December 13, 2007

Technology and Machines

Matt Abens
1152W
11-18-07
Analysis Essay #4

Technology and Machines

In this paper I will (X) explain how machines such as Deep Blue have continued to develop over time (Y) by describing how technology and machines have evolved in relation to humans (Z) in order to demonstrate that non-biological, self-aware machines may become a problem in the future if they are not correctly handled. I will first explore how the chess match between Gary Kasparov and Deep Blue was a watershed moment in human history. Then I will discuss the changing relationship between humans and technology in the near and far future. Finally I will explain the necessary ethical standards of creators when they program non-biological, self-aware machines.
Machines vs. Humans
Up until the point when Gary Kasparov was defeated by Deep Blue in 1997, a specialized computer designed by IBM, neither a human nor a machine had ever outsmarted him in a game of chess. The movie Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine classified this as a “watershed moment� in human history because the victory for Deep Blue was a turning point in the role that technology of computing power took versus human brainpower. Kasparov beat every computer that he had ever played before until his match with Deep Blue. In his interview in the movie he stated the computers that played chess were predictable, they played like computers were supposed to play. Kasparov felt that when playing the earlier computers if he changed his style it was almost if he could trick it. But when he was matched up with Deep Blue, it did not play like a computer was supposed to. The computer made moves that he thought only humans could make.
In the popular imagination, chess isn't like a spelling bee or Trivial Pursuit, a competition to see who can hold the most facts in memory and consult them quickly. Chess requires brilliant thinking, supposedly the one feat that would be forever beyond the reach of any computer (Dennett 1). However chess also requires other assets of the human mine that a computer does not contend with because it cannot be bored or embarrassed, or anxious about losing the respect of the other player, and these are aspects of life that human competitors always have to contend with in their games. Human players often try to intimidate or embarrass their human opponents, but against a computer they must play fair and square (Dennett 2). When humans were brought down to the same thinking level as machines by this match they began to question the real significance of this over-hyped chess match. It forced us to ponder just what, if anything, is uniquely human. Humans prefer to believe that something sets us apart from the machines we devise. Nobody knows enough about such characteristics to know if they are truly beyond machines in the long run, but it is nice to think that they are (Dennett 3). The match between Kasparov and Deep Blue didn't settle any great issue, but it certainly exposed the weakness in some widespread opinions. Many people still cling, to a brittle vision of our minds as mysterious immaterial souls, as the products of brains composed of wonder tissue engaged in irreducible noncomputational processes (Dennett 3). A moment such as this defeat, enabled humans to understand the significant tasks that could be assigned to computers and machines that could not be computed using human brainpower.
Human Relationships with Technology
With each passing year technology is accepting a greater role in the daily lives of human beings. Just about every daily task that a person does is either completed or assisted with the use of technological and machine innovations; coffee makers that know when to start making coffee, cars that can parallel park themselves, and mobile phones that double as cameras and music players. Into the future humans relationship with technology is only going to grow stronger as new innovations can do more and more for them. The experiences that seem natural to children today are radically unlike those of 200 years ago. The “normal� home in Western society has expanded to include indoor plumbing, central heating, hot running water, electric lighting, radio, refrigeration, television, and much more. The world that seems natural at our birth has been continually modified (Nye 222). The research and development of new technology makes the daily life of an average American easier and more efficient to the point that it is not recognizable compared to the past.
Humans are always fascinated with the new, hip idea or technology that is constantly being developed. They will love a new product until a new model or better concept comes along and then they will focus their attention on the current popular idea. This shows that the next great technology or innovation is merely a stepping stone to the next one, and the next one after that. An example of this is when Deep Blue beat Kasparov in 1997, by the next year there was and even more powerful computer, and the year after that, another more powerful computer, so the bar continues to be set higher and higher to keep up with changing technologies.
Humans are almost to the point at which they completely depend on technology to complete the most basic tasks for themselves and if these patterns continue, someday all daily tasks will be taken care of by machines and computers. Machines and computers will mow the grass, pick out our clothes for us to wear, do the household chores, and completely drive us to work, along with everything else that is currently done by humans. If the pace that humans are on right now continues, within the next few generations, humans will be completely reliable on technology to survive. If these technologies are made self-aware, who is to say that some day they will not try to control themselves and operate under their own power such as in the movies “Terminator and I-Robot�? Arthur C. Clarke argued that human invention ultimately can only lead to our evolutionary replacement by intelligent machines: “The tool we have invented is our successor….The machine is going to take over� (Nye 224).
Ethical Standards of Programming
Machines and computers have been developed to the point that they can think and act for themselves and also make logical decisions that may be unchangeable. This leaves us with a few questions; what goes into their decision process and do these self-aware machines have a conscience, or feelings, or moral values? A machine cannot feel emotions or know the difference between right and wrong, so it is up to the creator or programmer to program ethical standards into these machines. There should be a set policy that governs the ethical standards that are programmed into self-aware machines, as the creator himself may not be an ethical person and might want to utilize his machine or computer in an immoral fashion.
There are many standards that self-aware machines should contain such as not attempting any unlawful acts, not hurting anyone or any property, being honest, and following directions of whoever is in control of it. Self-aware machines can be programmed to do activities that break the law such as hacking into computer systems to steal information and money to benefit the creator or programmer. When it comes to the point that there are self-aware robots living amongst us, the possibility occurs that they may hurt, rob, and even murder human beings. The robots will be in control of whatever they do based on what they were programmed to do. This is why it is important for programmers and creators to be held responsible to a certain set of standards when setting up self-aware machines.
A system similar to how new products are tested and then released to the public could be set up to monitor newly constructed self-aware machines to verify that they are programmed correctly and to a specific set of standards. This would enable a checks and balances philosphy to enable that programmers are not providing unethical machines to the public for their own benefit. If a machine was found to be programmed against the ethical standards it would not be allowed in public and the programmer could be disciplined. A process such as this would make sure that self-aware machines benefit society in the future instead of creating any unwanted problems.
Self-aware machines will continue to develop at the pace they have since Deep Blue became the first machine to beat a human, Gary Kasparov in a game of chess. Technology is becoming a greater role in the lives of humans with every new innovation that makes life easier and more efficient. There are many problems that may arise in the future if these technological innovations are not monitored and correctly handled to protect humans. The sky is the limit when it comes to the relationship between humans and machines granted they can continue to develop and evolve together in order to achieve the possibility of one day completely living and working amongst each other.


Works Cited

Dennett, Daniel C. “Higher Games.� Technology Review Sept. 2007: 1-4.
Nye, David. Technology Matters: Questions to Live With. London: MIT Press, 2006.
Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine. Dir. Vikram Jayanti. Perf. Garry Kasparov and Marc Ghannoum. THINKFilm, 2003.

December 10, 2007

Significance of Medical and Biological Science

In this paper I will show that (X) the value of medical and biological knowledge is based on it’s accuracy (Y) by exploring how doctors and the media portray advances in medical science (Z) in order to show that the worth of scientists lie in the truth and utility of their theories and findings. First I will describe how many studies conducted by the medical industries are performed unscientifically and inaccurately, which has lead to the public receiving poor information from media outlets and doctors. Next I will present evidence of the media withholding certain information and only broadcasting what they want too, causing lack of information and accuracy in their stories. I will then show how many studies and findings completed by doctors and scientists contradict each other, leading to an unknown truth. These points should be enough to encourage one to think about how medical and biological scientific knowledge is valuable in today’s changing society.
Accuracy of Medical Studies and Findings
Much of the information concluded from medical studies conducted by the health industry turns out to be inaccurate. The general public is then given this information and told it is reliable by doctors and the media who are trying to persuade them to take a certain medication or change their lifestyle. This false information should not be worth anything to people but it is because it is being described as the truth and accurate. Each year a hypothesis that was proven the year before is proved to be wrong. So why wasn’t such a hypothesis proved wrong in the first place so the false information would never have been shared with millions of people looking for answers? The problem is with a common testing process among scientists known as observational testing, such as the Nurses’ Health Survey, in which a scientist observes a subject to attempt to link two events together. Scientists cannot be sure that one event causes another event to occur, they can only hypothesize. This means that the scientist will look at his study results and try to find a conclusion to why he received the results he did (Taubes 4). It is said that for every right hypothesis there is a wrong hypothesis too, so there is a great chance that a scientist’s work is not correct. According to Stephen Pauker, a professor of medicine at Tufts University and a pioneer in the field of clinical decision making, studies are probabilistic statements. They do not tell us what the truth is, but they allow both physicians and patients to “estimate the truth� so they can make informed decisions (Taubes 6). Observational studies conclude that this behavior, whatever it is, prevents disease and saves lives, when all they’re really doing is comparing two different types of people who are, in effect, incomparable (Taubes 11).
The correct and accurate way to conduct a study requires a randomized-controlled trial, known as an experiment, not an observational study (Taubes 4). A randomized-controlled trial is one in which a random sample is chosen and one group is tested with the certain drug or lifestyle and the other group is tested with a placebo or a fake drug that has no effect on the subject. The sample needs to be large enough to show that there is not any coincidence among its results. If a study is conducted in this way there is far less doubt to whether a drug causes a certain result or not. We can tell this because if the placebo group has different results than the experimental group then this means that the testing factor is responsible for the differences.
Experimental studies such as these and the randomized-controlled trials needed to ascertain reliable knowledge about long-term risks and benefits of a drug, lifestyle factor, or aspect of our diet are inordinately expensive and time consuming, because they require direct control over the subjects and the expense of the study. Observational studies are relatively cheap and less time consuming because all that is done is a survey or observation of a group without any direct influence or costs (Taubes 6). Even though experimental studies are more expensive and time consuming than observational studies they should be the main source of information for medical research. A change to a system like that would lead to more accurate and reliable information for the medical industry to use when influencing the public about a drug or lifestyle change.
Media Biased Regarding Medical Science
Media outlets are the prime source of all information that the public receives regarding medical and biological scientific research and results. This means that the media is responsible for what airs and is published and what is not. This is because they cannot share all of the study results or new information, so they pick and choose what they want based on their values and what they believe in, even though the media is supposed to be fair and unbiased in what they share with the public. The media decides to leave certain essential parts of information out when they are reporting that might be necessary to fully grasp the concept. This in turn leads to the argument that the fault is with the press. The problem is not in the research but in the way it is interpreted for the public, as Jerome Kassirer and Marcia Angell, then the editors of The New England Journal of Medicine, explained in a 1994 editorial titled “What Should the Public Believe?� Each study, they explained, is just a “piece of a puzzle� and so the media has to do a better job of communicating the many limitations of any single study and the caveats involved, the foremost, of course, being that an association between two events is not the same as a cause and effect (Taube 6).
Richard Peto, professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Oxford University, thinks that medical research provides such an important perspective on human life and death, but an incredible amount of rubbish is published. By this he means the results of observational studies that appear daily in the news media and often become the basis of public-health recommendations about what we should or should not do to promote our continued good health (Taubes 5). If all of the information of a story is not shared with the public then it can be seen as rubbish.
An example of this is described in the movie The Corporation, when the Fox Broadcasting Company refused to air a story about the negative effects of Posilac on cows and humans. Jane Akre, a reporter out of Tampa Bay, FL planned on airing the investigative report, but Monsanto, the company that produces the drug threatened to sue Fox News if the story ever aired. The Fox Broadcasting Company owned 23 separate stations at the time and they did not want to lose any advertising money if they aired the controversial, but true story, so they agreed to cooperate with the Monsanto lawyers. Today, rich and powerful men control most of our media outlets, and we all know what that has entailed in matters of truth and reality (Ruse 11). This shows that the media is mainly concerned with generating money and enough profits and then secondly they are concerned with sharing the truth. The Monsanto story was rewritten 83 times but never aired and the reporters were eventually fired for not sufficiently altering their story. In this case Fox news thought it would be in their best interest if they never informed the public of this story, even though every American who drank milk was affected by it. The media considers other things when it comes to deciding on what to report than just what the public wants to hear. This causes large amounts of people to be misinformed when it comes to making intelligent decisions regarding their health. This is just one example of how the media can be biased when deciding what to report to the public, and that instances such as this are very common.
Contradiction Among Scientists Research
Many scientists have different findings and results to similar studies conducted by others. An example of this is what makes people gay. There are two main hypotheses to how people end up gay, nature vs. nurture. Some scientists believe that gay people have a certain gene or that part of their brain is designed differently than a heterosexual person and other scientists think that ending up gay is based on the environment that a person grew up in. This leads to the question of who is right and who is wrong, whom should the public believe, and how can we decide on this? As Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist stated, “it is all kind of frustrating that it is still a bunch of hints, that nothing is really as crystal clear as one would like� (Swidey 117).
When a scientist conducts an experiment and discovers some new idea or concept somebody else is then going to attempt the same experiment and try to obtain the same results. If different results show up then the whole concept goes into question and who is telling the truth? The scientist who discovered the idea or the scientist who contradicts the new idea? The media decides this for us, by choosing what to report and what to leave out. Media outlets have the ultimate power to focus on a scientist’s work or to contradict it with another’s opposite work depending on their values. Medical research will always contradict itself when compared to other studies as long as there are differing views among the scientific community. If an experimental result discovers an idea that does not follow along with the believed concepts of another scientist, he will attempt to disprove it, in order to show the public that he is right.
In today’s media outlets, sharing the truth and accurate stories with the public is not their main concern, as they want to make money on top of everything else and then share information without hurting anyone or themselves. The problem with this is that the media is responsible for sharing medical and biological knowledge with the public in an accurate and unbiased manner without dollar signs in their eyes. Scientists need to be counted on to conduct experiments that generate reliable and scientifically stable evidence to support their hypotheses. When the media receives poor information from a scientist’s study, then they are responsible for piecing the puzzle together before they can report it. Most medical experimental results are contradicted by someone who does not agree with them and tries to prove them wrong. Today’s society is always changing and the value of medical and biological knowledge created by scientists is extremely valuable to the general public as long as their findings are reported accurately and honestly. The media outlets need to make a commitment to informing the public of an unbiased and generally truthful depiction of experimental study results and stories that affect their audience.

Works Cited

Ruse, Michael. Mystery of Mysteries. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.
Neil Swidey. “What Makes People Gay?� The Best American Science Writing. Ed.
Atul Gawande. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. 113-128.
Taubes, Gary. “Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy?� New York Times 16
Sept. 2007.
The Corporation. Dir. Jennifer Abbott and Mark Achbar. Perf. Jane Akre, Ray
Anderson, and Maude Barlow. USA, 2003.

December 7, 2007

Is There Another Fuel Source?

Is There Another Fuel Source?
How would 85 cent fuel sound to you compared to the 2.88 per gallon fuel? Wouldn’t you enjoy this cheap fuel? What if I tell you this all could happen just by adding an enzyme to the corn kernel to help convert it easier over to ethanol? Well, Michael Raab, co-founder of Agrivida, is working on perfecting this enzyme so that the U.S. can produce ethanol, an alternative fuel source, more cheaply and efficiently. In this paper I will show (X) how this new technology of inserting an enzyme into corn to produce cheaper ethanol is going to benefit the U.S. (Y) by providing examples and evidence (Z) in order to show that ethanol could replace a good portion of all fuel and to lower fuel prices. I will first explain the process of inserting the enzyme into the corn kernel. Then I will describe and show the benefits of this new process. Last I will show how this new process will affect the use of crude oil and how ethanol can help replace a portion of our fuel dependence.
Getting Started:
The process of getting the enzyme in the corn is rather simple. According to my interview with Michael Raab, they use genetic engineering to design the protein sequence they are looking for and test it (Raab). Once they can verify that they have the right sequence and it works properly, they add the protein to the other genetic elements so the protein can survive in the plant. After all of that is done they insert this new gene into a plant and grow it in a test plot. They then do research to verify the gene survived in the plant and that it works properly and that it is safe to use.
Activating the Enzyme:
The main goal of this enzyme is to make the enzyme non active during the growing season. So far Michael Raab has found an enzyme that is non active during the growing season and still works the way it is suppose to. Right now according to Michael Raab the enzyme can be activated through a change in pH levels and through temperature. So when the corn is harvested in the fall ethanol plants can activate this enzyme by changing the temperature and by changing the pH levels during the fermentation process (Raab). Right now temperature and pH level changes are the only way to produce ethanol cheaply without adding more production costs. If they were to use some other stimuli it would add more cost to the production of ethanol so that is why they are using temperature and pH levels right now.
Making Competition:
Right now corn is one of the main ways to make ethanol. According to Elton Robinson, writer for Farm Press, says, “Currently, corn grain is the primary feedstock for producing ethanol in the United States� (Robinson 6). According to Elton, the main reason corn is the primarily used feedstock is because the enzyme used in the fermentation process is so cheap (Robinson 6). With this new process though, they could insert this gene into other plants to get ethanol and make it just as cheap as they could when using corn. Michael Raab said in our interview, they are working on inserting this gene into other plants such as switchgrass or poplar, but it is only in the testing stage (Raab). According to an article in “Biocycle World,� some of the other ways to produce ethanol is by using switchgrass, agricultural wastes, and biomass (Biocycle World 1). Michael Raab is optimistic and thinks that someday in the long-term these other plants will emerge as energy crops, but he says it is going to take time and the establishment of cellulosic processing facilities (Raab). By inserting this gene into other plants beside corn we can utilize the land by getting ethanol from every region and cut down on transportation costs. So this would make ethanol slightly cheaper yet.
The Problem:
Now what would happen if this enzyme were to activate early while it is growing in the fields? Well the answer is it is not good. If the enzyme were to activate early they would hamper the growth of the corn plant. This activation would cause the corn not to cross breed and fertilize, therefore, barely a crop to harvest in the fall because it will not reach full maturity. This could make farmers second guess planting corn with this enzyme. So this problem will need to be fixed before farmers will be confident enough to plant this corn. According to Michael Raab, he said, “This will be evaluated in field trials before the seed is ever sold� (Raab). So according to his quote, this will give confidence to farmers to plant corn with this enzyme in it. The next problem is we can’t produce enough ethanol to support a complete ethanol market. According to Cornell economist David Pimentel, he says the U.S. would have to devote all the farmland in the U.S. to ethanol production if they wanted to completely replace gas and that is almost impossible (J.M. 2). So according to some there is a slim chance to produce enough ethanol to make it an alternate fuel source. According to Michael Raab, each fall after harvest there is 250,000,000 dry tons of residue left over and they can convert that dry matter into 25 billion gallons of ethanol (Raab). According to Elton Robinson, farmers will have three tons of corn stover per acre left over after harvest, but he also says that they use only half of that stover to produce ethanol (Robinson 10). He also stated that eighty million acres of corn could produce roughly 120 million tons of stover, which can produce between 10 and 11 billion gallons of ethanol and that is not even including the corn kernel (Robinson 10). That is a lot of ethanol, but still not enough to completely replace gasoline. I know from experience of growing up on the farm that all of the stover will not be used for ethanol because farmers who have animals use it for things such as bedding for animals or like I do use them for a feed in the winter. So when they think about using all the corn stover they should subtract all the stover that farmers are going to use for themselves. Another problem that some refer to is it costs to much to convert corn to ethanol. According to Nicola Ross, she says, “. . . takes a lot of fossil fuels to produce it (Economic Cornfusion 1). Also in article by Jeff Sanford, he mentions how there are high production costs for growing corn because you have oil and gas to run machines and high amounts of natural gas are used to make fertilizer for the corn to grow (Sanford 3). So they are saying the amount of money going into the converting the corn over to ethanol costs more than the benefits, but they don’t talk about the use of the new enzyme, which would change the way they see ethanol.
Reaping the Benefits:
There is one big benefit with this process and that is cheaper fuel prices. This process even makes ethanol cheaper than it already is. Right now gas prices are around 2.88 per gallon and ethanol is 1.60 per gallon. With this new process of making ethanol we could see ethanol prices around 85 cents per gallon (Raab). Now this process alone will improve ethanol production. Michael Raab figures this process will increase yields per acre by about 50 percent while decreasing costs per gallon by about 30 percent (Raab). In an article in the magazine “Economist,� they say, “Efficient enzymes have led to more cost-effective fermentation, and genetically modified high-starch corn has better yield (and so needs less processing in the plant and fewer herbicides in the field) (Dirty as well as Dear? 1). Also according to Carol Potera in her article “The Economics of Ethanol,� she states how producing an enzyme to convert cornstarch into sugar for fermentation is 50 times faster and at lower temperatures making this more energy efficient (Potera 2). This is why we need these enzymes, they help reduce production costs and make the process more efficient, and therefore, they can sell the product cheaper. This may not seem like a lot, but in a commodity market where corn is growing fast in popularity this is a huge deal.
The Replacement:
The government wants to someday be able to replace the 58% of crude oil the U.S. imports. The truth is according to Ron Smith, writer for Farm Press, says that the U.S. will need a lot more than just corn to replace the imported crude oil (Smith 3). He says that there are only 111 ethanol plants in the U.S. with 75 under construction and eight that are being expanded (Smith 3). They also have 60 more plants in the planning stages (Smith 3). So if we are to switch over to ethanol as a primary fuel we need more and more plants yet to produce ethanol. In 2000, the U.S. produced 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol (Smith 3). That number rose to 5 billion in 2005 and they project to produce 9 billion gallons by 2008 or 2009 (Smith 3). So the number of gallons is increasing, but it is not even close to how much we need to be able to rely on it as a fuel source. According to Jim Core in his article, “New Milling Methods Improve Corn Ethanol Production� he says, “Almost 10 percent of the U.S. corn crop is used to make fuel ethanol (Core 1). So if we would increase the amount of corn we use we could produce more ethanol. Smith thinks that corn ethanol will play an energy security role, but it will be more of an additive than an extender (Smith 3).
Summary:
Each year the production of ethanol increases and is becoming a helpful fuel source to lighten the load on the dependence of oil. With developing technology and plenty of research we may be able to produce a very cheap fuel source. Michael Raab’s research and experiments with inserting an enzyme into corn to help produce ethanol more cheaply is a good way to produce ethanol. The only thing we need to do next is get the right machines and plants up to do the processing and get this new fuel source going. The U.S. doesn’t have to worry about not increasing production because every year the amount produced is rising, but we will always need more. If scientists can get this gene to successfully work in other plants like switchgrass this could help reduce the dependence on oil and possibly replace crude oil someday. It will take time, but this new process has lots of potential to help the U.S. and will only continue to grow and get better. So when you hear about alternative fuel sources and the topic of ethanol just think about how this could affect your life with lower fuel costs, so more money for other things.

Where To Be Published:
This article could be published in the Star Tribune or any agriculture magazine. The Star Tribune because it would help inform everyone on the advancing technology to make an alternative fuel source and that is a very big topic in today’s world so we cut down on foreign fuel being shipped over here to the U.S. It also could be published in any agriculture magazine because farmers are the ones who are going to have to plant this corn and they are going to want to know if it is feasible for them to plant and make a profit so they also need to know what is happening with this. They are the ones who contribute there crop to ethanol so they need to know what is happening.
Works Cited
Core, Jim. “New Milling Methods Improve Corn Ethanol Production.� Agricultural Research. Jul. 2004. Vol. 52. Issue 7, p16-17. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. UMN college Lib., St. Paul, MN. 21 Nov. 2007.
“Dirty as well as dear?� Economist. 17 Jan. 2004. Vol. 370. Issue 8358, p24. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. UMN college Lib., St. Paul, MN. 21 Nov. 2007.

“Increasing Ethanol with Enzymes.� Biocycle World. Jun. 2006. Vol. 47. Issue 6, p12. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. UMN college Lib., St. Paul, MN. 21 Nov. 2007.
J.M. “Consider the Alternatives.� E Magazine. Jan. /Feb. 2006. Vol. 17. Issue 1, p38-9. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. UMN college Lib., St. Paul, MN. 21 Nov. 2007.
Potera, Carol. “The Economics of Ethanol.� Environmental Health Perspectives. Jan. 2002. Vol. 110. Issue 1, pA18. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. UMN college Lib., St. Paul, MN. 21 Nov. 2007.
Raab, Michael. Internet Interview. 18 Nov. 2007.
Robinson, Elton. “Corn Enzymes To Drive Cellulosic Ethanol.� Farm Press. 3 Oct. 2007. p6 & 10. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. UMN college Lib., St. Paul, MN. 21 Nov. 2007.
Ross, Nicola. Alternatives Journal. 2007. Vol. 33. Issue 2/3, p7. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. UMN college Lib., St. Paul, MN. 21 Nov. 2007. < http://web.ebscohost.com.floyd.lib.umn.edu/ehost/pdf?vid=3&hid=113&sid=8ad3d05b-4a58-44bd-b3bb-a2708a484360%40sessionmgr102>
Sanford, Jeff. “A Growing Concern.� Canadian Business. 9 Oct. 2006. Vol. 79. Issue 20, p90-99. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. UMN college Lib., St. Paul, MN. 21 Nov. 2007.
Smith, Ron. “Corn-Based Ethanol Not Enough To Meet U.S. Renewable Energy Requirements.� Southwest Farm Press. 19 Apr. 2007. p1 & 3. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. UMN college Lib., St. Paul, MN. 21 Nov. 2007.

December 3, 2007

Cancer Cure?

Currently there is a deadly killer on the loose. This year, roughly 550,000 people are expected to die from this silent killer, which is about 1500 people a day (American). Believe it or not, this killer is cancer. Over a million individuals are diagnosed with this disease annually and unfortunately not everyone diagnosed with the disease will survive from it (Cancer). Throughout the past several years there has been a great deal of research and testing to learn more about and possibly one day find a cure for this horrible disease. A major advancement has recently occurred and has sparked much discussion and hope of finding a cure for cancer. J. Christopher Anderson, a 31-year-old assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering at UC Berkley has developed a bacterium that can help to fight and destroy tumor cells. Such advancement has allowed Anderson to be named a 2007 Young Inventors Winner, which has definitely created a name for him. In this paper I will demonstrate that (X) J. Christopher Anderson's bacteria will impact everyones' lives (Y) by explaining how the bacteria has (premise 1) created excitement within the medical community and may provide an alternative to our current treatments, (premise 2) met and will conquer worries about the ethics involved with using the bacterium, and (premise 3) brings to light the social injustice that lies within our health care system (Z) in order to revert skepticism and rally support for incredible new developments and this revolutionary bacteria.

Tumor Killing Bacteria and Alternative Treatments

The bacteria that Anderson has created basically acts in four steps. The first step is actually injecting the bacteria into the blood stream and eventually into the immune system. The bacterium is then able to focus in on areas that have low oxygen levels, or tumor sites, and are able to “trick� the tumor cell into letting it enter the cell. Once inside the tumor, the bacterium binds to the cell and becomes engulfed by it. Finally, the tumor cell bursts the bacteria, which releases a toxic enzyme ultimately destroying the tumor. This bacteria's actions are far beyond any other that has been created and will forever change the way we go about treating cancer and other diseases like HIV and AIDS. As of now the main treatments for cancer are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Surgery requires removing as much of the cancerous tumor as possible but may still leave parts of the cancerous cells that may be able to just grow back. There is also radiation therapy in which atom particles are sent into the body through a beam in hopes to destroy the molecular make-up of the cancer cell. The problem with this is that the process can actually cause another form of cancer to develop and may actually destroy normal cells during treatment. Chemotherapy adds toxic chemicals into the body in order to destroy the cancerous cells. This treatment is different from Anderson's bacteria because the new bacteria is able to focus on the cancer cells instead of veins and other areas of the immune system that can shut it down, which is a main problem of chemotherapy. Obviously, our current treatments do not always reduce the risk of cancerous cells, and those treatments may actually make the patient's health worse. The advances that J. Christopher Anderson has provided for the medical community provide hope, and another option for those struggling and suffering from the deadly killer that is cancer. Currently the bacterium is not being offered to the public and has just entered the stage of testing on animals. However, the bacteria creates much enthusiasm and shows that our medical science is very close to discovering an effective treatment for cancer.

Is it Right?

The use of such a treatment sparks not only excitement within the medical field, but questions of the ethical repercussions of the bacteria. Without a doubt, if the bacterium is proven to effectively target and destroy cancer cells in order to reduce the significantly large number of fatalities from the disease who is to say that the treatment is not ethical. By saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of people a year through putting something into your bodies, is it not worth it? There are those that fear the idea of putting something into our bodies that bypasses our immune system and, after all, is a bacterium. HIV and AIDS are just two examples that people may use to base the theory that deliberately inserting something that is not impacted by our immune system could backfire and cause more problems then it solves. Because of the fact that the bacteria is in such an early state it is hard to say whether or not the bacteria will work exactly as it is supposed to. HIV and AIDS are two diseases that scare a majority of the public because it is a disease that we cannot fight off or treat at this stage of medical science and Anderson’s bacteria may turn and become a hindrance to our health. All bacteria mutates and adapts in order for it live longer, Darwin’s theory of evolution really comes into play here. If there is an organism that deliberately goes into a tumor cell and is eventually destroyed, who is to say if the bacteria wont adapt and eventually not be able to achieve the purpose it was created for? In the article “Are Antibiotics Killing Us?� by Jessica Snyder Sachs, the theory is discussed that the over use of antibiotics are causing our immune systems to not work as well as they should due to the fact that the body becomes dependent upon the antibiotic. In addition to weakening the immune system, antibiotics also create stronger forms of viruses and bacteria (Sachs 210-218). However, the bacteria that J. Christopher Anderson has created is being tested, thoroughly, and because of the fact that the bacteria is a product of synthetic biology it was created, therefore the bacteria is, to an extent, controlled. With that being said, it is hard to view the treatment of an individual suffering from cancer as unethical. When asked about his views of the bacteria being ethical Anderson responded by saying “I have never heard of anyone with reservations about the ethics of treating cancer with bacteria, but certainly there are many people who don't believe it will work. To them I say wait and see. All new ideas are met with such skepticism, and it is pretty futile to argue with people if you can demonstrate that it works in the lab.� As long as the bacteria is thoroughly tested and researched the possibility of harmful repercussions are minimal. Plus, one should not forget the fact that right now the bacteria is being researched and tested, it is by no means ready to be distributed, nor is it the exact bacteria that may be released. Through research and testing the bacteria may be modified in order to effectively destroy cancer cells while not harming any other aspect of human health.

A Decaying System

Another issue that is brought up by J. Christopher Anderson’s bacteria is the state of our current health care. Currently there are commercialized therapeutic bacteria being sold, and many believe that this cancer killing bacteria will be no different. This bacterium will most likely be sold just like any other prescription drug, which begs the question of who will be able to receive this bacteria? In a recent study taken this past year, the average American with health insurance through a employer will pay about $3,300 a year which is obviously too much for the 47 million individuals that are currently uninsured (Andrews). Because of the fact that so many cannot afford to pay for basic medical assistance, it is quite apparent that something must be done and soon. In the article “Falling Through the Safety Net� the author, Gerardine (Ged) Kearney, recants a story of his daughter falling and breaking her arm. He remembers how he went to his local doctor before going to the hospital, and recalls how he did not have to pay for any of it. However, now Kearney does have to pay for health care and like most is unsure of what he should pay for and what he should not. Kearney like so many others must now think about if the care he is receiving is needed or if it can hold off. By forcing people to choose between seeking medical attention for what might be a minor health risk but in fact could be much worse, or being able to afford the many other financial demands that life has our current form of health care is not working. If so many people are uninsured and therefore unable to afford medical treatment how is our current system of health care effective? People who are currently suffering from cancer and other illnesses that can be treated by the cancer killing bacteria are already paying thousands of dollars between hospital visits, prescription costs, therapy, and a variety of other expenses. For those who are already struggling to make ends meet how will they be able to afford this magical treatment that will supposedly make everything better?

J. Christopher Anderson has created a wonderful and natural treatment to a problem that has plagued millions. Through his research, dedication, and ingenuity Anderson has made a substantial mark on medical science and more specifically cancer research. Through the use of his cancer killing bacteria the millions of individuals that are diagnosed with cancer each year may now have a better chance at reducing the number of fatalities from the disease. After all, 550,000 is a large number of individual deaths from just one cause. Anderson has created a sense of hope, excitement, and even more importantly, a future for the advancement of medical science, research, and treatment options of such diseases like cancer. Despite the fact that this bacterium is currently still being researched and tested, it is hard to ignore the fact that we are so close to finding a cure to something that has never really had effective treatments. People who are suffering from cancer, or any other illness for that matter, can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, that little bit of hope to keep them going knowing that the medical advances of this day and age have reached a new height and show no signs of stopping. People can now breath easy knowing that through the research of scientist like J. Christopher Anderson are now looking at a variety of ways to address a variety of illnesses and will not settle on just one possibility. Even after the cancer killing bacteria is released, and even if it proves to be an effective treatment, scientists will not stop thinking of even more possible treatments for cancer. Medical science is ever changing and will always try to find new ways, better ways, to address the problems and issues that face people in the world today. J. Christopher Anderson is just one of many scientists who have used what they know to help improve the quality of life of people suffering from anything that may be unnecessary.

Works Cited

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2007. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2007.

Andrews, Michelle. “The Politics of Healthcare.� U.S. News & World Report Vol. 143 Issue 11 Oct. 2007: 27-28. EBSCOhost Research Database. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN. 3 Dec. 2007 .

Cancer Trends Progress Report - 2005 Update, National Cancer Institute, NIH, DHHS, Bethesda, MD, December 2005, http://progressreport.cancer.gov.

J. Christopher Anderson. “Re: I'm interested in your research and have some questions. � E-mail to the author. 25 Nov. 2007.

Kearney, Gerardine (Ged), “Falling Through the Safety Net.� Australian Nursing Journal, Vol. 15, Issue 4, Oct 2007. EBSCOhost Research Database. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN. 3 Dec. 2007 .

Sachs, Jessica Snyder. “Are Antibiotics Killing Us?� The Best American Science and Nature Writing. Ed. Tim Folger. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. p 210-218.

November 19, 2007

Globalized Warming

Gabriella Pebbles
1152W
October 19, 2007
Globalized Warming
(X) In this paper I will show that the issues of global warming have been misrepresented by some and cleverly utilized by others, (Y) by giving an overview of global warming as it is portrayed by the media, (Z) so that people will learn to search for scientific information regarding important issues for themselves. (P1) The media’s constant over-coverage of global warming is desensitizing the public to the very real problem of global warming. (P2) In the movies, An Inconvenient Truth and The Day After Tomorrow, global warming was portrayed in two very different ways.
Desensitization and Demoralization
As American citizens, we are bombarded everyday with information about the world. Because global warming is one of the recent hot topics, it too has been incessantly reported on in the news. By being told the same thing about global warming day after day, the media is creating indifference. In fact, this morning as I was getting ready for school I turned on the news channel for the weather, and within two minutes, their lead story reported that the government had cut out portions of a global warning document. The document, which examined the health risks of global warming, had been fourteen pages and was edited to a mere six. If we were told truthfully the findings of scientific climate researchers without deletions and omitted data from outside parties with an agenda, I think that we would be able to create awareness without developing a lack of interest.

God Save the Truth!
Hollywood tries sometimes to incorporate current issues into its films, but usually ends up diminishing the issue by pushing other public-friendly plots to the forefront. In The Day After Tomorrow several sub-plots are combined to make the movie a love story, a family breaking apart, and a badly represented White House controversy. The main basis of the movie, though, is supposed to be global warming, but the writers have added some absolutely incorrect “facts.� Some of the “facts� include the idea that mass global warming would occur in just a few days with almost no warning which is ridiculous (Kolbert 55). I do agree that once triggered, it will have a massive domino effect; it is still unfeasible that eight tornados would form over Los Angeles without anyone knowing beforehand. The Dick Cheney look-alike vice president shows complete disregard for the issue even after being given several warnings, sounds familiar, no? Although Hollywood makes some thoroughly laughable pieces, there are some people who are willing to try to make their movies as factual as possible. Daniel Percival tried to be as accurate as possible in his depiction of dirty bombs in the movie Dirty War (Scholmeyer 261). In The Day After Tomorrow, the director, Mr. Emmerich, is clearly trying to make a political statement, but not sticking strictly to the facts. In The Day After Tomorrow, there are some scenes that make me proud, and others that make me incredulous. In the movie, the destruction caused by climate change, the mass exodus into Mexico is an ironic twist that is very clever. In another scene, the scientists in the movie seemed to all be completely shocked at the occurrences; at the NASA research center, many scientists were just watching the televisions as Los Angeles was ravaged by tornados, which seems very unlikely. The research was done well, however, on the formation of storms. In the movie, a model of how hurricanes function was shown with a description of the causes of their behavior. There are more examples of the movies hits and misses, and altogether it was fun to watch, but as a source of information, the movie fails. The directors’ purpose was to create a movie that entertained, and to show his opinions of the governmental response and global warming itself. While watching, I was entertained, but I thought their message was sluggish, and didn’t have an effect. If they had created a more realistic movie, I would have been impressed with their knowledge, and really felt they were trying to make a worthwhile public statement. Their distortion of the facts made me regard the movie as purely entertaining, the science was a joke; the idea that you could “outrun� ice is absurd (Schollmeyer 263).
Retribution
The Day After Tomorrow portrays the government as inactive, unwilling, and indecisive. This portrayal may represent the powers at the top, but the state and local governments have done their part as shown by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth, with a number of cities conforming to the Kyoto Protocol. Al Gore’s, An Inconvenient Truth, used some factual evidence, statistics, and scientific analysis to show global warming in its true form. It was clear, concise, scientific, and easily understandable, but it too had flaws. For example, the movie was also an auto-biography, a lot of which had nothing to do with global warming, the fact that he lived on a farm one half of the year and a cramped apartment the other half, was that necessary? Recurrent quips and clips referring to his loss to Bush the second, made it seem like he was trying to implicate “had I been president we wouldn’t be where we are now!� He repeatedly made stabs at the Bush administration and kept emphasizing what they had failed to do, but didn’t go into the details of their motives. Throughout the whole movie I saw Gore’s portrayal of himself as a nature-loving free spirit, a protector trying to serve the nation, and on the opposite side of the spectrum was his portrayal of Bush, stupid, overbearing, and stubborn. If he had enlightened his listeners about their side of the issue, it would have increased his credibility, and created knowledge about the topic. There are serious economic concerns with the Kyoto Protocol, which haven’t been brought to light in this movie. The more important of which is inefficiency. Power plants take decades to become useless; cars are on the road an average of a decade, and any progress made would be diminished because of the mass amount of coal production allowed to exist in China. Also, the main production of carbon emissions comes from mass produced farm animals, which was never once discussed in An Inconvenient Truth (Connecting the Dinner Plate to Global Warming).
A Book about the Weather
In the book, Field Notes on a Catastrophe, there is a concise, direct pattern to the authors’ writing which makes it incredibly easy to read with a light overview of global warming. It gives a summary of the current changes that are occurring due to global warming. It is effective in teaching about the issue if you have very little exposure on the subject. However, considering the publicity given to global warming, only schoolchildren needing entry-level insight into the problem would benefit from reading this book. The book portrays climate change as a problem that is slowly but surely ripping our ecosystem apart. The disappearance of the gold toads, the increasing heights mosquitoes are now able to reach, and much more are just a few of the examples listed in her book (Kolbert 73-84). Regarding the Kyoto Protocol she writes about Paula Dobriansky, the Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, and how the woman avoids the issue by either repeating a sentence that has nothing to do with the question, for example, “Are there any circumstances under which the administration would accede to mandatory caps?� her answer, “Our approach has been predicted on: We act, we learn, we act again� when asked “how urgent the problem of stabilizing emissions was,� she repeated the same mantra (Kolbert 151). This passage gave me the impression the government has no real way of disproving the fact that climate change is impending and dangerous, but that due to economic reasons, they have ignored it and are trying to make others do the same.
My Mission Statement
If the people who try to inform the public about important issues such as Global Warming, include a little of each of the above components I think that we could globalize the issue and make it one that everyone understands. If there were a book, movie, or article that combined these factors, I think a lot of people would try to change, it would allow them to make the choice for themselves whether they will act on the problem or not. Entertainment, clarity, truthfulness, and options on what we could do as individuals are some of the most important things that should be broadcast to the public. The media has failed in its responsibility to educate and serve the public. We should all work harder to make sure the media becomes a more reliable source.

Works Cited
1.) Kolbert, Elizabeth. Field Notes From a Catastrophe. New York: Bloomsbury, 2006
2.) The Day After Tomorrow. Dir. Roland Emmerich. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, 2004
3.) An Inconvenient Truth. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. Lawrence Bender Productions, 2006
4.) Greene, Brian, Ed. The Best Science and Nature Writing. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.
a.) Schollmeyer, Josh. Lights, Camera, Armageddon.

Globalized Warming

Gabriella Pebbles
1152W
October 19, 2007
Globalized Warming
(X) In this paper I will show that the issues of global warming have been misrepresented by some and cleverly utilized by others, (Y) by giving an overview of global warming as it is portrayed by the media, (Z) so that people will learn to search for scientific information regarding important issues for themselves. (P1) The media’s constant over-coverage of global warming is desensitizing the public to the very real problem of global warming. (P2) In the movies, An Inconvenient Truth and The Day After Tomorrow, global warming was portrayed in two very different ways.
Desensitization and Demoralization
As American citizens, we are bombarded everyday with information about the world. Because global warming is one of the recent hot topics, it too has been incessantly reported on in the news. By being told the same thing about global warming day after day, the media is creating indifference. In fact, this morning as I was getting ready for school I turned on the news channel for the weather, and within two minutes, their lead story reported that the government had cut out portions of a global warning document. The document, which examined the health risks of global warming, had been fourteen pages and was edited to a mere six. If we were told truthfully the findings of scientific climate researchers without deletions and omitted data from outside parties with an agenda, I think that we would be able to create awareness without developing a lack of interest.

God Save the Truth!
Hollywood tries sometimes to incorporate current issues into its films, but usually ends up diminishing the issue by pushing other public-friendly plots to the forefront. In The Day After Tomorrow several sub-plots are combined to make the movie a love story, a family breaking apart, and a badly represented White House controversy. The main basis of the movie, though, is supposed to be global warming, but the writers have added some absolutely incorrect “facts.� Some of the “facts� include the idea that mass global warming would occur in just a few days with almost no warning which is ridiculous (Kolbert 55). I do agree that once triggered, it will have a massive domino effect; it is still unfeasible that eight tornados would form over Los Angeles without anyone knowing beforehand. The Dick Cheney look-alike vice president shows complete disregard for the issue even after being given several warnings, sounds familiar, no? Although Hollywood makes some thoroughly laughable pieces, there are some people who are willing to try to make their movies as factual as possible. Daniel Percival tried to be as accurate as possible in his depiction of dirty bombs in the movie Dirty War (Scholmeyer 261). In The Day After Tomorrow, the director, Mr. Emmerich, is clearly trying to make a political statement, but not sticking strictly to the facts. In The Day After Tomorrow, there are some scenes that make me proud, and others that make me incredulous. In the movie, the destruction caused by climate change, the mass exodus into Mexico is an ironic twist that is very clever. In another scene, the scientists in the movie seemed to all be completely shocked at the occurrences; at the NASA research center, many scientists were just watching the televisions as Los Angeles was ravaged by tornados, which seems very unlikely. The research was done well, however, on the formation of storms. In the movie, a model of how hurricanes function was shown with a description of the causes of their behavior. There are more examples of the movies hits and misses, and altogether it was fun to watch, but as a source of information, the movie fails. The directors’ purpose was to create a movie that entertained, and to show his opinions of the governmental response and global warming itself. While watching, I was entertained, but I thought their message was sluggish, and didn’t have an effect. If they had created a more realistic movie, I would have been impressed with their knowledge, and really felt they were trying to make a worthwhile public statement. Their distortion of the facts made me regard the movie as purely entertaining, the science was a joke; the idea that you could “outrun� ice is absurd (Schollmeyer 263).
Retribution
The Day After Tomorrow portrays the government as inactive, unwilling, and indecisive. This portrayal may represent the powers at the top, but the state and local governments have done their part as shown by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth, with a number of cities conforming to the Kyoto Protocol. Al Gore’s, An Inconvenient Truth, used some factual evidence, statistics, and scientific analysis to show global warming in its true form. It was clear, concise, scientific, and easily understandable, but it too had flaws. For example, the movie was also an auto-biography, a lot of which had nothing to do with global warming, the fact that he lived on a farm one half of the year and a cramped apartment the other half, was that necessary? Recurrent quips and clips referring to his loss to Bush the second, made it seem like he was trying to implicate “had I been president we wouldn’t be where we are now!� He repeatedly made stabs at the Bush administration and kept emphasizing what they had failed to do, but didn’t go into the details of their motives. Throughout the whole movie I saw Gore’s portrayal of himself as a nature-loving free spirit, a protector trying to serve the nation, and on the opposite side of the spectrum was his portrayal of Bush, stupid, overbearing, and stubborn. If he had enlightened his listeners about their side of the issue, it would have increased his credibility, and created knowledge about the topic. There are serious economic concerns with the Kyoto Protocol, which haven’t been brought to light in this movie. The more important of which is inefficiency. Power plants take decades to become useless; cars are on the road an average of a decade, and any progress made would be diminished because of the mass amount of coal production allowed to exist in China. Also, the main production of carbon emissions comes from mass produced farm animals, which was never once discussed in An Inconvenient Truth (Connecting the Dinner Plate to Global Warming).
A Book about the Weather
In the book, Field Notes on a Catastrophe, there is a concise, direct pattern to the authors’ writing which makes it incredibly easy to read with a light overview of global warming. It gives a summary of the current changes that are occurring due to global warming. It is effective in teaching about the issue if you have very little exposure on the subject. However, considering the publicity given to global warming, only schoolchildren needing entry-level insight into the problem would benefit from reading this book. The book portrays climate change as a problem that is slowly but surely ripping our ecosystem apart. The disappearance of the gold toads, the increasing heights mosquitoes are now able to reach, and much more are just a few of the examples listed in her book (Kolbert 73-84). Regarding the Kyoto Protocol she writes about Paula Dobriansky, the Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, and how the woman avoids the issue by either repeating a sentence that has nothing to do with the question, for example, “Are there any circumstances under which the administration would accede to mandatory caps?� her answer, “Our approach has been predicted on: We act, we learn, we act again� when asked “how urgent the problem of stabilizing emissions was,� she repeated the same mantra (Kolbert 151). This passage gave me the impression the government has no real way of disproving the fact that climate change is impending and dangerous, but that due to economic reasons, they have ignored it and are trying to make others do the same.
My Mission Statement
If the people who try to inform the public about important issues such as Global Warming, include a little of each of the above components I think that we could globalize the issue and make it one that everyone understands. If there were a book, movie, or article that combined these factors, I think a lot of people would try to change, it would allow them to make the choice for themselves whether they will act on the problem or not. Entertainment, clarity, truthfulness, and options on what we could do as individuals are some of the most important things that should be broadcast to the public. The media has failed in its responsibility to educate and serve the public. We should all work harder to make sure the media becomes a more reliable source.

Works Cited
1.) Kolbert, Elizabeth. Field Notes From a Catastrophe. New York: Bloomsbury, 2006
2.) The Day After Tomorrow. Dir. Roland Emmerich. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, 2004
3.) An Inconvenient Truth. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. Lawrence Bender Productions, 2006
4.) Greene, Brian, Ed. The Best Science and Nature Writing. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.
a.) Schollmeyer, Josh. Lights, Camera, Armageddon.

Climate Change: Three Portrayals

Download file

Nathan Otto
1152W
10/24/07

Three Portrayals

“You are what you eat.� We’ve all heard the old saying, reminding us that what we take in, we can’t help but manifest. A similar axiom might apply to other things we take in, like information. Granted, “you are what you read, hear, and/or watch� just doesn’t have the same ring to it, but it’s operating along the same lines.
But, in yet another difference between humans and food, (P1) creative artists use a variety of techniques to influence how we take in what they are telling us. By creative artists I mean writers, directors, and performers, and more specifically I refer to those involved in the works The Day After Tomorrow (DAT), An Inconvenient Truth (AIT), and Field Notes from a Catastrophe.
Some go for the most sensational images and the loudest sounds. Others go for the slideshow presentation. Josh Schoolmeyer – in his article “Lights, Camera, Armageddon� notes, “[E]xperts get it right; Hollywood delivers the crowds…[various media portrayals] linger in the collective conscious of the public,� (Schollmeyer p. 259). (P2) Such different techniques demonstrate an intent to pursue different audiences, or at the very least, to pursue different roles in the same audience. For example, a particular series of nightshow jokes on current events may not be meant to serve as people’s primary news source, although it uses politics and news as its substrate, and could very well bring up a story or issue that the viewer was unaware of.
(X) By comparing and contrasting Field Notes, DAT, and AIT
(Y) this paper will evaluate their respective techniques, goals, and intended audiences,
(Z) in order to examine how media sources specifically present the issue of climate change.

The Day After Tomorrow
“You have to get out of there…the temperature is falling at 10 degrees per second!� With that terrible line, The Day After Tomorrow cemented its place in my mind as one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, and left its protagonists with a mere 30 seconds until absolute zero was reached, rendering any motion, molecular or otherwise, completely impossible.
In the beginning, it is possible that this movie was originally intended to do some good. Though Hollywood reeks of opportunistic capitalism, many of the writers and directors probably had some truly artistic roots and intentions deep inside them somewhere, at some time. But ultimately, any semblance of respectably artistic, persuasive, or credible characteristics were horribly mutated in the name of sensationalism.
The idea for DAT may have been centered on climate change, but the writers quickly tacked on a love story, dad-son issues, crappy science, and man-hunting wolves on top of the instantly-induced ice age plot. As such, the movie sacrificed an originally plausible appeal to environmentalism for people who like a little less talk, a little more action.
The movie was not all bad. One interesting technique was to cast the concept of climate change as inducing colder temperatures. I think that one of the leading reasons that global warming is not being confronted more forcefully is that – seriously - people generally like warm weather. And, in an extra twist of irony, the nations that are contributing the most greenhouse gases to the earth’s atmosphere are generally in cooler climates, where warmth is celebrated and enjoyed. Vladimir Putin has already joked about global warming possibly benefiting Russia (commondreams.com), and much of China, Europe, and the US – the three primary contributors to climate change – probably wouldn’t mind being a little warmer. By recasting climate change as something that would induce snow, wind, and chattering teeth, DAT paints a far more chilling picture of anthropogenic effects.
Another point to notice about the movie is how the relationship between the industrialized nations and other parts of the world is portrayed. Besides some table scrap footage of hail in Tokyo, the movie focuses almost exclusively on America, the UK, and Mexico – three of the only countries people who enjoy movies like this could probably find on a map. The developing world is cast as basically detached from the whole situation. This seems to focus the consequences of climate change more acutely: not just vague reports of flooding in Bangladesh and droughts in Sudan, the problem hits New York and Los Angeles, two of the only cities people who enjoy movies like this could probably find on a map. This is another possibly effective – yet nauseously superficial – technique.
Ultimately, DAT serves a role of action movie meant mostly to entertain.
Environmental activist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot called The Day After Tomorrow "a great movie and lousy science." (film.guardian.co.uk). What is frightening, of course, is that movies like this somehow make their way – either consciously or not – as a substitute to actual discussion, reflection, and research of serious issues for many lay audiences. Of course, movies can serve as a catalyst for getting people interested in an issue, but - since some audiences will undoubtedly come away misinformed - the issue has to be more accurately represented than DAT’s portrayal to do any good.


An Inconvenient Truth…
…is a far more educational, accurate, intriguing, and useful movie on almost every measurable level. The data is examined much more thoroughly; heck, first of all: there is data. Additionally, although Al Gore describes climate change as “a planetary emergency� the movie’s claims and portrayals of disasters are much milder and more believable - there is nowhere near the scale of DAT’s sensationalist apocalypse.
This makes AIT a more credible film almost by default. It seems that the common rhetorical technique of calmly telling people we are on the brink of annihilation is for some reason more persuasive to audiences than shaking them by their shirt collar.
Gore uses a variety of other techniques persuasively in the film. His remarkable intelligence – both in terms of academic material and socially – is evident within the first few minutes of hearing him talk. He begins by acknowledging his elephant-in-the-room status “I used to be the next president of the United States�, but quickly emphasizes moving past that to the greater issue at hand.
To a significant extent Gore’s persuasiveness probably varies proportionally with people’s pre-existing political convictions, but thoughtful audiences will be able to distinguish the more objective material from the more politically-influenced. As an example, Gore at one point notes that should the western Antarctic ice sheet melt completely, sea levels could rise by as much as 15 feet. Here, it is easy for critics to point out that the 15 feet is a highly-contested number, and that in reality, the rise in sea levels could be much lower. Gore uses a high number in order to encourage urgency and - ornery people would say – to inflate his importance and status. This does not, however, detract meaningfully from Gore’s more fundamental points: that humans are responsible for rapid warming, that rapid warming has physically observable consequences, that such rapid and observable consequences will probably have some immediately negative effects, and that further effects are unknown and thus, should be minimized to avoid unpredictable environmental changes. All of this is backed up with generally well-established scientific evidence. The Associated Press contacted climate researchers and questioned them about the film's veracity. All 19 climate scientists who had seen the movie and responded said that Gore conveyed the science correctly (washingtonpost.com)
Gore himself might say that whether his film is successful or not will be answered in the coming years by what measures we take to reduce climate change. But judging success on a smaller scale, I think it is fair to say that it was quite successful. The film won the 2006 Academy Award for Documentary Feature, has grossed over $24 million in the U.S. and over $49 million worldwide as of June 3, 2007 (boxofficemojo.com). On top of that, Gore was just recently awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his exemplary commitment to raising awareness of climate change, largely due to AIT and his traveling presentations.
AIT is intended for a much different audience than DAT. Whereas the latter goes straight for the jugular with sensationalist action scenes, AIT is basically a slideshow presentation with outstanding editing. One remarkable quality to AIT, however, is its accessibility; the material presented is scientifically rigorous, but Gore integrates examples, corollaries, and helpful anecdotes and comparisons. The audience is really anybody interested in world issues who is not so politically biased that they refuse to listen to a person of the opposite party speak.

Field Notes from a Catastrophe
Field Notes from a Catastrophe is roughly divided into three main parts: i) anecdotal and statistical case-studies, ii) a more scientific approach and explanation of the anticipated problems, and iii) how relevant politics and individual actions affect climate change.
Organizing and devoting more time to each of these aspects than either DAT or AIT, Field Notes is in a category unto itself. By printing relevant data, graphs, and figures, Field Notes allows the audience to absorb the information at their leisure, taking as much time as they need to understand the discussion at hand. Such a phenomenon is an inherent strength of printed media. Whereas, a movie whisks you along whether or not you were paying very much attention to the last line, you can go back and re-read if you get to the end of a paragraph and realize you weren’t concentrating.
Additionally, the material is made quite accessible such that reading and/or re-reading is not threatening to the audience. Kolbert does an excellent job of providing easy-to-follow examples with what she is talking about: Never heard of the Keeling Curve? There’s a graph on page 43 illustrating the idea. And Kolbert can delve into a level of detail that neither an oral presentation nor a Hollywood action film would go into. “A kilowatt-hour of electricity delivered from a coal-fired plant will produce slightly more than half a pound of carbon, while if the power is origination from a plant that runs on natural gas, it will produce roughly half that amount.� (Kolbert p. 135)
Such a statement coming from Jake Gylenhall would have production companies choking on their coffee, and Al Gore already has to fight off a perception – albeit dwindling - as a boring speaker.
Overall, Kolbert’s audience probably overlaps with that of AIT substantially. In both cases, readers or viewers are going out of their way to absorb information that is going to be, much to Elvis’ chagrin, a little more talk, a little less action. And they probably like it that way. Kolbert shares a goal with Gore – and arguably much of their audiences - in using their work to raise attention to an issue that they both know is bigger than their careers, and the audience that they are both appealing to is generally aware of that.
Kolbert ends up delivering a very well-rounded book that uses its variety and accessibility to effectively illustrate several important points in the climate change discussion. Again, she would probably argue that the ultimate success of all three of these works will be determined by the actions the world takes in response to this challenge.

Other Pieces of the Puzzle
Ultimately, each of these forms of media presents just a part of the entire picture – in this case of climate change. There is still much of the issue that is not addressed by these three works. Indeed, in her article “Connecting Dinner Plate to Climate Change�, Claudia Deutsch illustrates PETA’s frustration at the lack of attention given to the impact that livestock raised specifically for food have on our atmosphere.
Much has been written about climate change. It is important to recognize the probability that no one source is going to give us all the data, interpretation, and perspective we need to develop our knowledge on a given issue. In some senses an emphasis on one aspect of the situation often comes at the expense of another, e.g. technical detail for emotional appeal. For an issue like climate change, a balance of media is crucial for illustrating both the importance and methodology of this immense challenge to our future.

Works Cited:

An Inconvenient Truth. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. Perf. Al Gore. Paramount Classics
2006

Box Office Mojo. 2007. Box Office Mojo Movie Review. 18 Oct. 2007
http://boxofficemojo.com/genres/chart/?id=documentary.htm

Guardian Unlimited. 14 May 2004. The Guardian Newspaper. 19 Oct. 2007
http://film.guardian.co.uk/features/featurepages/0,4120,1215824,00.html

Kolbert Elizabeth. Field Notes from a Catastrophe. New York: Bloomsbury, 2006.

The Day After Tomorrow. Dir. Roland Emmerich. Perf. Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal,
Emmy Rossum. 20th Century Fox 2004

Washingtonpost.com. 27 Jun 2006. The Washington Post Newspaper. 18 Oct. 2007
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/06/27/.html


The Worth of Science

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Nathan Otto
1152W
11/5/07
The Worth of Science

“The worth of science lies in the truth and utility of scientists' theories and findings.�

(X) By showing that science has an inherent quality independent of science results, (Y) I will argue that such character must be recognized as potentially valuable, in order to show that (Z) although the value of science is largely judged by its utility, there is still inherent value in the scientific process as a paradigm.


Science’s utility is a large part of what determines its value

Human beings are concerned about time. We only get so much of it before we have to leave the things we love or they leave us. This is a fundamental difference between humans and machines: the fear of loss. And logically, because of our awareness of our own finiteness and the passing of precious time, we must prioritize the things we do, and the effort we put into them.
Such is the backdrop for our inherent tendency to place some amount of value to things that are efficient or useful. We walk to school on our legs because doing so on our hands would not be as useful. We usually prefer to fund - with our limited and highly-valued money - research that seems to have potential for common or serious health problems, or research with the potential for common and serious business, entertainment, or political consequences. It is only natural that nobody has ever funded a study to determine nations’ rankings in the ability of their a random sample of their citizens to play bocce ball. Such an effort would invariably come at the expense of something that most people would consider more pressing.

Though utility is highly valued, humans have other values

It is crucial to note, however, another defining characteristic of humans: we also often place value on things that are not immediately or apparently useful.
It may be conceded that this is a largely philosophical question, and the claim that things which may not initially appear to be useful do perhaps have some non-obvious benefit that influences why we value them. One common example, is being attracted to “good-looking� people, at the expense of possibly more likely genetic proliferation with a mate who is not so good-looking. Many theories have attempted to explain this sort of supposedly irrational behavior, but the leading contenders argue that genetic “flaws� and predispositions to health and disease (our genotype) are manifested in how we look generally (our phenotype), and thus, we subconsciously select for genetically fitter mates by judging people attractive or not. Frans De Wall offers another example in his article “How Animals Do Business�; in the article, De Wall describes a monkey rejecting a food reward when it views the payment as unjust (it observed its partner receiving more food); “to reject unequal pay – which people do as well – goes against the assumptions of traditional economics…[But] in the long run it keeps one from being taken advantage of,� (De Waal 54).
So utility may lurk in some cases where it not entirely obvious, but there are still many behaviors that are not satisfactorily defined by utility. Suicide is perhaps the most obvious, but the work of Daniel Kahneman and Vernon L. Smith (Economics Nobel Prize winners 2002) has demonstrated that humans make many types of decisions in which they are not optimizing utility, or do so unpredictably and haphazardly (Kahneman 1). We might not routinely walk on our hands to school, but we might do it on a lawn for fun, at the expense of finite calories and potential of injury.
Such behavior, many romanticists argue passionately, is key to our humanness. It helps to explain the tremendous resources and energy devoted to painting, and singing, and arts of all sorts. It is revealed in our choices of architecture – and in the establishing of religions, disestablishing of religions, and sacrifice of obvious and sure-fire attainment of resources for principles.
The Thomas Popper paradigm promotes the idea of science being done by individuals free from such non-epistemic influences (Ruse p. 15). Though a dyed-in-the-wool Popperian scientist might bristle at the thought of such irrational behavior, recognizing the phenomenon is what allows science to have worth beyond its utility.
Again, the utility of aesthetics is beyond the scope of this paper. But if we concede that, at least some time, we do at least some things that may not be in our best interest, or that we take pleasure in an action regardless of its results, we see the crack we need to open the idea of science as a candidate for aesthetics.


Science possesses such an aesthetic that qualifies it as not wholly judged by utility.

