dbio.jpg (13827 bytes)

Biology 4355/5302 - Understanding the Creationism-Evolution Controversy

Syllabus, Fall 2000
Dr. Jon A. Baskin
Office: Nierman 106 -- Telephone: 361 593-3580 -- e-mail: kfjab02@tamuk.edu
Baskin's home page:  http:/users.tamuk.edu/Jon.Baskin/

  Office Hours:  2-4 WF,  8-10 TTh, or by appointment. University duties, such as committee meetings, may prevent me from being in my office.  If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to me before or after class or phone me at the office for an appointment

Course Description: A study of the scientific, social, and legal issues involved in the debate over the teaching of evolution in the public schools . schedule

Objectives:  To familiarize students with the arguments propounded by creationists for evidence of design, a young earth, etc. and the rebuttals of these views by those who argue that the teaching of creationism in biology or geology is not science, and is unconstitutional, as demonstrated by the landmark court cases associated with the debate. 

Required Text

Thanks to the internet, you have a variety of options to consider when it comes to buying a textbook.  Here are a few sources .

Web Sites of Interest


  1. Your paper will cover some aspect of the creation/evolution debate.   You must submit the topic to me for approval before the end of the fourth week of classes (September 22).
  2. Undergraduates will subit a 5 page paper; graduates a 10 page paper  (one inch margins, double-spaced, 12 character per inch font such as Times New Roman).  Content, grammar, and spelling will be evaluated.
  3. If you return your paper in time for me to read it before the end of the semester, the papers will be returned to you with comments .  Revised copies will be resubmitted on for final evaluation, based in large part on how well you followed the suggestions made on your first draft .  I strongly recommend that you obtain a copy of Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style" as a guide to good writing.
  4. The very last date that I will accept your paper is November 27.
  5. You must provide documented evidence for all sources used to prepare your paper.
  6. NOTE the plagiarism statement.

Plagiarism StatementCheating and Plagiarism

"Students are expected to do their own course work. Simple cases of first offense cheating or
plagiarism by an individual student may be handled by the instructor after consultation with
the department chair. When the evidence is indisputable, the usual penalty is a grade of F on
the particular paper or in the course."  (TAMUK1998-2000 catalog: page 55).  
You will receive an F. Academic misconduct includes "plagarizing or submitting academic work for credit that includes examinations, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer-processed materials, published or unpublished material copied or paraphrased without documentation or citation."  (TAMUK 1999-2000 Student handbook, p. 61).  Plagiarism includes more than the turning in a paper containing material from books, magazines, web sites or other sources written by someone else.  Plagiarism also includes paraphrasing ideas from such sources without acknowledging them.  Always cite the source of your information.   Assisting another student to cheat or plagiarize is also serious academic misconduct and will be punished accordingly.

Tentative Lecture Schedule

Week of



Aug 28

Introduction: What is evolution? What is creationism? Why is there controversy?


Sept  4

Charles Darwin and the Origin of Species b4355_week2.


Evidence for Evolution: geologic time b4355_week3.


  The Age of the Earth .b4355_week4


  History of Life b4355_week5

Oct 2

Why "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution ." b4355_week6


Evolutionary Biology


Human Evolution b4355_week8


Was there a Noah's Flood


The Scopes Trial

Nov 6

Epperson v Arkansas and its implications


McClean v Arkansas


Edwards v Aguillard:


Creationism, and Intelligent Design, Irreducible Complexity

Dec 4

Evolution, Creationism, and the Future of Biology


Final Examination


Return to:  

Baskin Home Page

Biology Home Page

TAMUK Home Page