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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2006

T C 357 • Intelligent Design and Evolution: Religion and Science

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
44500 W
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
CRD 007B

Course Description

Intelligent Design is the thesis that natural mechanisms do not sufficiently account for the origin and diversification of life; the action of a separate, intelligent agent is required. Darwinian evolution, in contrast, draws evidence from several lines of inquiry (paleontology, genetics, geographic distribution, embryology, etc.) to explain the genesis and success of millions of living forms. In this course we will examine the historical origins and religious context of both Darwinian evolution and the Intelligent Design movement. The philosophical bases of religious belief, naturalism, and scientific inquiry will be discussed. Some emphasis will be placed on a critique of the arguments and evidence for evolution. We will also assess the impact of evolutionary thought with respect to ethical and social issues such as social Darwinism, sociobiology, and the politics of church and state. The goal is that the course will be an equitable mixture of philosophy and biology.

About the Professor David Cannatella is an Associate Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas in Austin. His undergraduate degree was in zoology, with significant coursework in philosophy and theology. His master's and doctoral degrees in systematics and evolutionary biology were from the University of Kansas. He was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Cannatella's research activities focus on the evolution of amphibians, using data from DNA sequences, morphology, behavior, and the fossil record. He is also the Curator of Herpetology in the Texas Memorial Museum. As a boy, he kept amphibians and reptiles as pets, and was able to extend this fascination into gainful employment. His hobbies include plumbing and re-wiring his house, and database programming.

Grading Policy

Oral presentation: 20% Two short essays (5-6 pages each): 10% each Final research paper (12-15 pages): 40% Class participation: 20% Nota Bene: BIO 301E (Plan II Biology), 213, 301M, or 304 is strongly recommended as a prerequisite.


(The short list; this will be further narrowed to 4-5 selections:) M. J. Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution C. Darwin, On the Origin of Species R. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker W. A. Dembski, and M. Ruse (eds.), selected papers from Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA S. J. Gould, Selected essays from the magazine Natural History M. C. Rea, World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism M. Ruse, Can a Darwinian be a Christian? The Relationship Between Science and Religion Jonathan Wells, selected chapters of Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What We Teach About Evolution is Wrong


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