HPS 3320 FSU Science and Religion

A good friend of yours, Bryan J. Williams, is struggling in his biology class. He is a Christian, and he firmly believes that no one can be a Christian and accept the theory of evolution, because the theory of evolution undermines faith in the Christian God. More broadly, he thinks that there is an irreconcilable conflict between science and religion, which means that the information he is learning in his science class cannot be reconciled with his religious beliefs. Your job is to convince him that science and religion are not in conflict.

Requirements

  1. (1) Fully explain Bryanʼs position in the most charitable way possible (that is, make his position as strong and convincing as possible).
  2. (2) Offer the most compelling argument against Bryanʼs position that you can. Your aim is to convince him (or someone like him) that he need not think the way he does.
  3. (3) Include a discussion of one of the films we have watched so far in this class.
  4. (4) Begin with a short introduction that very briefly outlines what you are going to say in the paper (this isnʼt a detective novel — it is good to be as clear and upfront as possible).
  5. (5) Use at least one source from the reading list. Feel free to use outside sources, but do not use quotations (stick to paraphrasing). You do not necessarily need to use outside sources, but if you do use them you must cite them. Cite all sources.
  6. (6) 1000 words. 12 point font. Double spacing.

Suggestions:

  1. (1) Keep things as concise as possible. Donʼt use fluff, and donʼt repeat yourself too much.
  2. (2) You do not actually need to reference Bryan at all. Just make sure to explain the basic position he is assuming. If it helps you to frame it in terms of his fictional character, go for it.

Important note:

Remember that this is an argument piece, NOT an opinion piece. Leave your own personal beliefs out of this paper. You might actually believe that Bryan is right, but you still need to argue that he is wrong.

Writing style:

This paper is an ‘argumentative’ paper, meaning that you are to make a claim and defend it by giving reasons. The basic format of an argumentative paper follows a 3 part pattern. In the first part, you outline your position and give reasons for why you hold it, in the second you respond with what someone on the other side of issue might plausibly say, and in the third part you respond to this response with reasons for why you think it is either wrong or how it doesn’t damage your argument.

Basic Pattern: Position – Counter Position – Response

You can think of it like a conversation, where you say something, then they say something, and then you say something in response.

When it comes to the second part, it’s important to not make a simple ‘strawman’ argument. Be charitable and outline a position that it’s likely a lot of people really hold.

Make sure that you’re not simply stating your beliefs and not justifying them with reasons. What really matters isn’t whatyou believe but whyyou believe it.

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