You are on page 1of 17


Fall 3030 SYLLABUS SCIENCE WRITING Dr. David Williams
WRTG 3030-005 (18548) WRTG 3030-009 (18557) WRTG-3030005 WRTG-3030009 Writing/ScienceSociety Writing/ScienceSociety MWF MWF 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM 12:00 PM - 12:50 PM STAD 112 CLRE 209

(you must sign into Wordpress, and then give me the email address you signed in with so I can register you)

BRINGING THE HUMANITIES INTO THE SCIENTIFIC WORLD Scientific and literary cultures have existed side-by-side but most often in parallel universes with little connection. This has led to the humanities proceeding as if Darwin never lived, DNA was not discovered, and Neuroscience never came to fruition. As E.O. Wilson states, this polarization promotes . . . the perpetual recycling of the nature-nurture controversy, spinning off mostly sterile debates on gender, sexual preferences, ethnicity, and human nature itself. From the social science s denial of a universal human nature to theoretical theories spun from armchair speculation, the humanities have spun numerous webs that have little or no relation to empirical evidence. At the same time, many theorists in the humanities have tried to be scientific, from Jung, to Frye, to Chomsky (though failing), while others have denied the validity of science altogether. This class will begin by examining the history of science and the humanities, while trying to find ways to bring them together. To do so, we will be exploring human evolution, evolutionary psychology, and neuroscience utilizing these disciplines as a base from which to interpret literature. In addition, we will examine how the pressing scientific issues of the day are often obscured because few scientists have developed effective communication skills. As a class, we will work to create rhetorical strategies that allow some of the recent findings of science to be heard by a public often ignorant of even the most basic scientific paradigms and findings. Writing for this class will involve numerous genres for interpreting science and literature and for propelling scientific ideas through the art of writing. SCIENCE WRITING Science writing can consist of many different genres and styles, from the nature writing of Gary Snyder, to technical scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, to the kind of writing done by working scientists such as E. O. Wilson, who attempts to communicate ideas to the larger world as well as write papers for fellow scientists. In the world of science, the only thing that counts is discovery: those who discover new things are rewarded, not those who write about discoveries. This may help to explain why most

2 scientists are not good communicators when it comes to getting the news of their work to the public. Yet, scientific work depends upon funding, so it is essential that scientists become better at promoting themselves to raise money to do their work. It is also extremely important as we move into the growing environmental dangers on the planet that science leads the way by bringing us the news. We need scientific new instead of economic and political propaganda. If we do not face the facts of species extinction, global warming, and energy depletion we will pay a huge price in terms of quality of life on this planet. Much is at stake. Many scientists have begun to realize that scientific ideas can quickly lose ground in the media and that public opinion can be shaped by money interests and loud voices not trained in science or critical thinking. The way people vote and the policies that elected leaders enact will determine what happens in the next few years, as we live in what National Geographic has called The Sixth Great Extinction, one caused by us. If we going to save what s left of nature (here meaning the earth rather untouched by humans) it must be done soon, for there is no time to waste. Scientists cannot do the job of changing public opinion. It is up to those of us who work in the media as writers, filmmakers, singers, and poets to get the work done. The raison d'être of rhetoric is to persuade, and we need all the tricks of rhetoric at our disposal. The ancient Greeks, of course, set the foundation for rhetorical studies over 2,000 years ago, and the teaching of the Sophists (those employed to teach the arts of persuasion) set the foundation for rhetorical studies today. We have all studied the Greek terms: pathos, ethos, enthymeme, logos, and learned how to employ these ideas in writing and argument. Of course, what the Greek teachers came upon were just names for explaining the kind of things we all do everyday. To be a social animal we must know how to behave and interact, and the human mind has evolved over the course of the last few hundred thousand years to be attentive to others. Neuroscience has allowed us to scientifically examine the way the brain works for the very first time, due to advances in technology. Questions that heretofore were answered through armchair speculation are now being answered through scientific analysis, as we learn that many old assumptions were wrong. Theory of Mind is one of the new discoveries about how we think showing we evolved to know how others think and feel though we don t always get things right. It is also the force at work that makes us see intent in the natural world. Confirmation Bias is another aspect of the human mind that gives us the tendency to see what we want and not what evidence might provide. All this shows that the brain is flawed, an instrument of survival for the whole body, and not something separate from it. Hence, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio s title for his famed book, DesCartes Error. Mind and body are not split. As a matter of face, everything we think has a component of emotion. There is no such thing as pure logic. The assumptions on which much economic theory (that we are logical in our decision making) are wrong. We usually act on emotional impulse, whether it comes to purchasing a product, voting for a politician, or believing or disbelieving what the state of the world really is. For these reasons it is extremely important that those of us who write about the condition of the planet know something about how the brain works. To be effective communicators, it is time we embrace science ourselves, integrating the lessons of neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, which must form the basis of a new rhetoric. The humanities and sciences have been divorced from each other for too long, but in this age such a division cannot be sustained. In the following weeks we will learn about and write on aspects of science and draw scientific analysis into the study of literature. We will also try to take the lessons of neuroscience to become better persuaders of scientific findings. The syllabus is subject to changes, as I assign various new readings, or special events and speakers become available.

