27 May 2012

Essay Topic: Things People Say by Neil Degrasse Tyson

For Tyson, “people undervalue the role of evidence in formulation an internal belief system” and that they “hold fast to ideas and notions based purely on supposition.” Although the author cannot find any reason for this, the fact remains that people simply describe what is “simply true no matter what.” Nevertheless, the point is that whatever we have to say, it must be accounted for by concrete evidence resulting from accurate observation, just like what Aristotle had done when he observed certain elements of space.

Most of the false things that people say are actually influenced by several factors. One of these is a false way of proving things, such as the one used by Aristotle when he concluded that heavy things fall faster than light ones. This is wrong since gravitational force is constant but the difference in the time it takes for things to fall to the ground first is affected by air resistance.

Another thing that influences the things that people say, especially the false ones, is religion. The author gives an example of the belief of the Catholic Church which states that “stars don’t change.” Thus, there is no record of a supernova in Catholic Europe in 1054.

The rest of the false beliefs fall into the category of popular knowledge, which is usually considered as “immune from falsehoods that were easily testable.” According to popular knowledge, the North Star is the brightest but actually the Big Dipper is brighter. The Sun is called a yellow star but actually it is white. Whatever goes up does not necessarily come down again if it has escaped the gravitational pull of the Earth. Many people believe there is no gravity in space but actually the pull of gravity of every heavenly body extends to the space, but “with ever-diminishing strength.” The Earth’s magnetic north pole is actually in the south, and there is actually more frequent solar eclipses than it is possible. Moreover, the equinox is not exactly 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night as what most people believe, because refraction of sunlight would make the sun appear above the horizon even minutes before it actually rises.

Addicted to Health by Robert H. Bork

The government’s irrational policy of controlling tobacco companies is actually caused by “moral self-righteousness, greed for money, and political ambition.”

Such irrational policies of the government extend to forcing smokers to pay huge taxes.

What are the inconsistencies of the government when it comes to these policies? First, the non-smokers simply made the smokers feel guilty and the government is using this particular difference in opinion to their own selfish advantage. Second, there is no guarantee that peace will prevail if the last cigarette smoker stops smoking. Third, automobiles would even kill more people than alcohol but cars are not banned. Fourth, the government is claiming that their strict measures are of benefit to teenagers and children when in fact their rules affect adults more. Fifth, the government bans the advertising but they allow the selling of cigarettes.

Sixth, the government does not restrict the selling of tobacco abroad. Seventh, the state does not actually lose money from cigarettes because smokers die early and thus some of them would not be able to avail of their Medicare and Medicaid and the Social Security pension, thus the government can save so much from them. Eighth, tobacco companies should pay $308 billion for 25 years but these companies in fact win the litigation cases filed against them. Ninth, advertising is banned but people smoke not because of advertisements but because of peer pressure. Tenth, the plaintiffs of these cigarette companies are guaranteed billions of dollars in compensation each year. Without the cigarette companies, the plaintiffs would not be able to earn as much and they would not be able to achieve their goals as the National Association of Aspiring Governors. Eleventh and lastly, the lawmakers proclaim the law against smoking as full of “sobriety, courage, and righteousness” as they show the citizens that they have defeated the evil cigarette companies, when in fact they also have evil motives for their acts.

The author’s point is that if individual responsibility is denied, we allow the government to control our behavior freely.

Writing MLA Papers

If one is to write MLA papers, or papers for the Modern Language Association, one should first develop a supporting thesis. He should then organize the evidence relating to that thesis. After this, he should do his research in order to find sources that support the argument. While doing this, providing the background of the subject is important as well as a definition and explanation of the terms. Claims must also be supported with evidence from authoritative sources. At the same time, objections must be anticipated when writing supporting statements.

Writing an academic paper is also all about avoiding plagiarism. In order to avoid this, one should be able to properly and exactly cite quotations and borrowed ideas, which excludes common knowledge such as Martin Luther receiving the Nobel Prize.  The borrowed information must be enclosed in quotation marks. Moreover, summaries and paraphrases must be expressed in one’s own words bit still need to be cited. In order to do this well, one must carefully try not to copy the same phrases and sentences from the selection being paraphrased.

The gathered sources must then be integrated but at the same time, the use of quotations must be limited and the use of punctuation marks must be carefully done. In the integration of sources, there should be signal phrases that would provide smooth transition between one idea and the next as well as to introduce a direct quotation. While integrating the sources, statistics and facts must be carefully combined with the text and at the same time, authority must be established for the sources.

Lastly, sources must be properly documented not only within the text but also at the end of the paper in the Works Cited section. While in-text citations need only the author and page number if there is any, the Works Cited section would need the date of publication, the publisher, the address of the publisher, and the full name of the author as additional information.

Filed under: Essay topics — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 2:16 am
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