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Course Number: STD 505
Course Title: Catholic Faith and Scientific Reason
Term: Summer 2014

Professor

Fr. Peter Samuel Kucer MSA

pkucer@holyapostles.edu

203-768-4220

1. COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course will introduce students to the main objections of scientific reasoning to faith and the ways that scientific reasoning supports faith.  After completing the course, students will better equipped to take the course Theology and Science.

2. ENVISIONED LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Students will analyze different ways of relating science to faith.
  • Students will respond to typical objections of scientific reasoning to faith.
  • Students will harmonize modern scientific theories with Catholic faith.

3. COURSE SCHEDULE

Please note: The reading assignments were designed for you to read the chapter reading first and then my accompanying lecture notes.   In addition, all quizzes and the final exam are open book tests.

Week 1:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 1: Faith and Science: At the Crossroads of Nature and Spirit
  2. Read Lecture 1
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 1 questions
  4. Take Quiz 1 on Chapter 1

Week 2:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 2: Science and the Christian Faith: Renewing an Old Relationship
  2. Read Lecture 2
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 2 questions
  4. Take Quiz 2 on Chapter 2

Week 3:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 3: The Big Bang about Creation: is Sacred Scripture Anti-Science?
  2. Read Lecture 3
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 3 questions
  4. Take Quiz 3 on Chapter 3

Week 4:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 4: Patroness or Persecutor?  The Catholic Church and Scientific Discovery
  2. Read Lecture 4
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 4 questions
  4. Take Quiz 4 on Chapter 4

Week 5:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 4: Patroness or Persecutor?  The Catholic Church and Scientific Discovery
  2. Read Lecture 5
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 5 questions
  4. Take Quiz 5 on Chapter 4

Week 6:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 5: A,B, C, Infinity: Learning to Read the Story of the Universe
  2. Read Lecture 6
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 6 questions
  4. Take Quiz 6 on Chapter 5

Week 7:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 5: A,B, C, Infinity: Learning to Read the Story of the Universe
  2. Read Lecture 7
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 7 questions
  4. Take Quiz 7 on Chapter 5

Week 8:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 6: The Biggest Question: Has Science Disproved God?
  2. Read Lecture 8
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 8 questions
  4. Take Quiz 8 on Chapter 6

Week 9:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 7: The Twist in the Tale: Modern Science vs. Scientific Atheism
  2. Read Lecture 9
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 9 questions
  4. Take Quiz 9 on Chapter 7

Week 10:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 8: Going “Deeper than Darwin”: Faith and the Origins of Living Things
  2. Read Lecture 10
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 10 questions
  4. Take Quiz 10 on Chapter 8

Week 11:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 9: In His Image: The Human Person from the Divine Perspective
  2. Read Lecture 11
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 11  questions
  4. Take Quiz 11 on Chapter 9

Week 12:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 10: Image or Illusion? Scientific Challenges to Human Dignity and Personhood
  2. Read Lecture 12
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 12 questions
  4. Take Quiz 12 on Chapter 10

Week 13:

Process

  1. Read Chapter 11: The Emergence of the Image: Modern Science and the Origins of Humanity
  2. Read Lecture 13
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 13 questions
  4. Take Quiz 13 on Chapter 11

Week 14:

Process

  1. Read Concluding Chapter:  Miracles: Signs and Wonders at the Crossroads of Faith and Science
  2. Read Lecture 14
  3. Post response to discussion Lecture 14 questions
  4. Take Quiz 14 on Concluding Chapter

Week 15

Final Assignment:

  • Take the Final Exam.

4. COURSE REQUIREMENTS

  • 30%: Chapter Quizzes—14 Quizzes
  • 30%: Lecture Questions for 14 Lectures
  • 20%: Final Exam
  • 20%: Response to Instructor Feedback

All questions of the Final Exam will be taken from the quizzes. Students will have two hours to complete the exam. As with the quizzes, this exam is open book. In order to complete the exam before time is up, it is important to not rely exclusively on looking up answers.

