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Lorraine and Tom Pangle, Co-Directors BAT 2.116, C4100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-6648

David Prindle

Professor Ph.D., MIT

Professor of Government
David Prindle

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Biography

Professor Prindle has published research in the areas of voting and parties, energy policy, the presidency, and the politics of the entertainment media. His first book, Petroleum Politics and the Texas Railroad Commission (1981) won the V.O. Key, Jr. Award, given by the Southern Political Science Association to the best book on Southern politics. He has also written The Politics of Glamour: Ideology and Democracy in the Screen Actors Guild (1988), and Risky Business: The Political Economy of Hollywood (1993).

In 1982 he received the Allen Shivers Award as the best teacher in the Department of Government, and in 1994 the Harry Ransom Award for Teaching Excellence as the best teacher in the College of Liberal Arts. Prof. Prindle won the the Eyes of Texas Teaching Award in 1998.

In 2009 Prometheus Books published his latest book, Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution. In 2006 Johns Hopkins published his book, The Paradox of Democratic Capitalism.

CTI 372 • Darwin & Politics Of Evolution

34590 • Spring 2014
Meets MW 430pm-600pm CLA 0.102
(also listed as GOV 353D )
show description

Purpose of the Course

 

            Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, generally shortened to The Origin of Species, is one of the two or three most influential science books ever published.  But unlike the case with other science books, The Origin, published in 1859, is also of profound political importance.  Part of this political importance—the implications of Darwin's theory for religious explanations of the diversity of life—is well understood by all socially aware citizens.  But there is much less awareness of the political implications of controversies within the science of evolutionary biology founded by Darwin.

     In this class I will explicate and explore both the "outside" and "inside" political implications of the science launched by the Origin, and ask the students to evaluate them.

 

Assigned Reading

 

1)  Charles Darwin,  The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, first edition,

      (Barnes and Noble Classics, 2004) [first published 1859]

2)  Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution is True  (Viking, 2009)

3)  Phillip Johnson, Darwin on Trial, second edition, (InterVarsity Press, 1993)

4)  David Prindle, Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution  (Prometheus Books,

      2009)

5)  A package of readings, available online.

 

Grading Criteria

 

        There are three assignments due in this class. I may make some minor adjustments in a few of the final grades to reflect excellent class participation, but in general, each of the three assignments counts one-third of the final grade.

        For your three assignments, you may choose to write two essays and take one test, or take two tests and write one essay.  It is up to you to decide how you mix the tests and essays, and in what order you choose to do them.  You may not, however, "load up" by turning in an essay at the same time that you take a test, thus getting two‑thirds of the assignments out of the way on the same day.

            At the end of the semester, an average of 92.3 or higher will earn an "A,", 90 to 92 will earn an “A-,” 88 to 89.7 will earn a “B+,” 82.3 to 87.7 will earn a "B," 80 to 82 will earn a "B-," 78 to 79.7 will earn a "C+," 62.3 to 77.7 will earn a "C," 60 to 62 will earn a "C-," and 50 to 59.7 will earn a "D."  People who have missed one or more of the three assignments, or who average below 50, will receive an “F.” 

           

 

 

Prerequisites

 

            Student are able to enroll in this class through two channels.  First, Government majors who are eligible for upper-division standing may enroll through the usual departmental processes.  Second, students who are participating in the Thomas Jefferson Center’s “great books” program (officially, CTI in the catalogue), may enroll in the class through that program.

CTI 372 • Darwin & Politics Of Evolution

34138 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAI 3.02
(also listed as GOV 353D )
show description

See Syllabus

CTI 370 • The Politics Of Evolution

34010 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm WCH 1.120
(also listed as GOV 335M )
show description

Course Description

    Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection is one of the two or three most influential science books ever published.  But unlike the case with many other science books, the Origin, published in 1859, is also of profound political importance.  Part of this political importance—the implications of Darwin’s theory for religious explanations of the diversity of life—is well understood by all socially aware citizens.  But there is much less awareness of the political implications of controversies within the science of evolutionary biology founded by Darwin.

   In this class, we explicate and explore both the “outside” and “inside” political implications of the science launched by the Origin, and ask the students to evaluate them.

Prerequisites

    Upper-division standing in Government, or enrollment in the Thomas Jefferson Center’s “great books” program.

Grading Policy

    There are three assignments in this class.  Each will be counted equally; that is, each will count one third toward the final grade.  At the end of the semester, the three numerical scores will be averaged, and final grades will be assigned on the basis of the conventional scale: 92.3 and above will receive an AA@ in the course, 90 to 92 will receive an "A minus," 88 to 89.7 will receive a "B plus," 82.3 to 87.7 will receive a AB,@ 80 to 82 will receive a "B minus," 78 to 79.7 will receive a "C plus," 72.3 to 77.7 will receive a AC,@ 70 to 72 will receive a "C minus," 68 to 69.7 will receive a "D plus," 62.3 to 67.7 will receive a AD, 60 to 62 will receive a "D-minus, and below 60 will receive an AF.@  Anyone missing a grade (that is, anyone failing to take a test or turn in an essay) will also receive an AF.@  I may make some small adjustments in these averages to reflect the quality of contribution to class discussion.

