About the 2011 Workshop
A four-week faculty development seminar for mainland Chinese professors. The seminar is restricted to professors (and their universities) who agree to add a course in science and belief to their curriculum (or to improve an existing course). The program will cover all travel and seminar expenses, and provide books for all participants.
Participants will gain a deeper understanding of some basic historical and philosophical issues in science and belief. After considering models of how science and religion interact (such as the conflict model), they will then discuss key historical and philosophical issues. At each turn, they will consider various pedagogical options. Particular attention will be given to popular myths regarding the history of science and the question of whether science refutes (or supports) religious belief. At the end of the seminar, each participant will be expected to have developed a preliminary syllabus that would be suitable for a science and religion course in China. Instruction will be in English.
The topics to be covered fall into two major categories—historical issues and philosophical issues.
- The “warfare” thesis and its fatal problems
- The interplay of science and belief down to 1700, including the “Scientific Revolution”; some attention will be given to why it happened where it did (in Northern & Western Europe, during the 16th and 17th Centuries)
- Darwin, evolution, and religious belief
- The religious beliefs of modern Western scientists
- Belief and reason
- The Anthropic Principle
- Mind and body
- The big bang and the origin of the universe
- Evolution and Religion
The seminar will feature a different distinguished visiting lecturer each week representing both the sciences and the humanities. Two confirmed lecturers are John Polkinghorne and Robert John Russell.