Caring For Creation: Physics, Religion and the Environment
Syllabus, Winter 2008

I. Introduction: Religion and Science

Tuesday, January 8 Introduction: The Interaction of Religion and Science.

Thursday, January 10 Haught, Science and Religion: From Conflict to Conversation,Chapter 1. Worthing, God, Creation and Contemporary Physics, Chapter 1 (coursepack).
A question regarding Haught and Worthing

Tuesday, January 15 Barbour, Religion in an Age of Science Ch.2, sect. 1-3, pp. 31-58 (coursepack).

II. Energy and Environment

Thursday, January 17 Key issues of energy and environment.

Tuesday, January 22 Ristinen & Kraushaar, Energy Fundamentals, Energy Use in an Industrial Society (coursepack)

Thursday, January 24 Ristinen & Kraushaar, Heat Engines, (coursepack)

Tuesday, January 29 Ristinen & Kraushaar, Renewable energy Sources I: Solar Energy (coursepack); Energy Innovations: A Prosperous Path to a Clean Environment, Executive Summary

III. Stories of Origins in Religion

Thursday, January 31  Focus the Nation: Discussion of Global Warming

Tuesday, February 5: Exam #1 - Covers Sections I and II
Exam 1 Review Questions

Thursday, February 7  White, "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis"(coursepack)
Haught, Chapter 9 - Is Religion Responsible for the Ecological Crisis?
Moncrief, The Cultural Basis of Our Environmental Crisis

Tuesday, February 12 Excerpts from Genesis, in Gottlieb, This Sacred Earth, pp. 71-75 (reader). "The Parade of Ants," in Gottlieb, pp. 56-59. Ruether,"Three Classical Creation Stories," chapter 1 in Gaia and God (coursepack)

Thursday, February 14 Gilkey, Maker of Heaven and Earth , excerpts from Chapters 1-3 (coursepack)

February 16 - 24, Winter Recess

IV. Stories of Origin in Physics

Tuesday,  February 26  Barrow, The Origin of the Universe, Chapters 1 & 2.
From the American Physical Society News, October 1900: Planck's Formula for Black Body Radiation

Thursday, February 28 Barrow, Chapters 3 & 4.

Tuesday,  March 4 Barrow, Chapters 5 & 6.
Paul Steinhardt's web page on Dark Energy and the Cyclic Universe.
WMAP web page.

Thursday, March 6 Barrow, Chapters 7 & 8. Haught, Chapter 5 - Was the Universe Created?

Tuesday, March 11 -  Exam #2 - Covers Stories of Origin, Sections III and IV
Study guide  

Wednesday, March 12 - Muskie Environmental Lecture
Nobel Laureate F. Sherwood Rowland
Our Changing Atmosphere: (1) the Ozone Hole (2) Carbon Dioxide
4:15 p.m., Muskie Archives

V. The Physics of Mystery

Thursday, March 13 Davies, The Mind of God, Preface, Chapter 1 (pp. 19-31 only), Chapters 2

Tuesday, March 18  Chapter 7 (omit pp. 185-190) - Cosmological Argument.

Thursday, March 20 Davies, Chapter 8 - Designer Universe.
Paley's teleological argument and Fine-tuning .
Haught, Chapter 8 - Does the Universe Have a Purpose?

VI. The Theology of Nature

Tuesday, March 25 Religious responses to environmental problems. Films: Keeping the Earth , The Earth is the Lord's.
Maine Interfaith Power and Light!

Thursday, March 27  McFague, The Body of God, Chapters 1 & 4.

Tuesday, April 1  McFague, Chapter 5

Thursday, April 3 McFague, Chapter 6

Friday, April 4 Final Papers due, 5 p.m.
Titles & Bibliographies, 1998
Titles & Bibliographies, 2008
A bibliography of recent books.

Final Exam, Wednesday, April 9, 10:30 a.m., Pettingill G52
Study Questions .

Return to course general information .