In Biology of Dinosaurs, a course taught through the School of Science, Mathematics, Technology & Health at The Master’s University, students have the unique opportunity to learn about these ancient vertebrates from TMU’s resident dinosaur expert.
Dr. Matthew McLain, associate professor of biological science and geoscience, has taught the course since 2016 and currently offers it every other year. Students learn how to answer diverse misconceptions and evolutionary perspectives on dinosaurs, as well as the all-important question: How can Christians think about such ideas both scholastically and biblically?
Non-science majors need not fear that the class will be too technical for them. Biology of Dinosaurs is intentionally structured to be accessible not only to biology students, but anyone who simply has a personal interest in the topic.
McLain, a vertebrate paleontologist whose primary areas of research include dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and phytosaurs, is passionate about bringing creation science to the average person. The structure of the course reflects his desire to incorporate students from a variety of educational backgrounds.
“There are some quizzes and exams,” he says, “but most of the class is focused on exposing people to science unto the glory of God as it’s displayed in these creatures.”
A large portion of the syllabus is devoted to explaining foundational material on Earth history, the fossil record, and competing origin models. As with all faculty at TMU, however, McLain affirms and teaches a literal six-day creation that guides his understanding of the past.
Biblically-accurate information about dinosaurs is sometimes lacking, according to McLain, making it important for believers to handle such topics with skill. McLain believes the course may be especially valuable for teacher education majors, students interested in future ministry, and anyone intending to work with children.
“If you’re going to be teaching elementary school kids,” he says, “it’s a great way to connect with them, because kids love dinosaurs.”
Exciting plans for the course are in development: Future students may be learning from McLain’s very own textbook, which he is currently working on, or going on a class trip to experience a dinosaur dig.
McLain says, “I always challenge students coming here, ‘Look, yes, you need to graduate. Yes, you need a job. But take some time also to investigate things you think would be cool to get a better understanding of.’ And this is a great class for that.”
For more information about TMU’s biological science program, click here.
Josephine Lee is a senior at TMU double-majoring in communication and interdisciplinary studies.
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