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NS 304 Science, Technology, and Society
Espinal, Jack L.

COURSE TITLE: Science, Technology and Society
Home Phone: 703 534-7484 Office Phone: 703 607 7864
DATES OF THE SEMESTER/TERM: 18 October 2004 – 18 December 2004


MISSION STATEMENT: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.
VISION STATEMENT: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The relationship between science, technology, and society. Topics include: the two cultures, the relationship between basic science and technology, the effects of technology on society, and possible future technologies.

FACULTY’S EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY: The instructor’s educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on discussions, readings, lab experiments, observations, quizzes, examinations, video, internet-mail exchange and writings. The instructor will engage each learner in the lively exploration of science and the scientific method, discussions of readings, oral reports/presentations; field trips; videos, and other media that may be deemed appropriate and available. Collaborative learning techniques will be used to analyze and solve problems in small groups. This course presents basic principles of Sciences they relate to everyday experiences. It will help prepare you to make decisions about important environmental, social, and ethical issues that face our society and our small planet. You will learn to use the scientific method in gathering information needed to make those decisions. Together, we will explore the world around us using science as a tool for understanding. Astrology, alien life, fortune telling, visions, and extrasensory perception will be examined from a scientific perspective. The mutual interaction of science and society will be stressed throughout the course. This will provide students with skills needed to extract scientific truth form the world around them and make informed decisions.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Park University continues to strive toward its goals / heritage of educating the total person so that he/she may function effectively as individuals and as members of his/her chosen profession, and local, national, and world community. To that end the following illiteracies are stressed in this course.
Science Literacy
1. Understanding of the nature and role of scientific evidence in the pursuit of knowledge.
2. Recognition of the importance of the scientific method of argument and modeling process.
3. Appreciation of the origins of scientific inquiry and method and seeing their continuing presence in the mutual interaction between human society and its physical environment.
4. Acquisition of tools for successful involvement in scientific pursuits of the scientific community.
Critical Literacy
5. Understanding and mastery of the basic skills in communication, computing, and information management.
6. Recognition of the diversity in the processes and methods of critical thinking and problem solving, and recognition of standards of excellence.
7. Appreciation of the history and variety of approaches for examining and using information, and their technological applications in contemporary life.
8. Acquisition of tools for gathering, retrieving, evaluating, and communicating information and data for various purposes. These tools should include the basic skills in writing, speaking, listening, computing and the use of computers, and problem solving.
Civic Literacy
9. Recognition of the existence of diverse alternative systems and their necessary global relationships.
10. Acquisition of tools for responsible citizenship involvement and for participation in economic and social endeavors.
Values Literacy
11. Understanding of the importance of value concerns in human life, and the ability to distinguish them from factual matters.
12. Recognition of the major ways proposed for resolving value questions, and the ability to evaluate them and use them where appropriate.

1. Explain the scientific method and use it understand the environment and solve problems.
2. Explain the difference between science and non science subjects.
3. Demonstrate how observation and perception impacts science and scientists.
4. Explain the contributions of Nicholas Tesla to modern technology. List his inventions that are still in use today.
5. Students will be able to evaluate evidence of UFOs and alien abductions. They will understand the concept of extraordinary evidence being required for extraordinary claims.
6. Students will be able to explain the issues surrounding diseases like hoof and mouth, anthrax, and mad cow disease on society.
7. Given a health claim, students will be able to research and determine its veracity.
8. Students will be able to explain the science behind electricity, light, and radiation. They will be able to apply these principles to analyze problems facing society.
9. Students will be able to explain how psychics and magicians track their audiences.
10. Students will be able to use logic, skepticism and principles of science to investigate phenomena in the environment.
11. Describe the evidence that will be necessary for a scientists to except a claim of extraterrestrial intelligence.
12. Describe the methodology currently use to search for signs of extra pressure intelligence.
13. Students will be able to explain how science and society interact with each other.
14. Students will demonstrate principles of observation when performing simple science experiments.
15. Students will be able to make a can minute presentation that provides a biography and the contributions to science of and assigned scientist.

COURSE TEXTBOOK: Sagan, Carl. The Demon-Haunted World Science as a Candle in the Dark. Random House, 1995
Writing Style: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA)

ACADEMIC HONESTY: Academic honesty is required of all members of a learning community; hence, the College will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers, and other course assignments. Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from the College.

PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism, the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one's original work, sometimes occurs through carelessness or ignorance. This does not make it less serious, however. Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult their course instructors.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: Instructors are required to keep attendance records and report absences. The instructor may excuse absences for cogent reasons, but missed work must be made up within the term of enrollment. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of “F”. An Incomplete will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student. Reports of F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

LATE SUBMISSION OF COURSE MATERIAL: Late assignments will be accepted only with prior approval. Otherwise, students will receive a score of zero.

