Discussions on Evolutionary Biology is a seminar for freshmen that explores the intellectual excitement of evolutionary biology and examines its significance for understanding the world we live in. Weekly readings and roundtable discussions introduce basic facts and principles of evolutionary biology, including both historical perspectives and contemporary issues. Attention is given to popular misconceptions of biological evolution.
Philip T. Spieth is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management who worked with computer models of evolution and studied genetic variation in natural populations of fungi. He joined the faculty of the former Department of Genetics in 1971 and taught population genetics for thirty years at UC Berkeley in both introductory genetics courses and in courses for advanced undergraduates and graduate students and has been a co-author of a general genetics textbook. He created and has taught Discussions on Evolutionary Biology since the inception of the freshman seminar program in the early 1990's. For eleven years he served as director of operations for the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit organization devoted to the teaching of evolutionary biology in public schools.