I am Lucifer DeMorte


Must be done differently.

Theoretical world bollocks to science section.



Optional Death Penalty Reading

Tonight's topic is a second paper workshop, but I rather fear there will not be enough work to fill the time, so I'm adding this OPTIONAL reading material, which we will discuss in class with a view to thinking about how we might figure out where the truth lies in an important scientific question.


You don't have to do any reading, but it would help if you could skim a few articles and form whatever impressions you may.

I'm planning to try a new thing tonight, to see if you guys think it useful.  The idea is to make a distinction between "grounding" and "spinning."

"Grounding" (or "providing grounds") refers to any serious effort to give proper evidence to support a conclusion. "Grounding" is not the same as "proving," but an arguer who is grounding is making at least some effort to support their thesis with credible evidence, and, importantly, is not wholly resorting to "spinning."

"Spinning" (or "putting a spin on it") is ignoring issues of evidence and instead making unsupported claims about what has been proved or not proved, the strength or weakness of arguments, or the motives or competence of opponents. Spin is significant in two ways:

1. Spin can always be ignored in your own deliberations. Once you realize that the arguer is not, at that point, attempting to provide evidence, you should conclude at that point that what they are presently saying isn't really worth listening to.

2. Spin is always a red flag. If it turns out that most or all of what an arguer says is spin, this may be taken as a sign that this particular person might not be worth listening to.  If you have limited time to spend on an investigation, it is generally better to spend that time thinking about the words of those who speak on the issue with little or no spin.

See you tonight.

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