Goals of the Course:
The teaching of evolution in the public schools is one of the key issues in a nation that is highly polarized between liberal and conservative worldviews. In trying to advance the teaching of Intelligent Design, ID proponents have even challenged our basic definition of science and its role in society, and have attempted to blur the distinction between science and religion. The goal of this course is to help students to understand the issues, claims, and counter-claims in the Evolution/Creationism/Intelligent Design controversy. This will be accomplished by introducing students to the historical, religious, and philosophical backgrounds against which Darwin proposed his theory of evolution, By learning how the theory impacted accepted norms of science and society, students will be better able to appreciate the origins of the current controversy. By tracing the controversy through key 20th and 21st century court cases, the students will understand how science and religion interact with each other, and how that interaction is played out against the backdrop of the first amendment separation of church and state.
A lecture/discussion course that explores the current controversy over the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Topics covered include pre-Darwinian views of natural history, Natural Theology and the argument from design, pre-Darwinian views of evolution, On The Origin of Species, and the public and scientific reception of natural selection. The major 20th and 21st century court cases, beginning with Scopes, and the Creationist responses, will be presented. The social and philosophical implications of evolution will be a major underlying theme. Credit 4 (W)
(Intro Biology 1001-251. -252. -253, General Biology 1001-201, -202, -203, Human Biology 1004-211, -212, -259, or equivalent.