3 COMMUNICATION POLICY 1. My preferred method of contact is through this email address: david.williams@Colorado.EDU 2. My cell phone number is 720-308-0915 3. You should expect a response from me within 24 hours. 4. If no response is received within the suggested time frame please send a text message to the above phone number. 5. Office hours: STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES This course will require students to read various articles and books, watch videos, and write a variety of papers and one public service advertisement. AFTER TAKING THIS COURSE, YOU SHOULD: -have a better background regarding the nature of science. -know how the humanities and science have diverged and remained split. -know something about recent findings in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. -be able to use new scientific ideas to analyze human behavior (and literature). -be much more aware of environmental problems, such as global warming. -see the relationship between the environment and the economy. REQUIRED TEXTS. The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing by Richard Dawkins y Paperback: 512 pages y Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; Reprint edition (October 4, 2009) y ISBN-10: 0199216819 y ISBN-13: 978-0199216819 The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human by V.S Ramachandran · Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 17, 2011) · ISBN-10: 0393077829 · ISBN-13: 978-0393077827 Ideas into Words: Mastering the Craft of Science Writing by Elise Hancock · Paperback: 176 pages · Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press (May 7, 2003) · ISBN-10: 0801873304 · ISBN-13: 978-0801873300 The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth by E.O. Wilson · Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (September 17, 2007) · ISBN-10: 0393330486 · ISBN-13: 978-0393330489 The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine · Publisher: Three Rivers Press (August 7, 2007) · ISBN-10: 0767920104 · ISBN-13: 978-0767920100

writing@CSU (; Silva Rhetoricae (; the Purdue OWL (

READINGS & ASSIGNMENTS Take a look at the whole syllabus and pay attention to the readings. It would be very wise to begin the readings as soon as you can so that you do not get behind. All papers must be posted or handed in on time, typed and double-spaced. Be aware of the due dates for assignments! For example, there is an assignment due in December that requires that you have read 10 essays in Modern Science Writing not covered in class: do not wait until the last minute to try and read these and write a response. PLAGIARISM Copying or adopting the scientific, literary, musical, or artistic composition or work of another and producing or publishing it as one's own original composition or work. To be liable for 'plagiarism' it is not necessary to exactly duplicate another's work: it is sufficient if unfair use of such work is made by lifting of substantial portion thereof, but even an exact counterpart of another's work does not constitute 'plagiarism' if such counterpart was arrived at independently. The plagiarism policy requires that: For a first offense, the student may receive an F for the paper or in the course at the instructor's discretion, and the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students will be notified. The incident will become a permanent part of your student record. GRADING AND ASSIGNMENTS There are 17 writing assignments and 4 Projects. Writing Assignment 11 and the 4 Projects each count 15% of your grade. Writing Assignment 11 & the 4 Projects=15% each, for 60% of Grade. Other Writing Assignments combined=30% of Grade. Class Participation=10% of Grade. ASSIGNMENTS WILL COUNT AS FOLLOWS
A level work reflects excellence in all areas. An A suggests that work is not only thought provoking and structurally polished, but that assignments are completed with a high level of stylistic and critical independence. A level work presents the reader with fresh and independent thinking, logical organization, and excellent control over mechanics and style.

