Fads, Fallacies, and Human Origins
College of Liberal Arts
Pseudoscientific ‘theories’ on supposed mysteries in the ancient and modern worlds have found increased audiences through both the Internet and through other forms of mass media. This course examines such theories with particular reference to the use and misuse of archaeological data to promote sensationalist agendas. Topics will include ancient astronauts and alien technologies, lost continents and races, the ‘first’ Americans, pyramids, cryptozoology (including Bigfoot, the chupacabra, and assorted sea monsters), Forteana and ‘unnatural’ natural phenomena, ancient astronomy, conspiracy theories, archaeology and the occult, archaeology and the Bible, doomsdays and catastrophes, and more. The course will also focus upon differentiating scientific theories from unsupportable assertions and logical fallacies and examine the underlying motives behind the proliferation of ‘fringe’ science, particularly when it is used to promote racist and ethnocentric positions in the present.
Older syllabi may not be applicable to the current semester. Be sure to verify content with the instructor.