“Finding Fallacies or No Fallacies” Please respond to the following:
You encounter arguments everyday but probably do not notice them. Try to find examples of logical errors and/or examples of good syllogistic reasoning. There are plenty of examples on radio and television talk shows, in your local newspaper, and even in discussions with your friends. Do not use examples from Internet Web sites which deal specifically with logic (although the examples could be from articles posted on the Internet or from blogs).
· Find at least five (5) “real-life” arguments which could be rewritten as syllogisms.
· In a sentence or two, describe the argument.
· Rewrite each argument as a syllogism.
· Identify whether the argument contains logical errors or is an example of good syllogistic reasoning.
“Nature or Nurture Debate” Please respond to the following:
The “nature or nurture” argument is based on whether a person’s behavior is a result of heredity or his/her environment. Review the “Either/Or” fallacies in the Thinking textbook.
· State the main reason why you agree with either the “nature” position or with the “nurture” position.
· Evaluate your own stated reason: Is it supportable with verifiable evidence? Is it based on reason or opinion? Would the other side think that your stated reason adequately supports your position?
· Explain whether there are other theories besides nature and nurture that might explain the variability of human behavior.
· Choose comments from two (2) students who hold a different position from yours and suggest counter-reasons which challenge each of the other positions.
“Operational Definitions” Please respond to the following:
· Identify a variable for scientific study that can be operationally defined.
· Create an operational definition for the variable.
· Identify what aspects of the variable would be observable and measurable.
· Evaluate whether the variable defined by two (2) other students is an operational definition or is actually a non-operational definition. Explain whether you think the variable retains its meaning or loses its meaning.
“Observation, Hypothesis, Experimentation, and Verification” Please respond to the following:
Review the sections on “The Scientific Method” and “Proving a Theory.”
· Evaluate the claims below by using “the Scientific Method” and “Proving a Theory” steps.
· Identify one (1) claim which is ineffective or unsupportable and explain what specifically makes the claim ineffective or unsupportable.
· Explain what you think would have to be done to the claim in order to make it more effective or supportable.
1. There is a phenomenon known as “spontaneous human combustion” in which most of the victim’s body, as well as the chair, in which the person was sitting, is found burned to ashes but the rest of the objects in the room are relatively unaffected. This phenomenon suggests that there is a new type of subatomic particle: a “pyroton” that interacts with cells and causes the victim to burst into flame. [Arnold, L. (1995). Ablaze! New York, NY: M. Evans.]
2. Many reported ghost sightings involve reenactments of battles, deaths, or murders. This finding suggests that certain physical objects, such as stones, can record emotions and events like a video recorder. [Kneale, N. (1972) “The stone tape,” broadcast on BBC, December 25, 1972.]
3. No one has ever actually been abducted by aliens. Instead, the experience of being abducted has been beamed into the minds of abductees by an intelligent being from somewhere in the universe that is symbiotically linked to life on this planet. [Rogo, D. S. (1990). Beyond reality. Wellingborough, UK: Aquarian Press.]
4. People often know when others are staring at them. This shows that perception involves not only receiving light rays from an object but also projecting some sort of image onto the object. [Sheldrake, R. (1994). Seven experiments that could change the world: A do-it-yourself guide to revolutionary science. London, UK: Fourth Estate.]
5. Dreams often seem as real as waking experiences because humans are composed of two bodies: a physical body and an astral body. When we dream, our astral body leaves the physical body and travels to the astral plane where the dream actually takes place. [Rampa, T. L. (1990). You forever (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.]
6. Food kept inside a structure with the shape of Cheops’s pyramid stays fresher longer than food kept outside the structure. The pyramid must serve as a lens that focuses some sort of cosmic energy onto the food. [Toth, M., Nielson, G. (1985). Pyramid power (Rochester, VT: Destiny Books.]