If we appreciate that part of human behavior is influenced by less-than-optimally efficient aesthetics, it is possible to recognize science - as a process, as a phenomenon - as having value, regardless of what problem the scientist is working on, and regardless of what the scientist has so far solved or not solved.
For example, in addition to non-epistemic influences, many scientists devote their time inefficiently studying obscure subjects whose relevance is certainly outweighed by some other matter that could be considered more pressing. Let’s consider an astrophysicist studying the beginning of time. Though such a scientist might vaguely claim it is for the purposes of some utility, it is plausible to suggest that at least some of the appeal and value is manifested in the pure aesthetics of discovery. Just the word “discovery� is an emotionally charged word; not in a political or contextual sense, but in a more timeless sense. Indeed the very notion of discovery is almost inseparable from our identities as intelligent humans. Innovations and the quest for new methods and knowledge have existed across many cultures and many of histories. David Nye notes in his book Technology Matters, it is hard for us to imagine humankind without some form of technology or innovation (Nye 3).
Science, after all, is predominately a pursuit, often positing incorrect or irrelevant explanations. As Gary Taubes points out, quite often scientific theories and conclusions are completely wrong, and must be revised and reevaluated: “There are, after all, an infinite number of wrong hypotheses for every right one, and so the odds are always against any particular hypothesis being true,� (Taubes p. 2). It is this pursuit of knowledge that is the core of sciences aesthetic value.
Science is a way of thinking about the world, and our place in it. It is difficult to overstate the importance of such a paradigm. Steve Chesley, a physicist with Jet Propulsion Library in Pasadena, California emphasized that a “scientific way of thinking�, for example, can be contrasted in many respects with a way of thinking based on haphazard superstition, organized religion, or even political democracy.
We must avoid the temptation to let our personal biases jump to “rank� such ways of thinking. Rather, for our purposes here, we must simply realize that each of these ways of thinking has value. Perhaps one has less value than another; perhaps we even consider one to have negative value. Indeed, some critics contend that the scientific way of thinking has created or exacerbated many problems vis-a-vis God and spiritualism, authority and tradition, expectation of technological problem-solving, and so on. Those on the side of science often point out the host of human suffering that science has certainly alleviated; from fighting human diseases, to heating our homes, to allowing us to see and experience places and phenomenon we never could have seen before. In both The Corporation and An Inconvenient Truth, responsible and ethical implementation of science is identified as a key component in fighting many of the environmental problems of the future, although both movies also note that it is largely because of past science and technology implementations that we face many of our current environmental problems. Again, which side outweighs the other is a different discussion. For now, it is enough to recognize that the paradigm of thinking and acting scientifically has some amount of value.
Thus, even if a particular scientist would spend an entire year working on a project that did not yield any sort of useful result or discovery, it is still valued behavior. It is through such behavior that discovery is most likely to take place. We can imagine an analogy with classical Greek athletics; the hours spent training were not considered worthless if an athlete lost a competition. Surely, it would be more valued to train and win, but there was also an aesthetic of sport and training, independent of any given event’s outcome.


An Inseparable Blend
It is hard to imagine humans without thinking of the quest for knowledge. The utility of discovery – the ability of humans to apply new types of knowledge to novel situations - is indeed one of the things that most emphatically separates us from other animals. Yet at the same time, our aesthetic nature is another one of our characteristics that identifies us as uniquely human. Science is an inseparable blend of these two phenomena; the consequences of pure scientific discovery are enormous, and hold almost unlimited potential for what humans may one day know and achieve. But also, the scientific way of thinking must be appreciated as the medium through which this discovery takes place. It is only human to appreciate the scientific struggle.

Works Cited:

An Inconvenient Truth. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. Perf. Al Gore. Paramount Classics,
2006

Chesley, Steve. Personal Interview. 3 November 2007.

The Corporation. Dir. Jennifer Abbott, Mark Achbar. Perf. Jane Akre, Raymon
Anderson, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore. Big Picture Media Corporation, 2004.

De Waal, Frans B. M. “How Animals Do Business� Best American Science and Nature
Writing. Ed. Tim Folger. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. P. 46-54

Ruse, Michael. Mystery of Mysteries. Cambridge, London: Harvard University
Press, 1999

Taubes, Gary. “Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy?�. New York Times 16
Sep 2007.

Daniel Kahneman Autobiography. 2007 The Nobel Foundation. 5 November 2007
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/2002/kahneman-autobio.html


An Inconvenient Truth

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design: Knowledge Fight

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Nathan Otto
1152W
10/8/07
Evolution

Knowledge Fight

Where did we come from? Few questions in history have provoked such tremendous and heated debate. Though most scientists have agreed that evolution, via mutation and natural selection, is the best explanation for illustrating our origins, many others have disagreed fervently, and the decision of what and how to teach children about the entire issue remains a fiercely contested social and political topic.
The scientists have more evidence to support their claims. But the religious establishment makes an important point that the absence of evidence should not be grounds for intellectual dismissal. (X) By examining the assigned readings from class I will attempt to show that (Y) I side empirically with the scientists, yet still sympathize with the lobbying proponents of intelligent design, (Z) in order to protect new avenues of thought and questioning.

The Church and Empiricism
I do not believe in intelligent design. On my best days I would probably describe it as a backpedaling hail-mary by a desperate religio-political complex in an attempt to secure its dwindling prestige and status.
The problem with the religious establishment, in the minds of many rational people with good memories, is that it is constantly redefining its dogma – sacrificing its philosophical principles – in order to pander to populist sentiment. What was heresy even a hundred years ago, e.g. heaven is not an actual place with harps and angels, is now redefined in religious leaders’ writings as a form of relationship with God. Even on the topic of evolution, the Christian church – the primary institutional support behind the intelligent design movement – has changed its official position many times, in the last century from ‘we didn’t come from no monkeys’ to Pope John Paul II “[conceding] that Darwin’s theory of evolution might be correct.� (Bloom p. 275)
The problem with this is that it is very difficult to have faith in what the church is currently saying – especially when it conflicts with science - when they will seemingly arbitrarily redefine their dogma to reflect people’s growing awareness of basic scientific principles. The church would have lost credibility had they refused to acknowledge for too long that the earth revolved around the sun despite the growing belief in such a phenomenon. Yet they did stubbornly refuse it as much as they could - until they saw they were fighting a losing battle. The church realized that despite their persecutions, too many people were believing Galilean and Copernican ideas, and that if the church were to stay relevant and powerful they could not lose these people. And so now the earth revolves around the sun. John Paul II would have been torn limb from limb had he had the unfortunate luck of being born 350 years earlier.
Of course, what is the alternative? To just keep shaking your head and refusing to acknowledge any sort of validity to new information or values? This is the problem with fundamentalism. From a philosophically epistemological position, some would claim that it is slightly more respectable than issuing dogma after dogma, then changing your claims depending on how loud you hear people murmuring. At least the fundamentalists don’t give a damn. They appear to know what they’re talking about; just look at how confident they are. Science can be confusing, and as Daniel Dennett stated, the very technicality of the issues can be exploited to your own advantage, “counting on most of us to miss the point in all the difficult details,� (Dennett p.43). How aware are people of the almost perfectly similar metabolic pathways between a snail and an ape, and a snail an ape and a human, for that matter? But I don’t look like a snail, I know that. Snails and I have very little in common. I like sun and beer, snails seem to like mud and slime. So the fundamentalists have this type of awe-inspiring, I-don’t-care-what-those-ivory-tower-eggheads-say…you’re-nothing-like-a-snail angle that is appealing. Of course, fundamentalists reveal their insanity through other means and avenues, leaving no room for subjectivity or other people’s feelings, or by being philosophically forced to cling to notions like the sun revolving around the earth; for if they changed their mind and redefined their dogma, they would lose their identity as fundamentalists.

Scientific Change in Comparison
But what about the scientists? Surely, many times throughout history, science has changed its mind. The earth going from being accepted as flat to its current model of roughly spherical dimensions is one example. Michael Ruse refers to Thomas Kuhn and the importance of such drastic paradigm shifts in terms of how people see the world: “[t]he paradigm sets the rules, it marks out the limits...� (Ruse p. 20). But then a new study comes along telling you that chocolate is actually good for you, and has been all this time! So what is different about science and religion, when they both flip-flop?
I would say the answer lies mainly in motivation. Religion changes its mind to attract followers. Science, ideally anyway, changes its mind based on honesty. Indeed, Edward Wilson would have us believe scientists clap their hands red whenever a new model usurps the current one, even if it is their own. Religion hasn’t settled on a uniform stance on evolution, because various proponents have different opinions on whether acknowledging it or refuting it will attract more followers. Science, on the other hand, in its aloof attitude regarding if people like the facts or not, has ironically drawn significantly more interest in the last century. Science is the bad boy motorcyclist who smokes and spits and gets all the girls anyway.
The danger with science, however, is that it is not always practiced in an ideal sense. It is subject to the Kuhnian nonepistemic influences outlined by Ruse (Ruse p. 22). And at times, the scientific paradigm on a particular subject can become so entrenched that the establishment is hostile to new ideas or objections to the supposedly forgone conclusions. Stephen Gould, for example, encountered such resistance when he laid out his reservations about the practicality of traditional Darwinian ubiquitous adaptationism (Ruse p. 137), and offered the theory of punctuated equilibrium to expand, and even replace, certain components of Darwinism.

The Modern Classroom
In the 1920’s, the state of Tennessee had as an educational statute: “it shall be unlawful for any teacher to teach any law that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals� (Mooney p. 175).
I can understand scientific hostility to such a statement. The statute is unpalatable in so many ways it doesn’t merit any additional discussion here. But in the 2005 Dover trial over intelligent design the resolution stated: “[s]tudents will be made aware of gaps/problems in Darwin’s theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design,� (Orr p.174).
This is a far different statute. The evolutionists’ recoil and outrage is understandable, but not entirely warranted, nor entirely scientific in the truest sense of the word.
Understandable, because nobody likes to feel like they are losing ground. Not entirely warranted though, because – if enforced – the ruling is an asset for those who truly are interested in pursuing knowledge. Darwinism does have gaps and phenomenon that it does not entirely explain. This is widely acknowledged, but many evolutionists point out that this is a small pittance compared to intelligent design’s lack of positive claims (Orr p. 196). Yet the Dover statute’s main claim is elementary: it states that students will be made aware of problems in Darwin’s theory and be exposed to alternative theories of life. Theories of life definitely belong in a biology classroom. Darwinism does have problems, which, anecdotally speaking for a minute, were - and still are - hidden from students like me by the academic biological establishment, through all my years of schooling, and I am a biology major. No biology major should hear about William Dembski’s and Michael Behe’s claims, for example, for the first time in their senior year because of a fluke English assignment (Orr “Devolution�).
Evolutionists, or more specifically, anti-intelligent design lobbyists, lament that this ruling is just a creationist Trojan horse, with which the religious establishment will enter into the school system and create an army of brain-washed children to do their political bidding. Though this may be an exaggerated statement – no anti-ID-ist may say it – this is what they fear.
Fear is not a part of science. The paradox is, by objecting to such a benign statute, the evolutionists sacrifice their principles for political protectionism, acquiring all the worst characteristics of the church establishment in the process. In addition, the statute could even gain the evolutionists political and epistemological ground. Comparing intelligent design and evolution side-by-side is not a necessarily damning blow to evolution. In many cases, such a comparison illustrates the scientific brilliance of Darwinism that much more clearly. Yes, intelligent design still gets a platform, but it is up to students to decide if it is “as scientific� as Darwinism, and that, after all, is the their choice, no matter which establishment is trying to cram its views down students’ throats.


Works Cited

Bloom, Paul. “Is God an Accident?� Best of American Science Writing. Ed.
Atul Gawande. New York, London: Harper Perennial, 2006. 272-290

Dennett, Daniel. “Show Me the Science� Best of American Science and Nature Writing.
Ed. Tim Folger. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. P.39 -45

Mooney, Chris. “The Dover Monkey Trial� Best of American Science and Nature
Writing. Ed. Tim Folger. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 172 – 179

Orr, H. Allen. “Devolution� Best of American Science Writing. Ed.
Atul Gawande. New York, London: Harper Perennial, 2006. 194 -207

Ruse, Michael. Mystery of Mysteries. Cambridge, London: Harvard University
Press, 1999



November 15, 2007

Evolution

Having read numerous articles highlighting the many angles, claims, and pieces of evidence regarding the theories of evolution and intelligent design, I will show (X) the theory of evolution, rather than intelligent design, is superior in explaining how a species learns to adapt and change (Y) (premise 1) by comparing the key theorists and their science behind both claims, (premise 2) the underlying religious implications, and (premise 3) providing evidence supporting the theory, (Z) in order to prove evolution as the more logical theory.
While many scientists have undoubtedly invested their lives to the study of evolution and natural selection, the theory cannot be discussed without mentioning three specific evolutionists: Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin, and Geoffrey Parker.
Historically, the theory of evolution can trace its roots back to Erasmus Darwin. The grandfather of well known scientist Charles Darwin, studied the natural world stating “that all organisms descend through natural causes (that is, no miracles) from life forms very different from themselves…� (Ruse, 39). Erasmus also pointed to the docking of dogs’ tails, which he believed would evolve into dogs born with little or no existence of a tail (Ruse, 40). He studied nature from a perspective of how things developed into what they currently are. His thoughts led him to arrive that all organisms are in pursuit of arriving at the best form for survival in a given environment, to ensure their success as a species leaving prenotions of religious creationism aside, relying on pure scientific evidence to support his claim.
Following the work of Erasmus, his grandson Charles Darwin picked up on the thought of evolution, bringing this potential theory to the limelight as he linked scientific evidence to the newly born theory. Charles claimed “many more organisms are born than can possibly survive and reproduce; organisms come with heritable differences; those organisms that succeed in the struggle for existence and reproduction will be different from those that do not, and their success will (on average) be a function of the differences…and given enough time this will lead to full-blown evolution� (Ruse, 57). As Charles was raised during the Industrial Revolution, he was allowed to first hand witness the selection of a breeding stock in agriculture to maximize survival. Then, on his voyage to South America, Charles found a series of islands (the Galapagos), which had remarkably different wildlife and fauna from that of the rest of the continent. This led him to apply this same “struggle for existence� to the natural world arriving at his mechanism of natural selection (Ruse, 56).
Geoffrey Parker, another evolutionist, is an unabashed Darwinian adaptionist. Whenever possible, he searched for function as allowed by natural selection from a pragmatic, step-by-step approach (Ruse, 205). Parker continued off of Charles’ work, taking his theory to assist him in explaining survival tactics in the natural world. One such explanation arrived on his observation of the golden eagle where he noticed siblicide, when one dominate chick frequently kills nest mates to ensure its survival in competition for food (Ruse, 201). Michael Ruse outlines Parkers arguments noting, “Parker spells out his position: balancing what he sees as the right, the positive, moral obligation to recognize the limitations of what science can achieve� (Ruse, 213).
In reflection of all three pro-evolution theorists, many commonalities can be found. For start, all theorists placed their outside biases of religion and their assumptions of how the natural world work aside. This allowed them to create a hypothesis, to use that hypothesis to test and observe what they saw to be true, and using their scientific evidence from these observations to finally arrive at a plausible theory. All of these men, among many others, used actual scientific methods to arrive at their appropriate theories supporting evolution.
As an alternative argument to the theory of evolution, leading theorists William Dembski and Michael Behe, work to support the concept of “Intelligent Design�.
Dembski, a mathematician, philosopher, and divine theologist, claims a complex object must be the result of intelligent design if it were a product of neither chance nor necessity (Orr, 201). He argues if organisms show specified complexity that it is plausible to conclude they are the handiwork of an intelligent agent (Orr, 202). However, Dembski’s argument fails to recognize that organisms are not trying to fit any pattern. H. Allen Orr, from The New Yorker, comments, “Evolution has no goal, and the history of life isn’t trying to get anywhere…………but if destroying a sophisticated structure like the eye increases the number of children produced (as found in many cave species), evolution will just as happily destroy the eye� (Orr, 204). Another flaw with Dembski’s argument is that his theory do not hold true in cases of co-evolution, or when two or more species evolve as a response to the other (Orr, 204). All of this leads me to point out the final flaw in Dembski’s science, which is none of his work contains actual evidence, data, or the testing of data. Dembski simply brings his bias of the belief in a creator/designer into the scientific community without any hypothesis, factual evidence, or testable methods. His theory should not be considered scientific, as it does not follow any scientific method protocol, and thus a theory with no content, should be viewed as an opinion at best.
Complementing Dembski’s analysis, Behe concluded that irreducibly complex cells only arise from someone designing them. He states that by employing evolution as a theory, we are starting with a cell advancing us 90 percent of the way to the finish line (Orr, 198). However, as Orr points out, Behe fails to recognize a more indirect path to complex cells, as “elaborate structures may evolve for one reason and then get co-opted for some entirely different, irreducibly complex function� (Orr, 199). This Darwinian evolutionary approach to cells as we know them today justly explains their irreducible state. Behe replies to this confessing, “I quite agree that my argument against Darwinism does not add up to a logical proof� (Orr, 200).
After commenting on the superiority of the theorists and science behind both Darwinsim and evolution in comparison with those supporting intelligent design, it is important to understand why people still chose to accept the lesser theory due to the religious implications of evolution and Darwinism.
Jack Hitt, of Harper’s Magazine, best addresses this angle as he states, “Roots are crucial to us-us being all Americans-because they are the source of so much of our national anxiety about not quite belonging� (Hitt, 238). With relying on a “creator� as the sole responsible entity for why and who we are, it eases a religious component as the Bible, Koran, and various other religious instruments taught all of us from an early age that God responsible for the creation of mankind, not that we evolved over millions of years from our primate ancestors. Education committee chair and intelligent design proponent William Buckingham stated, “This country wasn’t founded on Muslim beliefs or evolution; this country was founded on Christianity, and our students should be taught as such� (Mooney, 174). As we reflect on our education as Americans, specifically our background in science, we need to ask whether it is both accurate and legal to study science as a function of religion, considering the American notion of separation of church and state, specifically in our public schools. Daniel C. Dennett, of The New York Times, states, “No intelligent designer would put such a clumsy arrangement in a camcorder (in response to the blind spot in all eyes), and this is just one of hundreds of accidents frozen in evolutionary history that confirm the mindlessness of the historical process (evolution)� (Dennett, 41). This brings to question if we are using actual science as evidence of intelligent design, or if we are using religious tools to define what we cannot immediately see about the gradual change of earth because of religious heritage.
Now, after invalidating the claims of intelligent designs’ key theorists, linking the theory to religious teachings rather than actual science, we can highlight evolution as the prime theory of explaining the natural world focusing on the data and findings of today.
Evolution should not be seen as a historical concept from the times of Darwin and other great scientists, for it is a constant constraint placed on all living things with no bearing on time or place. The most recent evidence of this, as mentioned by our articles, is actually the evolution of man. Paul Bloom, in his article Is God an Accident?, gives insight as to how religion may have be an evolutionary tool acquired to ease the pain of existence (Bloom, 276). He goes on to explain that men cannot deal with chaos, religion helps us not only to deal with the fear of death, but also works as a societal glue, bringing people together on common grounds based on a simple belief (Bloom, 277). The article continues to explain how even as newborns we look at faces, feel as though we have a purpose, and that our body and soul are not a single entity (Bloom, 283). The evidence that children believe in a soul, and more importantly a purpose, leads us to conclude the notion of life after death is not learned, rather it is a by-product of how we naturally evolved to think about the world (Bloom, 284). This reflects a social understanding, different from our physical understanding, which is a relatively recent adaptation shared only by other humans (Bloom, 280).
In conclusion, the theory of evolution, and its many components, accurately describes the progression of life as proven by superior backing of scientists, in the absence of any religious bias, and by evidence as seen in humans. As rookie geologist Luann Becker stated, regarding her revolutionary theory of the PT extinction, “We’ve got everybody hounding us because it’s a spectacular claim; they feel threatened; why else would they make such absurd statements�(Wright, 233). This same statement applies to evolution, for centuries religious institutions have taught people that earth, nature, and mankind are all a creation of God. For a group of scientists to one day propose an idea refuting this claim, with a much more secular theory with a more logical explanation, caused an uproar of ridiculous statements and threatened institutions.

