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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2022 - 2023

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module is designed to introduce students to core themes that highlight the ever-changing interface between religion and science. In particular, we’ll focus on the historical narrative in tandem with contemporary debates. Classical figures such as Galileo, Descartes, Newton and Darwin will be read and discussed. After Darwin, theological approaches to science evolve, especially in the twentieth-century, with important voices emerging such as Teilhard de Chardin and Alfred North Whitehead; finally, contemporary trajectories shall fall within our purview, such as those evolutionists who submit Christianity to radical critique, known as the “New Atheists” (Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett).

Learning Outcomes

1. Understand the extent to which historical issues (such as the Galileo and the Darwin controversies) have lent credence to the view that religion is opposed to, and indeed fears the progress of science
2. Show how recent developments in evolutionary theory have provided for a sophisticated secular theory of meaning

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Total Workload: 0

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Week 1: Early Modern Science

Week 2: Descartes and Lockean Empricism

Week 3: Darwin and Evolution

Week 4: Nietzsche and Will to Power

Week 5: Science and Theology Paradigms; Teilhard de Chardin

Week 6: Kuhn's Paradigm Shifts

Week 7: The New Atheists: Dawkins and Dennett

Week 8: Existentialism and the Critique of Technology

Week 9: Environmental Science and Religion

Week 10: Cognitive Science and Religion

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • David Fergusson: 2011, Faith and Its Critics: A Conversation, 1st, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK,
  • Conor Cunnigham: 2014, Darwin's Pious Idea, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI,
  • John Haught: 2010, God after Darwin: A Theology of Evolution, 2nd, Westview Press, Philadelphia,
  • Richard Dawkins: 2007, The God Delusion, Bantam Press, London,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes