HONR 210-01A: SPRING 2004


INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Henry Jakubowski


  1. The Ascent of Science.  Brian L. Silver.  Oxford University Press, 1998
  2. The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine, 2nd Ed. Ted Kaptchuk, Contemporary Books, 2000
  3. The Miracle of Mindfulness.Thich Nhat Hanh, Beacon Press 
  4. Web materials (password protected with network usrname and password)
    NOTE:  when prompted for usrname and password, use the following for your usrname:  ad\username     Do not use: ad/username
    The password is your network password.  One some computers, you will be prompted for the domain name.  If so, put in ad     In this circumstance, you don't need to put the ad\in your username.
  5. Reprints/books from various sources on reserve at Clemens Library

TIME/PLACE: 9:40 AM-10:50 AM; Days 2-4-6. MURR 03

LAB: Some day 2's, 8:00 - 9:30 AM; ASC 202 (announced in class)


OFFICE HOURS: 1:00 - 2:00 pm, Days 1, 3, and 6







Tentative Schedule


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is not based on western principles of cause and effect, and not developed through the use of modern scientific methodologies. This is not to say, however, that all Western medical practices are empirically based and scientifically validated.  How did these different ways of thinking between the East and West develop?  In this course, we  will explore how culture (religion, philosophy, economics, law, etc) influences ways of thinking and knowing.  China was much more advanced technologically than the west, with some inventions found as many as a 1000 years before their discovery or borrowing by the West. Yet with this great technological superiority, which must have arisen through experimentation, modern science developed only in the West. The course uses medicine and science to explore why that might be the case. This course has an NS designation, so it must meet the criteria for that designation. For this, students must  learn how scientific ideas arise, and how they are different from other ways of knowing. Therefore we must discuss Western modern science. However, it is not just to satisfy this NS designation that we will discuss science.  Science offers a way to critically think about the world, and a way to make rational decisions about a course of action. All of us are medical consumers. My goal is that the students will not blindly accept the practices of either TCM or modern Western medicine. They must be able to critically analyze their strengths and weaknesses.


A brief summary of the NS Guidelines from Exploring the Human Condition are pertinent (followed by my own parenthetical comments relative to the course):

"Science constitutes a way of investigating the world and a way of understanding our experience and role in it. The required courses in the natural sciences emphasize this quality of science.  The courses will examine how and what natural science teaches about our culture and our involvement in that culture. The core natural sciences courses will vary in content and in emphases, but the following guidelines lay out the focus and directions of the instructors' and students' approach to their content: To satisfy the natural science guidelines, each course should:

1.   Be grounded in the students' experience and be appropriate to the students' level of intellectual development. (Medicine is in your  experience.)

2.    Demonstrate the interactive relationship of science and culture and, where pertinent, should show the influence of gender. (This is a main theme of this course. By exploring Chinese culture - from religion to government to art to philosophy, you will  have the opportunity to step out of your own culture and see intimately how culture does influence what questions we ask of the world and how we answer them.)

3.   Explore the connections among the various natural sciences.  (We discuss the physics of motion and forces, the chemistry of matter, especially drugs, and the biology and chemistry behind medicine.)

4.   Develop the students' capacity for scientific literacy and for exercising responsible citizenship in a scientific and technological society. (By understanding the role of culture, and how it influences us in both transparent and opaque ways, and by studying the history, methodologies, and philosophies of science - from the ideas of Bacon, Descarte, Popper, Kuhn - and how the great thinkers of China influenced China's development, you will develop a way to critically assess the information of your world which is increasingly grounded in science and its application. )

5.   Emphasize the fundamental role in science of observation and experiment and, where possible, should provide a hands-on laboratory experience as part of the class. (We will do labs explicitly involving hypothesis building and testing, along with other labs.)

6.   Show the role of creative imagination, aesthetics, abstract thinking and critical analysis in the methodology of science (Again, by contrasting the great minds of China and the West, and realizing that modern science developed only in the West, we an see the contributions and liabilities to advancement that were laid down by historical people of the past.)

7.   Illustrate the application of scientific concepts to everyday life and their usefulness in understanding common experience. (We will discuss medicine, which is in your experience and innately relevant to your needs.)

To meet these goals (and those for the global flag) as well as study TCM,  this course must be a survey since it covers religion, philosophy, law, government structure, science and medicine over a period of 2000 years in two vastly different cultures. . 

It is in the lab that we will learn the ideas of chemistry and how they relate to medicine.  Given the broad perspective of the course, the lab is in part disconnected from the course.   It is difficult to develop labs that complement such a broad course.   We will do at least two labs on scientific methodology, and another two dealing with history of chemistry (a lab on phlogiston, another on transmutation of elements). Another lab involves the extraction of natural products and testing for antibiotic properties.   


This is an honors course. What does that mean?    An honors course implies to me that students are hard working, very bright, and better able to engage in discussions and articulate their views. They wouldn�t flinch at difficult reading assignments and would do what it would take to get the most out of the course. They would adjust their expectations and behaviors to enable them to derive what they could from the course. Difficult texts should be no problem. Learning lots of content should be no problem. Developing critical thinking skills and not accepting ideas without justification should be their goals. Being able to change their viewpoint in the face of better arguments should be their hallmark.  



