AP Language & Composition
20 January 2014
Response to Albert Einstein’s Letter to Phyllis Wright
When Albert Einstein, also known as the greatest scientist of the twentieth century, and a Nobel-prize winner, receives a letter from a sixth-grade girl named Phyllis Wright questioning if scientists pray, - and if so, what do they pray for - Einstein simultaneously uses various rhetoric methods such as SOAPS, ethos, logos, and pathos to respond to Wright’s question in the simplest form possible, and in doing so, Einstein created a rhetorically effective response. Einstein’s rhetorical purpose was to elaborate how scientists perceive scientific and religious elucidations.
Considering the fact that Einstein is a name known throughout the world and is one of the most legendary scientists known to man, Einstein establishes ethos right away. He has what you could call, “automatic ethos.” Most people wouldn’t dare to doubt a Nobel-prize winner. Having that in mind, Einstein has a strong amount of credibility to speak on behalf of science and religion through his perspective. Einstein also uses ordinary jargon that any average human could understand, causing people to think highly of him. “It must be admitted our actual knowledge of these laws is only imperfect and fragmentary.” By using words such as “our”, Einstein preserves his ethos by establishing himself as a common man, instead of the Nobel-prize winner. This helps his audience relate to his points.
Einstein then continues on to create his idea of logos, which he created by supplying a counterargument. “Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the actions of people.” By stating this, Einstein concedes to the controversy of scientists with no religious beliefs. However, while conceding with the scientists that believe in the laws of nature, Einstein was concurrently supporting his own...
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