B level work is very good, well above average. This work explores difficult questions in a way that is creative, critical and thought provoking. B level work is critically and organizationally sound, is stylistically competent, and contains few errors. C level work indicates that assignments are completed adequately, meeting minimum requirements. This grade indicates that the work is functional at a college level and that all aspects of the assignment have been addressed. However, the work may be hindered by a lack of sufficient critical inquiry, organizational clarity, and control over mechanics and style. D level work is substandard at the college-level. It is usually completed in haste and reflects little thought or attention to detail. A D indicates that major portions of the assignment are completed poorly. F level work is incomplete or inadequate. An F will also be given if plagiarism has occurred.


5 Class attendance is mandatory. If you miss more than 3 classes without good reason your overall grade will be dropped one point, say from an A to an A-. Each additional miss will drop your grade again one point. If you miss 6 classes you will be dropped from the class or given an F. ACADEMIC CALENDAR First Day of Aug. 22 Classes (Mon.) Tuition Due Aug. 31 (Wed.) Labor Day Sept. 5 (campus closed) (Mon.) Fall Sept. 30 Convocation (Fri.) Family Sept. 30 Weekend - Oct. 2 (Fri. Sun) Fall Break Nov. 2123 (Mon.Wed.) Thanksgiving Nov. 24(campus closed) 25 (Thurs.Fri.) Last Day of Dec. 9 Classes (Fri.) Final Exams Dec. 1015 (Sat.Thurs.) Commencement Dec. 16 (Fri.)

CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR Students and faculty each have a responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Students who fail to adhere to behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Faculty have the professional responsibility to treat students with understanding, dignity, and respect, to guide classroom discussion, and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which students express opinions. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender, and nationalities. See


6 GREEN=BLOG POSTS YELLOW=WRITING PROJECTS -----------------------------------------



MON. Introduction. For Wednesday s class, have read 1-10 of Ideas Into Words. WED. CLASS We will go over elements from Ideas Into Words, talk about class blogs & Wordpress, and talk about Project 1, which involves creating a 1-minute presentation in imovie, a personal statement about you and your interest in science. This is to be a collage of photos, voice-overs, writings, video clips, and music that you put together to make a personal statement about your view of nature. GOAL AND RUBRIC: the goal of this assignment is to use a variety of media to tell a story to a wide audience that tells something of about you and your view of the world. The class will help to develop the grading rubric for this assignment. READING ASSIGNMENT Have read Origin Myths by Robert Carnerio at, as well as James Jeans essay, and the essay by Albert Einstein Religion and Science, and Carl Sagan s The DemonHaunted World, in Modern Science Writing. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 1 Post a 1-page reaction paper on the class blog for Friday s class (, giving your view about myth and science answering this question What makes science science? This should be entirely in your own words, without footnotes, references, or a Work Cited page. Read 3 statements from others in the class and comment upon their statements below their posts. GOAL AND RUBRIC: the goal of this assignment is to understand the nature of science and how it differs from other forms of human inquiry. The grading rubric for this assignment will be developed by the class.

WRITING ASSIGNMENT 2 Read the essay, Billy and the Ball on the class website and post a one paragraph blog imitating the Old/New Information format. GOAL AND RUBRIC: the goal of this assignment is to understand how sentences are stitched together with old and new information to form paragraphs. FRI. CLASS We will go over papers posted in the blogs (in class) and discuss the ideas presented. We will also talk about the art of rhetoric and look at a video clip: READING ASSIGNMENT Have read chapters 1 and 2 of Ideas Into Words for Monday. Over the weekend, also read chapters 1-3 of The Tell-Tell Brain for Monday, as well as the following on how to write a summary:


MON. CLASS We will begin working on the Personal Video Essay and imovie & go over chapters from Ideas Into Words. UPCOMING PROJECT DUE: PERSONAL VIDEO ESSAY WILL BE DUE ON MONDAY SEPT. 12TH: THEY MUST BE POSTED TO YOUTUBE BY THAT DATE. WED. READING ASSIGNMENT Haiku have read the poems online from Issa and Basho. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 3 We will write a short poem in class that follows the rigorous requirements of haiku, and you will then post three finished haiku on the blog site. GOAL AND RUBRIC: this assignment is to learn precision and economy with language. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 4 Post a summary (on the class blog site) of each of the first three chapters of The Tell-Tale Brain. Make sure you read the article on how to write a summary: This will be due Friday of this week. FRI. READING ASSIGNMENT 5 Over the weekend, read chapters 4-6 of The Tell-Tell Brain. CLASS Writing workshop on haiku. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 5 Post a blog, which is a summary on each of the first 3 chapters of Tell-Tale Brain due today.

