(1 unit in each semester compulsory)
Science holds a pre-eminent place in our culture as an authoritative source of knowledge. Scientists shape our daily activities and controversial scientific issues are constantly in the news: climate change, medical research, genetic engineering, and nuclear energy are just a few examples. But what exactly is this thing called ‘Science’? What do scientists actually do? What makes their knowledge ‘scientific’ and authoritative? What is the relationship between science and religion? And if science shapes our lives, can society, in turn, shape science? This subject sets out to answer these important questions. Students will learn how science works (or is supposed to work), and how science and society interact. This subject is intended to provide an introduction to the history, philosophy and sociology of science to prepare students for the major case study to be undertaken in SCI304—the Darwinian Revolution—in Semester 2.
In light of the introduction to the history and philosophy of science in the first semester, students will have the opportunity to perform a case-study of the complex relationship between science and society. That case-study is the so-called Darwinian Revolution of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Beginning with biological and geological treatises written during the Enlightenment, students move onto an examination of works by pre-Darwinian scholars, including Malthus, Paley and Lyell in order to appreciate the social and intellectual context of Darwin’s work. Subsequently, students study the formulation and reception of Darwin’s Origin of Species, as well as modern debates regarding evolution and creationism. Students learn how religious, social and political values and interests shape the construction, formulation, as well as the acceptance or rejection, of scientific claims. Students witness how scientists must then debate and negotiate with each other, as well as the wider community, about their theories.
This subject provides an introduction to the principles governing biological systems, and how they operate at different levels of organisation. This subject will provide a broad coverage of human biology, with an emphasis upon the interrelatedness of the different body systems, and how they function normally and in various disease states. The subject content includes: an introduction to conceptual models in biology; the chemical level of organisation; cellular and tissue organisation; the integumentary system; the cardiovascular system; the respiratory system, the digestive system, the renal system; musculoskeletal system; nervous system, endocrine system and human reproduction and genetics.
The subsequent study of Human Biology II/SCI306 will complete and build upon this knowledge to provide students with sufficient understanding of human biology to better understand and critically appraise current developments in the biological sciences in relation to human life, health and well-being.
This subject builds upon knowledge and skills attained through the study of Human Biology I, with a focus upon the immune and reproductive systems, human genetics, evolution and ecology. Greater emphasis is given to the critical appraisal of current developments in the biological sciences in relation to human life, health and well-being. Subject content includes: basic microbiology; the immune system; the male and female reproductive systems; basic embryology; genetics; current developments in reproductive and genetic science and their application; mechanisms of disease; basic pharmacology; biological and medical aspects of birth, development, aging and death; and an introduction to critical thinking about evolutionary principles and human ecology.