Origins in Science and Religion
General Catalog Course Title:
Origins in Science and Religion
Terms Offered:
Spring 2015
Spring 2013
Course Thread: 
Sciences and Society
Instructor: 
Hendel, Ron
Instructor: 
Padian, Kevin

This course explores the concepts of origins in science and religion and their cultural contexts and entanglements, from antiquity to the present. Popular culture tends to emphasize the conflict between science and religion on such issues, particularly, in recent times, with respect to the origin of life and its evolution (including human evolution). We hold that science must acknowledge history, both the history of the natural world and the history of concepts about it, and that religion must deal with the changing knowledge of science, including issues of origins, causation, and teleology. Our guiding questions include: What are origins, and why do we want to know about them? How does this desire manifest itself in different ways of constructing and analyzing knowledge? What sorts of intellectual processes, standards, and tests can be applied to different concepts of origins? What happens when different notions of origins clash? How do we negotiate these clashes in today’s world?

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.