PART 3: The Darwinian Revolution:

(Tentative Schedule)


Major questions for this section: What were the adequacies and inadequacies of pre-evolutionary understandings of life? What were the adequacies and inadequacies of Darwin's new paradigm? How have philosophical, social and religious views shaped the debate regarding evolution? What have been the theological responses to evolutionary biology? How has the evolutionary paradigm shifted since Darwin?


Mon. 3/16 Darwin's Context: Society & Biology in the Early 19th Century

  1. Readings: Bowler ch. 4; Barbour ch. 3
  2. Discussion: Is evolution more challenging to religious belief than the explanations of nature given by astronomy, geology, physics, and chemistry?
  3. Topics:
    1. Political, social, economic and religious setting of 19th century England
    2. Natural theology and conservative thought
    3. Post-enlightenment and liberal thought
    4. Evolution and radical thought
    5. The "dangerous idea" - materialist ideas and the philosophical and religious repercussions

Wed. 3/18 Darwin and the development of evolutionary theories

  1. Readings: Bowler ch. 5
  2. Discussion: Why did Darwin wait so long to publish his ideas on evolution?
  3. Topics:
    1. Darwin's background & academic training
    2. Voyage of the Beagle
    3. Darwin: 1837-1858
    4. The development of Darwin's theory
    5. Darwin: 1858-1888

Fri. 3/20 Responses to Darwinism

  1. Readings:  Bowler ch. 6
  2. Discussion:  How do the various responses to Darwinism fit Barbour's categories of science/religion interaction?
  3. Topics:
    1. The range of scientific responses to Darwin: Owen; Huxley; Lyell; Haekel; Hooker; Gray; Agassiz; Wallace
    2. The range of cultural responses to Darwin.
    3. The range or religious responses to Darwin: orthodox, neo-orthodox, liberal, fundamentalism

Mon. 3/23 Philosophical analysis of Darwin's Origin of Species

  1. Readings: Darwin Origin of Species chapter 14 - recapitulation and conclusion
  2. Discussion:  How do Darwin’s arguments fit various philosophies of science?
  3. Topics:
    1. The multiple theories of Darwin's paradigm
    2. Variation in nature
    3. Arguments from animal behavior
    4. Arguments from the geological record
    5. Arguments from biogeography
    6. Arguments from taxonomy - homology & analogy, embryology, & rudimentary organs
    7. Philosophical analysis
    8. Synopsis of artificial & natural selection


Wed. 3/25 The "Eclipse" of Darwinism

  1. Readings: Bowler chs. 7 - 8
  2. Discussion: Do evolutionary ideas lead to social and moral problems?
  3. Topics
    1. Darwinism after Darwin
    2. Neo-Lamarckian evolution
    3. Orthogenesis
    4. The rise of genetics and mutationism
    5. Social uses of evolutionary ideas
    6. The range of religious responses to evolution: Anglican; free church; Catholic; liberal schools; American responses

 Fri. 3/27 The Modern Synthesis & the "Resurrection" of Darwinism

  1. Readings: Bowler ch. 9
  2. Discussion: Why has the theory of natural selection been so controversial?
  3. Topics
    1. Population genetics
    2. The modern synthesis and the resurrection of natural selection
    3. "Hardening" of the synthesis

Mon. 3/30 Recent evolutionay theoretical developments

  1. Readings: Bowler ch. 10
  2. Discussion: How have theories of evolution changed over time?
  3. Topics
    1. Molecular genetics and the theory of genetic neutrality
    2. Punctuated equilibrium theory
    3. Genomics and the revolution in taxonomy
    4. "Evo-devo"
    5. Origin of life
    6. Human evolution
    7. Sociobiology and ultra-darwinism

Wed. 4/1 Christian Responses to Evolution

  1. Readings: Bowler Ch. 10
  2. Discussion: How do Christain responses to evolutionary ideas reflect Barbour's models of science-faith interaction?
  3. Topics:
    1. Social Darwinism and eugenics
    2. The development of fundamentalism
    3.  Neo-orthodox responses to evolution
    4.  Process thought
    5.  Young-earth creationism
    6. Old-earth creationism
    7. Evolutionary Creationism
    8. Intelligent Design
    9. The new atheism

Fri. 4/3 Exam #3