The Scientific Method

Syllabus - Fall 2010

Items of interest:

Older items

Aug 23 M Lecture # 1 Introduction; Start reading Browne & Keeley
    25 W Lecture # 2 The Scientific Method; Continue reading Browne & Keeley
    27 F Lecture # 3 Induction and Deduction; Magic; Quiz on preface, chapter 1 of B&K
    30 M Lecture # 4 Assumptions; Quiz on chapter 2 of B&K
Sep  1 W Lecture # 5 What is Pseudoscience?; Quiz on chapter 3 of B&K
     3 F Lecture # 6 What is Evidence?; Homework #1 due by 11:00am
     6 M University holiday
     8 W Lecture # 7 Hoaxes and Fakery; Quiz on chapter 4 of B&K
    10 F Lecture # 8 More Hoaxes; Homework #2 due by 11:00am
    13 M Lecture # 9 UFOs; Quiz on chapter 5 of B&K
    15 W Lecture #10 Preview of "Darwin's Dilemma"; Quiz on chapter 6 of B&K
    17 F Lecture #11 Intelligent Design; Midterm paper's title, abstract, outline, and sources due by 11:00am
    20 M Lecture #12 Guest lecture: Dr. John Wise (SMU Biology) on "Cambrian Explosion"; Quiz on chapter 7 of B&K
    22 W Lecture #13 Guest lecture: Dr. Ron Wetherington (SMU Anthropology) on "PseudoScience at the SBOE"; Quiz on chapter 8 of B&K
    24 F Lecture #14 The Bermuda Triangle; 3-page Book review #1 due by 11:00am
    27 M Lecture #15 Guest Lecture: Pat Van Zandt, Central University Libraries; Quiz on chapter 9 of B&K
    29 W Lecture #16 Probability; Quiz on chapter 10 of B&K
Oct  1 F Lecture #17 More Probability; Homework #3 due by 11:00am
     4 M Lecture #18 How to Lie with Statistics; Quiz on chapter 11 of B&K
     6 W Lecture #19 Experiment Design; Quiz on chapter 12 of B&K
     8 F Lecture #20 Experiment Design; Midterm paper due by 11:00am
    11 M Fall break
    13 W Lecture #21 Astrology; Quiz on chapter 13 of B&K
    15 F Lecture #22 More Astrology; Homework #4 due by 11:00am
    18 M Lecture #23 Threshold Phenomena; Quiz on chapter 14 of B&K
    20 W Lecture #24 More Threshold Phenomena; Quiz on foreword through chapter 2 of Schick and Vaughn
    22 F Lecture #25 Propaganda; Homework #5 due by 11:00am
    25 M Lecture #26 Polling; Quiz on chapter 3 of Schick and Vaughn
    27 W Lecture #27 Scams, Guest Speaker: Agent Paul Ahner, US Secret Service; Quiz on chapter 4 of Schick and Vaughn
    29 F Lecture #28 More on Scams; Quiz on chapter 5 of Schick and Vaughn
Nov  1 M Lecture #29 Peak Oil; Quiz on chapter 6 of Schick and Vaughn
     3 W Lecture #30 Guest Lecture: Peak Oil by Prof. Bob Gregory, SMU Earth Sciences Dept.; Quiz on chapter 7 of Schick and Vaughn
     5 F Lecture #31 Psychics; Final paper's title, abstract, outline, and sources due by 11:00am
     8 M Lecture #32 More Psychics; Quiz on chapter 8 of Schick and Vaughn
    10 W Lecture #33 Talking to the Dead; Quiz on foreword through chapter 2 of Sagan
    12 F Lecture #34 More Talking to the Dead; 3-page book review #2 due by 11:00am
    15 M Lecture #35 Still more talking to the dead; Quiz on chapters 3 and 4 of Sagan
    17 W Lecture #36 Alternative Medicine; Quiz on chapters 5 and 6 of Sagan
    19 F Lecture #37 Alternative Medicine; Midterm paper rewrites due by 11:00am
    22 M Lecture #38 Unintended Consequences; Quiz on chapters 7 and 8 of Sagan
    24 W No classes
    26 F Thanksgiving holiday
    29 M Lecture #39 Observation and Perception; Quiz on chapters 9 and 10 of Sagan
Dec  1 W Lecture #40 Eyewitness Testimony; Homework #6 due by 11:00am
     3 F Lecture #41 Eyewitness Testimony; Final paper due by 11:00am
     6 M Lecture #42 Student Presentations and wrapup

     9 T Final Examination: 08:00-11:00 in 153 Fondren Science

Lecture Topics:

2012; 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; Propaganda; 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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