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Genetics course and popular science


Well, after beating myself up a little about failing to keep up with this course yesterday, I realised that there was only about an hour’s worth of lectures up on Coursera, so I’ve gotten through them today.

This week was about inheritance, including ‘single-gene inheritance‘ (what a lot of people immediately think of when they think of something being genetic) and ‘x-linked inheritance‘.

I’ll try to post a little more about the content of the course, what I find most interesting, and what is being picked up on the forums, over the next few weeks. There is one thing I think it’s worth mentioning now, though.

The course is taking a deliberate, two-speed approach with General and Specialist lectures that allow students to engage (or not) with the nitty gritty of science and statistics as they wish. I suppose that this helps the course fulfil Professor Noor’s broader goal of educating as many US-ians as possible about what ‘evolution is a theory’ actually means. As someone who’s done a fair bit of science before, I’m watching all of the videos, and the Specialist ones aren’t particularly tricky. I’ve not had enough time to engage with the Forums yet (surprise!), but I hope that plenty of people are watching them. ‘Popular science’ is very honourable, but there’s a real risk in making science too basic. This has been notable with programmes such as the BBC’s Horizon, which have become noticeably less scientific in recent years.


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