Topics: Logic, Deductive reasoning, Scientific method Pages: 17 (4944 words) Published: October 16, 2014
 Tutorial 7

In this lesson we will look at the concept of scientific controversy and examine a scientific controversy for its main arguments. Then, we will look at the structure of an argumentative essay in order to develop awareness of its structure, and in particular how the introduction and the body paragraphs are developed.

1. What is a scientific controversy?

they argue about scientific claims. However, just because two scientists disagree it doesn’t mean there is a controversy. A scientific controversy necessarily involves a sustained debate within the broader scientific community which is supported by data. When scientists disagree, it is often because of contradicting data or contradicting interpretations of data or they may disagree on the method of data collection or analysis. To qualify as a controversy, a significant number of people must be actively engaged in research that addresses the controversy over time. Scientists engaged in such scientific debate often share some fundamental knowledge and agree that the subject matter is worth being concerned about and that the various arguments are legitimate. In the scientific community arguments are recognized as legitimate when they are based on data. Data is needed to support the claims/points of view that the scientists wish to advance. An argument must explain the majority of data available – not just the data collected to support one side. As such, scientists need to do a thorough and credible study in order to have convincing data to argue the point. Though controversies may be discussed in informal settings, the real debate is carried out at research meetings and through the publication of journal articles. In this way, the debate becomes part of the scientific literature and helps science to progress. There is no authoritative body in science that decides what the right answer in a controversy is, nor does it require complete consensus among all scientists. The resolution usually comes when one argument is widely accepted because of convincing data and other arguments fade away. Usually, this happens when multiple lines of evidence coming from multiple research methods all converge. 1.1. Activity 1: Discussion

Read the articles Human Testing and the Eugenics Movement, Modern Eugenics: Building a Better Person and Controversies in Treatment Approaches: Gene Therapy, IVF, Stem Cells and Pharmacogenomics. Consider the information given in order to decide whether you would support the science of human enhancement. How would you use the information gathered to support your position?

Form a group of three persons and answer the questions below. Use the information from the texts to identify what the controversy might be, then find two main points of argument. A main point of argument is also called a claim. A claim is an assertion, the truth/credibility of which needs to be supported. The strength of the claim depends on the credibility and quantity of evidence that is available to support it. Since, we are looking at a controversial topic, we expect that claims will have contradicting evidence. The diagram below presents a simple structure to organise your ideas.

2. What is an argument?
Put most simply, an argument is an attempt to persuade someone of something. It is prompted usually by a disagreement, confusion, or ignorance about something which the parties involved wish to resolve or illuminate in a convincing way. The final goal of an argument is usually to reach a conclusion which is sufficiently persuasive to convince someone of something, for instance, a course of action, the reasons for an event, the responsibility for certain acts, the probable truth of an analysis, or the validity of an interpretation. Arguments may often have an important negative purpose:...
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