Caring for Creation

Study Questions - Exam #2

Provide as much detail as you can in answering these questions. Try to explain what terms and concepts mean, and wherever possible, explain the reason(s) why you answer as you do. Feel free to contact T. Tracy or J. Smedley if you're having difficulties with some questions.

I. Stories of Origin in Religion

1. What is a myth, and in what ways are myths meaningful even if they're not literally true?

2. Explain Lynn White's views on the contribution of Christianity to the "roots of our ecological crisis." How might someone defend this religious tradition in the face of White's critique? Do Judaism and Christianity have a positive contribution to make to our attitudes toward nature? What does Haught have to say about this question?

3. Compare and contrast the myths we have discussed (Genesis stories, Babylonian creation myth, Parade of Ants). What cosmological, anthropological, behavioral and social significance can be found in these stories?

4. How do the Genesis stories in particular portray the relation of God to the world and human beings, and the status of human beings in the created world?

5. How does Gilkey explain the concept of creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo)? Does this religious idea conflict with science? Why or why not?

6. Is the idea of creation the same as the claim that the world had a beginning sometime in the distant past? If the idea of creation is not about the beginning of the world, what is it about?

II. Stories of Origin in Physics

7. Describe the Hot Big Bang Model and outline the evidence for it.

8. What are the four fundamental interactions of physics? Give examples of their relevance to Big Bang cosmology.

9. Describe what is meant by the following types of universes: closed, open, critical. Which best describes our universe?

10. What is the Doppler effect? Give an example. Explain "redshifts," and describe how emission spectra and the Doppler effect are relevant to cosmology.

11. What is the cosmic microwave background radiation, and how is it relevant to physical cosmology?

12. In physical cosmology, what is meant by inflation and why is it introduced into the Big Bang model?

13. Explain the cosmological importance of the COBE satellite: what does it measure, and why is it significant?

14. What is the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe and what does it measure? Describe its significance for the the standard cosmological model.

15. What is dark matter and what is its significance?

16. Describe what the most abundant elements in the universe are.

III. Synthesis

17. Do the Big Bang cosmological model and biblical stories of creation have any relevance to each other? How might proponents of each of Haught's four ways of relating religion and science answer this question?

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