Monthly Archives: October 2012

Essay #3: Science and Democracy

Michio Kaku presents us with a multitude of concerns about the use technology.  After reading Physics of the Future, any person of reason and understanding should comprehend the wide sweeping ramifications of even the smallest actions.  However, doing nothing will yield disastrous results of differing types.

Kaku does not shy away from scientific pursuit.  He has full confidence in the fields and people working in those fields.  With time, effort, funding, and patience on the part of society, he feels we can conquer all obstacles.  His optimism is clear.  Still, there are significant problems to deal with. This is where you come in.

The democratic process is at the heart of our class, the college experience, and certainly the nature of argument as I have presented it to you.  In Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century, Kaku writes, “Ultimately society must make democratic decisions on whether or not to restrict certain kinds of technology” (261).  Using the information in Physics of the Future, and what you have learned in class, write a 6-8 page paper that addresses Kaku’s point about society and technology.

You can address the biotech, the use of fossil fuels, risky environmental experimentation, weapons research, space exploration, or any other endeavor that may bear restriction as a democratic society might see fit to do.

Here are your basic requirements:

  • MLA format
  • Times New Roman 12 point font
  • 6-8 pages (6 full pages is the minimum)
  • 2 substantive quotations from Physics of the Future
  • Two additional sources, quoting from each at least twice

DUE DATE: 11/20/12 (This is the week of Thanksgiving, so prepare accordingly. I have had many complaints about having a paper due afterward, so be aware that you need to turn this in prior to the break.)

Reading for this coming week

Read Chapter 12 in CT for Tuesday, and read Chapter 3 in PF for Thursday.

Essay #2: Finding Your Way / New Due Date

Chapter 11 in CT deals with the concepts of nationalism and patriotism.  Both of these concepts are never in short supply in political discussion.  However, the use of the terms may become an issue in and of itself, and that use may color the debate in disruptive, deceitful, and harmful ways. For this essay, you will put those ideas to work in a fruitful manner, arguing a cause in American politics while disentangling the debate from twisted views.

Find an issue in national politics where an elected, past-elected, or would-be elected official has invoked either term in arguing his or her case.  The speeches at the conventions can provide a lot of material, particularly the acceptance speeches by the candidates.  You must also research what pundits, academics, and the general populace has had to say in response to your chosen figure and issue.  Make sure you understand the issue itself objectively, i.e. research it without its political content or bias.  Then, write your paper.

Here is your prompt: Argue your take on your chosen issue based on your own definition of nationalism and patriotism.


  • 5-6 full pages (5 full pages minimum)
  • Standard MLA format, including a Works Cited page
  • Use of two essays in Chapter 11 of CT (quoting each twice in substantive fashion)
  • As an alternative to one of the essays in Chapter 11, you can use the acceptance speeches in Chapter 10; however, please remember that we are in 2012 and that nearly 10 years has passed since those speeches
  • Two other sources (quoting each twice in substantive fashion)
  • Use Aristotle’s arrangement pattern to construct your essay

Essay #2 will be due on Thursday, October 25th.

Finally getting to it…I hope.

For quite awhile now, I’ve been saying that I need to get back to writing.  It doesn’t have to be stellar work, publishable work, or even all that great. I just need to get back into the habit of doing it, and the rest will take care of itself.  To that end, I got it in my head to write a bit of commentary here and there about some of the things that drive me crazy in contemporary American politics.

Be on the lookout for the first post. It’s coming soon.


As I mentioned during our last class, you will be watching a movie and some videos this week.  This gives you a little time to catch up on some reading.  You should still read Chapter 10 in CT; it will assist in appreciating what we will be doing over the next couple weeks.  Keep plugging away at PF. 

Note: We will have our reading quiz on Chapter 3 in PF on Tuesday, Oct. 9.