Monday, March 23, 2015


Students and Parents:

We now come to the heart of any introductory Biology course, the 'big idea' that unites the many different areas of biology (and other sciences!) in one massive and incredibly useful explanatory framework.   

That idea, EVOLUTION, at its most basic is simply the obviously true statement that populations (not individuals) change genetically over time.   Following this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, however, is not simple.   This is the branch of biology which most challenges many traditional ideas in the popular culture about our own species. and it also requires understanding evidence from a variety of sources.

In considering this evidence, it is my pledge to both students and parents that I will always present the evidence (which students are expected to know and understand), but leave the question of how students should incorporate that understanding in their own lives to the students.   Biology is not ideology, and it is certainly not my job to tell anyone what they should believe.   On the other hand, no one (not even teachers!) are entitled to have their personal beliefs be privileged, and never challenged.   It is my hope that teaching this important material in an open and assertive way will inspire students and parents to think more deeply about what they actually do know, and what they believe, and why.

Here is the new syllabus for this unit:

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