At the school where I received my Master of Science degree in Applied Physics, the basic undergraduate cost was $61,000 per year. Thankfully I wasn’t an undergrad there! I remember during commencement, I thought to myself as each undergrad crossed the stage to receive their diploma, “another quarter million dollars for academia.”
I could go back and take formal classes to learn more science, but at this point it would only be for indulging in the joys of science, not advancing my occupation in financial management. To me, science is the study of God’s work. If I thought the universe and life were accidents, the product of a random number generator, I’d probably not be interested in studying it any more than studying the outputs of a random number generator.
Because of the internet, one can venture into learning first before making a financial commitment. Two semesters of an organic chem course at a decent chemistry school like James Madison University (JMU) might cost $8,000. If I were to go on to learn physical chemistry, biochemistry, and a little molecular biology…you get the picture.
JMU, though a liberal arts school, has a brutal undergrad chemistry program. Even students that had perfect SAT scores struggled through that program. So how can one make better informed decisions about going back and taking classes? Well, thanks to free online learning, one can learn science with out paying tuition and one can drop out of the program without losing anything or having bad grades on one’s transcript.
For those already with degrees, do you really need to shell out the expense and constraints on your schedule of a formal class? If one is undecided, an alternative is to start studying things online, and then if you think you can hack it in an academic environment, you can always decide later to take it for real. If you do, hopefully you can breeze through the class. The major down side, however, is one does not get lab learning through internet learning.
Because so much of understanding ID involves chemistry, I decided I had to buckle down and learn more chemistry. The landmark ID chemistry book was Mystery of Life’s Origin. It was critically acclaimed by University Chemistry professors around the country involved in Origin of Life research. As I’ve read the book, I decided it is time for IDists to pool their talent and publish updated material. But first, I just wanted to understand the book more clearly.
If I decide to go back and take formal classes, then I think I’ll probably get more out of the classes by self-study prior to taking them. If I find I can’t hack organic chemistry, then I’ve saved myself the cost of tuition.
So here is my cobbled organic chemistry self-study program. For homework and solved solutions I chose:
For a “textbook” I chose:
Virtual Chemistry Online
An excellent general chemistry resource is:
General Chemistry Online
There are some lectures at UC Irvine, but the audio is horrible!
UC Irvine video lectures