MON. NO CLASS Labor Day READING ASSIGNMENT Read chapters 5-9 of The Tell-Tell Brain by Fri. and post a summary of each chapter on the website. WED. CLASS Guest Speaker David Underwood on Design. FRI. CLASS

8 We will go over the ideas on neuroscience and watch a short video on Antonio Damasio video from PBS. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 6 Post a summary on each chapter

4-6--of Tell-Tale Brain, due today.

MON. CLASS PROJECT 1 PROJECT DUE: PERSONAL VIDEO ESSAYS WILL BE VIEWED IN CLASS AND CRITIQUED. WED. CLASS THEORY OF MIND COMMUNICATING We will watch Episode One of The Human Spark, from PBS and a YouTube talk about Theory of Mind: and READING ASSIGNMENT Before class, have read more about Theory of Mind at FRI. CLASS We will discuss the analysis papers. WRITING ASSIGNMENTS 7 & 8 Post, for today, a summary on each chapter 7-9--of the Tell-Tale Brain, due today. Also, write and post a 1-page analysis paper on the work of Damasio and Ramachanram, telling what you think their work means for understanding the human condition. GOAL AND RUBRIC: the goal of this assignment is to take recent information from neuroscience and relate it to the overall philosophy of knowledge, examining how older interpretations of the mind were flawed and how new understandings of the brain might allow us to rethink the human animal. The expectation is that the papers will delve into the details so that it is clear that the write has an understanding of the issues at hand.

MON. CLASS We will go over the reading assignments and examine connotations. READING ASSIGNMENT Have read Steven Pinker s The Language Instinct and Colin Blakemore s The Mind Machine, in Modern Science Writing. Have read Hemingway s short story Hills Like White Elephants, at or

9 WED. CLASS We will go over ideas of Graphic Design with David Underwood. FRI. CLASS We will begin to prepare for the next Project by talking about the interview process and working on sentence structure. READING ASSIGNMENT Have read the following for today s class: chapter 3 of Ideas Into Words and Why Scientists Do Science: A Trek For Answers, by Jennifer DeMichele at LET YOUR ACTORS ACT SENTENCES ARE STORIES we will read parts of the following in class, from THE LITTLE RED SCHOOLHOUSE:

MON. Project 2 INTERVIEW & VIDEO PRESENTATION DUE FRIDAY, OCTOBER, 28 For this project you are going to interview someone who works in the sciences (in the manner that DeMichele does), creating a video presentation that explores that persons life. Find out what was required from that individual to become a scientist (school, money, time, etc). How did he or she make the decision to go into their particular field, and does this person feel satisfied with his or her choice? Also, ask the scientist about the kind of writing they do, and what do they think scientists should be taught in school about writing. In addition, ask about bringing scientific information to the larger public what that takes and is it being done well. You will create a video presentation of about 2 minutes. The video presentation will consist of you writing a script that tells something about the scientist and his or her work. You will read the script while inserting excerpts of the actual interview here and there. For the video you might include photos of the scientist, examples of his or her work, pictures of their articles, books, and video footage of the scientist. The class will develop a rubric for grading this project, and you will all be involved in the grading process. In the end, you must turn in the script as well as an explanation of the various rhetorical choices you made in putting the video together. You will be posting the video to YouTube, so make sure and get consent from the scientist you are working with for release of this to the web. GOAL AND RUBRIC: the goal of this assignment is to take information from a professional source and translate that into a presentation that gives the audience a true sense of the scientist and his or her work and concerns regarding scientific writing and communication. You will be making numerous rhetorical decisions in which you will have to wisely choose video clips, photos, text, and audio to make the project successful. The class will create the grading rubric and have a hand in assessing the projects. CLASS We will go over the project and talk about the ideas in Chapter 8 of Communicating Nature.

