Previous Courses – Why Does Evolution Matter? (2020-21)

Why Does Evolution Matter? (2020-21)

Welcome to our “Why Does Evolution Matter? page from our 2020/21 programme. This course has now finished, but you can access the articles, videos and podcasts associated with each class below.

Click through our Course Introduction below, or alternatively download it as a transcript here


Biology & Darwinian Evolution – Class 1:

Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Geography, Medicine

Click Here to Read the Class Description

In our first class of the year, we will begin by looking at evolution from the traditional Darwinian perspective. We’ll discuss what is meant by the terms ‘evolution’ and ‘natural selection’, and look at how these processes can be observed in genetics, viruses, humans and other mammals. We will also consider fossil records as a means to trace evolutionary developments from long ago in the Earth’s history.
You’ll have the chance to consider these topics in your own competition entries—and remember, top entries have the chance to win prizes!

Keep in mind you are not expected to read every class cover to cover: we’ve provided lots of links to further reading and extra material, but you are welcome to focus on what is most interesting to you!


Evolution as a Metaphor – Class 2:

Subjects covered: English, History of Art, Linguistics, Literature, Modern Languages

Click Here to Read the Class Description

In the previous class, we learned about evolution as a driver of biological change. But other kinds of change function in quite similar ways, and today we will use the metaphor of evolution to consider changes in human communication over time. We will look at how English has evolved over the past several centuries, and how it is still
evolving today in our increasingly digital world. We will also consider how books and novels have evolved through different formats, styles and practices that reflect the societies producing them.


You’ll have the chance to consider these topics in your own competition entries—and remember, top entries have the chance to win prizes!


Keep in mind you are not expected to read every class cover to cover: we’ve provided lots of links to further reading and extra material, but you are welcome to focus on what is most interesting to you.


Evolution, Science & Technology – Class 3:

Subjects covered: Computer Science, Engineering, Maths,
Medicine, Physics, Psychology

Click Here to Read the Class Description

In the past two classes, we have looked at evolution in the past, but now it’s time to turn to the future: this class is all about evolution in science and technology. We will look at the evolution of flying and airplanes, brain development and artificial intelligence, and
the evolution of consciousness itself. In this class, we will take what we have learned about how evolution works and apply it to subjects in the sciences to see where we might be going as well as where we have come from. You’ll have the chance to consider these topics in your own competition entries—and remember, top entries have the chance to
win prizes!


Keep in mind you are not expected to read every class cover to cover: we’ve provided lots of links to further reading and extra material, but you are welcome to focus on what is most interesting to you!


Culture & History Through the Lens of Evolution – Class 4:

Subjects covered: Classics, Economics, History, Music, Philosophy, Poetry, Theology

Click Here to Read the Class Description

For our final class of the year, we examine culture and history through the lens of evolution. We will begin by looking at how theories of evolution developed through history, from the ancient Greeks through theologians to Darwin, and we will consider the debate between evolution and creationism. And finally, we will investigate the evolution
of cultural phenomena such as music and poetry, and how we can use these to learn about how human culture has evolved through time.


Keep in mind you are not expected to read every class cover to cover: we’ve provided lots of links to further reading and extra material, but you are welcome to focus on what
is most interesting to you!


Class Competitions & Winning Entries:


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