Week six 10/1 and 10/3

Reflection paper due 10/1

Introduction to position papers: structuring arguments, identifying and incorporating opposing positions in science writing. Concessions and counter-arguments:

  • A concession makes your argument stronger—that is, rather than acting like
    another side of your argument does not exist, you address it and “debunk” it,
    with a counter argument. 
  • Conceding to some of your opposition’s concerns demonstrates respect for
    their opinion, and it also makes your position appear more objective. 
  • Making concessions also demonstrate your ability as a writer by showing
    that you have researched and considered the argument from multiple
    perspectives in order to come to an informed decision—thereby strengthening your credibility as a science writer. 
  • Limit your concessions, otherwise the counterarguments and concessions
    start to become your argument.
  • Avoid oversimplifying your counter-argument in order to merely dismiss the other side.

Class exercise: Identifying concessions and counter-arguments in Opposing Viewpoints article: Fracking Does Not Contribute to Global Warming,

  1. What are the concerns of environmental groups regarding fracking that Davenport cites?
  2. What conclusions did the study reach about methane emissions from fracking?
  3. Identify where the writer makes concessions and counter-arguments? Are they effective and scientifically sound? Why/how?
  4. According to the viewpoint, how many sites in which areas were studied by the University of Texas researchers?
  5. Are there any issues that you can point out about the study? Explain.
  6. How would you challenge the study?
  7. Who are the target audience?

HW: Read and respond to questions in Bb
Fracking Contributes to Global Warming, Opposing Viewpoints

  1. Identify areas where Allstadt makes concessions (acknowledging aspects of pro-fracking argument), and where he makes counter-arguments (how he shows issues in the pro-fracking arguement).
  2. Why does Allstadt believe that plugging the well is not a viable solution for preventing leaks?
  3. According to Allstadt, why did Mobil and Exxon abandon their efforts to harness solar power?
  4. What is Allstadt’s opinion of President Barack Obama’s address on climate change?

Comparing/contrasting Cornel University’s study cited in Opposing Viewpoints HW articles on Fracking:

Cornell- Study on Methane and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas

Analyzing more recent studies by the University of Texas contradicting earlier studies/claims:
(1) http://dept.ceer.utexas.edu/methane/study/
(2) http://www.austinsentinel.com/2016-04-15-university-of-texas-study-links-fracking-to-east-texas-largest-earthquake.html

HW for next class: Watch Rob Jackson at TEDxNCSSM: Fracking and the Future of Gas video, and identify areas where he is making concessions and/or counter-arguments that can be challenged.