10 READING ASSIGNMENT Misinformation and the Media. Have read Chapter 8 of Communicating Nature (which will be posted on the web). You might also want to take a look at the Must Reads about graphic design at WED. CLASS We will watch a short video segment with Jim White, climate scientist at CU, and I will post this on the website as well so you can return to it later for Project 3. PROJECT 3--ADVERTISEMENT FOR VOGUE GROUP PROJECT of two people. DUE OCT. 7th After listening to Jim White, it will be clear that scientists are not communicating the truth about climate change to the general public. In Communicating Nature, the themes of miscommunication (and deliberate falsehood) are shown as often being linked to special and moneyed interests. With this in mind, you will take the important elements of Jim White s talk, summarize. Now, try to get this message out to a larger audience by way of a print ad that would appear in Vogue magazine (you will have to examine a copy of Vogue). Design a public service advertisement that uses images and text to create a message that will wake the readers of Vogue up to the dangers of global warming. This should be submitted as a jpeg file. Every class member must take a look at the ads of the other students and make comments on the following: the rhetorical strategy employed (does it convey the message), as well as the use of image, color, text, font, and space: are these handled effectively? You cannot use stock photos for this advertisement. You must take your own photos or create your own images (drawings, pictures, Photoshopped photos). For this project you will work in groups of two. GOAL AND RUBRIC: Rhetoric, or the Art of Persuasion, makes use of numerous elements to affect change. However, Confirmation Bias makes it difficult for a person to be convinced of something they do not already believe. In addition, as we have seen from Damasio s work, We are feeling machines that think, not thinking machines that feel. To move an audience, to affect change, we must think of emotion and feeling, for we will not convince the general public through statistics. The summary is intended to help the mind consolidate ideas and pick out the most important features: the print ad is intended as an exercise to take ideas and translate them into images and text to move a particular audience. The ad will be graded on creativity, effectiveness, design, and professionalism. The class will create the rubric and help grade the projects. FRI. CLASS We will begin working on Project 3. READING ASSIGNMENT Have read Chapter 4 of Ideas into Words.



READING ASSIGNMENT Have read 1-21 and 30-85 of The Trickster Brain (this is a book of mine coming out in November, so but I will put the text online for you to read). Writing Assignment 9 Post a reaction blog dealing with the ideas presented in The Trickster Brain.

11 GOAL AND RUBRIC: The split between the humanities and science is old and persistent. E.O. Wilson, among other scientists, has called for this split to end and that the humanities take science into consideration. These readings, and the summary, deal with the philosophy of knowledge that sets the stage for current paradigms in the academic community. Understanding the history of these positions should allow one begin seeing new possibilities in light of recent scientific discoveries. CLASS We will read some of the blogs and discuss them. WED. CLASS We will further discuss the split between Science and the Humanities. READING ASSIGNMENT Have read James Watson s excerpt from Avoid Boring People in Modern Science Writing. Begin reading The Female Brain up to the chapter on menopause. FRI. PROJECT 3 DUE. You will present your Vogue ads that relate Jim White s talk in the form of a public service ad. You will post a jpeg of the ad to the class website, and we will discuss, evaluate, and grade the assignment. READING ASSIGNMENT Have read chapters 4-5 of Ideas into Words.

MON. CLASS We will watch The Biology Of Love (1994, Part Four) at WED. READING/VIEWING/LISTENING ASSIGNMENT Before class, have watched Anthropologist Helen Fisher on why we crave love at CLASS We will discuss aspects of The Female Brain and the Fisher video. FRI. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 10 Post a two-page reaction blog on Love that incorporates the ideas from the two video segments and The Female Brain. CLASS We will workshop the blogs. READING ASSIGNMENT

