||First Day of Class! A
printable copy of the syllabus
||The first essay
assignment: Is It Real?
What People Think About Science.
|Sept. 23||Exam 1 is scheduled for
Thursday, Sept. 26. A list of review
topics is available.
||The answer key
for Exam 1 is available.
|Oct. 23||Exam 2 is scheduled for
Tuesday, October 29. A list of review
topics is available.
|Oct. 30||The second essay assignment: The Cold True About Climate Change|
|Nov. 20||The answer key for Exam 2 is available.|
|Nov. 20||The third essay assignment: What makes
Material Covered: Readings:
Chapters 1, 2, and 3
2) Case Study: Astrology Ben-Ari, Chapters 5
3) Critical Thinking Basics Vaughn, Chapter 1
4) Credibility Vaughn, Chapter 4
5) Case Study: Cold Fusion Ben-Ari, Chapter 6
6) Rhetoric and Fallacies (2 weeks) Vaughn, Chapter 5
7) Case Study: UFOs Vaughn, Chapter 10
8) Varieties of Argument Vaughn, Chapter 3
9) Deductive Arguments Vaughn, Chapters 6 and 7; and
Ben-Ari, Chapter 11
10) Inductive Arguments Vaughn, Chapter 8; and
Ben-Ari, Chapter 10
11) Case Study: Dark Matter What is the Universe Made of?
12) Case Study: Peer Review and Scientific Journals
Additional Course Information:
To learn the
basic skills of reasoning, including the types and
structures of arguments, common fallacies, and critical
evaluation of evidence.
the scientific thinking process.
the difference between science and pseudoscience.
the difference between good science and junk science.
Vaughn, Lewis, The Power of
Critical Thinking, 4th edition
Ben-Ari, Moti, Just A Theory
Both of these
books may be available at the Hornet Bookstore, but who
knows? They don't.
Essays will be turned in every other week on Tuesday. Two copies must be turned in at that time. One copy will be read by me and returned with comments, and the other will be read by a classmate as an essay evaluation and then returned with their comments. Essays must be no longer than 2 pages, double spaced, in a 12 point font, with 1 inch margins, and they may be shorter as long as you satisfactorily complete the assignment. At the end of the semester you will pick your two best essays, revise them, and turn them in for grading as your essay portfolio.
Essay evaluations will be one page, double spaced, in a 12 point font with 1 inch margins. You will read a classmate's essay and criticize (which means mention both good and bad aspects!!) the critical thinking and reasoning used in the essay. I will grade your evaluations on a credit/no credit basis, if I judge you have made an honest effort in your evaluation. You must be in class on Tuesday when essays are turned into collect an essay for evaluation. Evaluations are due the following Tuesday, in between Tuesday when essays are due.
Extra credit may be earned by bringing into class examples of psuedo-science being passed off as real science in the popular press. Examples may come from newspapers, magazines, books, etc.... Only printed materials are allowed – no web sites!!! no TV shows!!! no movies!!! The example must be a case where someone is taking the pseudo-science seriously – sarcastic or satiric examples do not qualify. With each example you must submit a one page, double spaced write up in a 12 point font with 1 inch margins. The write up will critically evaluate the pseudoscientific claims being made, pointing out specific weaknesses in the arguments used.
||less than 55%