College Of Arts and Sciences | Evolution, Intellectual Maps, and Real Life
S105 | 4014 | Nelson, C.


A weird little course. Students will acquire three "intellectual
maps" to aid in charting their journey through college and beyond.

Map 1: Before they arrive at IU students will develop answers to twin
questions: How is what one learns in college supposed to contribute
to a higher income? and What else should happen as the result of a
college education?

Map 2: Evolutionary science as a model of critical thinking. Here we
will focus on biological evolution, with side trips on the origins of
the universe, sex, and life--a lot of fun biology and related science
at a non-major's freshman level. The fundamental question is: Why do
scientists think that evolution is such a great scientific theory? As
we understand this, we will better understand critical thinking in
general.

Map 3: The current intellectual spectrum. The most contentious and
exciting intellectual issues today are challenges to frameworks
assuming that core human knowledge is mostly certain (Euclidian
geometry, for example). These challenges suggest that all important
knowledge is potentially so revisable as to eventually become
seriously outmoded, and, worse, that all interpretations flow at
least in part from implicit or explicit value frameworks. This is
quite a contrast to viewing knowledge (science, especially) as
eternal, value-free, truth. Readings from Reality Isn't What It Used
To Be will help us understand these ideas and their significance for
professional careers and private lives.

Each map will be of considerable help in future courses throughout
your college career. Other gains will include many fun ideas about
biology and society, enhanced critical reading and thinking skills,
stronger collaborative learning skills, and an introduction to
writing and computer skills. Finally, you will make many friendships
and a lasting acquaintance with a feisty curmudgeon. Excursions will
include trips to dig fossils, watch pollinators, and explore a zoo.