12 Have read chapters 6-7 of Ideas into Words.

MON. SHORT SHORT PLAYS The human brain is always inventing stories. The brain sorts, categorizes, and makes up things that it wants to see, and once it believes something to be true, it is very hard to change. For this exercise, we will make up some conversations between two people that have some sort of conflict at heart. The audience will have no idea what the actors are talking about, but they must try to figure out the story that is being played out. READING ASSIGNMENT Have read the following for today s class: and WED. READING ASSIGNMENT Have read the following article from the New York Times, Next Big Thing in English: Knowing They Know That You Know. : : CLASS We will begin by going over Writing Assignment 11 and then take another look at Hills Like White Elephants, examining the characters from the position of evolutionary psychology and neuroscience. Writing Assignment 11 Lately, literary criticism has been infused with new styles of critique based upon the use of scientific ideas (as E.O. Wilson has called for) from neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. After having read about the process of evolution in The Trickster Brain, take that knowledge and use it to analyze a story. This is what I do in the book, in terms of relating trickster stories around the world to the processes of evolutionary psychology/biology and to recent discoveries in neuroscience. Read Susan Minot s short story, Lust, and analyze it from an evolutionary and/or cognitive narrative (neuroscience) perspective. Write a 4-page (not including the Work Cited page) critical paper in which you state a thesis, make a claim, and support that claim with evidence. Use the MLA method of documentation (all the information for this can be found at, and do a Work Cited page, documenting your sources. You must include 4 sources (and you can use the books from class and or the videos). Post the first page of the first draft of this to the class blog on Friday. THE FINAL WILL BE DUE NOV. 4. HOW TO WRITE THE CRITICAL PAPER When most people write a critical paper they wade through a topic, often treating it like a book report, without really having anything to say. Then they get to the required amount of pages, realizing that they have not yet made a point, so they quickly come up with something. This is natural, but what you need to do is then turn it all around and start over. You want the paper s first paragraph to start with a thesis. The thesis contains a problem. If we were looking at Romeo and Juliet, for instance (and using the same approach I m having you use for your paper) we might say that the problem here is that Romeo is delusional due to an influx of testosterone now that he is in his teens, and likewise Juliet is also feeling a

13 desire for mating now that she has reached puberty and her hormones are revved up. The PROBLEM is that nature is taking over for these two, who are completely unaware of what is happening to their bodies and minds. Romeo s fickle nature (that he can fall for one girl, get heartbroken to the point of absolute despair, then immediately fall for another) is due to evolution working on his brain, telling him to find a mate. And like most males in the animal kingdom, he instinctually knows that it is the female who does the ultimate choosing and has the upper hand. Like any courting bird, he must show himself to be good, worthy, clever, and sincere. The COST of these two not having the slightest idea why they are acting the way they do, is that they cannot distance themselves from the onslaught of dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin, the drugs in the brain that are propelling them to doom. The SOLUTION to this dilemma is not one that these star-crossed lovers can avail, but we the audience can. By looking at this drama from the perspective of science, we can see this as a cautionary tale regarding our own feelings, realizing that the chemical stew in our brains and bodies is not always telling us the truth. To think like a scientist, we need to be dispassionate regarding the information we assess and not fall into the traps that lead to Confirmation Bias. We can also see Theory of Mind at work over and over in this play, as every character is trying to solve the puzzle of everyone else s mindset to anticipate what will happen next. (Theory of Mind is predictive, something very useful when living in a world of other social animals like oneself, but our predictions are not always good: hence, the demise of the two lovers who got it all wrong). But the two warring families got it all wrong as well, for their actions led not to fecundity (offspring that would further the DNA of both families) but death without reproduction, which from an evolutionary sense is all that matters. Only those who reproduce succeed in the game of life. THESIS The thesis should have these components a PROBLEM, THE COST OF THE PROBLEM (why it matters), and a SOLUTION. The thesis drives the paper. You are making a claim in the case above that the protagonists, Romeo and Juliet, because of their ignorance of how their brains are affected by hormonal programming from evolution, act like slaves to their desires (which are really the chemicals in their heads propelling them to mate). In their case this causes death instead of life, due to the fact that their social condition is extremely dangerous and they do not take their environment into consideration. Had they been cognizant of science, they might have been able to make alternate decisions to control their actions and saved their lives. The evidence you present would have to come from scientific sources that deal with love, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology. THESIS=problem, cost of problem, and solution EVIDENCE=this is where you bring in ideas to support your claim. While you can bring in opposing arguments, you want to move everything so that it supports your thesis and does not stray from it. Check out this essay on What Counts as Evidence: GOAL AND RUBRIC: The critical paper requires one to take scientific ideas and apply them to literature, to develop a paper from start to finish creating a strong thesis statement. You will be examining the behavior of literary characters and trying to interpret their actions through evolutionary psychology and neuroscience. FRI. CLASS WRITING WORKSHOP: we will go over the first drafts in class. READING ASSIGNMENT Begin reading chapters 1-4 of The Creation, by E. O. Wilson.


