Darwinism (Science 3)

Subject 136-329 (2008)

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Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Between 10-12 weekly tutorials and between 20-24 lectures, normally two lectures per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Two second-year HPS subjects.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: Students who have completed 136-260 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Prof Janet McCalman
Subject Overview:

This subject studies the complex relationship between religion, theology, and the natural sciences. Theological concerns guided the science of Kepler, Newton and many other early scientists. They held that studying the Universe demonstrated the attributes of God. After Darwin, this view was replaced by radically different ones: to some science and religion are necessarily antagonistic, to others they belong to different realms. We examine this change, the reasoning (good and bad) behind it and its residues, including modern debates such as: 'Anthropic Principle', multiple universes, and scientific/philosophical issues such as: Why are the laws of nature what they are? Finally, we explore the relationship between the 'personal God' of religious experience and the 'philosophers' God' posited to explain facts about the natural world.

Assessment: Written work totalling 6000 words comprising a short paper of 750 words 13% (due week 5), a longer paper of 1250 words 21% (due week 8) and two final papers of 2000 words 33% each (due during the examination period).
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available from the University Bookstore at the beginning of semesterScience and Religion: A Historical Introduction ((ed. by Ferrigan))
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • develop skills in written and oral communication;

  • conduct independent research;

  • make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an argument;

  • form defensible judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments.


Students enrolled in the BSc (pre-2008 BSc), or a combined BSc course (except for the BA/BSc) will receive science credit for the completion of this subject.

Only available at science third year. This subject is based on 136-260 but involves additional work.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts

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