5.  REQUIRED READINGS and RESOURCES:

  • Baglow, Christopher T.  Faith, Science and Reason:  Theology on the Cutting Edge.  Woodridge: Midwest Theological Forum, 2009. $27.99 1936045257

6. SUGGESTED READINGS and RESOURCES:

Barr, Stephen M.  Modern Physics and Ancient Faith,  Notre Dame: Notre Dame Press, 2003.

Clarke, Norris W.  The One and the Many: A Contemporary Thomistic Metaphysics. Notre Dame: Notre Dame       Press, 2001.

Dei Filius, 1870.

Falk, Darrel.   Coming to Peace with Science:  Bridging the Gap Between Faith and Biology.  Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2004.

Forsthoefel, Paulinus.  Religious Faith Meets Modern Science, New York: Alba House, 1994.

Haught, John F.  Deeper than Darwin: The Prospect for Religion in the Age of Evolution.  Cambridge: Westview, 2003.

Jaki, Stanley. God and the Cosmologists.  Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1989.

John Paul II, “Lessons of the Galileo Case.” Origins 22, no. 22 (1992).

Lewis, C.S. Miracles:  How God Intervenes in Nature and Human Affairs.  New York: Macmillan, 1978.

Pius XII, Humani Generis, 1950.

Schönborn, Christoph Cardinal. “Creation and Evolution: To the Debate as it Stands.”

Schönborn, Christoph Cardinal. “He Upholds the Universe by His Word and Power.”

Schönborn, Christoph Cardinal. “In the Beginning God Created…

Weber, Hubert Philip ed,. trans. Henry Taylor. Chance or Purpose?  Creation, Evolution, and a Rational Faith. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007.

7.  EVALUATION

Students who have difficulty with research and composition are encouraged to pursue assistance with the Online Writing Lab (available at http://www.holyapostles.edu/owl).

GRADING SCALE:

A 94-100; A- 90-93; B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73 D 60-69; F 59 and below

Grading Rubrics for Undergraduates

Essay on Lecture Rubric

CONTENT

1 (F)

2 (D)

3 (C)

4 (B)

5 (A)

Absence of Understanding

Posting shows no awareness of the concepts addressed in the topic by shifting off-topic

Misunderstanding

Posting demonstrates a misunderstanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic through an inability to re-explain them

Adequate Understanding

Posting demonstrates an adequate understanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic by a re-explanation of them

Solid understanding

Posting demonstrates an understanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic and uses that understanding effectively in the examples it provides

Insightful understanding

Posting demonstrates an understanding of the basic concepts of the topic through the use of examples and by making connections to other concepts

 

WRITING & EXPRESSION

1 (F)

2 (D)

3 (C)

4 (B)

5 (A)

Incomplete writing

Writing is only partially written or fails to address the topic

Writing difficult to understand, serious improvement needed

Writing touches only on the surface of the topic and proceeds to talk about something else; confusing organization or development; little elaboration of position; insufficient control of sentence structure and vocabulary; unacceptable number  of errors in grammar, mechanics and usage.

Acceptable writing, but could use some sharpening of skill

Writing is an uneven response to parts of the topic; somewhat conventional treatment; satisfactory organization, but more development needed; adequate syntax and diction, but could use more vigor; overall control of grammar, mechanics, and usage, but some  errors.

Solid writing with something interesting to say

Writing is an

adequate response to the topic; some depth and complexity in treatment; persuasive organization and development, with suitable reasons and examples; level-appropriate syntax and diction; mastery of grammar, mechanics, and usage, with hardly any  error.

Command-level writing, making a clear impression

Writing is a thorough response to the topic; thoughtful and insightful examination of issues; compelling organization and development ; superior syntax and diction; error-free grammar, mechanics, and usage.