MON. CLASS WRITING WORKSHOP: we will continue going over the first drafts in class. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 12 Post a summary of each of Wilson s first 4 chapters on the blog. WED. CLASS We will discuss E.O. Wilson s rhetorical strategy and the first 4 chapters of The Creation. FRI. PROJECT 2 DUE. CLASS We will review the class projects, evaluate and grade them. READING ASSIGNMENT Begin reading Chapters 5-7 of The Creation. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 13 Post the ENTIRE first draft of Writing Assignment 11 to the blog. Over the weekend, comment upon two other classmate s first draft and suggest changes they might make to help make their paper stronger.

MON. CLASS We will continue to review the class projects, evaluate and grade them. If enough time permits, we will discuss 5-7 of The Creation. WED. CLASS We will watch a film about the world s wildlife. READING ASSIGNMENT Have read 8-10 of The Creation for Friday. Have finished the entire book by Monday the 7th. FRI. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 14 Write down one important idea from Wilson s book, on a scrap of paper. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 11--FINAL VERSION DUE. Post the final draft of Writing Assignment 11 to the blog. In addition, turn in a hard copy to me. It should be four pages long plus a Work Cited Page, which includes at least 4 sources, documented using the MLA style.




COMMUNICATING WILSON S IDEAS TO VARIOUS AUDIENCES. MON. CLASS PROJECT 4 DUE LAST WEEK OF CLASS DEC. 5 We will try and figure out the most important ideas Wilson discusses in his book and find ways of getting these ideas to various segments of the population: children, teens, working age adults, and seniors. You will be put into groups of three to come up with creating a print and media campaign. You must develop on video presentation of 30 seconds for children (a public service ad), one for teens, and print ads for both working age adults and seniors. That comes to two 30 second videos and 2 print ads. For the videos you must tell what market you wish to show the ads (before or after what program on what channel), and for the print ads you must define the magazine and its demographic. For each of these, write a paragraph that details the rhetorical strategies that you used in coming up with your plans, and also tell us who you were targeting within the particular populations men, women, boys, girls, both, all, etc. The class will work together to create a rubric on which to grade the assignment. GOAL AND RUBRIC: The goal of this assignment is to think about the ways images (text, color, photos, drawings, design, movement, etc.) work to affect various audiences. How can you apply what we have been studying regarding neuroscience and evolution toward making a more powerful presentation that will have an actual effect on an audience? WED. CLASS We will take a look at some short eco ads/films online and critique them, examining their rhetorical strategies. FRI. CLASS We will take a look at some short eco ads/films online and critique them examining their rhetorical strategies.



CLASS We will watch the following documentary: The Ecological Footprint : WED. CLASS We will watch the following documentary: Mind Over Money : FRI. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 15 After watching both of the videos, write a 1-2 page paper in which you compare the ways in which we use and manipulate money and ways in which we use and manipulate the environment. As The Ecological Footprint makes clear, the economy and the environment are integrated and not separate entities. While classical economics states that humans make rational choices for their own best interests, neuroscience shows another story altogether. With the recent studies in neuroscience challenging the way we do business, what should we humans do to change? Can we create a sustainable world?

16 Post this to the blog, and we will go over the papers in class. GOAL AND RUBRIC: This paper requires one to synthesize information from neuroscience, the economy, and the environment in order to see a holistic view about the human condition. CLASS Writing Workshop: we will go over the papers in class.


MON. READING ASSIGNMENT VALUES & ALRUISM. WHERE DO VALUES COME FROM? CAN WE BE ALTRUISTIC? CAN WE THINK AHEAD? Have read Helena Cronin s The Ant and the Peacock, and Mayr s The Growth of Biological Thought, in Modern Science Writing. CLASS We will go over the readings and discuss them. WED. READING ASSIGNMENT Have read Simpson s The Meaning of Evolution, Sagan s Pale Blue Dot, Richard Fortey s Life, and Hardin s The Tragedy of the Commons, in Modern Science Writing. CLASS We will go over the readings and discuss them. FRI. CLASS We will watch a short film: The Story of Stuff. WRITING ASSIGNMENT 16 Take 10 essays from Modern Science Writing that we have not read in class and write one sentence for each telling what you most liked or admired in the essay. Turn this in on one sheet of paper.

MON. CLASS We will have the presentations on Project 4. WED.

17 CLASS We will have the presentations on Project 4. FRI. CLASS WRITING ASSIGNMENT 17 Bring in a one-page essay typed-double-spaced in which you assess what you have learned and gained from the class. In addition, you must post it to the blog. This will be the Final.
David Williams © David Williams bio at