Methods Seminars are in-depth, interdisciplinary investigations of a particular problem or theme. These seminars focus on ways of knowing the world characteristic of the disciplines represented in the seminar, such that the forms or methods of investigation are as important as the subject matter itself.
Charles Darwin's theory of evolution has remained controversial since its publication in the On the Origin of Species in 1859. The dispute about the source of the diversity of life continues between those who argue a reductionistic, scientific view of life and those who contend that life and the universe reflect design and therefore must be the work of a purposeful, intelligent designer. These two radically different and opposed ways of understanding the world currently are being played out dramatically in heated discussions-both in the courtroom and in the classroom-about whether intelligent design theory should be taught along with the scientific theory of evolution, if indeed Darwin's evolution by natural selection is "only a theory." This controversy indicates an even more profound divide in the society at large. What is at stake for each side in this debate? Why has biological evolution become such a flashpoint in this cultural divide? This course will explore the strongest arguments on either side, and participants in a seminar setting will write a research paper that explores the differences in these two points of view as they are relevant to the student's particular interests.