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September 26, 2023


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DAR 200: Darwin's Legacy (Fall 2008, Stanford Univ.). "Light will be thrown..." With these modest words, Charles Darwin launched a sweeping new theory of life in his epic book, On the Origin of Species (1859).

The theory opened eyes and minds around the world to a radical new understanding of the flora and fauna of the planet. Here, Darwin showed for the first time that no supernatural processes are necessary to explain the profusion of living beings on earth, that all organisms past and present are related in a historical branching pattern of descent, and that human beings fall into place quite naturally in the web of all life. Now, 150 years later and 200 years after Darwin’s birth, we celebrate the amazingly productive vision and reach of his theory. In this Fall Quarter course, we will meet weekly with leading Darwin scholars from around the country to learn about Darwin’s far-reaching legacy in fields as diverse as anthropology, religion, medicine, psychology, philosophy, literature, and biology. With such a broad reach across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, no wonder the theory of evolution by natural selection has been called the single best idea, ever.

Course Curriculum

  • Lecture 01 – Overview of the Course; Darwin’s Own Evolution; Darwin’s Data Unlimited
  • Lecture 02 – Evolution vs. Creationism Debate Unlimited
  • Lecture 03 – A Biography on Charles Darwin and Darwin’s Origin of Species Unlimited
  • Lecture 04 – The Philosophical Importance of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Unlimited
  • Lecture 05 – How and Why Species Multiply Unlimited
  • Lecture 06 – Darwin’s Life and Work Unlimited
  • Lecture 07 – Social Darwinism Unlimited
  • Lecture 08 – Causation of Cancer Unlimited
  • Lecture 09 – Social Behavior of Species Unlimited
  • Lecture 10 – Analysis of Darwin’s Literary Works Unlimited

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