English 1A




Essay 1 -- Article Summary and Analysis: Ethics and Science

(1000-1200 words)

Provide a brief summary and analysis of the article on pages 65-77 in Science Under Siege, "Can The Sciences Help Us Make Wise Ethical Judgments?"

Follow these guidelines:

Introductory paragraphs and thesis: Summarize the author's major points, and, for your thesis, answer the question posed in the article's title, presenting reasons for the answer given, i.e. "The sciences can help us make wise ethical judgments in a variety of ways," or "Science really has no relevance in discussions of ethical matters because...."

Middle paragraphs: Present an analysis of the article which explains the point of view expressed in the thesis.

In each middle paragraph present at least one quote from the article. Explain what each quote means and explain how it relates to your thesis. Define any terms or ideas that may need clarification. Include also pertinent examples or analogies which support the point of view expressed in the thesis.

Conclusion: Summarize major points.


Essay 2 -- Intelligent Design, Creationism, Evolution

(1000-1200 words)

The articles in Science Under Siege argue that Intelligent Design should not be considered as an alternative to evolution. Why not? What is intelligent design? What is evolution? How are the two different? Discuss the role of science in this debate and consider the definition of science in your discussion. Consider the ramifications of including Intelligent Design in school science curriculum. Should ID be included in curriculum? Why or why not?


Essay 3 -- Health Concerns

(1000-1200 words) (Choose one topic)

Alternative Medicine

Take a look into the world of alternative or complementary medicine. What is alternative or complementary medicine? Consider the role of prayer and healers in your discussions. What are some of the unconventional healing methods mentioned in Science Under Siege and what are they supposed to do? Do they work as claimed? Why are many of the authors in Science Under Siege opposed to these therapies, even calling them "dangerous"? What's the harm in providing a therapy which may not work, so long as the patient feels better?


Some folks don't want to give their children vaccines, claiming that certain vaccines, such as the one for polio for example, are linked to autism. Based on what you've read, write an informative article which addresses the issue from the perspective of either a medical professional or a parent.



Essay 4 -- The Paranormal

(1000-1200 words)

Science Under Siege spends a good time debunking the paranormal, describing it as pseudoscience. What is "the paranormal" and why do skeptics have such a problem with it? What's the truth about psychics, telekinesis, and "anomalous communication, or ESP? Is the paranormal or the supernatural worthy of study? Why or why not? Provide examples from Science Under Siege as a basis for your discussion.


Research Report

(250 points)

Choose from one of the topics below and write a 2000-2500 word essay which includes at least five scholarly research sources, cited correctly in MLA format.

Begin by summarizing the phenomenon you're investigating. Then present your thesis, which should indicate your stance on the issue you're investigating, i.e. vaccines aren't dangerous, alternative medicine is a valid and useful branch of study.

Then, in the body of your paper, explain the reasons your thesis is true. The body of your paper should also contain scientific evidence from respected, peer reviewed scientific journals.

Topic Suggestions

Additional topics

Follow these guidelines:

Step 1:

Describe the claim of truth and ask a testable question related to the claim of truth. If a product is described, what is the product supposed to do and how is it supposed to work?  If it's a claim of truth, describe that claim and what makes it true, i.e. "alternative medicine claims to provide relief by tapping into the body's natural energy field " Or "In the 1970's many people believed that saccharine caused cancer because of evidence in studies done in mice and rats."

Examples of testable questions:

Step 2:

For the essay's thesis, express a statement which answers the testable question. The answer to your question should, of course, be based on research.

Step 3:

In the body of the essay, present scholarly research -- scientific studies, journal articles, books -- to support your thesis. Examine this research critically, considering how studies were conducted, who conducted them, who wrote or published the sources used and what the authority of the sources is.

Consider also alternative possibilities or explanations in the body of your piece. For example, if there were flaws in a particular experiment, how did they affect the outcome? If a different explanation might be plausible for the phenomenon discussed, then how reasonable is that explanation?

Step 4:

Conclude by discussing the importance of the research and explaining the ramifications of the thesis. If cell phone microwaves or smart meter microwaves are hazardous, how should we proceed with public policy regarding  these issues? If alternative medicine is ineffective, what should public health agencies and insurance companies do with that information?