Myth, Reality and the Wonders of Nature

Mark Venable
Day/Time Taught: 
MWF 9:00 – 9:50 am
Course Number: 

People get things wrong, about most everything, all the time. In this course we’ll look at the popular books, videos and research papers to see some great examples of this then get things wrong and how wrong beliefs are perpetuated into myth and superstition. We’ll explore how the scientific method was developed to make us more likely to get things right. Scientific uncertainty will be contrasted with mythological doubt. We will explore the impact of basing society on scientific principles versus myths. We end with how science has methodically uncovered wonderful natural patterns and laws and how these are expressed in the technology, art and literature of daily life.

Instructor Bio: 

Mark Venable grew up exploring the backwoods around High Point, North Carolina and beyond becoming the neighborhood go to guy for anyone who wanted to know what kind of bug that was or if this snake was poisonous.  I attended WCU and majored in Biology but after working for the EPA got turned on to analytical chemistry. I earned my PhD in Biochemistry at Wake Forest U. researching the role of lipids in inflammation then went to apply my skills with cardiovascular disease in Utah and exploring the great American West.  I returned to NC to research the cellular basis for aging at Duke. I came to Appstate where I have studied the role of lipids in mitosis and aging, the use of algae for making oil biofuel and cleaning wastewater and a potential antivenin to snake bite.  I enjoy kayaking and fishing rivers and hiking and running trails, most kinds of music and generally read nonfiction.  I have taught freshman biology, Cell Biology, Biology of Aging, a bioethics course called Current Controversies in Biotechnology.  Science gives people the greatest way ever devised of unveiling the wondrous things in the nature and deeply enriches our lives.

Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Dr. Martha McCaughey

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