Please Note: This is the Spring 2010 Science Core Syllabus. The 2011 Syllabus will be available at the end of the Fall semester.
HNRC 202: Science Core, Spring 2010
For any man to abdicate an interest in science is to walk with eyes open towards slavery. –Jacob Bronowski
Common Syllabus - Professors Allard, Hinrichsen, Newell, Pavloski, and Zimny
This syllabus augments the HNRC 101 and 102 syllabi you received earlier; please consult them for a full discussion of such things as thesis statements, peer editing, etc. You will also receive unit-specific syllabi listing discipline-specific readings, assignments, etc.
HNRC 202 is concerned with science as a way of knowing about the world. It focuses on what scientists have learned about what it means to be human, how humans have been shaped by and, in turn, have influenced their environment, and what use we might make of this knowledge. These themes are explored from disciplines in the natural and social sciences: anthropology, biology, and psychology.
Specific Course Objectives
Science Core shares the same general objectives, as do the other courses in the Honors College Core: the development of higher-order thinking skills, an emphasis on active learning in an interdisciplinary community, and the development of effective written and oral communication skills. The following specific objectives are provided to give you a clearer understanding of what this course will be about and what we hope to accomplish.
- Develop an understanding of the underlying assumptions/foundational beliefs of science.
- Develop an understanding of the scientific approach to human knowledge including: the ability to formulate an argument based on objective data and evidence rather than opinion; an awareness of the common biases in human thinking; an understanding of the difference between science and pseudoscience; an understanding of the nature of theory and scientific "truth"; an understanding of the limits of scientific knowledge; and an awareness of the differences between scientific and humanistic beliefs and values.
- Develop an understanding of the ethical and values issues involved in, and raised by, scientific research.
- Develop an understanding of the role of science in modern society.
Performance Objectives - Reading, writing, and attitudinal
- Develop a familiarity with the basic format of the scientific paper and the ability to critically read and evaluate scientific literature.
- Develop the ability to formulate and state testable hypotheses and the evidence which supports or refutes them.
- Develop the ability to write in an analytic style.
- Develop the ability to be critical consumers of publicly available scientific information.
- Continue to develop and enhance critical thinking and reasoning skills from HNRC 101 and HNRC 102 [e.g., those skills presented in Asking the right questions: A guide to Critical thinking (6e).]
- Develop an appreciation for the utility and value of scientific inquiry.
Common Content Objectives
- Gain an understanding of some of the ideas of modern science which can be used to explain human nature and the interactions of humans with both the physical and social environment.
- Gain an understanding of the place of humans in the natural world and the evolutionary forces which shaped all contemporary species, including an understanding of the modern theory of evolution, especially as it applies to human evolution, and a familiarity with the concept of co-evolution and of the dynamic nature of the interactions of human beings and the living world.
- Gain an understanding of the interaction of nature and nurture in the living world, especially as it applies to human beings, and of the concept of the heritability of human behavior.
- Gain an understanding of the ways in which humans are similar to/different from one another and other animals.
- Gain an understanding of the wide range of areas modern science is exploring including, but also extending beyond, those that directly relate to human nature, evolution, and ecology.
Class Participation and Attendance Policy
One of the hallmarks of the scientific endeavor is that the ideas proposed by its individual practitioners are publicly shared and thus tested and refined within the crucible of a larger community of scientists. Science Core will model this kind of community. Therefore, the success of this course depends on your active involvement and participation. You are expected, by your peers and by your professors, to be in class promptly and fully prepared each day. Our concern is not merely for what you miss by absence, apathy, or unpreparedness, but also for what the rest of the community misses as a consequence. As a community of learners, our minds are expanded by contact with others' thoughts. When you are absent (or passively silent), the entire community suffers; and we are all the poorer for having been deprived of your knowledge, wit, and wisdom.
Because all honors core faculty take seriously the importance of your committed involvement, we have set a policy that more than one unexcused absence per unit will result in an F grade for that unit. An excused absence is a verifiable illness, emergency, or participation in an official university activity as defined in the IUP Handbook; authority to grant excused absences resides with your professor. Two incidents of tardiness count as one absence.
Evaluation and Grading
Each of the two units will constitute 50 percent of your course grade. More specific details will be provided by your unit professors. Please note that all assignments (papers, journals, etc.) are due at the beginning of class on the date specified for their submission. Anything submitted after that time is late, and late assignments will receive fewer points.
Scale: A = 90-100%; B = 80-89%; C = 70-79%; D = 60-69%; F = 0-59%
Science Core Unit Professors:
Dr. Francis Allard (Francis.Allard@iup.edu), G1 McElhaney Hall, Anthropology
Dr. Bob Hinrichsen, (firstname.lastname@example.org), 123 Weyandt Hall, Biology
Dr. Sandra Newell (email@example.com), 19 Weyandt Hall, Biology
Dr. Raymond Pavloski (Raymond.Pavloski@iup.edu) 101 Uhler Hall, Psychology
Dr. Susan Zimny (Susan.Zimny@iup.edu) 303 Uhler, Psychology
Additional contact information including office hours will be provided on unit syllabi.
Common Semester Schedule
Jan. 18 – Introduction to Unit I: Back From Chaos, E. O. Wilson
Jan. 20–Mar 4 Unit I: Why Does Science Matter?
Mar. 4, 2:15 p.m. – Deadline to submit electronic copy of consensus papers
Mar. 7-13 – Spring Break
Mar. 15 – Consensus Day for Unit I
Mar. 17 – Introduction to Unit II:
- Human Universals, Chapter 6 The Universal People, D. E. Brown
- The Blank Slate, Chapter 3 The Last Wall to Fall, S. Pinker
Mar. 18-Apr. 29 – Unit II: What Does It Mean To Be Human?
May 5 (Thursday) – Final Exam Period, 10:15-12:15 Consensus Day for Unit II