The Scientific Method

Syllabus - Fall 2009

Items of interest:

Older items

Aug 26 W Lecture # 1 Introduction; Start reading Sagan
    28 F Lecture # 2 The Scientific Method; Continue reading Sagan
    31 M Lecture # 3 Induction and Deduction; Magic; Quiz on preface, chapters 1 and 2 of Sagan
Sep 02 W Lecture # 4 Assumptions; Quiz on chapters 3 and 4 of Sagan
    04 F Lecture # 5 Unintended consequences; Homework #1 due by 11:00am
    09 W Lecture # 6 More unintended consequences; Quiz on chapters 5 and 6 of Sagan
    11 F Lecture # 7 Observation and Perception; Homework #2 due by 11:00am
    14 M Lecture # 8 More Observing;Observation results;Quiz on chapters 7 and 8 of Sagan
    16 W Lecture # 9 UFOs, etc.; Memory exercise; Quiz on chapters 9 and 10 of Sagan
    18 F Lecture #10 More UFOs; Midterm paper's title, abstract, and outline due by 11:00am
    21 M Lecture #11 Frank Scully; Quiz on chapters 11 and 12 of Sagan
    23 W Lecture #12 More Scully; Astrology; Quiz on chapters 13 and 14 of Sagan
    25 F Lecture #13 More Astrology; 3-page Book review #1 due by 11:00am
    28 M Lecture #14 Pseudoscience and Evidence; Quiz on chapters 15 and 16 of Sagan
    30 W Lecture #15 Eyewitness Evidence; Quiz on Foreword through chapter 2 of Schick and Vaughn
Oct 02 F Lecture #16 Eyewitness Evidence; Homework #3 due by 11:00am
    05 M Lecture #17 Hoaxes; Quiz on chapter 3 of Schick and Vaughn
    07 W Lecture #18 More Hoaxes; Quiz on They See Dead People, Or Do They?;
    09 F Lecture #19 Two important hoaxes; Midterm paper due by 11:00am;                     
    14 W Lecture #20 Psychics; Quiz on James Randi's One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
    16 F Lecture #21 More psychics
    19 M Lecture #22 Yet more psychics; Quiz on chapter 4 of Schick and Vaughn
    21 W Lecture #23 Cold Reading methods; Quiz on chapter 5 of Schick and Vaughn
    23 F Lecture #24 Modern Scams; Homework #4 due by 11:00am
    26 M Lecture #25 Guest: Agent Paul Ahner, U.S. Secret Service; Quiz on chapter 6 of Schick and Vaughn
    28 W Lecture #26 Peak Oil Production; Quiz on chapter 7 of Schick and Vaughn
    30 F Lecture #27 Guest: Dr. Bob Gregory describes Peak Oil; Homework #5 due by 11:00am
Nov 02 M Lecture #28 Intro to Probability; Quiz on chapter 8 of Schick and Vaughn
    04 W Lecture #29 More Probability; Quiz on foreword through chapter 1 of Shermer
    06 F Lecture #30 Experiment Design; Final paper's title, abstract, and outline due by 11:00am
    09 M Lecture #31 More experiments, with videos; Quiz on chapters 2 and 3 of Shermer
    11 W Lecture #32 Risk Analysis; Quiz on chapters 4 and 5 of Shermer
    13 F Lecture #33 More Risk Analysis; Homework #6 due by 11:00 AM
    16 M Lecture #34 How to Lie with Statistics; Quiz on chapters 6 and 7 of Shermer
    18 W Lecture #35 Guest Speaker: Dr. Pavel Nadolsky on Lysenko; Quiz on chapters 8 and 9 of Shermer
    20 F Lecture #36 Patents; 3-page book review #2 due by 11:00am
    23 M Lecture #37 Threshold Phenomena; Quiz on chapters 10 and 11 of Shermer
    30 M Lecture #38 More Threshold Phenomena; Midterm rewrites due by 11:00am (no exceptions);
Dec 02 W Lecture #39 Dr. Snow and Cholera; Quiz on chapters 12 and 13 of Shermer
    04 F Lecture #40 Alternative Medicine; Quiz on chapters 14 and 15 of Shermer
    07 M Lecture #41 More Alternative Medicine; Final paper due by 11:00am
    09 W Lecture #42 Student Presentations: MMR and Autism; Feingold Diet

Dec 17 T             Final Examination: 11:30pm-2:30pm in 153 Fondren Science

Lecture Topics:

Abstinence Only; AIDS Denial; Alternative Medicine; Assumptions; Astrology; Bermuda Triangle; Cannibalism; Cold Reading; Talking to the Dead; Creationism; Death Penalty; DNA, Art Fraud ; ESP; Second-hand Smoke (ETS); Experiment Design; What is Evidence?; Eyewitness Testimony; Faith Healing; Flat Earth; Global Warming; Hoaxes; Intelligent Design Creationism; Induction and Deduction; Introduction; Law of Unintended Consequences; How to Lie with Statistics; Trofim Lysenko; Modern Art; Observation and Perception; Patents; Peak Oil; Polls; Probability; Recognizing Pseudoscience; Psychics; Conceptions about Risk; Modern Scams; Scams, Frauds, and ID Theft; The Scientific Method; Science and Religion; Shroud of Turin; Skeletons in the Physics Closet; Dr. Snow and Cholera; Barry Marshall and Ulcers; Searching for the Star; Stellar Evolution; Student Presentations; Threshold Phenomena; UFOs; Vaccines do not Cause Autism; They See Dead People, Or Do They?

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