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Assignment #1

Part One:
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Claim: A claim is a thought or statement that needs evidence or support to make it truth. In an argument, a claim serves as the topic to be supported.
Support: Support is the use of explanations and/or evidence to prove your claim to be true. In using support correctly you should be able to at the very least inform a person or group of persons of your argument if not to persuade them fully.
Evidence: Evidence is the collected information that is compiled into support for your claim in an argument. Evidence can be taken from any number of sources, but should always be as reliable as possible in order to support and prove your argument.
Explanation: An explanation is the interpretation of evidence to either help clarify or narrow the application of evidence for an argument. This is especially important when evidence is broad, or perhaps too technical for the target audience.

Part Two:
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1.) My immediate response to Crichton’s argument was that I find points in his argument that I both agree and disagree with. Though I find myself to be religious, I think that a lot of Crichton’s examples of religion as a whole are very generalized and not necessarily true. His comparison of fanatical religious beliefs to the current views of environmentalists seem generalized as well, but also fairly accurate. I am almost compelled to agree with his claim, even without hard evidence.
Two portions of the article that stuck out to me most were his claims about the human race and nature. His example of no modernized human being wanting to go out and spend time in absolute nature seems fairly true. Most of us in modern society enjoy instant gratification, and the ability to choose what we want when we want it. These wants would hinder any journey into the jungle of Borneo. The other portion of the article that stood out to me was where he wrote of the false claims that have caused major changes in the greater portions of civilization. Crichton claims that falsehoods about DDT and secondhand smoke have caused us to change laws and regulations, and while he claims to have the evidence to explain, he gives none.
2.) Crichton’s tone is that of disgust, frustration, and at times anger. I think that he himself feels very strongly about the substitution of facts for emotions or beliefs in regards to environmentalism in order for there to be any sort of proper argument and changes to be made to our current way of living. He encourages the reader to feel the same, urging them to embrace this way of thinking in order to produce any real productivity for the cause.
3.) Crichton’s main claim is that environmentalism has been twisted into more of a religious matter than a matter of truth and relevance to people’s lives. He does go on to make supporting claims involving the politicalization of environmentalism, warning against this as well.
4.) Crichton supports his claim with correlations to religious beliefs and the discreditation of some of those beliefs with his own reasoning. His examples range from people groups to personal experiences, each one to prove an exact point. His evidence in some cases proves to be sufficient while in others (as in the case with refusing to cite sources for the claims about DDT and secondhand smoke) fall short. Overall his evidence could lead most to agree with his original claim.
5.) Crichton’s reasoning behind not citing particular sources is because he believes that the overall impact on the audience will be minimal. His further explanation for this is that those who treat environmentalism as a religion would adhere to their own beliefs before taking the sources into consideration. I don’t agree fully with this idea, as I give a bit more credit to persons in the religious community. Not everyone is entirely shut off in their own world of beliefs. Many people are actually very willing to be open to others ideas, though they themselves may not agree or pursue a further interest in them. Either way, he makes a fairly firm argument without the sources, though I believe that it wouldn’t hurt to add more of the fact he claims to be so important to his own argument.
6.) Crichton’s argument is strong enough for his target audience. The article was first published in USA Today, which is not a scientific journal. His arguments may have changed, or been more specific had he been writing to a different audience. His points were fairly well explained in his own words, and in terms that are easy enough for the general population to understand making the overall argument more likely to be accepted by the audience.

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