Science Literacy


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About the Course

For the full syllabus, see here.


Aim of the Course
Curriculum Details

Aim of the Course

This is not a “popular science” or “science for humanities” course. Literacy in certain disciplines is the goal and, to attain it, the competency required far exceeds that of popular science. For example, a significant amount of mathematics is needed to grasp a large swathe of literature in the philosophy of physics, and most philosophy of biology presumes a detailed knowledge of evolutionary theory.

The pedagogical challenge of this course is to provide this competence in one year available. More familiar methods of science instruction do not work, as they require time-consuming practices such as lab work, memorization, and gaining familiarity with mathematical notation and ideas through repeated calculation. Other methods are adopted in this course and will be discussed, as well as used, in class.


This class is a mixture of lectures and tutorials.

  • Weekly lectures are given by scientists who are expert both in the area they represent and in conveying their specialty to the uninitiated. The Fall 2007 classes are in STH 440 on Fridays 9:00-12:00. Spring 2008 lectures are at the same time in a room to be announced.

  • Weekly tutorials are conducted by the professor in charge of the course. These tutorials cover the mathematics but also include opportunities to go over the material from lectures, to do exercises, and to receive remedial instruction where necessary. The Fall 2007 tutorial times are Wednesday mornings from 7:15-9:25 in STH 440. Spring 2008 tutorials are at the same time in a room to be announced.

Curriculum Details

The course is a requirement in the Religion & Science doctoral program. It is the only official course at a Boston Theological Institute (BTI) school that satisfies the science literacy requirement of the BTI’s Science and Religion Certificate program. In fact, one semester of the class will satisfy the BTI certificate requirement, but do consult with the instructor well in advance to make sure that you have the necessary background if you plan to take the physics (second) semester of the course.

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