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Barack Obama is a secret Muslim

Instructions Imagine you are at a family Thanksgiving dinner, and your beloved but somewhat eccentric uncle starts telling you about how his friend saw evidence of Bigfoot on a recent camping trip. You listen politely, show interest, and then let the conversation naturally move on to something else without raising objections to the possible existence of Bigfoot. Suppose, however, that someone you know keeps insisting to you that a "weird" theory is actually true. How would you counter this person's theory? (I put "weird" in scare quotes to indicate that what one person thinks is weird another person may not. "Weird" here simply means it seems to stand against current scientific knowledge, and you unequivocally disagree with it.) The final project for this course is to write up a short paper entitled: "Here's Why You're Mistaken." In this project, you will examine a "weird" theory that someone you personally know actually believes (whether or not that person is insistent to you about it). Chapter 10 of the textbook discusses how to do this, and we just did something very similar for Chapter 9. In addition, methods from previous chapters, such as fallacies and psychological hindrances, may also be applicable. So, using the full toolbox available in the book, your job for this project is to refute a "weird" theory held by someone you know. If you agree with the theory, don't write about it. Your job is to refute the theory--to demonstrate that it is wrong. Here are some possible candidates (feel free to choose something else but don't select the same topic you chose for the Chapter 9 discussion): Barack Obama is a secret Muslim Childhood vaccines are harmful Bigfoot exists (or fairies, or the Loch Ness Monster, or ghosts, or alien UFOs) Astronomical bodies affect our lives in predictable ways (astrology) Our fates can be divined through palm reading (or some other kind of divination) Making supplications to a deity can change events in the world (praying) Magnetic bracelets can improve health (or some other medical remedy) Telepathy (or other forms of ESP) People are reincarnated after death (or people go to a fabulous spiritual realm after death) The full moon makes people loony 9/11 was a conspiracy (or some other conspiracy theory) The world was created by God in seven days (or any other religious origin theory) People can communicate with the dead A cabal of elite intellectuals controls the world economy Step 1: Interview the person (a competent adult) who believes the "weird" theory to collect as much information as you can about this person's reasons and evidence. You may draw from other sources to supplement this person's argument. If you use other sources, cite the sources. Step 2: Go back through the textbook, especially chapters 9 and 10, to remind yourself how to evaluate theories and arguments. Remember that although evidence is important, it is not the only significant factor in determining belief. Further, consider other chapters, especially sections about fallacies (like appeal to authority), the reliability of eyewitness accounts, and psychological hindrances to looking at all the evidence. Step 3: Address the paper to the person you know. Now, use what you have learned in the textbook to construct a convincing argument that demonstrates to this person the flaws of his/her theory. Begin by stating the person's theory in a succinct but detailed way. Then explain the flaws. You may have to include an argument in favor of a better theory. Because you are addressing your paper to a person who has not taken this course, you may also have to explain technical terminology that you use from our book. These instructions are minimal because this is your chance to use your own judgment in deciding which of the ideas in this course are most relevant to a particular case--just like you'll have to do when thinking critically outside of this course. Write approximately 750 words in all (that's about three double-spaced pages of 12-pt. font and 1-inch margins). It's okay to go longer if necessary. It is not part of the assignment to actually give your essay to the person you address it to. If you are unable to interview someone who holds a "weird" theory, contact me for an alternative assignment. This assignment is worth a bit more than all of the graded work for one chapter, so don't take it lightly. It's your chance to show off your critical thinking chops! Chapter 10 discusses how to judge weird theories starting on p. 392. Grading: A full score will be given for correctly using at least three different methods of refuting the weird theory. Merely providing counterevidence or showing that some piece of evidence is false, does not count as a method of refutation. Such an approach must be embedded in one of the methods explained in the book. If you use the TEST method, that will count as three different methods, but remember that the TEST method if for testing two or more theories, not just one (read pages 350 and 351 carefully). Examples of how to use the TEST method can be found on pages 352-356 and 397-409. If you use the TEST method, you need not use all of the criteria of adequacy--just those that you think are most relevant. State the weird theory and why this person beleives it: 25% Refutation method 1: 25% Refutation method 2: 25% Refutation method 3: 25%
Instructions Imagine you are at a family Thanksgiving dinner, and your beloved but somewhat eccentric uncle starts telling you about how his friend saw evidence of Bigfoot on a recent camping trip. You listen politely, show interest, and then let the conversation naturally move on to something else without raising objections to the possible existence of Bigfoot.
Assignment ID
466539
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CREATED ON
9 April 2018
COMPLETED ON
10 April 2018
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$30
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