Without SGC, I would not be the person I am today. That sounds pretty corny, but it is true. This
program has helped to form my philosophies as an adult, and to hone my knowledge of the way the
world works. I do not think any other course has had such a profound effect on me. This course has
helped me to value logic and science, to be inquisitive and independent, and to use my knowledge to
contribute to a better future. From this course I found a new world view, involving a history deeper than
that of man. I found a discipline based on the pursuit of truth, and the rejection of falsehood.
The colloquia were somewhat hit-or-miss. I really did not like the group projects, since it felt a
lot like busywork, and given the choice between a group project and a lecture, I will choose the lecture.
Most of the lectures were really great, but I found that the ones that were good were fantastic, and the
ones that were boring were a little painful. The beginning of first semester and end of third semester
were especially full of good lectures, and second semester was just a bit dull (perhaps this is because it
was a lot of climatology and geology, or because I was taking a course that taught pretty much the exact
same material at the same time). Three specific lectures come to mind among the others. The
noteworthy lectures are (corresponding to the semester in which they were taught, oldest to newest)
“Surviving Plesiosaurs, Crop Circles, and Ancient Astronauts: The Lure and the Lore of Pseudoscience”,
“Living in a Warmer World: Diseases, Wildlife, and Agriculture”, and “Science - A Shield Against Tyranny”
(titles are from the SGC website).
“The Lure and Lore of Pseudoscience” was a fascinating lecture that was mostly about Nazis and
how they are bad scientists (not really). It had a good mix of “this is what happened” and “this is why it
was wrong” so it was interesting and illustrative (it had some pretty great illustrations, because a story
where Nazis are wrong is always a good story). It also related a lot of the ideas from the book (Don’t
Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking by Thomas Edward Kida) to
historic examples of pseudoscience. It really solidified the idea of pseudoscience in my head, and was a
good lead into the ideas of science.
“Living in a Warmer World” dealt with the intrinsic consequences of global warming. Since it
dealt with climate change as it relates directly with what I am studying (Environmental Science,
specifically wildlife management), I found this lecture particularly meaningful. It was in the semester of
climatology and geology but finally there was a lecture that dealt with something I was actually
interested in (of course, I am concerned with climate change, I just get a little bored with ice and rocks).
It was important to me to see a connection to wildlife management in the midst of all the geology,
particularly with a connection to the future of climate change.
Finally, my favorite lecture: “Science- A Shield Against Tyranny.” Relating science and philosophy
was a pretty great way to end the course. I liked the philosophical discussions of homogenized thought. I
do not get exposed to a lot of philosophy, and am generally a little frightened of it. This lecture really
helped me to discuss it in an environment where I felt comfortable.
The courses supporting the colloquium were pretty non-life-changing, but I did learn some
interesting stuff. GEOG/GEOL/AOSC123 was pretty much an every-day “This is how the world will end in
100/50/10 years” class. That was a fun experience… sarcasm. But it actually taught me to think more
widely and focus on the big picture of the world. Also learning about how Darwin rules in BSCI106.
These classes were both pretty fun, and helped me become more informed about the nature of science.
I didn’t really like the whole “living-learning community” thing, since most of the time I spent
trying to get away from the dorms after I saw a guy projectile vomit, slip in said vomit and get knocked
unconscious (yay college). I did make one lasting relationship with my best friend Austin. I found in him a
person I can connect with both socially and intellectually. I also really appreciated meeting Dr. Merck
and Dr. Holtz, and being able to get to know faculty members. It really helped me learn to interact with
faculty. Being eased into faculty relationships this way helped me interact with my advisor and even my
In the future, I hope to use my experiences to give me confidence with interacting with
supervisors and peers. I hope that the relationship that I have made with Austin will continue to grow
and evolve, and that I will continue to grow in my love for science.