Works Cited
Bloom, Paul. “Is God an Accident?� The Best American Science Writing. Ed. Atul Gawande. New York, London: Harper Perennial, 2006. 272-290.
Dennett, Daniel C. “Show Me the Science� The Best American Science and Nature Writing. Ed. Brian Greene. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. 39-45.
Hitt, Jack. “Might White of You� The Best American Science Writing. Ed. Atul Gawande. New York, London: Harper Perennial, 2006. 237-271.
Mooney, Chris. “The Dover Monkey Trial� The Best American Science and Nature Writing. Ed. Brian Greene. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. 172-179.
Orr, H. Allen. “Devolution� The Best American Science Writing. Ed. Atul Gawande. New York, London: Harper Perennial, 2006. 194-207.
Ruse, Michael. Mystery of Mysteries. Cambridge, London: Harvard University Press, 2001.
Wright, Karen. “The Day Everything Died� The Best American Science Writing. Ed. Atul Gawande. New York, London: Harper Perennial, 2006. 223-236.

Interpreting Scientific Results: The Responsibility of the Consumer?

With the America becoming the corporate billionaires playground, it is important to ask if these profits are coming at the expense of the consumer. As corporate giants are often the funding entity of the testing of their products, both directly and indirectly by financing various institutions and political schedules, one must ask how accurate the claims made by such scientists are, and if they are reliable enough for public implementation. In this paper I will show that (X) the worth of scientists lie in the truth and utility of their theories and findings (Y) by highlighting and commenting on the film The Corporation and the articles Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy? and On Autism’s Cause, It’s Parents vs. Research (Z) in order to bring attention to the increasingly misleading and popular scientific testing of drugs at the expense of the consumer. In large, I will discuss (Premise 1) one case study of a prescribed drug later admitted to be harmful for human consumption, (Premise 2) the current debate on the causal relationship between a mercury containing drug and autism, and (Premise 3) what this means for the use or misuse of vaccinations today.
Female Aging Panacea: Hormone Replacement Therapy (H.R.T)
Gary Taubes, in his New York Times article Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy?, raises the question of the validity of prescribed regimens once proven medically safe as he examines the history of the once popularly prescribed hormone replacement therapy. He starts his story in the 1960’s, as Dr. Robert Wilson argued that menopause was not a natural cycle of an aging woman. Dr. Wilson insisted that it was a progressive illness just like kidney failure or diabetes. In light of his views on this natural cycle, estrogen began to be used in hormone replacement therapy, H.R.T, among many women. This prescribed regimen became increasingly popular with time. By the mid 1990’s, the American Heart Association among other institutions concluded the beneficial effects of H.R.T. were sufficiently established and that it could be prescribed to older women in efforts to curb the effects of aging, specifically heart disease and osteoporosis. In 2001, years after this announcement, over 15 million American Women were filing H.R.T prescriptions annually. Over 5 million of which were aged women under the regimen in sole efforts of preventing the effects of aging, hoping to live longer and healthier lives. Then, in the summer of 2002 this regimen was exposed as a hazard to one’s health, greatly contrasting with the scientific findings less than a decade earlier (Taubes, 1).
With this example of a harmful drug prescribed in the most scientifically advanced country on earth, to a demographic encompassing a large percentage of the population, we as consumers need to question the validity of such findings. In this case, institutions such as the American Heart Association, a “reliable� source of medical information, mislead millions of Americans to taking a drug found to be harmful to human health. This gross neglect on the part of the manufacturers and doctors prescribing such medications only raises further concerns in other areas of medicine and other prescription regimens.
Autism and Thimerosal
The New York Times article, On Autism’s Cause, It’s Parents vs. Research, states autism is a lifelong disorder with traits of repetitive behaviors with an overall inability to form social relationships. Although some scientists believe the disorder is largely genetic, many believe that some unknown environmental factor also contributes to its contraction (Harris, O’Connor 108). After more thorough investigation of the disease, parents are starting to draw ties to the illness with mercury poisoning. Specifically, it is believed this mercury-poisoning comes from the vaccines given in the earliest stages of infancy.
Thimerosal, a favored vaccine preservative used for decades, by weight consists of 50% ethyl mercury (Harris, O’Connor 105). It is the mercury found in this preservative that many parents are labeling the root cause of autism in children. A 1999 Food and Drug Administration study showed that all of the mercury that American Infants received under a full immunization schedule exceeds the government guideline for mercury consumption (Harris, O’Connor 107). With clear cut evidence quantifying the hazardous amount of mercury found in infant vaccines, it is no wonder 10% to 25% of all autism cases seem to happen overnight, sometime in between the child’s first and second year (Harris, O’Connor 107). One interviewed man stated, “My grandson received 9 shots in one day, 7 of which contained thimerosal, which is 50% mercury as you know, and he became autistic a short time later� (Harris, O’Connor 108). With cases like this, it is no wonder people are beginning to lose faith in medical science, and scientific testing as a whole.
Scientists, Public Officials, and Parents
With institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all dismissing the notion that mercury-containing thimerosal has a relationship with autism after five major studies, it is hard to spot a causal relationship between the two. Even public health officials have been saying for years that there is no link between thimerosal and autism ( Harris, O’Connor 105).
With drugs such as thimerosal being manufactured by corporate America, it is in the company’s best interest to safely prescribe such drugs due to the financial liability a potentially harmful drug could potentially cause. When such causal relationships between drugs and serious illnesses such as autism come up for debate, it is no wonder the manufacturer would not want to take responsibility for such a catastrophe. Taking responsibility for such causal relationships would result in the loss of millions in lawsuits and decline of growth for the company. This pattern of scientists finding results tailoring the best economic conditions for the pharmaceutical industry raises questions of how accurate the testing of such drugs were performed. It is not radical to conclude that due to extreme efforts of lobbyists may curb such results, especially given the roles corporate America has held in the past as outlined in the film The Corporation. With corporations owning whole towns, spending millions of dollars on the funding of testing agencies, patenting human genes, and spending millions more on lobbying public officials to approve their drugs, it is becoming increasingly unclear who will stand up for the public good (The Corporation).
However, some individuals are standing up for what they believe to be true science. Robert F. Kennedy wrote that most studies of this issue are flawed and public health officials are conspiring with drug officials to cover the extensive damage cause by thimerosal (Harris, O’Connor, 106). Dr. Geier has followed suit as he called the use of thimerosal in vaccines the world’s “greatest catastrophe that’s ever happened, regardless of cause�. He continued to state that relationship between the two is well established, and that public health officials are just trying to cover it up (Harris, O’Connor, 106-7).
Faith in Vaccinations, Are We Safe?
With corporations paying for the scientific results best suited to their long-term survival, individual consumer confidence is decreasing at an increasing rate. This insecurity is best viewed by noting the mysterious decrease of mercury in vaccines today. By 2001 no vaccine routinely administered to children in the United States had any more mercury than what is found in an infant’s daily supply of breast milk. Despite this decrease in thimerosal found in vaccines, government officials still say there is no link between thimerosal and autism (Harris, O’Connor, 107). This example of the current absence of thimerosal in vaccines raises further concern as why would any additive proven to be safe and previously used be taken out of vaccines? It is alarmingly obvious that some information is not being passed onto the consumer form both the pharmaceutical industry and our public officials.
With lies from every end on the front lines of the debate, it is impossible for consumers to make good decisions regarding the use of thimerosal, and exploratory science in general. This loss of trust in vaccines is causing some parents to completely avoid vaccines in general, placing their children at risk of other illnesses such as measles and polio (Harris, O’Connor 106). A Minnesota Immunization Official comments, “ It doesn’t seem to matter what the studies and data show and that’s really scary for us because if science doesn’t count, how do we make decisions and how do we communicate with parents?� (Harris, O’Connor 112).


Conclusion
In conclusion, science and its findings are only as good as the integrity of the scientist performing the tests. In cases such as hormone replacement therapy, which was prescribed for decades, and the use of thimerosal in vaccinations with its obvious relationship with autism, it is hard for the consumer to have faith in any scientific findings. With large corporations gaining increasing financial leverage on the consumer, it is hard to validate most scientific findings and theories. This negatively impacts us as consumers as the alterations of some data, insinuates an alteration in other data. It is thus the function of the consumer to be aware of the debates in science today, as it not only impacts them, but also those of tomorrow. By educating ourselves on the debates surrounding the issue, we in turn can made decisions in favor of the most reliable results.

Bibliography
Harris, Gardiner, and Anahad O’Connor. “On Autism’s Cause, It’s Parents vs. Research�
The Best American Science Writing. Ed. Atul Gawande. New York, London: Harper Perennial, 2006. 104-112.
Taubes, Gary. “Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy?� The New York Times.
16 Sept 2007. Date Accessed 31 Oct 2007.
The Corporation. Dir. Abbott, Jennifer, and Mark Achbar. Film. Big Picture
Media Corporation, 2004.


Argument Analysis Sheet

Global Warming: Fact

In comparing and contrasting critical evidence and events as portrayed in An Inconvenient Truth, The Day After Tomorrow, and Field Notes on a Catastrophe, the fact that global warming is, and if unregulated will continue to take a devastating toll on earth in the form of climate change has become alarmingly clear. In this paper I will show (X) global warming is a critical issue requiring immediate attention by (Y) suggesting that we as individual Americans need to actively address this inevitably disastrous cycle (Z) in efforts to provide a sustainable environmental policy for the health of future generations. (Premise 1) In large, global climate change is real and devastating. (Premise 2) Economically, it is advantageous for us as Americans to initiate green technology as we use our role of superpower to set prescient for the rest of the modern world. (Premise 3) Even though the current administration has neglected this issue in the form of comprehensive legislation, addressing global climate change is happening from a grass roots approach and is proving itself as a viable approach.

The Facts of Global Warming
Josh Schollmeyer states it best when he concludes the media bombards us with speculative doomsday scenarios that lack both analysis and context. This statement adequately applies to the film The Day After Tomorrow as this docudrama creates a series of plausible effects resulting from the impact of global warming while neglecting an accurate time frame, as these events would take a minimum of several decades to occur (The Day). In addition to the inaccurate time analysis, the film is simply an element of Hollywood. As Schollmeyer continues, “Those who see Hollywood as a medium for political change will learn that popular culture can only do so much – especially when the government still has not quite worked out the story line� (Schollmeyer, 268-69).
With docudramas aside, factual science can still be derived from the media as Al Gore, in his presentation of An Inconvenient Truth, demonstrates the relationship of carbon dioxide emissions to temperature by showing charts illustrating the close fit of the two lines when graphed chronologically side by side. This comprehensive analysis reveals that we have and are continuing to emit carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. Recent emissions are higher than ever before; correspondingly, the ten hottest years on record have occurred in the last fourteen years. (An Inconvenient).
In Elizabeth Kolbert’s book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, she highlights the evidence of the current warming patterns. A measure of the temperature of earth’s atmosphere by analysis of frozen atmospheric particles found in glaciers reveals the earth’s current temperature to be equal if not greater than it has ever been in the last 420,000 years (Kolbert, 129). This increase in temperature is closely linked to the increasing amount of greenhouse gas emitted into our atmosphere.
Warming Effects on Climate
With evidence the earth is in fact increasing in temperature, it is important to highlight the climatic implications of this increase. Al Gore continues in his presentation to explain that as the global temperature increases, various effects alter the climate in various locations of the globe. At the poles, global warming causes the rapid melting of glacial ice. This rapid melt results in not only dramatically reduced oceanic coastlines, but also alters the oceanic currents. When the cool, dense glacial water falls to the bottom of the ocean, it likely will disrupt oceanic currents prohibiting earth’s natural mechanism of temperature distribution (An Inconvenient).
Kolbert adds to Gore’s analysis suggesting as the temperature increases on land, either fatal droughts or colossal rainfall result. This analysis is used to assist in explaining the devastating effects of oceanic storms such as Hurricane Katrina; as the temperature increases, wind and moisture also increase. The laws of the foundation of science defend this analysis as a law of physics states that when a molecule increases in temperature it expands, applying to the rising water levels and moisture content in many recent storms (Kolbert, 125).

