CCHU9061 Arts and Humanities
Science and Religion: Questioning Truth, Knowledge and Life

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth (SCCE)
  • The Quest for a Meaningful Life / The Universe and the Question of Meaning (UQM)
  • The Human Life Span (HL)

Course Description

Science and religion are two of the most significant influences shaping human life and culture. Are they in conflict or in harmony? This course will encourage students to question their assumptions about both science and religion and the relationship between the two, and to gain new insights on the meaning of truth, knowledge and life. We will consider the intersection of science and religion in the following questions : “what is true?” “what is real?” “what counts as legitimate knowledge?” “do emotion, passion and faith have a role in science?” “does rationality have a role in religion?” “what are the moral dimensions of science and religion?” “where do we come from and where are we going?”

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

    1. Navigate the key issues which help or hinder fruitful engagement between science and religion.
    2. Critically engage with Big Questions in discourse around science and religion.
    3. Assess the strengths and limitations of scientific and religious approaches to reality, knowledge and action using multidisciplinary perspectives.
    4. Engage with the different and conflicting perspectives within the contexts of wider worldview and assumptions.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

First semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 10
Film viewing 9
Reading / Self-study 33
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 33
Assessment: Presentation 8
Assessment: Film review and analysis 3
Total: 120

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Tutorial participation and assignments/discussions 15
Homework tasks 50
Final essay 35

Required Reading

Required readings will be posted to the class Moodle. There will generally be one article of around 20 pages to read per week. The assigned readings have been specially written for this course. Please read the materials for each week BEFORE the lecture on the week’s topic.

Additional suggested readings from books and academic articles are also uploaded to the class Moodle site. Suggested readings include articles and book chapters in the philosophy of science, the philosophy of religion, the sociology of science, the sociology of religion, anthropology, history, and theology.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr Steve Cheung
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 2064
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr Steve Cheung
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 2064
Professor D.A. Palmer
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 2051
Dr M.J. Brownnutt
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 4334