 

Discussion Post Rubric

Points

0

3

4

5

Quality of Post

No posting

Responds, but with minimum effort. (e.g. “I agree.”

Appropriate comments and responds respectfully.

Appropriate comments: thoughtful, reflective, and respectful of previous posting.

Relevance of Post

No posting

Posts topics which do not relate to the discussion content; makes short or irrelevant remarks.

Posts topics that are related to discussion content.

Posts topics related to discussion topic; which can prompt further discussion of topic.

 

Grading Rubrics for Graduates

Essay Rubric

CONTENT

0 pts.

1 pt

2 pts

3 pts.

4 pts.

5 pts.

Absence of Understanding

Analysis shows no awareness of the discipline or its methodologies as the relate to the topic

Lack of Understanding

Analysis seems to misunderstand some basic concepts of the discipline or lacks ability to articulate them.

Inadequate understanding

Analysis is sometimes unclear in understanding or articulating concepts of the discipline.

Adequate understanding

Analysis demonstrates an understanding of basic concepts of the discipline but could express them with greater clarity.

Solid Understanding

Analysis demonstrates a clear understanding and articulation of concepts with some sense of their wider implications.

Insightful understanding

Analysis clearly demonstrates an understanding and articulation of  concepts of the discipline as they relate to the topic; highlights connec-tions to other con-cepts; integrates concepts into wider contexts.

 

 

WRITING & EXPRESSION

 

1 (F)

2 (D)

3 (C)

4 (B)

5 (A)

Incomplete writing

Analysis is only partially written or completely misses the topic

Writing difficult to understand, serious improvement needed

Analysis fails to address the topic; confusing organization or development; little elaboration of position; insufficient control of sentence structure and vocabulary; unacceptable number of errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage

Acceptable writing, but could use some sharpening of skill

Analysis is an uneven response to parts of the topic; somewhat conventional treatment;  satisfactory organization, but more development needed; adequate syntax and diction, but could use more vigor; overall control of grammar, mechanics, and usage, but some errors

Solid writing, with something interesting to say.

Analysis is an adequate response to the topic; some depth and complexity in treatment; persuasive organization and development, with suitable reasons and examples;  level-appropriate syntax and diction;  mastery of grammar, mechanics, and usage, with hardly any error

Command-level writing, making a clear impression

Analysis is a thorough response to the topic; thoughtful and insightful examination of issues; compelling organization and development ; superior syntax and diction; error-free grammar, mechanics, and usage

 

Discussion Post Rubric

Points

0

3

4

5

Quality of Post

No posting

Responds, but with minimum effort. (e.g. “I agree.”

Appropriate comments and responds respectfully.

Appropriate comments: thoughtful, reflective, and respectful of previous posting.

Relevance of Post

No posting

Posts topics which do not relate to the discussion content; makes short or irrelevant remarks.

Posts topics that are related to discussion content.

Posts topics related to discussion topic; which can prompt further discussion of topic.

 

8. DISABILITIES ACCOMMODATIONS POLICY

Holy Apostles College & Seminary is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities who qualify for admission to the College. Students enrolled in online courses who have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations should contact Bob Mish, the Director of Online Student Affairs, at rmish@holyapostles.edu or 860-632-3015. In all cases, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to course materials in a mode in which they can receive them. Students who have technological limitations (e.g., slow Internet connection speeds in convents) are asked to notify their instructors the first week of class for alternative means of delivery.

9. ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY

Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty. Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own. At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person's ends.

Students, where applicable:

  • Should identify the title, author, page number/webpage address, and publication date of works when directly quoting small portions of texts, articles, interviews, or websites.
  • Students should not copy more than two paragraphs from any source as a major component of papers or projects.
  • Should appropriately identify the source of information when paraphrasing (restating) ideas from texts, interviews, articles, or websites.
  • Should follow the Holy Apostles College & Seminary Stylesheet (available on the Online Writing Lab's website at http://www.holyapostles.edu/owl/resources).

