End of the Class Report (5/21/02):
On May 20th the IDEA course had its final meeting. The purpose of the class was to give those attending a broad introduction and then in-depth exposure to many of the issues surrounding intelligent design and evolution. Overall, class attendance was smaller than we had hoped as there were only 2 official students plus a number of visitors, however we are pleased that we had consistently attending students who seem to have benefitted from the course! We covered the entire syllabus (listed below) with a variety of different topics about intelligent design and evolution. Although we were only able to have one guest lecturer, we appreciated hosting Frank Sherwin, a biologist from ICR, to speak on problems with molecular evolution.
The future of the IDEA Class:
We feel we are now better prepared to teach it in the future, and much lecture material prepared which hopefully can be used again and again. If possible, we'd like to re-teach the class sometime next year, or even sooner, as resources avail themselves. However, the IDEA Center is ready and willing to go where the work calls us--if you are be interested in having an IDEA Class on the intelligent design - evolution issue taught at your group, please feel free to contact us at "firstname.lastname@example.org". Yes we travel!
Student Report from the IDEA Course:
by IDEA Class student Lori Schleppenbach
I heard about IDEA through the Jonathan Wells lecture, and was contacted shortly there after with information about an IDEA course. Being a student of anthropology and having interest in philosophy, I thought it sounded like a great "idea", and I enrolled.
Expecting a room full of intimidating, graduate students in Faith Seminary, I was surprised when I turned out to be one of the two students on the first day of the course, among three of the people teaching the course. (As if the thought of being surrounded by graduate intellects wasn't intimidating enough, now I was surrounded by people with advanced degrees!) But I found the group very welcoming to a undergraduate student (myself) with next to zero background in the evolution/intelligent design debate, and I decided this was something I could really learn from if I stuck with it.
The intellectual level of the meetings never disappointed me, and I found resources to topics we discussed throughout the weeks of the course which benefited me very much. The topics such as the fossil record, the philosophy of science, the historical context of the evolution/id discussion, and so on were useful to me in sorting out what I know about these things and what I believed about them. I also had the benefit of hearing a perspective that my anthropology classes seem to effortlessly leave out of their discussions, and that is the notion of an alternative to evolutionism.
In the IDEA course, though I was one of the only students and the only student at times, the topics seemed to directly address issues in one of my other courses "Conflicts of Science with Religion", allowing me to deeply analyze the theories being forced on me from all directions. After taking this course, I feel much more prepared to evaluate theories and philosophies as just such. I have learned valuable information that will be of benefit to me and those I have been able to share resources with and engage in debate with since I started investigating the theories of origins.
I appreciate how the IDEA members did not give up on this one student seeking information and not dismissing the purpose of the course due to the lack of student interest. I know that my approach to things has completely changed and my awareness of influences present in institutional education has heightened. As cheesy as this sounds, it is all true. Even my friends and family talk more about evolution and intelligent design since I've taken interest and been a part of this course, and as I understand, that was the intent of this whole course. So, my experience was quite successful and rewarding in the IDEA course. Thanks for putting it together!
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