I am now teaching the end of the Millenial generation and the first wave of Generation Z students. My classes in a lower middle class area of the creationism Bible belt of Dallas are 60% female and 46% Latino.
That means I am likely seeing a lot of nominal Catholics. The greatest chasm in this place is the wide gap between pastors across the street—young earth creationist Baptists—and the science departments at the college.
I have an opportunity to tell the story of the relationship between science and religion because the history department gave me a shot at a special topics class.
If anyone has any thoughts about my approach to this, here is my general trajectory
- Greek science…Aristrachus’ heliocentric model, Aristotle…nonsupernatural explanations for natural phenomena for the first time in human history
- Special revelation from Israel; Constantine and Augustine, and the subsuming of Greek thought as the handmaiden of theology till Copernicus (?)
- Aquinas and the relationship of revelation and reason
- Copernicus and Galileo making the Pope feel mocked
- Newton’s somewhat religious worldview…the beginnings of the Enlightenment and the clockwork universe. Mathematics enshrined in opposition to special revelation about nature
- The Enlightenment and the design question; Voltaire and Kant, Thomas Reid’s common sense
- Lyell and Darwin and TH Huxley’s breaking away science from church oversight once and for all
7a. German higher criticism and the German model of academic freedom and tenure spreads to America
Nietzsche and World War I; the Leuba study that showed students were losing their faith by going to college; WJ Bryan’s horror about both the war and Leuba, as related to Darwinism; the Scopes trial
Evangelicalism and Darwinism are both removed from the headlines until the 1940s and the Neo-Darwinian synthesis and the rise of Billy Graham
Sputnik and Henry Morris’ reaction to the re-introduction of Darwinism into science textbooks to catch up to the Soviets
The Arkansas Balanced Treatment trial that brought Stephen Jay Gould, Norman Geisler, and George Marsden to Little Rock
Edwards v Aguillard and the idea of teaching alternative theories as allowed by the Court
Intelligent design proponents jumping on the opening given by the Court; Bill Nye the Science Guy and the nationwide popularization of science by atheists and agnostics such as Nye and Richard Dawkins and Neil Degrasse Tyson via media such as PBS
Dover trial and Bill Nye-Ken Ham debate at the Creation Museum
I plan to tell my own story and journey on YouTube to kick off the class. Your thoughts are appreciated, and I don’t know where else in the country this class is being attempted. I doubt it is happening elsewhere in the community colleges of Texas.