Present Day Catastrophes
With greenhouse gases emitted in massive amounts over the last 50 years, it is no wonder effects of global warming are visible in nearly every region of our planet today.
One such region, the Netherlands, faces serious threats in the near future as its’ citizens are currently implementing makeshift technology to survive the irregularity of today. She states, “Fully a quarter of the Netherlands lies below sea level…another quarter, while slightly higher, is still low enough that, in the natural course of events, it would regularly be flooded� (Kolbert, 123). Although they have adopted floating houses to cope with the levels of today, it is highly unlikely their system of dikes and floating homes will support the increasingly extreme weather patterns.
Lake Chad, a water source for many Africans, is one of many locations affected by global warming. Al Gore presented a time lapsed image of the lake over the last several years, showing the lack has evaporated to a mere fraction of its original size (An Inconvenient).
From a glacial perspective, Gore continued to show many photographs of the disappearing glaciers from the Arctic to the Andes. His photographs showed stunning images of glacial boundaries of today, in comparison with the previous, extremely larger boundaries of the glaciers from only decades past (An Inconvenient). In addition to increasing temperatures impacting glaciers, India has also suffered severe consequences of global warming as record temperatures of 122oF claimed the lives of over 1,400 people (An Inconvenient).

Economic Potential
When reflecting on international issues such as global climate change, it gives the impression of a costly issue so large, it would be impractical for the developed world to consider resolving such an issue. One of the key reasons the United States decided not to sign the Kyoto Protocol, which requests for emission reductions in the developed world, was due to the financial nature of such changes. Kolbert mentions an argument in which an expert suggested if American companies place restrictions on emissions, while China and India do not, American Companies would be at a serious economic disadvantage (Kolbert, 156). Contrary to this belief, the research and implementation of green technology in the United States would actually create jobs, thus increasing wealth, and in-turn furthers the growth of the American Economy. Howie Hawkins, Burlington’s Mayor and green technology supporter, concluded that what America does, China and others in the developing world will soon do. When the United States embraces clean-up technology, the market starts to drive down the price, and thus others will surely benefit (Kolbert, 182).
Green technology is not only needed in arenas of transportation and production, but also needs to be directed toward daily events as simple as food consumption. The article Connecting The Diner Plate to Global Warming advocates that lowering meat consumption would in fact decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The author of this article mentions that the meat producing industry emits more greenhouse gasses than all forms of transportation combined (Deutsch, 1). Having stated the above conclusion from a United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization report, it becomes clear we need to address the issue of global climate change from a variety of approaches.
In all, doing the right thing creates jobs and wealth as it advances us as a whole foreword.

No Federal Policy, No Problem
While the US has contributed more to advancement of climate science, both theoretically and experimentally; Elizabeth Kolbert states we are also the key purveyor of skeptics (Kolbert, 163). As the largest single producer of greenhouse gasses, the United States is responsible for nearly 25% of the global total (Kolbert, 150). It is this alarming rate of production, resulting from economic activity, which creates disturbance at the national level. According to Al Gore, the United States and Australia are the only countries not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol (An Inconvenient). In addition to this federal neglect, in June of 2005 The New York Times revealed Philip Cooney, a White House Official, repeatedly edited government reports on climate change to make the findings less alarming (Kolbert, 166). With dishonest information circling those who reference climate documents when making legislative decisions, it is no wonder the current federal policy is lacking. When criticized on matters dealing with neglect to global climate change, Paula Dobrinski, the current Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, stated the following, “We see this as a serious issue. We have vigorously and robustly put forth a climate change policy to address these issues…basically and fundamentally we have a common goal (as the Kyoto Protocol), but we are pursuing different approaches� (Kolbert, 152).
With a federal government turning a deaf ear toward the issue, city mayors such as Mr. Hawkins of Burlington, Vermont, decided it was their responsibility to step in. After modeling his city after programs originated in Minneapolis, Hawkins has created a significant impact on the local community. Among several projects, Burlington Electric aids in the cause as it gets nearly half of its energy from renewable sources including a 50-megawatt power plant operating off of wood chips. Even more surprising, over 170 mayors representing over 36 million people pledged to strive to meet the Kyoto Protocol in their communities (Kolbert, 175). With support from the very people who contribute to the emissions, the current path of global warming could be altered.

Conclusion
Global warming causes extreme climate change, so extreme that it in fact proves to be a viable threat to the existence of man. In this article I outline specific facts, effects, and threats global warming places on our planet. It is not only our job, but to our advantage to address this issue. As the key contributor to the problem, it is justly our responsibility to deliver a comprehensive solution. With little federal support on climate policy suggesting a nation of ignorance, it is our power as individual consumers to lead the attack. We have learned in the past that obstacles provide us with the opportunity to improve our current condition. By addressing global warming, we will not only be furthering ourselves economically, but also be doing the right thing. Americans have led the world in the research of this global challenge, and thus should lead the world in its solvency.

Works Cited
An Inconvenient Truth. Dir Davis Guggenheim. Perf Al Gore. Lawrence Bender, 2006.
Deutsch, Claudia H. “Connecting The Dinner Plate To Global Warming� The New York Times. 29 Aug 2007. 1-3.
Kolbert, Elizabeth. “Field Notes From A Catastrophe� New York: Bloomsbury Press,
2006.
Schollmeyer, Josh. “Lights, Camera, Armageddon� The Best American Science and Nature Writing. Ed. Brian Greene. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. 259-269.
The Day After Tomorrow. Dir Roland Emmerich. Emmerich & Gordon, 2004.


Argument Analysis Sheet

November 14, 2007

Global Warming and Climate Change

Matt Abens
1152W
10-24-07
Argument Analysis Essay #2

Global Warming and Climate Change

In this paper I will (X) show how the movies The Day After Tomorrow and An Inconvenient Truth and the book Field Notes on a Catastrophe attempt to create awareness for the global warming problem (Y) by exploring the goals, objectives, and possible solutions of the writers and directors (Z) in order to display the effects of global warming and the small changes that may help our environment. I will first look at how pollution levels, mainly carbon dioxide, affect much of the Earth’s climatic events such as: temperature, weather, and water levels. Next I will describe how each movie and the book portray global warming as the prime factor of Earth’s climate change. I will end the paper by describing possible environmental changes outlined in the movies and book to help contain the rapid alterations of the climate through global warming.
Carbon Dioxide Levels and Temperature
There are no doubts among scientists that Earth’s water levels and average annual temperatures are rising every year. The weather and the strength of storms such as hurricanes and typhoons are also increasing in power each year. The tremendous damage done by hurricane Katrina, one of the strongest storms the country has ever seen, verifies this point. There are communities all over the world that are being evacuated and moved to other locations because of the rising sea levels and the stronger surges caused by ocean storms. The people of Shishmaref, Alaska have lived in their small village for hundreds of years using native techniques to hunt and support their families. The rise in average temperature has caused the sea to freeze later in the fall than it ever used too and thaw earlier in the spring than in the past. These events altered the traditional hunting patterns used by the villagers. It was no longer safe to walk on the ice so they began to use boats to hunt. This made it very difficult to hunt seals on the size of their current hunting grounds (Kolbert 8). Another problem caused by these temperature and sea level changes for the village was with the stronger storms; their houses and buildings were being destroyed. The destruction of the village caused by these storms led the community into making a decision of moving to the mainland in 2001. It is estimated that a full relocation of the village would cost the U.S. Government $180 million (Kolbert 9). This is a steep price considering all the other communities around the world that also need to be relocated.
In the last 25 years worldwide carbon dioxide emissions have continued to increase, from five billion to seven billion metric tons a year, causing the Earth’s temperature to also steadily rise. There is a new record for the highest annual temperature set every year, meaning that Earth is continuing to get hotter year in and year out. The world is now warmer than it has ever been in the last two thousand years, and, if these current trends continue, in the next 100 years it will likely be warmer than at any point in the last two million years (Kolbert 13). Nearly every major glacier and area of permafrost in the world is shrinking because of this added heat. The melted ice has to go somewhere, and that place is the oceans, which cause the increase in water levels. The melting of glaciers and permafrost all over the world also leads to the increase in carbon dioxide levels. There are grass and plants that are stored in the frozen permafrost, causing a storage unit of accumulated carbon. As this permafrost thaws, the storage process is reversed and the organic material that was frozen begins to break down, giving off carbon dioxide, which only adds to the overall problem (Kolbert 21).
During each of the most recent glacier periods, temperature dropped almost precisely in sync with falling carbon dioxide levels and during each warm period, when the ice retreated, temperature rose again with the carbon dioxide levels (Kolbert 33). This once again demonstrates that temperature levels depend heavily on the levels of carbon dioxide. As long as the carbon dioxide levels continue to rise at the current pace, the temperature levels will also match this pace and because of this maybe not in our lifetimes but our children’s lifetimes the climate and environment will be vastly different than what it is today.
Climate Change Caused by Global Warming
The movies An Inconvenient Truth and The Day After Tomorrow and the book Field Notes from a Catastrophe all share the same idea that the change in Earth’s climate is ultimately caused by global warming. They all agree that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases polluting the atmosphere cause and increase in temperature, which is responsible for global warming. Al Gore shows this in his movie when he brings up a large graph with the levels of carbon dioxide increasing and decreasing over the last hundred thousand years during the ice ages. Over the same time period, a graph of temperature also appears and exactly follows the line of carbon dioxide levels. The two lines look as if they should fit together. The evidence of this clip shows that carbon dioxide and temperature levels are related.
The Day After Tomorrow movie tries a different approach to creating awareness for global warming than Al Gore’s movie, whereby the director produces a farfetched plot that is not likely to ever occur. The story of an ice age really beginning in a matter of days is completely unrealistic and unbelievable to the average viewer. The director is trying to get his point across of decreasing pollution by trying to scare the audience into making the right choice. He hopes that if the audience becomes scared that an event such as this might happen, they will start to worry about global warming. The director can only be successful at this if the audience truly takes the movie to heart and attempts to alter their lifestyles to work for a change. If the viewer does not feel the same way about global warming and refuses to sacrifice to help the planet, then the movies did not accomplish anything at all but to entertain the public. This is similar to Josh Schollmeyer’s article “Lights, Camera, Armageddon�, which shows that most hit Hollywood films contain the worst case scenario in order to scare the viewer. Frequently directors will do this in the hope that popular culture they create will somehow encourage a certain policy change they believe in. An example of this is how citizens of the United States are no longer worried most about nuclear war and weapons, instead they are now mainly worried about biological weapons and terrorists (Schollmeyer 267). These events were caused by huge box office movies that have manipulated their plots to contain new doomsday scenarios, because people fear what they now nothing about, and fear sells movies. These two movies have created a large awareness for global warming and have frightened the general public into thinking about the environment and making changes for the better.
A Cure for Global Warming
Although the climate has already been affected by global warming, there are solutions to the problem that can be done to help both on the local and the global levels. Many individuals and communities are taking actions themselves to combat the role that global warming plays in climatic change. Many nations are also joining together to sign such agreements as the Kyoto protocol, which limits countries and industries carbon dioxide emissions. Professors and scientists all over the world are discovering new theories that they believe will solve the problem of global warming.
In Burlington, Vermont the citizens decided several years ago that instead of generating more power for the growing community, they would just use less of it (Kolbert 173). The people of Burlington were upset by the lack of action of the federal government regarding global warming, so they chose to make their own changes. In 2002 they launched an energy saving campaign known as the “10 percent challenge�. The city aimed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent (Kolbert 174). Burlington discovered many fascinating ideas to accomplish its goal.
Instead of collecting rubbish at the county dump, the city began reselling it to people who could use it. This cut down on both the cities waste stream and the need for new materials. The Burlington Electric company now converts nearly 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources. They have added a wind turbine and a fifty-megawatt power plant that runs off of wood chips instead of heavily polluting coal power plants. Burlington’s supermarket is heavily stocked with local produce because produce shipped in can travel thousands of miles just to arrive at the store. Burlington encourages its citizens to turn off lights when they are not using them. They estimated that if a household usually leaves the porch light on at night using a standard light bulb, they could save 10 percent of the monthly electricity bill if they switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The Burlington electric department estimates that the energy savings project that the city has undertaken will, over the course of their lifetimes, prevent the release of nearly 175,000 tons of carbon (Kolbert 176). If every singe town and city in the United States matched the efforts that Burlington has made, the aggregate savings would amount roughly to 1.3 billion tons of carbon over the next several decades (Kolbert 180). Although this wouldn’t completely solve the problem of global warming, it would be a giant step towards the solution.
Some people such as Claudia Deutsch think that we can effect global warming by watching what we eat. Many animal rights activists groups are stating that becoming a vegetarian or eating less meat will help create less greenhouse gasses. These groups believe that the livestock business creates more greenhouse gasses than all forms of transportation combined (Deutsch 2). This could be entirely possible because of all that goes into the process of raising cattle and transporting the processed meat to consumers. Grain needs to be transported and processed for the cattle to eat, then when the cows are ready to be butchered they must be transported again, and then they have to be transported yet again to various grocery stores or restaurants so they are available to consumers.
Robert Socolow, a theoretical physicist is one of many scientists to propose their own plans to reduce carbon dioxide levels in order to combat global warming. Socolow broke his plan down into manageable blocks called “stabilization wedges� that would help lower carbon dioxide emissions. He defined a stabilization wedge as a step that would be sufficient to prevent a billion metric tons of carbon per year from being emitted. With the current rate of 7 billion metric tons and the expected rate of 14 billion metric tons in the next fifty years, seven wedges would be needed to hold emissions constant at today’s level (Kolbert 137). Socolow came up with fifteen different theoretical wedges, eight more than were necessary. For example wedge number 11 is solar power and wedge number 10 is wind electricity, so each wedge has a certain role to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. There are two wedges related to automobiles, one is that all vehicles must be driven half as much and the other wedge is that all vehicles must be twice as efficient (Kolbert 141).
In today’s world there is no direct cost to emitting carbon dioxide, so it is not likely that any of Socolow’s wedges would voluntarily be implemented. But as stated in An Inconvenient Truth, “It might cost us more to do nothing, than to fight global warming�. This is why governments need to intervene and set up strict guidelines on carbon dioxide emissions no matter what it does to the economy. In The Day After Tomorrow the vice president was arguing that fixing the global warming problem would have to great of an effect on the economy, but Kolbert has a great example combating this opinion in her book. The United States has gone through a similar issue as this in the past. When we decided we did not want child labor, the price of goods increased but the loss in spending power and the effect on the economy was outweighed by the benefits of knowing our goods were produced ethically. There are many options that an individual or nation can embrace to help contain global warming so that Earth is a great place to live for our children and grandchildren.
The writers and directors of An Inconvenient Truth, The Day After Tomorrow, and Field Notes from a Catastrophe are trying to accomplish the same goals and objectives. They are attempting to connect with their worldwide audiences to inform them that global warming is a major issue in science today and the leading cause of climatic change. These sources have shown that the increase in carbon dioxide levels are raising the temperature of Earth every year, which is in effect altering weather patterns and ocean levels that have been relatively constant for centuries. There needs to be both a global and individual effort to reduce the emission levels of greenhouse gases in order to combat the climate change caused by global warming. This might not affect our lifetimes, but our children and grandchildren will be in the middle of the problem if our current lifestyle choices are not corrected.

