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COURSE NUMBER: BIOL 480
COURSE TITLE: History and Theory of Biology
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Heather Prior
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 1.5 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The history of biology from early times to the present. Ideas influencing the study of biological phenomena will be discussed. Some of the theories we will study still hold sway today; others have been replaced by more current ones. The effects of biological developments upon human ideas and culture and the converse will be studied.

This course does not meet the natural science (with lab) breadth requirement.

Prerequisites: At least 9 credits in biology at the 300-level
REQUIRED TEXTS:
  • Lois N. Magner, A History of the Life Sciences, Marcel Dekker, Inc., Third Edition, 2002.
  • Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Quizzes 10%
Midterm15%
Other Assignments 15%
Research Project25%
Participation5%
Final Examination 30%
100%
COURSE OBJECTIVES:
  • How did biological knowledge and biological science grow through history?
  • How does science grow, gradually or in fits and starts?
  • What is the importance of objectivity (subjectivity) and creativity in science, particularly biology? 
  • How has Christian belief influenced biological theory, particularly the theory of evolution? 
  • What are some of the theories that Christians have held in the past, and hold to now, on the topic of origins?
  • What are some of the lenses through which biologists have viewed their discipline (e.g. determinism, mechanism, reductionism, materialism, romanticism, vitalism, and naturalism)?
COURSE OUTLINE: Section I: Historical Foundations
  • Introduction and Overview
  • The Origins of the Life Sciences
  • The Greek Legacy
  • The Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution
Section II: Beginnings of (Modern) Biology
  • Preformation and Epigenesis
  • Organisms, Embryos, Cells
Section III: Disciplinary Developments
  • Physiology
  • Microbiology, Virology and Immunology
  • Evolution
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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