Teach the Earth > Paleontology > Course Descriptions > Evolution and Creationism

Evolution and Creationism

Dr. Katherine Bulinski

Bellarmine University
a
Private four-year institution, primarily undergraduate
.

Summary

Creation stories are a central tenant to many of the world's religious traditions and help us to understand our place in the universe. At the same time, scientific evidence demonstrates how earth and the creatures living on it have evolved though the gradual processes of natural selection and genetic drift, punctuated with catastrophic mass extinctions and large-scale diversifications. This course serves to explore both worldviews framed in either faith or science, and how these two paradigms can coexist, if at all. Students complete readings on both topics and come to class ready to discuss and debate these ideas in a seminar-style setting. Students compose several opinion papers and one formal research paper. The course also includes one mandatory all-day field trip on a Saturday where the class will view the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and Science and the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY.

Course URL:
Subject: Geoscience:Paleontology
Resource Type: Course Information
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Paleontology
Course Size:

less than 15

Course Context:

This is a Freshman Seminar for non-majors which satisfies a freshman interdisciplinary course requirement. The class is designed to engage students, at the very start of their university careers, in serious academic inquiry with an interdisciplinary focus. Within the content framework of investigating a significant topic or issue, the primary focus of Freshman Seminar courses is to help students begin to achieve a set of skills/abilities required for success at the university level and beyond. Students are required to practice both critical and creative approaches to the individual seminar topic and to develop essential university-level abilities in oral and written communication.

Course Goals:

  • Students should be able to analyze multiple sides of argument or issues related to the evolution/creationism debate
  • Students should be able to analyze arguments for creationism (Young Earth, Old Earth and Intelligent Design) in the context of the scientific method and discern what is and is not science
  • Students should be able to analyze arguments for creationism (Young Earth, Old Earth and Intelligent Design) and discern what is and is not religion
  • Students should be able to analyze and interpret scientific evidence for macro and microevolution.
  • Students should be able to analyze and interpret scientific evidence for a 4.5 billion-year-old earth.


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Students are required to participate in class discussions twice a week which involves the discussion of many facets of the Evolution vs. Creationism debate. Students receive grades based on their regular participation in classroom discussions, the submission of several critical papers, one term paper, and a formal presentation.

Students must develop a deep understanding of the nature of science and the conflict between creationism and evolution to be able to effectively write, discuss and speak about the topic.

Skills Goals

  • Students should be able to separate emotional responses from rational/critical responses
  • Students should be able to formulate and support a thesis through formal writing.
  • Students should be able to interpret, analyze and communicate the content of assigned readings to their instructor and peers
  • Students should develop and improve their ability to ask substantive questions both in writing and class discussions.
  • Students should be able to develop and improve public speaking skills using digital presentation software such as PowerPoint
  • Students should be able to evaluate the credibility and accuracy of bibliographic sources for use in their research assignments
  • Students should be able to objectively evaluate and defend a viewpoint different than their own
  • Students should be able to generate a range of possible solutions for resolution between conflicting viewpoints


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Standardized participation and writing rubrics are used to score the critical thinking and writing skills of students in Freshmen Seminar courses such as this one. Students receive grades based on how well they meet the writing and participation goals of the class.

Attitudinal Goals

  • Students should be able to synthesize possible resolutions for societal problems caused by the perceived conflict of science and religion


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

This goal is evaluated through participation rubrics, as this skill is largely demonstrated through class discussion.

Assessment

Students are graded based on discussion participation, writing assignments, and on occasion quizzes related to key vocabulary or essential key concepts related to religion or science.

Syllabus:

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