  1. to compare and contrast the theories and development of science and medicine  in the East and West.
  2. to describe the basic features of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) including Yin/Yang theory, Five Elements, Theory, systematic correspondences,  the fundamental substances and organs, origins of disease/disharmony, and the bases of treatment.
  3. to describe the basic features of modern biomedicine including the structure and properties of simple molecule like drugs and complex biological molecules like nucleic acids and proteins, the structure of cells, and the role of the Human Genome Project in the future of medicine
  4. to understand the methods of modern medical research and the nature of the placebo effects in health restoration


  1. to understand the bases of scientific inquiry and experimentation, and the concepts of induction, deduction, correlation, causation, and falsifiabilty
  2. to describe how different scientific paradigms arise and change
  3. to understand how historic, religious, philosophical, political, and economic forces shaped the nature of science and medicine in both East and West
  4. to critically analyze the validity of various treatment strategies
  5. to take more personal responsibility for maintenance of your own health
  6. to become aware of and be able to articulate the intellectual and emotional components to one’s decision making processing.

This course should contribute to your critical thinking skills and build your scientific literacy.


At least six labs will be scheduled. Prompt arrival at the lab, and advanced preparation for the lab is required. Only with adequate preparation for the labs can some of them be completed in the allotted time. You will be given details on lab safety and on each laboratory exercise about one week prior to the lab. Failure to complete a lab or labs, without a valid reason, will have the following consequences on the FINAL COURSE GRADE:

1 unexcused absence - not eligible for S/U grading in the course. Each additional unexcused absence will result in a final course grade reduction equivalent to half a grade, e.g., from AB to B. (NOTE: An unexcused lab will result in an F (0 points) grade for that lab. This grade will be averaged in with the student's other lab grades for the semester when calculating the final laboratory grade. The lab grade will contribute 15% toward the final course grade. It is this final course grade which will then be lowered by unexcused absences.) To complete a lab, you must BOTH attend the lab and complete the report.

List of Tentative Labs


Plagiarism is considered an act of academic dishonesty. One act of such dishonesty is committed by students who submit laboratory reports for experiments which they did not do. The Department's policy for handling such acts is as follows:

  1. The grade which the student would have received for the course will be lowered one grade unit (e.g. from BC to CD)
  2. The student will be prohibited from receiving an S/U grade for the course, even though the student may have requested such grading prior to committing plagiarism.
  3. The student will be required to speak with the Dean of his/her respective institution about the offense.


The readings for the course will come from a combinations of articles on reserve, from Web material (password protected)  and from the required books listed above.  Two copies of most of the articles for this course will be held on reserve in each library (Clemens and Alcuin). I suggest that one member of each base group in class be designated as the primary copier for that group. It is the responsibility of that member to make one copy from the main reserve article for that day. The other members of the group can then make one copy each from their group copy. To insure that every reads the material, I will often either require a written summary of the material, or will give a small, possibly unannounced quiz on the assigned material.


We will be doing some group activity each day. Hence attendance each day is important. Most of the group work will result in identical grades for each member of the group. Group grades will often be assigned by grading work from one member of the group, chosen randomly. Nonattendance in class will result in lower grades, or, at my discretion, being asked to withdraw from the class.


I might  make extensive use of Microsoft Outlook or Web software for online conferences during the semester.   Since you all routinely look at your email, this will be a good way to communicate with you outside of class.  For electronic discussions we will use WebCT.   To get to the WebCT webpage for HONR210A, go to the link below for instructions.

WebCT: Logon Instruction

Select Discussions at the bottom of the page, and follow prompts. Select compose a message if you wish to start a discussion thread.   Click Main to see a list of  messages.  Click a specific message or reply to read and post.

In addition, we will be using the Silicon Graphics Workstations in the computer lab, ASC 135 for molecular modeling. Each of you will get a  unix account. Your user name consist of the the first letter of your first name, followed by the first initial of your middle name, followed by the first 6 initials of your last name. For example, the user name of John Fitzgerald Kennedy would be JFKENNED. The initial password for all your accounts is the word greeting. You will be prompted to change this at the initial login.

Finally, I expect you to make use of reliable Internet sources for the class.  Links to the material are available from the course main web page for the course,


I will use the following evaluation methods for the class:

Revise evalutation, 4/28/04



The two exams and final during the semester may be a combination of multiple choice, essay, and may include group components. The times for the exams will be announced in class. Exams will cover both content and process issues.


Quizzes will be held periodically to ensure that you are prepared for class and have read the assigned materials.  Homework may include writing a short summary paper and participation in web-based discussion forums.  In class group work may also be submitted.


The group project represents 15% of the total grade for the course - equivalent to a test grade will consist of summarizing and presenting to class a chapter of Ted Kaptchuk's book, "The Web That Has No Weaver".  . Each presentation should be about 35 minutes so we can have two sets of presentations each class. Those not presenting should be prepared to ask questions and should also read each chapter. If you need overheads, please see me in advance.

The presentation should be a summary of what's in the assigned chapter. Try to distill the material to its essence so we get the overall picture. This course is not intended to turn you into experts on TCM (or for that matter, Western medicine either). Prepare a summary outline which you will distribute to everyone before class. (I will make copies for you before class.) Your grade will be determined by:


Details on the final will be available closer to the exam date.


Participation in the course is extremely important.  Evidence of participation includes responding to and initiating discussion in class, asking questions (in or out of class), thoughtfulness of responses, seeking help when you don't understand a concept, etc.  A high level of participation could raise your grade from an AB to an A, for example, if you are close to the cutoff for the higher grade.  Conversely, little participation might lead the to half-step reduction in your grade if you are close to a cutoff..


I reserve the right to change the course and syllabus during the semester to accommodate changes in the course that I deem necessary to improve it.

Last update on 04/28/2004