Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal,
To establish a temporal boundary for the game, all sessions open with a rousing rendition of "God Save the Queen."
God save our gracious Queen,
The process of the game will include a combination of group decision points and individual goals. In order to qualify as a voting member of this Royal Society Council, each student must receive a score of at least 80% on a brief pre-game quiz based our annotated abridgement of "The Origin of Species". Once a student has qualified to play in the game, he/she will be assigned a role. Roles fall into three categories. The “A-men” are an anti-Darwin/ pro-natural theology faction. They include Edward Sabine (President of the RS), Richard Owen, and influential bishop and two composite fictional members. The “X-men” are members of the the X Club which formed in opposition to the religiously conservative signers of the “Declaration of Students of the Natural and Physical Sciences.” The X-Club holds a more “Naturalistic” position and includes Thomas Henry Huxley, Joseph Dalton Hooker, a Chaplain, and two composite fictional members. The third group of players, the Indeterminates, do not have an immediate or obvious position on Darwin's receiving the Copley Medal, but do have positions on one or more other issues of the time. They may be persuaded to join either side of the Copley Medal debate, but they have victory goals that are independent of that vote.
Play comprises of general sessions of the Royal Society and meetings of the executive Council. Both will be presided over by Edward Sabine. Anyone wishing to place an item on the agenda will need the prior approval of the secretary, one of which represents each faction. The secretaries may choose which items to include. Items may include resolutions, position papers, and other business pertaining to factional or individual victory conditions. (Note: The Gamemaster reserves the right to intercede in setting the agenda in the interest of insuring the progress of the game.)
In the penultimate meeting of the game, members of the RS Council will nominate candidates for Copley Medal. The final meeting will consist of supporting presentations and debate, and will terminate with a vote for the recipient of the Copley Medal.
As they engage in the game, students will utilize a combination of primary and secondary sources to familiarize themselves with the various positions on these issues. An edited selection from the Origin of Species will introduce students to Darwin's scientific method as well as his fundamental arguments. Students will also read edited selections from published reviews of the Origin (probably those written by Samuel Wilberforce, Joseph Hooker, Richard Owen, and Thomas H. Huxley) to gain an understanding of the responses of Darwin's contemporaries.
Selections from the Darwin Correspondence will demonstrate Darwin's complex relationships with his fellow members of the Royal Society and his friends and neighbors. a selection from William Paley's Natural Theology sets out the prevailing theological understanding of science. John Lubbock's “On Tact,” will be useful to provide students with a guide to appropriate behavior for the time.
Secondary sources, including our narrative, will provide background information and historical perspective on the events surrounding the RS debates.
All students will be required to complete two formal papers in the course of the game (see individual role sheets for specific assignments). Some student's will be required to make a formal presentation before a General Session of the Royal Society. Students will be expected to maintain written correspondence with other players. Some of that correspondence will be public during the game. Private correspondence about the game will be collected as a part of the student's written grade. All students will be expected to make at least one oral presentation during the game.
Edward Sabine, President of Royal Society and Royal Society Council
Richard Owen, anatomist, FRS
1 or 2 additional faction members
Thomas Huxley, “Darwin's Bulldog”, FRS
Joseph Hooker, “Darwin's Confidante”, FRS
1 or 2 additional faction members
Other characters will have individual agendas but will not hold fixed positions on the question of the Copley Medal. Characters include two philosophers of science, an ethnologist and an anthropologist, a paleontologist, an astronomer, a civil engineer, a mathematician, a minerologist, a chemist, a geologist, and an historian.