Biol. 1001 Spring 2008 (B. Fall), Class notes, topic #1—Introduction: life, biology, science.
complete the reading assignment in your text (Freeman, Biological Science, 2
ed.): pp. 1–
read the National Academy of Sciences summary brochure,
Science, Evolution, and
(PDF file on WebVista, class 1; see also section VII. E. below).
1. Become familiar with course structure, policies, and expectations.
2. Become familiar with what science is (and isn’t), and how it is practiced.
3. Distinguish scientific hypotheses from theories, and understand that hypotheses should be testable
4. Appreciate the hierarchical levels at which biology is studied, and understand the concepts of
emergent properties and reductionism.
5. Distinguish proximate and ultimate-level questions in biology.
What is this course about?
(genetic changes that occur in populations over generations; and,
relatedness of species as a consequence of descent, with modification, from a common ancestor)
is the single most unifying concept in biology, and is the underlying course theme—fact (that
evolution has occurred), paths (that evolution has taken), and mechanisms (by which
evolutionary change occurs).
B. The principles of
support and enrich evolutionary theory.
, the study of the relationships of organisms to their biotic (other organisms) and abiotic
(chemical, physical) environment, is a related and intertwined theme.
is the study of life.
How is life defined? Properties include: composed of cells; metabolism;
motion; response to stimuli; homeostasis; growth; reproduction; population structure; hereditary
information; evolution and adaptation.