For your three assignments, you may choose to write two essays and take one test, or take two tests and write one essay.  It is up to you to decide how you mix the tests and essays, and in what order you choose to do them.  You may not, however, "load up" by turning in an essay at the same time that you take a test, thus getting two thirds of the assignments out of the way on the same day.

Assigned Reading

1)  Charles Darwin,  The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, first edition,      (Barnes and Noble Classics, 2004) [first published 1859]

2)  Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution is True  (Viking, 2009)

3)  Phillip Johnson, Darwin on Trial, second edition, (InterVarsity Press, 1993)

4)  David Prindle, Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution  (Prometheus Books,      2009)

5)  A package of readings, available at the House of Tutors, at the corner of 24th and     Pearl Streets west of campus.

CTI 370 • The Politics Of Evolution

34205 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm MEZ 1.306
(also listed as GOV 335M )
show description

Purpose

 

            Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, generally shortened to The Origin of Species, is one of the two or three most influential science books ever published.  But unlike the case with other science books, The Origin, published in 1859, is also of profound political importance.  Part of this political importance—the implications of Darwin's theory for religious explanations of the diversity of life—is well understood by all socially aware citizens.  But there is much less awareness of the political implications of controversies within the science of evolutionary biology founded by Darwin.

     In this class I will explicate and explore both the "outside" and "inside" political implications of the science launched by the Origin, and ask the students to evaluate them.

 

Class Content

 

   I.  The original theory and its context

 

       A.  Historical and scientific context of the Origin

             Reading:  1.  Chapter One of the Book of Genesis

                              2.  Extracts from William Paley's Natural Theology

                              3.  Extracts from Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology

                              4.  Stephen Jay Gould, "The Freezing of Noah"

 

       B.  The theory

             Reading:  On the Origin of Species, first edition

 

       C.  Reception of the theory in the nineteenth century

             Reading:  1.  Gould, "False Premise, Good Science"

                              2.  Gould "Fleeming Jenkin Revisited"

                              3.  Gould, "Not Necessarily a Wing"

                              4.  Gould, "Natural Selection and the Human Brain: Darwin vs.

                                     Wallace"

 

 II.  Controversies within evolutionary biology, 1972-2009, and their philosophical and

       political implications

 

       A.  What evolves?

              Reading:  1.  Richard Dawkins, selections from The Selfish Gene

                               2.  Gould, "Caring Groups and Selfish Genes"

 

       B.  What are the historical contours of evolution?

             Reading:  1.  Niles Eldredge and Gould, "Phyletic Gradualism"

                              2.  Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Chapter 10

                              3.  Richard Dawkins, The Extended Phenotype, Chapter 6

                              4.  Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, Chapter 9

                              5.  Niles Eldredge, selections from Time Frames: The Evolution of

                                   Punctuated Equilibria

                              6.  David Prindle, Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution

                                   Chapter 3

 

      C.  Can Homo sapiens be studied using the same concepts and methods that are

            applied to animals?

            Reading:  1.  E. O. Wilson, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Chapters 1, 2, and

                                    27

                             2.  Philip Kitcher, selections from Vaulting Ambition

                             3.  Gould, "Our Natural Place"

                             4.  Prindle, Stephen Jay Gould, Chapter 4

                             5.  John Alcock, selections from The Triumph of Sociobiology

                             6.  Steven Pinker, selections from The Blank Slate

 

     D.  Is the human species an accident or inevitable?

           Reading:  1.  Gould, selections from Wonderful Life

                            2.  Prindle, Stephen Jay Gould, Chapter 3

                            3.  Simon Conway Morris, selections from Life's Solution

                            4.  Simon Conway Morris, selections from The Crucible of Creation

                            5.  Richard Dawkins, "Hallucigenia, Wiwaxia and Friends"

 

III.  Darwinism vs. Creationism in modern society

 

        A.  The intellectual attack on Darwinism, and the defense

               Reading:  1.  Michael Behe, selections from Darwin's Black Box

                               2.   Phillip Johnson, selections from Darwin On Trial

                               3.   William Dembski, selections from Intelligent Design: The Bridge

                                       Between Science and Theology

                               4.  Selections from Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics,

                                       edited by Robert Pennock

                               5.  Michael Shermer, selections from Why Darwin Matters

                               6.  Gould, "Evolution as Fact and Theory"

                               7.  Gould, "Hooking Leviathan by Its Past"

                               8.  Prindle, Stephen Jay Gould, Chapter 6

                               9.  Selections from Jerry Coyne, Why Evolution is True

 

       B.  Court cases

 

             1.  Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971 (U. S. Supreme Court decision)

                      Reading:  Read the decision

 

             2.  McLean v. Arkansas, 1982 (Federal court decision)

                  Reading:  Selections from Creationism On Trial: Evolution and God at Little

                                      Rock, edited by Langdon Gilkey

 

             3.  Tammy Kitzmiller et al v. Dover Area School District et al, 2005 (Federal

                   court decision)

                    Reading:  Read the decision

 

Assignments

 

            There are three assignments in this class.  Three times during the semester students will have a choice of taking a test or writing an essay.  The tests will consist of twenty-five multiple-choice questions and ten short-answer questions.  The essay topics will ask the students to compare, contrast, and evaluate opposing positions on various topics within the politics of evolution.  Over the course of the semester students may choose to write two essay and take one test, or take two tests and write one essay, but they may not choose three tests or three essays.

 

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