1. Oh Please  

    The debate should be if Barnard's implementation of its science requirements meets its intended goals.

    Everybody needs science. Arguing against science is stupid.

  2. lolol  

    women have less scientific aptitude. true story.

    let's not even get into the whole barnard thing.

  3. barnard  

    is so far beyond science.

  4. the  

    real question should be, "does science need barnard?"

  5. The lecture

    ... isn't about whether Barnard needs science or not; it is about whether the requirement needs to really be two semesters.

    • Damn Misleading Advertising  

      Also, if it's gonna be a one semester science requirement, it better require calculus, none of that Physics for Poets crap.

      • a few issues with your point  

        1) physics for poets already doesn't fulfill the requirement. that being said, it's a good class for people who have no purpose for calculus but want to know more about the natural world.
        2) science doesn't necessarily require calculus. you don't need it for the intro levels of biology, or environmental science.
        3) calculus sucks and a lot of people who feel forced to learn it will never use it. (english majors, political science major, etc.)

        just sayin.

        • Calculus  

          I don't get why people hate calculus. It should be required, just as everyone in the college is forced to learn about Homer and Plato and etc, even though they'll only use it at cocktail parties.

  6. Barnard

    needs science. This is ridiculous. I go to Barnard and am a science major and have never once bitched about any of the non-science requirements. If you didn't want a set of requirements that will help to make you a well-rounded person, then you shouldn't go to a school with requirements. And yes, it does need to be two semesters. It also needs to include a lab, because labs are how you apply what you've learned. You won't remember what was on a bio exam 2 weeks after you take it, but you'll remember a dissection lab years later. In order to be a useful individual, you should know a decent amount about some sort of science. I know that I need to take some sort of literature requirement, and despite the fact that I'm not particularly looking forward to it, I know it's important. Just PDF it if you hate it--Barnard is so liberal about PDFing.

  7. Malibu Stacy  

    I wish they taught shopping in school. Thinking too much gives you wrinkles. Now let's forget our troubles with a big bowl of strawberry ice cream!

  8. the  

    more important thing to be teaching isn't this idea of "science". yes, i can learn biology or chemistry and learn different mechanisms of those fields. however, I feel the more important point is learning how to actually implement the scientific process of hypothesis, testing, and verification - something that is taught poorly even within the engineering school. yes you can think up and reason these fanciful ideas, but figuring out methods of quantitatively verifying them is just as important a skill that is too often marginalized

    • biology major  

      Unfortunately, that kind of "scientific processes are more important than the specifics" approach leads to problems like that utter debacle of a class known to CC students as "Frontiers of Science." I genuinely feel bad for all the humanities majors even marginally interested in becoming more scientifically literate (but aren't about to dive into the life-stealing realm of science department classes), because Columbia does an incredibly poor job of catering to these students.

      There must be a way to make science interesting, relevant and accessible to non-science majors. Not in the schizophrenic, dull, dumbed-down way that Frontiers does it, but in a way that shows how important these ideas really are in understanding our world. Why would you teach a bunch of uninterested English majors quantum mechanics (like they did in my year)? What good will that do besides confusing everyone completely with something that has little to no importance in the daily lives of most people?

      The goal should be to give everyone enough knowledge to develop a critical eye that will allow them to make intelligent judgments about the science related issues about our day. Just look at the politicians who vote on things like environmental, genetic testing, and health issues with only a vague and foggy idea of what they're even voting on at all, let alone the implications of their votes.

      Most of my science major friends got a lot out of their humanities requirements, but the reverse does not seem to apply. Why make "science" a dirty word, one that strikes fear into the hearts of the calculator-phobic.

      Instead of Frontiers + two random "science classes", I think a year-long interdisciplinary required class would be far better. My idea combines literature, history, current events, and scientific concepts linked in a cohesive, interesting way. Read excerpts from Darwin, Lamarck, Genesis, and transcripts of the Scopes "Monkey Trial" and trace the development of evolutionary thought. From there, discuss implications of the newest archeological hominid finds and what that says about the human lineage. Learn about the beginning of genetics, from the pea pod experiments to the discovery of the double helix to modern day concerns about genetic engineering. What does that even mean? Should we be afraid? Read from Copernicus and Kepler. Take a trip to The Natural History Museum.

      How feasible something like that is, I have no idea. Just my take.

      • My hero(ine?)  

        You beat to saying this, and better than I could have said it myself. If you were plug-compatible, I would propose conjugation on the spot.

        Seriously, though, you should tell this to someone on the Core committee.

  9. I agree

    Suck it up. Take the classes. Don't let that scary bio teacher from high school keep you from ever enjoying science. Take the 1000 level bio class at Barnard, PDF it and you will barely have to exert your brain. As for "all that time" that the lab blocks take up, science majors have that x 10,000. And intro bio labs rarely last more than 2 hours. I've had discussion sections for humanities courses that are longer than that.

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