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The Evergreen State College

Last Updated: 05/04/2008

Discovering Darwin

Knowing Nature

2007 - 08


Week 1
First Class: Thursday, April 3, 10:00 am in Lab I 2033.

We will read Desmond and Moore's biography of Darwin in the first three weeks of the quarter, and we will also get started on Darwin's own wrting (as found in the Norton Critical Edition of Darwin). Please get started on these right away. Follow the link below for information on something we'll be doing in practicum.

By Friday, April 4, read pp. 1-148 in Darwin biography. Bring Appleman anthology to class.

Week 2
Thursday, April 10, 10:00 am in Lab I 1040. Bring insect specimens.

By April 10 read pp. 149-299 in Darwin biography. (Something from anthology to be added)

Week 3
Thurday, April 17, 10:00 am in Lab I 1040. Identification of carabid beetles.

By April 17 read pp. 301-481 in Darwin biography

Week 4

Group B essay #1, due 9 am April 21

By April 22 (April 24) read Darwin, Origin of Species, pp. 147-175 in the Norton Critical Edition; also Desmond and Moore, pp. 391--481.

Added (April 17): also read pp. 255-300 in the Norton Critical Edition.

Week 5

Group A and Group B second rewrites, due 9 am April 28

By April 29 (May 1) read Darwin, The Descent of Man, pp. 175-254 in the Norton Critical Edition; also read the essays on pp. 301-344.

Bring lab notebooks and field journals to lab on Thursday morning. I will return them on Friday.

Week 6

Our reading will be The Beak of the Finch by Weiner. Read all of it if possible. We will continue our discussion, however, in week 7.

In Lab we will compile our data on the beetles we've collected: bring details of where, when, and the ID if you've figured that out. Use Google Earth, or a GPS device, to identify your trap locations.

Spend time "visiting Nature," which most of you seem not to have begun. Also write up a list of what you found in your inventory of a 3x4 site.

Week 7

Continue with The Beak of the Finch by Weiner. Read Desmond and Moore pp. 485-586

Practicum link

Charles Pailthorp
Discovering Darwin

No thinker has had greater impact than Darwin on how we understand Nature and Human Nature. Darwin’s empirical and theoretical work sets out fundamental challenges and opportunities to reconsider who we are and where we fit into the natural order, no less so today than in 1859, when he published On the Origin of Species. Darwin’s impact in the field of biology is only where all this begins. Far beyond biology, Darwin’s work has led to major shifts in seemingly every field of inquiry, from the psychological and social sciences to philosophy, theology and the arts. It would be difficult to overestimate the impact of Darwin’s work on Western thought and culture.

In this satellite we will read selections from Darwin’s works. He is an engaging and clear writer. We will study what he did and how he went about his work. We will read essays that both oppose and support Darwin’s methods and conclusions. In addition, we will read other works that have sought to extend or curtail Darwin’s influence beyond biology. We will try to understand why, of all the great and revolutionary thinkers of the last 200 years, Darwin should have remained the most controversial and, to many, the most dangerous.

Our reading will include not only Darwin's writings and essays about his work, we also will read a wonderful biography of Darwin and a prize winning modern work in the biology of evolution.

We will spend time in the field, gaining a sense of what Darwin mastered as a naturalist. Students will help plan the details of our studies and our work in practicum.

Texts to purchase: (see books page for required editions)

Philip Appleman. Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition

Jonathan Weiner. The Beak of the Finch

Adrian Desmond and James Moore. Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist