Week 4 (Sept.25-29)

This week we continued our study of Joel Achenbach’s superb essay, “The War on Science.” We talked about Aristotle’s three forms of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos and considered (a) Achenbach’s summation of the nature of science and scientific inquiry and (b) why so many people are hostile towards scientific findings.  Achenbach focused a great deal on climate change as an illustration, but he also makes reference to the moon landing, vaccination, evolution, and GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).  We discussed the concept of bias and how many essay writers have an implicit thesis as opposed to an explicit thesis statement.

We continued to explore issues of culture and identity this week.  Our case study centered on Christian extremism and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland since the 1998 Good Friday agreement that ostensibly ended the Troubles.  We looked at Ross Kemp’s documentary film (part of his Extreme World series) from 2013 on the tensions, threats, and violence that persists in Northern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants.

Our study of Tuesdays with Morrie continued this week.  As we continued to dig into the text we approached it from a number of angles.  We talked about alienation, aphorisms, and platitudes.  I showed you two segments from Ted Koppel’s interviews with Morrie and we also viewed two short films: “Dan Invited Hannah to Dinner” and “Paradise”.  You worked on points of connection between Tuesdays with Morrie and the short films and some intriguing ideas came up about attitude and perception, about how we live inside of two worlds: the world around us, and the world that exists inside our mind.  We have complete control over one of these worlds–guess which one?



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