Works Cited
An Inconvenient Truth. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. Perf. Al Gore. Paramount Classics, 2006.
Deutsch, Claudia H. “Trying to Connect the Dinner Plate to Climate Change.� New York Times 29 Aug. 2007.
Kolbert, Elizabeth. Field Notes From A Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. New York: Bloomsbury, 2006.
Schollmeyer, Josh. “Lights, Camera, Armageddon� The Best American Science and Nature Writing. Ed. Brian Greene. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. 259-269.
The Day After Tomorrow. Dir. Roland Emmerich. Perf. Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal. USA, 2004.

Evolution in Education

Matt Abens
1152W
10-10-07
Evolution/Intelligent Design Analysis

Evolution in Education

In this paper (X) I will encourage the reader to support the education of evolution in public schools (Y) by exploring the concepts of both evolution and intelligent design (Z) in order to show you that evolution, not intelligent design belongs in the science curriculum of public institutions. I will do this by showing that the majority of the science field supports the theory of evolution. I will also explore the evidence that shows the theory of intelligent design is not supported by science. I will then discuss why public education and religious beliefs should be kept separate. Finally, I will show that the theory of evolution is the correct educational path that should be applied to public school’s science curriculums.
The concept of evolution was born out of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, which he formulated in 1838. The theory states that within species, the organism that was best suited to survive would live longer and produce more offspring. The certain traits that enabled a competitive advantage were passed on to the offspring, thus creating a higher population of organisms with the trait as multiple generations passed. The organisms that did not posses the necessary traits have shorter lifetimes, therefore less opportunity for reproduction, and as a consequence there were fewer offspring that bear the inadequate traits. The necessary traits for survival were frequently changing as habitats and environments altered. As a result, the population would, over time, alter the traits that it carried that were the most beneficial to its survival, which came to be known as evolving. All species adapt to their environment through the process of evolution. The studies Charles Darwin completed in the Galapagos Islands regarding finches were replicated by other scientists and accordingly helped to prove his theory.
Darwin’s evolutionism became orthodoxy almost overnight. By wrapping his ideas in such a socially acceptable form, most people happily accepted descent with modification (Ruse 73). Descent with modification is the process of genetic differences that are inherited from previous generations. In the first hundred years of its history, evolution rose up from its origins in the lowest depths of pseudo science to become the science of the public domain (Ruse 80). By the 1960’s, evolution was rising up the scale of respectability, socially and epistemologically both in Britain and America (Ruse 100). Darwin’s book The Origin of Species, proved to be very important work as more people read it. The readers understood why science should move forward with evolutionary studies, which created a greater awareness for the subject.
Theodosius Dobzhansky and his colleagues, Mayr, Simpson, and the botanist G. L. Stebbins shared their enthusiasm for the nonepistemic culture of evolution (Ruse 111). Evolution is non-epistemic because it is popular science and heavily supported by the public. This is important because it shows that the majority of common people agree with the concept of evolution. Society as a whole, not just the scientific fields began to fully grasp and accept evolution in the 1950’s. The journal “Evolution� was formed and began circulating and the National Science Foundation started to provide grants for research purposes (Ruse 114). Evolution was considered not only popular science but also a professionalized science.
Alternatively, intelligent design is not a legitimate school of scientific thought. According to Daniel Dennett it is one of the most ingenious hoaxes in the history of science (Dennett 39). The idea of intelligent design originated from the Catholic Church in order to explain to its members where everything came from. The problem with this theory is that it does not have any scientific evidence to support it. According to intelligent design (or creationism), God developed the Earth and all of the organisms on it in a six-day period only a few thousand years ago.
There are still some unanswered questions regarding evolution that perplex biologists, but intelligent design has not yet tried to answer them (Dennett 43). Contradictory to this thought, evidence of carbon dating places the age of Earth at about 4 billion years old. According to Karen Wright, fossil records show that approximately 250 million years ago, 90 percent of the species on Earth disappeared in an abrupt event that spanned the globe (Wright 224). If this is true, how can the intelligent design theory of the earth and all species being created only thousands of years ago be accurate? Some might wonder how long the process of evolution takes compared to the proven age of the earth. According to Darwin, the 4-5 million years since the formation of the earth has been quite enough time for evolution to occur (Ruse 66).
Some people believe that multiple controversial theories should be taught in the public school system in order for students to have exposure to more than one idea. Intelligent design does not pertain to science, so there should not be any controversy about whether or not to teach the subject in biology class (Dennett 45). Children educated of intelligent design in public science classrooms should not be allowed because of the lack of scientific evidence. Furthermore, intelligent design does not have any scientific basis so it should be taught outside of science, for example in the home or religious environment.
The role of the public school system is to educate its students in the main subject matters including science, math, english, and social studies. Intelligent design should not be considered a main concept of the science curriculum because it does not have any scientific evidence and it also violates a student’s right to the separation of government and religion. Religion does not belong in a public school atmosphere because of the multiple conflicting beliefs between students and staff. Religious beliefs and theories such as intelligent design can be taught outside of school, where only those who want to be subjected to it are present.
Intelligent design fails every criterion of legitimate science. Scientists point to errors in the claims of the literalists who believe in intelligent design (Ruse 135). An example of this is the age of earth and their theories of how organisms change over time. This shows there is no educational benefit to the theory. There is nothing wrong with being religious and believing in intelligent design, but the problem is with trying to convince people of conflicting religions to accept it as right in a public environment. Sometimes there really are signs of nonrandom and functional design. We can observe that the eye seems to be crafted for seeing, or that the leaf insect seems colored with the goal of looking very much like a leaf. However biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose (Bloom 286). This suggests that some things seem to be created by intelligent design, but they instead evolved over time to be the complex objects that they are today.
Although many people including the President of the United States support teaching intelligent design in our schools, it is not the correct path for us as a country as some parents want to provide that information themselves rather than it being taught to their child from a teacher who might not be fully educated in the student’s personal beliefs. Steve Stough, a plaintiff in the Dover Monkey Trial claims that he wants his daughter to have a religious education, but he would like to be responsible for it, or the church they attend (Mooney 175). Another reason to keep intelligent design out of the curriculum is because most likely legal action will be taken against the school board from a parent with conflicting points of view. That will be an ugly, expensive battle that would affect the whole school and district such as the Dover Monkey and the Scopes Monkey trial have done to their respective towns, such as pulling the citizens into groups with different opinions. Although proposals hostile to evolution are being considered in more than twenty states throughout the country (Orr 198), it is not the right decision to support these plans for either your child or their school district. If the proposals passed, it would violate the rights designated to each person in this Country granted by the founding fathers who fought to give us freedom and the right to separation of government and religion as stated in the Constitution.
Intelligent design is not supported by any science; instead the majority of scientists accept the theory of evolution. Why should an idea that does not have any significant scientific support be allowed to be taught to students in public schools? The answer is that intelligent design should be outlawed within public science curriculums. Intelligent design is welcomed to be discussed in private homes or in religious groups but in public situations it should not be a forced subject because it would be violating people’s personal rights. The theory of evolution has substantial evidence and scientific consistency; therefore, it should be the right of public institutions to teach the theory of evolution and in no way implicate such false theories as intelligent design.

Works Cited

Bloom, Paul. “Is God and Accident?� The Best American Science Writing. Ed. Atul
Gawande. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. 272-290
Dennet, Daniel. “Show Me The Science� The Best American Science and Nature
Writing. Ed. Brian Greene. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. 39-45
Mooney, Chris. “The Dover Monkey Trial� The Best American Science and Nature
Writing. Ed. Brian Greene. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. 172-179
Orr, H. Allen. “Devolution� The Best American Science Writing. Ed. Atul
Gawande. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. 194-207
Ruse, Michael. Mystery of Mysteries. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.
Wright, Karen. “The Day Everything Died� The Best American Science Writing. Ed.
Atul Gawande. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. 223-236

Arguement 1, Jacob Shully

The Debate of: Evolution and Intelligent Design

(X)In this paper I will show that Darwin’s theory of evolution should be more accepted than intelligent design,(Y) through use of examples in the books The Best American Science Writing, The Best of American Science and Nature Writing, and as well as Mystery of Mysteries,(Z) in order to show Darwin’s evolution should be taught over intelligent design. I will break this paper into three parts: first, being the evolution of evolution itself; second the background of intelligent design, and the hoax that intelligent design is a real science; third, the overall conclusion as to why intelligent design should not be seen as a real science, and should not be taught alongside Darwinist theory of evolution.
The first thoughts on evolution came about from the great mind of Erasmus Darwin. Author Michael Ruse informs us that Darwin’s first ideas of evolution came about from the “analogy that Darwin saw between evolution and the individual development from the feminine boy to the bearded man, and from the infant girl to the latescent woman�(Ruse, 38). Erasmus was the first to acknowledge the presence of evolution of living organisms, and although his tactics for recording the information may not be the most scientific as he would often record his theories in the form of a poem, (Ruse,P.42). However, with his innovative thinking he paved the road for his grandson Charles Darwin.
Charles Darwin’s theories of natural selection set the standard for evolutionary thinking, but religion had an influence on his notions of evolution from the beginning. As I will discuss in further detail later in this paper, religion is a major determining factor in what one will feel about evolution. Charles had to make the change in his religious views in order to successfully rid himself to making non-biased opinions of evolution. Michael Ruse shows this change in Darwin by stating, “As we have seen, the young Darwin moved from Christianity to deism, and evolution was for him� (Ruse, 68). From Darwin’s groundwork of evolution we can see how epistemic values came to influence the thought process of evolutionary science.
As evolution began to change, new leaders in the evolution field began to add on to Darwin’s research. Ronald A. Fisher was most notably groundbreaking in applying epistemic values to his research. Epistemology is a philosophical term that deals with limitations and validity of knowledge and belief (wikipedia.com). “Fisher demonstrated again and again that his theory has epistemic virtues, for instance, the ability to make predictions about what one should expect under certain specified circumstances.�(Ruse, 93). This change led to yet another shift in the way the theory of evolution was studied. Theodosius Dobzhansky proceeded to continue the popularization of evolution to the masses. Dobzhansky attempted to cross evolution from a philosophical ideal to a more popular idea. Dobzhansky was met with many critics, but managed to help begin to move evolution to the more areas of science. Mike Ruse states that, with Dobzhansky, “evolution did cross the divide. It was no longer just a dressed up excuse for progress and related values carried over from the nineteenth century�,(Ruse, 121). Edward O. Wilson a leading natural selection scientist used his studies of ants and their caste system to make a name for himself in the science world. His view of religion and science were also fundamental in changing the outside view of evolution Ruse explains this by stating, “ The post-Christian Wilson has always thought of his science in some way as a religion substitute and has used Darwinism not to banish faith but to find a more satisfying creed for the modern age�,( Ruse, 188). Religion has, and continues to play a major part in our belief system. Many feel that if we are told something from our respected church that it is indeed true, and that we must abide by these codes. Paul Raffaele describes his journey through the Amazonian jungles in search of an aboriginal tribe with Sydney Possuelo a leader in protecting these threatened tribes. Possuelo tells Raffaele that, “The church and loggers are my biggest enemies…The church always wants to convert the Indians to Christianity, destroying their traditional ways of life�,(Raffaele, 191). The influence of the Christianity forces people to part with their own views, and adhere new obstructed views that reject evolution all together. These different additions to natural selection evolution are all backed with hard scientific data, which helps strengthen the paradigm of natural selection evolution. I am using this example of Christianity’s influence on people to convert in order to show the major differences between the two thoughts on evolution. With that thought in mind I feel it is important to discuss the opposing view to the Darwinist approach to evolution which is, the controversial intelligent design.
Intelligent design has the complete opposite approach to natural selection and the creation of all living things. Rather, intelligent design in the most fundamental of definitions is an argument to disprove evolution, because natural selection can’t explain everything. It seems very hard to believe that this could be possible because after all it is completely based on faith not hard fact. H. Allen Orr sums up the general consensus among most of the United States citizens that, “Darwin’s theory of evolution provides just one possible explanation of life, and that another is provided by something called intelligent design�,(Orr, 195).
There has actually been a new bill calling for teaching intelligent design alongside evolution to learn the two theories equally. This bill is ludicrous, and would be the equivalent of teaching a geography class in which one chapter is the world being a sphere, and in the next chapter the world is flat. I will emphasize the fact that there is no scientific data that supports a great creator. The overall basis for the validity of intelligent design, or ID is that “Living organisms are too complex to be explained by natural-or, more precisely by any mindless process. Instead, the design inherent organisms can be accounted for only by invoking a designer, and one who is very, very smart�, (Orr, 196). The two leading minds behind validating and defending intelligent design are Professor Michael J. Behe from Lehigh University, and William A. Dembski. Both these men have made strong arguments in disproving Darwin’s theory through complex algorithem theories and other scientific arguements. Orr points out in his article that the major flaw with Dembski’s ideal is that, “Organisms aren’t trying to match and ‘independently given pattern’: evolution has no goal, and history of life isn’t trying to get anywhere�(Orr, 204). Another interesting point that Orr brings up about biologists is that, “Biologists aren’t alarmed by intelligent design’s arrival… they’re alarmed because intelligent design is junk science�(Orr, 206-207). Again, supporting my thesis that intelligent design should be dispelled.
Author Paul Bloom introduces the fact that American’s are very susceptible to believing in something bigger than themselves, “The United States is a poster child for supernatural belief. Just about everyone in this country- 96 percent in one poll-believes in God�(Bloom, 273). I am not saying it is wrong to believe in God, I myself do. Most want the notion that there is something after this life, and something out there is watching with a helpful hand over us. Believing in God brings about more reason to believe in intelligent design, we feel that God must have put something on this earth to jump-start our existence. However, there is a great difference in wanting to believe in something, and scientific truth. Intelligent design and natural selection were headed for a head on collision, and the greatest example of the clash between intelligent design, and natural selection evolution is the 2004, “Dover Monkey Trial�. In short, the whole trial took place over what should be taught in ninth grade biology in the Dover school district. The pro intelligent design community in essence ousted school board members and teacher Jeff and Carol Brown for wanting to teach natural selection evolution over intelligent design. William Buckingham the school board’s curriculum chair is quoted as saying, “This country wasn’t founded on Muslim beliefs or evolution. This country was founded on Christianity, and our students should be taught as such�(Mooney, 174). If that isn’t a violation of church and state than I don’t know what is? This case is the most solid evidence for the several reasons intelligent design should not be in school curriculums. Even Buckingham fled from the state in the midst of the trial because the case he was fighting for had no validity, rather he was fighting a fancy term that in essence stood for teaching religion in school.
I have shown throughout this paper the two sides of evolution, the first being Darwin’s theory of evolution, and the second theory, intelligent design. I feel the best explanation for the reason ID will never be fully done away with can be best described by Daniel Dennett, “The fundamental scientific idea of evolution by natural selection is not just mind boggling; natural selection, by executing God’s traditional task of designing and creating all creatures great and small, also seems to deny one of the best reasons we have for believing in God� (Dennett, 40). Dennett goes on to state that intelligent design has yet to come up with any sort of a competing hypothesis, again strengthening the view that there is no scientific validity to intelligent design. President Bush is quoted as saying “I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought� (Dennett, 39). This is a reference to teaching both types of evolution in schools across the country, and is an interesting point. However, intelligent design is not a legitimate science. We are a country based on scientific fact, of course we have the right to believe whatever we want, but until there is verified hard scientific proof that can be validated through the proper channels intelligent design should be left off of school curriculums. We can not afford to have a national “Dover Monkey� crisis on our hands which as Casey Stough a plaintiff in the Dover trial so eloquently puts it, “I want my daughter to have her religious education, but I want her to be responsible for it, or maybe the church we attend…And no matter how you describe it, this whole thing was a shot at religious education�(Mooney, 175).
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