Science, Technology, and Human Affairs


Dr. Robert Scott Stewart

Winter Term, 2012


Office & Communication: CC 273, phone: 563-1252. E-mail:

Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays 1-3:30; by appointment, or drop by.

Readings : Readings are all on the course web page at

Assignments: Each term’s grade will count for 50% of your final grade. The grade for the fall term will be determined by three tests, all of which will count equally for your term grade:

Test 1:                                     Tuesday, February 27

Test 2:                                      Tuesday, March 27    

Essay assignment                      Tuesday, April 3  ESSAY ASSIGNMENT

The test will typically consist of some combination of objective questions (fill in the blanks, etc.), short essays (of a paragraph or two) and long essays (between 4 & 5 pages). To help you prepare for the long essay on tests and the exam, I’ll provide you with study questions in advance.


As you may have noticed, there is no grade for 'class participation' (nor is class attendance required in this course). You should not infer from this either that such participation is unimportant, or that you will have little or no opportunity to participate -- either by comments or questions -- during class time. Indeed, past experience has shown: (1) you will enjoy the course much more if you come to class regularly and participate while there, and (2) your grade will be higher if you do so.




 (1) For some, this can be a conceptually difficult course. If I have covered something in class, or in your reading, that you do not understand, ask a question in class and/or come to see me: do not let things slide by.

(2) Make up tests will be given only under special circumstances and with my prior knowledge. If you must miss a test, for a legitimate reason, at the very least, you must leave a voice or e-mail message with me prior to the test and be prepared to provide written documentation (e.g., a doctor’s note) before writing a make-up assignment.

(3) Writing skills are an important part of any course in University. Therefore, the grades for your examinations and for your assignments will take account both of the ideas you present and the manner in which you present your ideas, i.e., you will be graded on both content and form.  Unfortunately, some of you may suffer from reading and writing problems. There are services on campus to help you overcome this, specifically, the Writing Centre. Make use of these services.

(4) There will be NO supplementary examination(s) in this course.

(5) Please make yourself aware of CBU’s policies regarding various forms of academic dishonestly by reading the relevant sections of the CBU calendar.

Tentative Course Outline:        

1        Darwin and the Meaning of Life

  Readings : The Theory of Natural Selection  contains all readings below

                  Lamarck and the Theory of the Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics

                  The Blind Watchmaker

                  There’s no Need to Choose Between Evolution and Creation


4        2.      Biology, Psychology and the Question of Freedom

  Readings :             The Science of Sociobiology  (links to this and next article)

                  Behaviorism and Freedom

3.    Science,  Race, Sex, and Behaviour

Readings :        The Case of Phillipe Ruston

Sapolsky, “Genetic Hyping”

Thornhill & Palmer, “Why Men Rape”

Murray & Herrstein, The Bell Curve (excerpts)

National Institutes of Health, “The Bell Curve: A Statement”

Ventner, “We are all virtually identical Twins”

 4.    Science and Patriarchy

  Readings :        Ruth Hubbard, “Science, Facts, and Feminism”

Virginia Held, "Feminism and Epistemology"


7        5.    Research Ethics: The Misuse of Humans in Scientific Experimentation


Readings :       Gregory Pence, “The Tuskegee Study

                        Tri-council Policy Statement, “Ethical conduct for research

                         involving humans” (excerpt)


8        6.    Research Ethics: The Use and/or Abuse of Non-human Animals in Research


Readings :       Peter Singer, “The Morality of Experimenting with Animals

                        Richard Smith, “Animal Research: The Need for a Middle Ground”


9        7.    Reconstructing Humans: Science, Depression, and Happiness


Readings :       

Kramer, “Makeover” from Listening to Prozac

Elliott,  The Tyranny of Happiness

Stewart, “Hacking the Blues...


10    8.    Reconstructing Humans: Surgical 'Beauty' and  & 'mutilation'


Readings :       Little, “Cosmetic Surgery, Suspect Norms,”

Figueroa, “Self Esteem and Cosmetic Surgery”

Wikipedia, “Labiaplasty” at

Martha Nussbaum, “Female Genital Mutilation”

R.S. Stewart, Female Genital Mutilation


2         9.     Reconstructing Humans: Sexuality and Psychopharmacology


Readings:             Stewart, “Sexology: A Brief History

                                Stewart, “Constructing Aberrant Behaviour…”

                                Liz Canner, Orgasm, Inc. (a film)

                                R.S. Stewart, Female orgasm”