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Critical Thinking – Final Paper Write a paper on one of the arguments below. Make sure the paper reconstructs the argument and only the argument (no unnecessary or idle premises). Then object to the argument. Your paper should: Begin with a brief summary of the argument. Reconstruct the argument into standard form: make sure your reconstruction is well-formed. For each line in your argument, note whether it is a premise or a subconclusion. If it is a subconclusion, indicate which premises it follows from. Give a brief defense of each premise. You should aim for your defense for each premise to be a paragraph of text in length. Deny a premise: briefly state which premise you deny and explain why you think it is false. Turn your reasoning into a standard form argument. Make sure that the conclusion of the argument is ‘Not (P)’, where (P) is the premise you chose to deny. Make sure your argument is well-formed. For each line in your argument, note whether it is a premise or a subconclusion. If it is a subconclusion, indicate which premises it follows from. Give a brief defense of each premise. You should aim for your defense for each premise to be a paragraph of text in length. Add a concluding paragraph where you address the following question: does your objection work? Or can the proponent of the original argument avoid it somehow? “Do Your Own Research” A common slogan is “do your own research” (DYOR). This sounds reasonable, because it would seem that if you don’t do your own research about a topic, then you’re probably going to end up believing things without having examined the evidence. But DYOR is also dangerous, as we have seen the rise in conspiracy theorists that rally behind that slogan. What I want to argue is that, most of the time, one should not do their own research. The reason for this is that if you do your own research, you’ll end up believing stuff that is not what the evidence suggests. In other words, doing your own research will lead you to form false beliefs! Why? Because most of us are not well-trained enough to fully assess the evidence in front of us. Can you really tell what the fossil record does or does not show about evolution? Do any of us really understand all the factors that go into increased inflation? Clearly not. DYOR, as tempting as it is, is a bad slogan. It is time for us to stop doing our own research. “Trust the Scientists” Science is super trustworthy, or so everyone says. One of the things that makes science so good is its ability to predict the future on the basis of the past. But the moment we take this seriously, we notice that science is actually doing quite poorly by its own lights. Almost every scientific theory we have ever come up with has been shown to be false. People used to believe that your moods were governed by the amount of black bile in your body, and that mental illness could be cured by lobotomizing people. It is very clear that science has a terrible track record when it comes to getting at the truth. Should we then conclude that future science will also do a terrible job at getting at the truth? After all, the future is supposed to resemble the past. And if we have good reasons to expect that future science is likely to also get things wrong, then we definitely should not trust what scientists tell us now. One should only trust the testimony of those who are reliable, and science’s past makes it pretty clear that current scientists are not reliable.

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