Biology 399 – Evolution


Course Goals


1)      To obtain a detailed understanding of the major facts and theories of organic evolution.  This will be accomplished by readings and class discussions of an entire, comprehensive textbook on evolution.  The book I have chosen is Evolution by Mark Ridley.



2)      To obtain an appreciation for the oft-quoted statement by the eminent biologist    Theodosius Dobzhansky that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.


3)      To obtain an appreciation for the wonder and mystery of the evolutionary process, while at the same time exulting in the satisfaction and confidence that evolutionary explanations provide.  This goal will be accomplished by 14 supplementary readings, 13 of which are from Ever Since Darwin by Stephen J. Gould. Ever Since Darwin is a collection of essays by Gould, which originally appeared as columns in the popular magazine Natural History.  The essays are both fascinating and informative.


4) To understand and be able to refute common misconceptions about evolution.