REL 340 - Science and Religion


Contact Information

I am available to meet with any student regarding any matter.
I will be available at the office hours posted, and at other times by appointment.
Students may contact me by phone 9 am to 9 pm. Office phone 575-562-2519, Home phone 575-763-0101, with answering machines to leave messages, or send an email to Dr. Rollinson at, or send a message via the BlackBoard link.
For my bio., go to

Office Hours

My Office is in JWLA 127-T.
Office hours during the 2017 Summer semester are Mondays and Wednesdays, 2pm - 3pm, or at other times by appointment.

Required Materials - Text Books
  • The Bible : I have not assigned any particular readings from the Bible, but you will need a Bible to check out some of the references to it which are made in some of the other textbooks. You may use any translation of the Bible you wish, though please make sure that you use a "translation" (which keeps close to the meaning of the original Hebrew and Greek texts) rather than a "paraphrase" (which can be easier to read, but is less true to the original - for example "The Message")
    Go here for helps in choosing a Bible.
  • Science and Religion - A Very Short Introduction, Thomas Dixon, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-929551-7, available at the ENMU Bookstore.
  • Quarks, Chaos, and Christianity, John Polkinghorne, Crossroad Books, ISBN 978-0-8245-2406-7 or 0-8245-2406-3, available at the ENMU Bookstore.
  • The Language of God, Francis S. Collins, Free Press, ISBN 978-0-7432-8639-8 or 0-7432-8639-1, available at the ENMU Bookstore.
  • Practicing Science, Living Faith, Clayton & Schaal, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0-231-13576-4 or 0-231-13576-9, available at the ENMU Bookstore.
Course Description

This is a course focusing on both the historic and contemporary dialog between religion and science. Topics include evolution and creation, quantum theory, cosmology, epistemology, the nature of reality, and scientific ethics.
The course will consist of reading and reflecting upon the textbooks and other resources provided. It will be important for the student to keep up with all reading and written assignments.
This is a 3-credit-hour course, so is the equivalent of 3 one-hour lectures per week with at least another 3 hours of individual study and class assignments per week. As a general guide, students should devote about 6 hours per week to this course, i.e. about an hour a day, Monday through Saturday, with Sunday for a brief review of the past week's work. Students who work steadily for an hour-or-so each day on this course should have no difficulty in getting a good Grade. Students who make a habit of leaving the week's work for an overnighter on Sundays will probably not do very well.
Those who have difficulty keeping to an orderly routine of study, or who lack self-discipline when faced with conflicting priorities, will probably do better to attend a lecture-based course rather than a Web-based course, and should register for one of the other Religion courses offered at ENMU.

Learning Outcomes - Objectives of the Course

To enable the student :

  1. To gain knowledge of the current state of the Science and Religion dialogue.
  2. To gain knowledge of current theories of cosmology and the origin of the universe.
  3. To gain knowledge of current theories of the origin of life.
  4. To gain knowledge of current theories of evolution.
  5. To gain knowledge of current ethical questions raised by scientific endeavors.
  6. To read and to gain knowledge of the ways in which scientists of various faiths integrate scientific knowledge with their spirituality.
  7. To begin to formulate a religious response to current scientific theories.
Course Prerequisites : None

Suggested Background Knowledge/Skills : As this course deals with the interface of Science and Religion, it would be advantageous for students to have taken an introductory course in Physics or Chemistry before enrolling in this course.
Students should be comfortable with reading and writing at College level, and should have sufficient computing, word processing and library skills to be able to complete assignments without over-straining themselves. Those who wish to improve their writing skills may take advantage of the Writing Workshop which is offered free to all students at ENMU.
Check out the Proficiency Levels Page
and the Edited Standard Written English Page for further details.


See the ENMU Catalog, pages 29-30 for the Grading System at ENMU.

Grades will be based on : Reports + Papers

Relative weighting% of Final GradeTotal
15 Reports4% each60%
2 Papers20% each40%


Computation of Grades
90 - 100 % = A
80 - 89 % = B
70 - 79 % = C
60 - 69 % = D
0 - 59 % = F

Further information is available on the "How to get an A" page,
the Proficiency Levels page,
and the Grading of Reports and Essays page.

Student Expectations - Attendance / Participation

Students are expected to study the assignments from the text books and other resources given, and to complete the weekly assignments on time.

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Students should refer to the University catalogue for a definition of academic dishonesty and its penalties, or they should go to this Web Page and familiarize themselves with the relevant material.
The Turnitin system will be used to ensure that students' work meets an acceptable standard of originality

Grades will be based on papers and class assignments (weekly reports). There will be no Exams in this course this semester. Instead, there will be two research papers, one of which will be due on the Wednesday of Midterm Week, the other will be due on the Wednesday of Finals' Week. The topics for the papers are already posted. Students are encouraged to start work on them early, and to continue to work on them through the semester.

Course Organization

The course is divided into 15 units corresponding roughly to the weeks of the semester.
Each "weekly Assignment" will conclude with a Report, which is to be completed and submitted by the BlackBoard link to Turnitin by 9 am on the following Monday.

The course starts with a brief over-view of some of the historical interactions between Science and Religion in the West. The first half of the semester concentrates on the ways in which physics, astronomy, and cosmology have impacted our view of the Universe and its origin. The second half of the semester concentrates on the ways in which Chemistry, Biology, and Molecular Biology have impacted our views of life, its origin and evolution.
Towards the end of the course some of the ethical questions raised by scientific research will be introduced.
Throughout the course there will be readings from a book of interviews with noted scientists who discuss openly their beliefs and spirituality. Some of them are Christian, one is a Quaker, two are Muslim, one is Baha'i, one Buddhist, one an observant Jew, one combines Christianity with her native Judaism, one combined Christianity with a study of African Native religions, one is more comfortable speaking about "Mother Nature" and another speaks of "a Power up there", but all are seeking to integrate their spirituality with their scientific work.

