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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My U of T ID course got good reviews!

When I first offered to replace a retired high school teacher, and teach an adult night school course at the University of Toronto on why there is an intelligent design controversy, I had no idea that it would provoke an uproar among people who seemed to know little about it and, in many cases, didn't even live anywhere near Toronto.

Well, it went off okay, and last week I received a kind letter from the co-ordinator, with student reviews enclosed. On the whole it seems positive. I do not credit myself, but rather my excellent and well qualified co-teachers, on whom I relied for the technical parts (what kind of universe do we live in? why is origin of life a problem? how might an information theorist look at evolution?, etc.). I mostly did the historical and media stuff myself, with the excellent assistance of Toronto journalist David Warren for the latter.

One student pointed out that we should have looked more at Richard Dawkins's views (= ultra-Darwinism). I think that student is right. For convenience, I had originally modelled the course on my book, By Design or by Chance? but had inadvertently skipped over the chapter on Richard Dawkins vs. Stephen Jay Gould. If I organize the course again, I will split the third evening into two parts - one half on Darwinism/neo-Darwinism/ultra-Darwinism/Gould's ideas and the other on creationism, which is what my book actually did.

My only complaint is that there seems to be no reliable coffee service in easy reach of our mid-session break. I had promised coffee and donuts for the last session, but was able to provide only the donuts.


Service Note

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?, or my book of essays on faith and science topics, Faith@Science: Why science needs faith in the 21st century (Winnipeg: J. Gordon Shillingford, 2001). You can read excerpts as well.

My other blog is the Mindful Hack, which keeps tabs on neuroscience and the mind.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

NEW! Here's my review of Oxford Mathematician John Lennox's God's Undertaker: Has science buried God? - an excellent riposte to the materialist view of the universe.

Intelligent design east: Intelligent design without God

Hollywood weighs in with pro-ID film, to premiere on Darwin’s birthday.

Animations of life inside the cell, indexed, for your convenience.

Anti-God crusade ... no, really! My recent series on the spate of anti-God books, teen blasphemy challenge, et cetera, and the mounting anxiety of materialist atheists that lies behind it.

Behe, Mike My review of Mike Behe's Edge of Evolution

Catholic Church A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

Collins, Francis My review of Francis Collins’ book The Language of God

Columnists weigh in on the intelligent design controversy A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

Darwinism dissent Lists of theoretical and applied scientists who doubt Darwin

Encyclopedia of ID topics Evolution in the light of intelligent design - look up intelligent design topics here.

Gilder, George A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

Intelligent design academic publications.

Intelligent design-friendly students should be flunked, according to bio prof Evolutionary biologist’s opinion that all students friendly to intelligent design should be flunked.

Intelligent design controversy My U of Toronto talk on why there is an intelligent design controversy, or my talk on media coverage of the controversy at the University of Minnesota.

Intelligent design controversy timeline An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

Intelligent design and culture My review of sci-fi great Rob Sawyer’s novel, The Calculating God , which addresses the concept of intelligent design.

March of the Penguins A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

Origin of life Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.

Peer review My backgrounder about peer review issues.

Polls relevant to the intelligent design controversy A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

Stove, David O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

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