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Big Bangs and Little Green Men: Thinking Critically about the Universe and Its Origins
John VanLeer and David Shapiro
Sec LCH MW 11:00 am - 3:20pm 10 credits
H, NS – This 10.0 credit learning community, combining ASTR& 101 with PHIL& 115, is
a course in how to think about weird (and not-so-weird) things; it uses the study
of astronomy and related topics as a way to explore what counts as a good reason for
believing something to be true. It is a course in critical thinking as applied to
claims and phenomena that many people find hard to either justify or refute. A central
theme of the course is the scientific method: how does science proceed in the production
of knowledge and how does that method differ from other methods of producing and justifying
beliefs? We will look into both scientific and theological claims about the origin
of the universe; in doing so, we will compare the epistemological differences between
creationist and evolutionary theory. Students can expect to come out of this class
with a deeper understanding of astronomy, of what counts as a good reason for believing
something to be true, and an improved ability to evaluate arguments, both in science
and in their day-to-day lives. (LAB)
Prerequisite(s): Completion of ENGL 090 with a grade of 2.0 or higher or placement by testing into ENGL 096; AND completion of MATH 085 with a grade of 2.0 or higher or placement by testing into MATH 095.
Students are required to register for both courses below for a total of 10.0 credits:
Item 1250 - ASTR& 101 Introduction to Astronomy
Item 3520 - PHIL& 115 Critical Thinking