HSCI
3242/5242
Instructor: 
Mark Borrello
Time: 
11:15-12:30 T/TH
Location: 
Ford Hall 110
LE Requirements: 
Historical Perspectives
Description:
Charles Darwin's theory of evolution has generated controversy and comment since the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859. It has been berated by clerics, embraced by capitalists and communists simultaneously and consistently debated by scientists themselves for the past century and a half. What is it about this idea that makes it so compelling? Why is it that so many people have so many opinions about the theory of evolution? In this course we will look at the history of the theory of evolution and attempt to make sense of these questions. Through a careful historical and philosophical analysis we will gain a deeper understanding of an idea that has become increasingly common yet remains persistently contentious. Our examination of evolutionary theory will be focused initially on Darwin and his work in the Victorian context. We then will look at the controversies over the teaching of evolution in the United States in the twentieth century, from the Scopes Monkey Trial to the current debates. Finally, we will look at the application of evolutionary theory to human behavior. The effort to understand human behavior in evolutionary terms arguably began with Darwin himself, however, the contemporary debate was initiated in the mid-1970's by Harvard entomologist Edward O. Wilson. In the final section of the course we will look at Wilson's program called sociobiology and continue our analysis into the present and an examination of the field of evolutionary psychology.