From the introduction:
Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal, and the Rise of Naturalism evolved from an interdisciplinary freshman honors course which we began teaching in 2002. At that time, we attempted a lecture/discussion course on Charles Darwin and his World, only to find ourselves spending an inordinate amount of time defending the theory of evolution from the criticisms of intelligent design and young earth advocates. Our efforts to encourage students to suspend judgment until they at least understood the basic tenets of the theory met with a rather discouraging rate of failure. Our one surprising success resulted from the unusual final exam, during which our students attended a salon in the role of historical characters from Darwin’s time. When dressed and addressed as nineteenth century intellectuals, these students demonstrated a heretofore hidden ability to speak knowledgably about Darwin and his impact on the world. We had accidentally slipped into the world of Reacting to the Past.
Once we became acquainted with the Reacting to the Past series, we realized that The Origin of Species would admirably serve as a primary text for a reacting game, and that the Royal Society’s three year conflict over granting Darwin the Copley Medal provided an excellent decision point. The richness of the paradigm shifts occurring during the mid-19th Century adds immeasurably to the complexity of the game. Social, political, economic, religious, and scientific changes interact with each other to make this game a challenge for even the most sophisticated students. Because of the complexity of the issues in the game, we strongly suggest that Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal, and the Rise of Naturalism be used as an advanced game. We use the game with freshman students, but only after they have experienced at least one other reacting game.