Anti-evolution and Intelligent Design (September 30 – October 4)

The United States has a long tradition of anti-evolution activism, almost all of it based in fundamentalist Christianity. Welcome to my world. I’ve been teaching and studying evolution all my professional life and from Day One I’ve had to deal with creationists. After three decades it feels like some progress has been made for science, but it still is discouraging to see how many evolution deniers are out there.

Evolution is considered a lie or delusion by just over a third of Americans (which is, in fact, a new low point). “Young Earth Creationists” believe that the Earth and the Universe are a few thousand years old, and that evolution did not occur. This is radically different from the cosmological and evolutionary models supported by scientists. Creationist arguments sometimes appear scientific, but you will quickly see that they are based on misconceptions, misrepresentations, mysteries, and zealotry. For example, take a look at this page citing “evidence for a young Earth” from Answers in Genesis. These are the people who produced the multi-million-dollar Creation Museum in Kentucky (“Prepare to Believe”). Check out this visit I had with First-Year Seminar students. (Don’t miss the comments by Answers in Genesis officers). These are the same people who spent millions building a full-scale version of the Ark. (Apparently visiting this Ark is a very boring experience.) While I am an evolutionary paleontologist and geologist, but please be assured that you will not be judged or graded on your personal beliefs. What you believe is always your business; what you understand about evolution and its critics is mine.

Here is an Example FYS Research Paper. Here is the Annotated Bibliography  assignment (due October 2 by 8:00 am). Here is the Research Paper assignment (due December 6 by 8:00 am)

Nonsense in the News —

It may not surprise you to learn that the Trump-Ukraine scandal has a far-right conspiracy theory in its roots.

Here’s an excellent account of a professor’s work with the rhetoric of conspiracy theories. There’s a First-Year Seminar involved!

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