Sioux Falls Atheists
Sioux Falls Atheists and Atheism, Agnostics and Humanism

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse The Theory of Evolution for describing the history
of the controversy about evolution science and how that controversy
is still playing out today in the United States and in the World.

The Theory of Evolution
A History of Controversy
Lectures by Professor Edward J. Larson


The Theory of Evolution: A History of Controversy (2002)
12 lectures, 6 hours
The Theory of Evolution: A History of Controversy at TheGreatCourses.com

Charles Darwin's theory of organic evolution - the idea that life on earth is the product of purely natural causes, not the hand of God - set off shock waves that continue to reverberate through Western society, and especially the United States. What makes evolution such a profoundly provocative concept, so convincing to most scientists, yet so socially and politically divisive? The Theory of Evolution: A History of Controversy is an examination of the varied elements that so often make this science the object of strong sentiments and heated debate.

Professor Edward J. Larson leads you through the "evolution" of evolution, with an eye toward enhancing your understanding of the development of the theory itself and the roots of the controversies that surround it. In these lectures you will:

1. Explore pre-Darwinian theories of the origins of life, from Genesis and the ancient Greeks to such 18th- and 19th-century scientists as Georges Cuvier and Chevalier de Lamarck

2. Follow the life and work of Charles Darwin, and the impact of his 1859 masterpiece, On the Origin of Species. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection was immediately recognized as a threat to traditional religion, but was quickly accepted (the first printing of Origin of Species sold out on the first day)

3. Examine the history of evolutionary science after Darwin - a fascinating story that includes the "rediscovery," after 35 years, of Gregor Mendel's work on genetic variation; the unearthing of prehominid, or early human, fossils by Raymond Dart in 1925 and the Leakey family in the 1950s; and the confusion created by the sensational, but later discredited, discovery of Piltdown Man - a fake evolutionary "missing link" - in 1912

4. Trace the history of religious objections to evolution, from those of Darwin's own time to contemporary efforts to teach creation science in American schools. This includes a detailed discussion of the famous Scopes "monkey trial," which in fact was a staged media event, designed to create publicity for the town of Dayton, Tennessee.

Professor Edward J. Larson is Richard B. Russell Professor of History and Talmadge Professor of Law at the University of Georgia. He holds a law degree form Harvard University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He has received several teaching awards, and won the Pulitzer Prize for History for his book, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion.

12 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: Before Darwin 7: Genetics Enters the Picture
2: Evolution in the Air 8: Social Darwinism and Eugenics
3: Darwin's Inspiration 9: American's Anti-Evolution Crusade
4: An Intellectual Revolution 10: The Neo-Darwinian Synthesis
5: Debates over Mechanism 11: Scientific Creationism
6: Missing Links 12: Selfish Genes and Intelligent Design


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The Theory of Evolution
A History of Controversy
Lectures by Professor Edward J. Larson

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse The Theory of Evolution for describing the history
of the controversy about evolution science and how that controversy
is still playing out today in the United States and in the World.