The UNSW Evolution in the Modern World (BIOS2500) course introduces you to the power of evolutionary thinking and its application to understanding modern life. You’ll explore how evolution shapes the living world, from the flu virus to millions-strong colonies of leaf-cutter ants, and from invertebrates to conscious and highly cultural humans.
Charles Darwin’s insight that evolution happens by natural selection remains, in the words of philosopher Daniel Dennett, “the most important idea anybody ever had.” Unfortunately, only a small proportion of people ever gain more than a superficial understanding of natural selection and how evolution works.
Evolution in the Modern World considers the important perspective that evolution provides on the most difficult and persistent problems that plague 21st century living. These include the COVID-19 pandemic, antibiotic resistance, obesity, overpopulation, income inequality, gender inequity, and the ideological warfare that surround sex and family life.
This course explores the relationships between evolutionary, social, cultural and economic processes. Throughout this course, and long after you graduate, you will recognise and counter common arguments against evolution and learn to address issues that concern society, culture, and their relation to evolution.
Term offering: Term 2
Course attendance: In person
Level: Undergraduate - Second Year
Course code: BIOS2500
Evolution in the Modern World involves a weekly two-hour lecture and two-hour tutorial/practical lesson. In 2020, both lectures and tutorial sessions were delivered online, with check-ins, Q&A discussions and other activities running during assigned class times.
Lectures are active learning events designed to spur discussion and thoughtful interaction in our time together online. Tutorials include discussions, computer game play, and analysing pop culture phenomena such as rap videos.
Major topics covered throughout the course include:
There are no pre-requisites for this course. We encourage students from all faculties and disciplinary backgrounds.
Evolution is the most fundamental idea in all of biology, with relevance to sociology, criminology, economics, psychology, medicine and all manner of other disciplines. This course will make you a more rounded citizen and better able to work with people in different sectors of the economy from your own. This course is general education in its broadest and most useful sense, a chance to enrich your education and see the world in a refreshing new light.
For more information, please contact Rob Brooks.
T: + 61 2 9385 2589