The Great Courses: History of Science

11 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 4,117 ratings

The Theory of Evolution: A History of Controversy Publisher's Summary

Charles Darwin's theory of organic evolution - the idea that life on earth is the product of purely natural causes, not the hand of God - set off shock waves that continue to reverberate through Western society, and especially the United States. What makes evolution such a profoundly provocative concept, so convincing to most scientists, yet so socially and politically divisive? These 12 eye-opening lectures are an examination of the varied elements that so often make this science the object of strong sentiments and heated debate.

Professor Larson leads you through the "evolution" of evolution, with an eye toward enhancing your understanding of the development of the theory itself and the roots of the controversies that surround it. Here, you'll explore pre-Darwinian theories of the origins of life, from Genesis and the ancient Greeks to such 18th- and 19th-century scientists as Georges Cuvier. You'll follow the life and work of Charles Darwin, and the impact of his 1859 masterpiece, On the Origin of Species (the first printing of Origin of Species sold out on the first day).

You'll examine the history of evolutionary science after Darwin-including the "rediscovery" of Gregor Mendel's work on genetic variation and the discovery of Piltdown Man, a fake evolutionary "missing link," in 1912. And you'll trace the history of religious objections to evolution, from those of Darwin's own time to contemporary efforts to teach creation science in American schools. Richly detailed yet accessible to any curious mind, these lectures offer an invaluable perspective on the volatile history of what is arguably the single most significant idea of modern times.

©2002 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2002 The Great Courses
Show More Show Less
    • The Theory of Evolution: A History of Controversy

    • By: Edward J. Larson, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Edward J. Larson
    • Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 218
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 192
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 190

    Charles Darwin's theory of organic evolution-the idea that life on earth is the product of purely natural causes, not the hand of God-set off shock waves that continue to reverberate through Western society, and especially the United States. What makes evolution such a profoundly provocative concept, so convincing to most scientists, yet so socially and politically divisive? These 12 eye-opening lectures are an examination of the varied elements that so often make this science the object of strong sentiments and heated debate.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Little mistakes here and there

    • By Daniel on 06-21-16

    Regular price: $14.95

    • Great Scientific Ideas That Changed the World

    • By: Steven L. Goldman, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Steven L. Goldman
    • Length: 17 hrs and 56 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 145
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 133
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 131

    What is the greatest scientific idea of all?Because science has so dramatically altered how we live and how we think about ourselves, the answer may well be the very idea of science itself, because-just like science's most important achievements-it, too, needed to be thought about, perfected, and invented.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Absorbing

    • By Neil Brightwell on 05-11-15

    Regular price: $41.95

    • History of Science: Antiquity to 1700

    • By: The Great Courses, Lawrence M. Principe
    • Narrated by: Lawrence M. Principe
    • Length: 18 hrs and 31 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 200
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 178
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 178

    For well over 2,000 years, much of our fundamental "desire to know" has focused on science. Our commitment to science and technology has been so profound that these stand as probably the most powerful influences on human culture. To truly understand our Western heritage, our contemporary society, and ourselves as individuals, we need to know what science is and how it developed. In this 36-lecture series, one of science's most acclaimed teachers takes you through science's complex evolution of thought and discovery.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Heavy on Theology

    • By Martin Yamane on 03-13-15

    Regular price: $41.95

    • The History of Science: 1700-1900

    • By: Frederick Gregory, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Frederick Gregory
    • Length: 18 hrs and 17 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 326
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 289
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 290

    The scientific theories that were first discovered and made public in the years 1700-1900 are some of the most pivotal in history. Landmark theories of planetary motion, the workings of nature, and the speed of light were all ideas that took the world by storm. Now you can share in that story of discovery in a series of 36 lectures designed to give you a rock-solid understanding of the great discoveries of Newton, Darwin, Franklin, Pasteur, and so many others.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • My dream school would use these

    • By Juha on 06-22-14

    Regular price: $41.95

    • Science in the Twentieth Century: A Social-Intellectual Survey

    • By: Steven L. Goldman, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Steven L. Goldman
    • Length: 17 hrs and 44 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 164
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 150
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 147