ASSESSMENT: Grades will be based upon the following items:

Item Weight
Class Participation 5%
Quizzes & Homework 20%
Video Tape Reviews 20%
Research Project / Presentation 10%
Field Trip & Presentation 15%
Midterm Examination 15%
Final Examination 15%

CLASSROOM RULES OF CONDUCT: Class participation is expected and will form a part of the final grade. Students are expected to come to all classes and be on time. Roll will be checked each class meeting. Students are required to read all assigned material prior to class. Classes missed for legitimate reasons, such as illness, temporary duty, are excusable; however, the student must make up the missed work as follows: written chapter problem solutions/comments must be turned in by e-mail prior the missed class session. Written solutions to problems and discussion subjects covered in class will be prepared and presented to the instructor at an agreed upon date and an additional ten chapter questions will be completed. (a partial failing grade for class participation will be assessed for un-excused absences). Exercises done in class and associated study guides cannot be made up. Students missing class will receive zeros for these assignments. The course web page - - contains electronic copies of many of the exercises and practice sets used in class. Browse the web page to see what is there.

DISABILITY GUIDELINES: Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University’s policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University’s policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page:

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Students are required to read all assigned material prior to class and be prepared to discuss them and apply them to problem solving situations presented in class. Assigned problems and chapter questions will be completed before the beginning of class. Discussion of chapter questions and assigned problems will be the basis of the class participation grade. Students will research an instructor-approved subject and make an oral presentation on that subject to the class. Students will make an oral group presentation to the class after the Smithsonian Field Trip

Date Reading Class Activities Evaluations
October 19, 2004 The Demon-Haunted World
Chapters 1 & 2 Scientific Method & Technology
Science and Hope
The Four Disciplines
Video – Best Mind Since Einstein Quiz
Video Review
October 26, 2004 The Demon-Haunted World,
Chapter 3 & 4 Observation and Perception
Science of Physics
Alien Life
Video: Tesla, and the Master of the Universe Quiz
Video Review
November 2, 2004 The Demon-Haunted World,
Chapter 5, 6, 7 UFOs & Alien Abductions
Science of Chemistry
Research Topic Due
Video: The Brain Eaters Video Review
November 9, 2004 The Demon-Haunted World,
Chapter 10 & 12 Health and Medical Charlatans
The Science of Biology
Video: The Web of Life Mid Term
November 16, 2004 The Demon-Haunted World,
Chapter 14 & 15 Search of Extraterrestrial Intelligence Program (SETI)
Detecting Scientific Fraud
Science & the Media
Perceptions, Presentations
Video: Life Beyond Earth Quiz
Video Review
November 23, 2004 No Class Session
Field Trip on Saturday 4 Dec
November 30, 2004 The Demon-Haunted World,
Chapter 16, 17 & 18, Skepticism and Wonder
Astrology and Astronomy
Video: The World Within Quiz
Video Review
December 4, 2004 Smithsonian Field Trip
10:00AM - 3:00 PM Video Review
December 7, 2004 The Demon-Haunted World,
Chapter 24, 25 Science & Witchcraft Science Education
Earth Science,
Video: Secrets of the Psychics Quiz
Video Review
December 14, 2004 All Previous references Presentations Final Examination

Letter Grades for the course will be calculated as follows:

Percentage Grade
93-100 A
80-92 B
70-79 C
60-69 D
Below 60 or 3 un-excused absences F

MAKING UP A MISSED FINAL EXAM: Only extraordinary circumstances warrant a student's being allowed to make up a missed final examination. It is the student's responsibility to contact the instructor before the scheduled exam or by the end of the first working day after the day of the missed exam to request permission to take a make-up exam. In the process of determining whether a make-up exam should be allowed, the burden of proof is on the student. The instructor has the right to request verification of any excuse offered by the student. The student who is denied permission to take a make-up exam may appeal immediately to the Academic Director or Resident Center Administrator. The appeal must be made by the end of the first working day after the day of the denial. The appeal will be forwarded immediately to the Assistant Vice President for Extended Learning whose decision will be final.

Feynman Richard P. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out. Perseus Books, 1999
Nickell, Joe. The Outer Edge. CSICOP, 1996
Ronan, Colin. Science Explained. Henry Holt and Company, 1993
Hawking, Stephen W. A Brief History of Time. Bantam Books, 1988
Terzian Yervant. Carl Sagan=s Universe. Cambridge University Press 1997
Filkin, David. Stephen Hawking=s Universe - The Cosmos Explained. Harper Collins, 1997
Resources for Independent Thinking -
CSICOP / Skeptical Inquirer -
The Sagan Society -