The following course is listed as an official summer session offering (June 18 to July 27) at Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois):
PHILOSOPHY 220, Sec. 26 Science and Human Culture -- Controversies of Evolution: Intelligent Design, Sociobiology, and the Philosophy of Science
Proponents of Intelligent Design theory argue that some complexity found in nature is best explained by an intelligent designer rather than by purely naturalistic processes. Opponents assert that such claims are pseudo-scientific nonsense. Both sides argue that the other is not being truly "scientific."
Sociobiology is the study of the biological and evolutionary basis of animal behavior. Applying this practice to human beings, evolutionary psychologists attempt to explain human behavior, often under the assumption that this behavior is biologically (and even genetically) determined. In some cases, such explanations are rebutted as overly reductionistic.
At the core of both of these issues are some central questions in the philosophy of science. What does it mean for an activity to count as "science"? Must science be naturalistic, or can one make use of supernatural causes in science? Are scientific explanations always to be preferred to other types of explanation when they are in competition with each other?
Attention will be paid to these questions with reference to the historical relationship between religion and science. Readings from Michael Behe, Richard Dawkins, William Dembski, Daniel Dennett, Phillip Johnson, Robert Pennock, etc.
File Date: 5.24.01