Weird Science (JINS 375)
This course is about beliefs which may be popular, but which tend to be rejected in mainstream scientific circles. We will talking about some scientific questions raised, but we will also keep an eye on what our explorations might tell us about the nature of science.
You need to read the Syllabus carefully. There are some points I want to especially emphasize, however:
- This isn’t a typical course where you learn some material, reproduce or apply it on an exam, and get a grade accordingly. What I want from you is discussion and argument. I don’t care if you agree with me or not! Take strong positions, and don’t hesitate to oppose my position on any given matter. For example, I think intelligent design proponents and creationists have it all wrong. But if you defend creationism in an intellectually interesting manner, producing good writing, you’ll get an A.
- You’ll have to do a lot of reading as well as writing in the course. I will not teach you how to write any more than I would teach you algebra in a physics course. I assume you already know the basics. And the best way to get better at writing is to do a lot of reading and writing.
- Don’t be intimidated by “interdisciplinarity” and get lost wondering about how to combine science and philosophy. Our discussions will naturally lead to both kinds of questions, and I’ll give you guidance when you’re choosing writing topics and thinking about what to write. Concentrate on producing a good argument rather than trying to satisfy someone’s definition of how you should mix and match different disciplines.
But again, don’t forget the Syllabus.
Don’t forget to bookmark this page. I will be posting useful documents here occasionally.
Here is a sample paper which should help you get an idea about what I consider a well-written, well-argued paper should look like.