Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This is just outrageous!

In his book "Who is For Life" Francis A. Schaeffer makes an unreasonable assumption. I would first like to introduce his opinion:

…[T]he acceptance of abortion does not end with the killing of unborn human life. It continues on to affect our attitude toward all aspects of human life. This is most obvious in how quickly, following the acceptance of abortion, comes the acceptance of infanticide―the killing of babies who after birth do not come up to someone's standard of life worthy to be lived―and then on to euthanasia of the aged. If human life can be taken before birth, there is no logical reason why human life cannot be taken after birth.
One must think logical in this situation. Ever since the beginning of time killing someone has been wrong. He is trying to make a point here that is not valid. In his first sentence he makes the claim that if we do not stop abortion now that it will continue until murder is even in essance okay. I am against aportion and disagree with it, but I would never make that second assumption because it is not fair. Especially for those people, who are for it.
In the second sentence he says that it will affect our attitude in all aspects of our lives. Abortion is not a domino affect.
It is important for each of us to learn from this. We can not assume things that have not happened before and have been a certain way for a long period of time. We can not discuss one topic and bring another one in and assume that it will support the orginal topic. Infacticide, for example, is going overboard. If he wants to talk about abortion he needs to stay on topic. Life is special and it is important that one understands that. I agree with him on this topic. But one has to understand that when a baby is born life begins in a new era.

Do you want a perfect face?

Haily Snyder wrote about Proactiv and did an audience analysis on it. I would like to discuss certain language tools used by Proactiv. Wow! I never thought about it before I was a salesman how many tatics there are in writing and in advertisment.
Proactiv uses imgery in their advertisment. It explains how beautiful one's face will become, when one uses it. On the website it states " Proactiv heals acne today, and prevents it for tomorrow". This sentence convinces one that it is a quick solution. They do this because nobody is patient enough to wait. If it said it takes a month, nobody would show much interest, therefore just by their langauge tools are they able to persaude people that it works and works quickly. When people look in the mirror and are not satisfied with what they see, an image may come into mind of a clearer better-looking face. The image of the Proactiv advertisment will appear.

It also says it heals acne "today". That means quick results. This is an overstatement. There is no way that this will work in just one day, but it just means quick results. Proactiv also says in their advertisment that " Get the clear skin you deserve". I am not sure what language tool, but this is a sales tactic. They are using ethos to let people know that they deserve good skin and that Proactiv can do that for them. It makes you assume that Proactiv is helping you,which may be true, but in reality Proactiv just wants your money.

Lehi's Discourse

Kurt has written a retorical analysis about Lehi's Discourse in 2 Nephi 2. Kurt explains how Lehi uses Logos in his speech. I would like to discuss how he uses Pathos. In the beginning of the Chapter one sees that Lehi is speaking to his son Jacob. He starts out be telling him a few things that has happened in Jacob's life and how it has helped him. Verses one and two reads, "And now, Jacob, I speak unto you: Thou art my first-born in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow... Jacob, my first-born in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain". First-born can mean that one receives special rights or privledges. He tells Jacob basically that he knows it has been had for him, dealing with his brothers in the wilderness. He then states that it will be for his good. So that it will help him. He is trying to appeal to his emotions, which Lehi successfully achieves or so it seems to be that way. His son lived a righteous life. Jacob already knows that life is hard and that he is the first-born, but Lehi restates it and explains to him how good he is.

In verse three it states, "Wherefore, thy soul shall be blessed, and thou shalt dwell safely with thy brother, Nephi; and thy days shall be spent in the service of thy God. Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer". He tells him he will be safe with his brother Nephi, who is a very righteous son of Lehi, who has been a leader for Jacob, as he was growing up. He tells Jacob that he knows that he will be redeemed through the Lord Jesus Christ. If I were Jacob I would feel special and want to listen to my father Lehi because he is declaring how good of a person I am.
Kurt explains basically the rest in his analysis to this great discourse. He explains the Logos, which Lehi used after he had used Pathos to reach his son.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cat's Out of the Bag

Adlai Stevenson's "Cat Bill" veto has been analyzed twice in respect to his logical fallacies. And yet, there are still fallacies to note in his argument of opposing a 1949 bill. Megan noted Stevenson's "slippery slope," "appeal to tradition," and "false dilemma" fallacies and Hailey addressed also Stevenson's "slippery slope" and "stack the deck" fallacies.

In his speech, Mr. Stevenson argues the bill being unethical with respect to the nature of cats. His point is that "It is in the nature of cats to do a certain amount of unescorted roaming"(par. 5). This "begs the question" on what constitutes "a certain amount" of roaming around. Do cats just need to stroll around the yard or should they be given an entire town as their stomping grounds? Apparently those who are supporters of this bill feel that cats are over-stepping their bounds whether they be natural or not. By saying "a certain amount," Mr. Stevenson indirectly justifies the actions of cats that have caused a drop in the bird population and thus disgruntled the people of Illinois.