    In this fascinating 36-lecture exploration of scientific growth filled with ideas, anecdotes, and insights. You'll see how 20th-century scientists have built on crucial 19th-century concepts such as energy, natural selection, atoms, fields, and waves to assemble a body of knowledge to stun even the most farsighted scientific thinkers of that not-too-distant past.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Another great course from Goldman

    • By Christian Zagarskas on 03-30-16

    Regular price: $41.95

    • Science Wars: What Scientists Know and How They Know It

    • By: Steven L. Goldman, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Steven L. Goldman
    • Length: 12 hrs and 23 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 257
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 227
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 225

    Choose one: (A) Science gives us objective knowledge of an independently existing reality.... or (B) Scientific knowledge is always provisional and tells us nothing that is universal, necessary, or certain about the world.Made your choice? Welcome to the science wars. This long-running battle over the status of scientific knowledge began in ancient Greece, raged furiously among scientists, social scientists, and humanists during the 1990s, and has reemerged in today's conflict between science and religion over issues like evolution.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Emancipation from what you think you don't know

    • By Larry on 08-08-13

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Philosophy of Science

    • By: Jeffrey L. Kasser, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Jeffrey L. Kasser
    • Length: 18 hrs and 17 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 248
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 228
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 224

    What makes science science? Why is science so successful? How do we distinguish science from pseudoscience? This exciting inquiry into the vigorous debate over the nature of science covers important philosophers such as Karl Popper, W. V. Quine, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend, Imre Lakatos, Carl Hempel, Nelson Goodman, and Bas van Fraassen.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Wonderful series

    • By Claire C McLauchin on 06-24-15

    Regular price: $41.95

    • 12 Essential Scientific Concepts

    • By: The Great Courses, Indre Viskontas
    • Narrated by: Indre Viskontas
    • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 503
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 433
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 430

    Science is such a vast arena of knowledge that people looking for a better grasp of its secrets often wonder where to begin. The answer: with the essentials. Now, finally satisfy your desire for scientific inquiry in a way that makes this enormous field accessible, understandable, and undeniably captivating.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Excellent overview of major science concepts

    • By Tanglebones on 03-24-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Origin and Evolution of Earth

    • From the Big Bang to the Future of Human Existence
    • By: Robert M. Hazen, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert M. Hazen
    • Length: 25 hrs and 15 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 741
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 666
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 659

    This course chronicles the history of Earth and life on Earth from the point of view of the minerals that made it all happen. A major theme is how minerals and life coevolved, leading to the unprecedented mineral diversity on our world compared to the other planets in the solar system. Professor Hazen tells this epic story in 48 action-packed lectures that take you from the big bang to the formation of the solar system to the major milestones that marked the evolution of Earth and life.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Utterly Fantastic

    • By Blokoe_Geo on 05-01-14

    Regular price: $52.95

    • 36 Big Ideas

    • By: The Great Courses, Bart D. Ehrman, Daniel W. Drezner, and others
    • Narrated by: Bart D. Ehrman, Daniel W. Drezner, David Sadava, and others
    • Length: 18 hrs and 41 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 136
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 116
    • Story
      3.5 out of 5 stars 113

    The Great Courses has produced thousands of lectures that have introduced millions of lifelong learners to some of the biggest and most fascinating ideas that humans have ever thought. Now, enjoy 36 lectures specially curated from some of our most popular courses and get an interesting learning experience across a wide range of disciplines.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • 36 Random Ideas

    • By David on 05-19-15

    Regular price: $41.95

    • Forensic History: Crimes, Frauds, and Scandals

    • By: Elizabeth A. Murray, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Elizabeth A. Murray
    • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 1,179
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,047
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 1,047

    Modern history is filled with terrible crimes, baffling hoaxes, and seedy scandals. The infamous Jack the Ripper slayings. The alleged survival of Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of the murdered Tsar. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's public fall from grace. The Chicago Tylenol poisonings and the copycat crimes that followed.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • History of tabloid crimes - very little science

    • By Jouko on 05-29-15

    Regular price: $34.95