Intro to Astronomy – Thinking Scientifically Assignment #1
The purpose of this assignment is to help you begin to learn to evaluate whether a claim or argument qualifies as good science or pseudoscience.Remember that there is really a continuum between these two opposites, so that any given topic may have some good points and some bad points.
In this assignment, you will be looking at a question that we will discuss in class – does the Earth orbit the Sun, or the other way around?
This is a question that for most people was settled a long time ago.However, there are still some who favor the geocentric model over the heliocentric model.A book has recently been published outlining their arguments – “Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right” by Robert A.
Sungenis and Robert J. Bennett (actually there are a set of books with different degrees of detail).
Please note that this topic has a strong connection to particular strands of Christian belief.This assignment is NOT intended as a criticism of anyone’s religious beliefs, but it is an example of a situation where some people’s beliefs conflict with the conclusions of science.
So, here’s your assignment:Submit a report detailing your responses to the items below.This report should be between 3 and 4 pages long (double spaced, no larger than 12 point font), not including references.You must include a “works cited” list including ALL sources you use.You must cite within the text of your report any information that you use.
A score will be given out of 100 points.I will be grading on how well your report is written, including grammar and spelling, as well as on content.If you need help with grammar, spelling or other general writing issues, please go to the Writing Center at Mabee Library.You may ask me for help on content.
I expect that the best way to research this topic will be on the web.However, if you find other resources (books, magazines, etc.) that are helpful, feel free to use them.Be sure to cite every source you use.I don’t care what citation style you use (APA, MLA, Turabian, etc.) but be sure to give sufficient information so that I can look up the source myself.
Please address the following items in your report.Your report should be in the form of an essay, but please follow this order.Points are assigned to each item below.
- First, search online for “Galileo Was Wrong”, “geocentrism”, or “geocentrist” to find at least one website supporting this claim.o (10 pts) What do you think is reasonable about the claims made or arguments given? o (20 pts) What do you think is unreasonable?What “red flags” do you see which indicate that this may be pseudoscience?
- (10 pts) Pick at least one argument made by the supporters of geocentrism.Briefly explain that argument. Thinking Scientifically Assignment #1 Page 1 of 2
- (50 pts) Critique the geocentrism position.
- Find at least one critique of the geocentric argument (or, come up with your own) and explain.You may also include critiques of geocentrism in general, but please do try to find content that directly addresses the geocentric argument you explained above.
- Your grade will be better if you look for arguments based in physical evidence.
- (10 pts) Wrap up with some discussion and conclusions.What do you think about this issue, the arguments and counter arguments?Tell me what YOU think, not what you think I want to hear.Your grade will depend on the quality of your work, not on your opinions.That said, I do expect you to think critically and carefully, and to back up any statements you make with solid reasoning and evidence. Your report is due at the beginning of class on the due date.You must bring your report to class with you.Also, we will spend some time in class discussing the topic, so please be prepared to share at least some of what you’ve written.Late reports will be accepted with a compelling reason, but will be subject to a late penalty of 10 points per day.If you do not bring your paper to class but email it to me on the day it is due I will accept it with a 5 point penalty.You are welcome to turn in your report before the due date.