  • Reports - The Reports for each week are due by 9 am on the Monday of the next week. It is recommended that students try to submit their reports a few days ahead of time in case there are problems with the computers over the week-end.
  • Late Work - For work to be eligible for an "A" Grade, it must be submitted on time. Students may submit their reports early, and are advised to do so whenever possible. Work may be submitted late, but may drop a letter Grade per week that it is overdue.
  • Makeup - Because of the nature of this course, in which students do not have to attend classes at particular times on particular days, there is no provision for "make-up" work.
  • Exams and Papers - There will be no exams, but there will be a Mid-term Paper, and a Final Paper, both of which will count towards the Course Grade.
  • Extensions - extensions will only be granted under grave extenuating circumstances and at the discretion of the instructor. If you think that you may need an extension, you should contact the instructor ahead of time with your request, and explain the situation.
ENMU Academic Integrity Policy

Plagiarism and Cheating of any kind on an examination, quiz, or assignment will result at least in an "F" for that assignment (and may, depending on the severity of the case, lead to an "F" for the entire course) and may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. See the Student Handbook for further information. I expect that you will adhere to the academic creed of this University and that you will maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. In other words, don't cheat by giving answers to others or by taking them from anyone else. I will also adhere to the highest standards of academic integrity, so please do not ask me to change (or expect me to change) your grade illegitimately or to bend or break rules for one person that will not apply to everyone. Plagiarism is a serious offense. When in doubt, please cite your sources!
Please visit the 2015-2017 Undergraduate Catalog online at ; page 30, for information concerning Academic Integrity.
Action can include, but is not limited to, failure for the assignment; failure of, or a reduced grade for the course; suspension or dismissal from your program of study.

Disability Statement

If you have, or believe you have a disability, you may contact the Disability Services Office (DSO) to coordinate reasonable classroom accommodations, access to technology, or other academic assistance.
DSO serves students with a wide range of disabilities including but not limited to medical or health impairment, vision or hearing disability, physical disability, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, or mental health impairment.
All information will be treated confidentially.
You may contact DSO in room 186 Student Academic Services building, phone 575.562.2280. Accommodations are not retroactive. They begin only after:

  • Appropriate documentation has been received and accepted by the Coordinator of Disability Services
  • Letters of Accommodation (LOA) have been prepared
  • You have delivered your Letters of Accommodation to your instructors

Appropriate academic accommodations may then be provided for you.
You may contact DSO in room 186 Student Academic Services building, phone 575.562.2280.

ENMU Reasonable Accommodation statements:

  1. Any student eligible for and requesting academic accommodations due to a disability is requested to provide an academic accommodation form from Services for Students with Disabilities within the first two weeks of the beginning of classes.
  2. Instructors are to receive an academic accommodation form within the first two weeks of classes when there is an existing disability.
  3. If you have a specific disability that qualifies you for academic accommodations, please provide an academic accommodation form from Services for Students with Disabilities within the first two weeks of the semester.
FERPA and Privacy

As a student, your educational records are considered confidential. Under FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), your records are confidential and protected. Under most circumstances your records will not be released without your written and signed consent. However, some directory information may be released to third parties without your prior consent unless a written request to restrict this is on file.
You can learn more about student rights to privacy at

In this course, we may be working with third party applications online (i.e. wikis, blogs and other Web 2.0 applications). The different proprietors of these sites may or may not have privacy guarantees and the FERPA policy at ENMU does not apply to these sites. It will be your responsibility to read the privacy documentation at each site. There are many other options to protecting your information at these sites. If you have filed the paperwork and are classified as protected under the ENMU FERPA qualifications, it will be acceptable for you to use an alias when using the Web 2.0 sites required for this course. If you still have concerns, please e-mail me as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Title IX

ENMU is committed to fostering a safe, productive learning environment and we comply with all aspects related to Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and 34 C.F.R. Part 106. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination to include sexual misconduct defined as harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Incidents of harassment or assault can be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at 575.562.2991 or .
Reports can also go to the ENMU Police Department by calling 575.562.2392.
If you wish to receive fully confidential support and victim's advocacy you can contact Arise Sexual Assault Services at 575.226.7263.

Confidentiality and Mandatory Reporting
As an instructor, one of my responsibilities is to help create a safe learning environment on our campus.
I also have a mandatory reporting responsibility. I am required to share information regarding sexual misconduct or information about a crime that may have occurred on ENMU's campus with the Title IX Coordinator and/or the ENMU Police.
Students may speak to someone confidentially by contacting Arise at 575.226.7263


This course may contain copyright protected materials such as audio or video clips, images, text materials, etc. These items are either linked to or are being used with regard to the Fair Use doctrine in order to enhance the learning environment. Please do not copy, duplicate, download or distribute these items. The use of these materials is strictly reserved for this online classroom environment and your use only. All copyright materials are credited to the copyright holder.

Anticipated Student Workload

3 - 5 hours per week reading, 2 - 4 hours per week writing, 1 - 2 hours per week library.


Copyright © 1999 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved

Dr. Rollinson

Station 19, ENMU
Portales, NM 88130

Last Updated : April 9, 2017

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