Evolutionary Thought

Course description (Biology 300): During the past two centuries, ideas about evolution have provided powerful explanations for the history and diversity of life. This discussion course shall explore the history of evolutionary ideas in the context of the political and social milieu of their development. Drawing upon primary sources, we shall consider contributions from Darwin, Lamarck, and other 19th century scientists, as well as such 20th century biologists as Mayr, Gould, and Dawkins. Among the issues to be considered are naturalistic explanations for apparent “design” in the world, controversial application of “Darwinian” ideas in sociopolitical realms, and the relationship of secular approaches and values to the growth of biological thought.
Prerequisites: Biology 182 and 183, or permission of the instructor.

Staff: Dr. Daniel Blackburn. 247 Life Sciences Center, Dept of Biology

Course readings:(when taught previously): 

Bowler, Peter (2003).  Evolution: The History of an Idea, 3rd ed.    U California Press.

Appleman, Philip (2001).  Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition, 3rd ed.  WW Norton. 

Jones, Steve (2000).  Darwin’s Ghost.  Ballantine Bks.         

Zimmer, Carl (2001). Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea. Harper Collins.

Various supplemental readings from the primary and secondary literature