethics This link takes you to the beginning of the "Definitions."  Starting here read through the definitions, axioms and then Propositions 1-36


Oct  4 Doubts About the Glorification of Reason

1.  Brooke, SR, Chapter 5. 
2.  Lindberg and Numbers, WCSM, Chapter 4 
2.  Excerpts from Voltaire,
Candide Read Chapters 1-5, 28-30.
Oct 9 Team 4 Presentation: The Classical Argument from Design
1.  Excerpts from David Hume,
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Read Parts 2-9. 
2.  I. Kant, "General Observation on Miracles," from
Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone Scroll down to the section titled "General Observation" (just before the "Notes" at the end) and read to end.

3.   John Ray

4. Brooke. Chapter 6

Oct 11  Review

Oct 16 MID Term Examination    Click here for review list

Oct 18

 Guest speaker: Artist Rinde Eckert   Note: Mr. Eckert's performance of Horizon will be performed in the Black Box Theatre of the Phillips Center for Performing Arts October 16 through October 18.  The performance deals with issues or faith and doubt, strength and pain, and dreams and desires.  For more information on the performance, see http://www.rindeeckert.com/horizon/index.html

Lindberg and Numbers, WCSM, Chapters 5-6

Oct 23 Darwin I

1.  Brooke, SR, Chapters 7-8 
2.. Excerpt from Charles Darwin,
On the Origin of Species.  Read section entitled "Summary of Chapter" at the end of the website
Oct 25 Team 5 Presentation: Darwin's religious position


Lindberg and Numbers, WCSM, Chapters 7-8

Oct 30 Religion, physical science in the 19th century, and the breakdown of realism

Lindberg and Numbers, WCSM, Chapter 9 
Frederick Gregory, 
The End of the World
Frederick Gregory, "
Science and Religion in Western History" Read section on Modern Science

Optional:  Thomas De Quincy on Lord Rosse's telescope  (Read only SYSTEM OF THE HEAVENS AS REVEALED BY LORD ROSSE'S TELESCOPES)

Nov  1 No class
Nov  6  Team 6 Presentation: Cosmology and Religion


1. Cosmology and religion  (Click on the fourth "topic set" from the list at the right: "Big Bang cosmology and theology" and read all "related book topics")

2.  Hugh Ross, "Design and the Anthropic Principle
3.  Victor Stenger,
Critique of the Anthropic Principle

Nov 8 Team 7 Presentation: The Scopes Trial      

1. Lindberg and Numbers, WCSM, Chapters 11-12 
2. Brooke, SR, Postscript.

Nov 13  Team 8 Presentation: The Rise of Creationism

Lindberg and Numbers, WCSM, Chapter 11

Numbers: Creationism (Read all topics) 

Nov 15 Religion and quantum theory  (cont.)

Nov 20 Team 9 Presentation: God (and Religion) as the Problem

Timothy Weiskel,
In Dust and Ashes

Nov 22 No class.  Thanksgiving break.

Nov 27  The challenge of Postmodernism: Guest speaker- Dr. Richard Horner
Frederick Gregory, 
Waging Gihad, Western Style

Nov 29 Team 10 Presentation: Intelligent Design  (4 printouts of Listserv contributions due in class)

Dec 4 Reviewn of reviews from Round 8.   Round 8 reviews due at class time.  Summary and review

Dec 12 Final examination:  Monday, December 10 at 12:30 P.M. in the classroom