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously. Students participating in academic dishonesty may be removed from the course and from the program.

10. ATTENDANCE POLICY

Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required, per the federal standards, to be in class three 50-minute sessions (or 2.5 hours a week) and prepare for class discussions six 50-minute sessions (or 5 hours) a week. Expect to devote at least nine 50-minute sessions (or 7.5 quality hours) a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.

11. INCOMPLETE POLICY

An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.

To request an incomplete, distance-learning students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. "Approval" should be understood as the professor responding to the student's email in favor of granting the "Incomplete" status of the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of "F" if the course work is not completed.

Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course assignments should withdraw from the course.

A "W (Withdrawal) will appear on the student's permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A "WF" (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student's permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.


12. ABOUT YOUR PROFESSOR

Your professor, Fr. Peter, is most eager to open your minds in seeing how science is a way of understanding God and his designs for the universe.  I hope my enthusiasm will lift your spirits up and, with the grace of God, we will mutually grow in wisdom and knowledge of our creator and his creation.

EDUCATION:

2012 January STD in Systematic Theology from Catholic University of America.

2008 May 16th STL in Systematic Theology from Dominican House of Studies Washington, DC

2002 May 10th, MA Magnum Cum Laude from Holy Apostles College and Seminary

2001 May 11th, 2001, MDiv Magnum Cum Laude from Holy Apostles College and Seminary

1996 May 26th, 1996 BA in Political Science Cum Laude from Middlebury College, Vermont

POSITIONS HELD:

January 2014 to present Interim Academic Dean at Holy Apostles College and Seminary.

August 1st 2013 to present Instructor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary.  Duties: Teacher of Church History and Western Civilization courses.  External formation advisor to seminarians.

January 2012 – to August 1st 2013 Diocese of Norwich St. Joseph’s Church, 48 Middlesex Ave., 06412 phone: Phone: (860) 526- 5495 Fax: (860) 526-7880. Duties: Temporary Administrator.

July 2011 – January 2012 Resident Priest at the Immaculate Conception Basilica in Waterbury CT. Archdiocese of Hartford Basilica of the Immaculate Conception 74 West Main Street Waterbury CT, 06702 phone: 203-574-0017 Fax: 203-756-8748.  Duties:  Filling in for vacations and completing my dissertation.

14- July - 2010 – Archdiocese for the Military Services PO Box 4469, Washington DC, 20017-0469 (202) 719-3600  fax (202)-269-9022  Duties: Weekday contract work at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

14-Apr-07 - Archdiocese of Washington St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, 805 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910 Phone: (301) 589-1155 Fax: (301) 589-3470 400 -
Duties:  Weekend ministries

June – 07 – (unsure of precise dates) St. Francis of Assisi Church, 8300 Old Columbia Road Fulton MD 20759 Phone: (410) 792-0470 Fax: (410) 792-0472.  Duties:  Weekend ministries but only for a few months, until he no longer had a need for me.

28-Feb-07 - Archdiocese of Washington Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception  400 Michigan Avenue, Northeast Washington, D.C. 20017  202-526-8300 fax 202-526-8313Michigan Avenue, Northeast Washington, D.C. 20017  202-526-8300 fax 202-526-8313 – Duties: primarily confessions and an occasional mass.

Uncertain of Exact Dates - Diocese of Norwich at St. Joseph’s Church 48 Middlesex Ave., Chester, CT 06412, phone: (860) 526-5495 Fax: (860) 526-7880.  Duties:  Temporary Administrator for Fr. Bob Murphy, MSA while he was recovering from an illness.

11-Dec-03 - 1-Jul-06 Archdiocese of Hartford Basilica of the Immaculate Conception 74 West Main Street Waterbury CT, 06702 phone: 203-574-0017 Fax: 203-756-8748 – Duties: Associate.

(860) 632-3010