He also oversimplifies one aspect of cats help society. "Cats perform useful service, particularly in rural areas, in combating rodents"(par. 5), is only one side to the issue. Though seeing cats killing rodents as beneficial is logical, there is also a downside. If a stray cat wanders into a farmer's barn and eats a mouse that feeds on oats used for the horses, then the cat is doing the farmer a service. However, cats are known to leave the corpses of their prey around. If a dead, possibly diseased mouse is left in the feeding bin and goes unnoticed, the food will be poisoned and horses and other animals could be exposed to illness and even death. This would be an incredible diservice to the farmer, his animals, and those who depend on the livlihood of the farm like the farmer's family.

He further generalizes the effects of the cats on the community. He argues that Illinois policy should not be so concerned in "a cat visiting a neighbor's yard or crossing the highway," and declaring it a "public nuisance"(par. 5). If this bill has raised enough attention as to "[be] introduced in the past several sessions of the Legislature, and it has, over the years, been the source of much comment"(par. 4), then obviously the problem entails more than cats wandering into neighbors' yards, but causing harm to the bird population.

By generalizing the issue at hand, Governor Stevenson makes his argument appear logical, practical, and the only rash and mature answer. However, his logic is falsified because he didn't take into consideration other sides of the issues that prompted this bill.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Emotional Appeal to help AIDS in India

I read Mike's analysis of Melinda French Gates's article titled "AIDS and India". I feel like her use of emotional appeal as a means of persuasion deserves further analysis.

Melinda is writing to the people in the Pacific Northwest who subscribe to the Seattle Times. Her goal is to motivate the readers to help out the AIDS situation in Africa through donations, not necessarily to her own foundation. She wants the people to be helped and if she’s not the one doing it she’s fine with that as long as someone else is. The readers know very little, if anything, at all about AIDS in India. It isn’t affecting their everyday lives because they live in Seattle or it’s surrounding areas. Much like the commercials on TV that ask for money to feed starving children in Africa, she has to make the reader feel sorry for the victim and convince him that it will really be used to help the people and will be effective.

The Pacific Northwest is a very liberal region. Seattle is the only major US city to perform a city-wide strike through labor unions in order to receive higher wages. They are more accepting and protective of gay and lesbian rights than the rest of the country. Oregon and Washington were the first two states to allow for assisted suicide, where someone in bad health is given the tools to kill themselves, in the United States, the only other being Montana. In the past, it was known as a hotspot for socialists. Perhaps even more pertinent to this subject is that Washington passed a law in 2007 that made comprehensive sex education, one that includes the use of condoms and other contraceptives, mandatory in any school that wishes to teach sex education. This shows that a majority of the people are in support of teaching about condom use in order to prevent STDs. In other areas where the religious right has a larger influence they might be more interested in how to teach the Indian people fidelity in marriage and abstinence.

Melinda isn’t writing to everyone in the Pacific Northwest however, she is writing specifically to subscribers of the Seattle Times. The demographics for the Seattle Times show us that approximately sixty-eight percent of the population has an income of fifty thousand dollars or more and nearly fifty percent make seventy five thousand or more. The Seattle Times reaches at least seventy percent of both groups. Seventy-three percent of the population owns their own home and the Times reaches over seventy percent of those people as well. This information suggests that a large portion of these readers are well established and have the capacity to donate when they feel inclined to do so. Melinda’s foundation supports their ideology on the use of condoms to prevent STDs and they have money to contribute, she just needs to make them feel like they should help and that their money will help. Melinda uses emotional appeal through positive, successful examples as a means to create sympathy for those affected and to illustrate that the program is working.

Diction is her first technique to create sympathy in her reader. Phrases such as "crippling poverty," "AIDS catastrophe," "the epidemic," and “disaster” appear in the first paragraphs. Her use of these words paint a dismal landscape where AIDS infects men, women, and children from North to South and East to West. Often times these words seem almost unavoidable. Nobody can escape an epidemic. Everyone is damaged in a catastrophe. Being crippled by poverty makes it seem insurmountable. This word choice becomes more effective when she cites projections that "as many as 20 million Indians could be infected by the end of the decade--that's more than twice the population of New York City." The reader is now rather sickened and softened so that he wants to learn more.

Just as important are the words she doesn’t use. 4 million and 20 million are pretty big numbers until the reader realizes that if India’s population is rounded DOWN to 1 billion, 4 million and 20 million make up a meager .4 and 2 percent of the whole population respectively. Doesn’t sound quite like an unavoidable epidemic when you put it in those terms but the reader was too distracted by thoughts of all of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, and Philadelphia dying of AIDS to realize it.

Melinda then capitalizes on the created sympathy by shifting the argument; in the fifth paragraph she says, “A range of HIV-prevention measure are working in India.” The situation is dire, but not unconquerable. She follows with a story about a “sex worker” (prostitute) and how these measures have helped her. Mike already discussed how her choice of the word “sex worker” instead of “prostitute” “appeals to the reader’s ability to pity.” Visualizing a person fighting AIDS in India makes the situation more real and immediate to the reader. Nobody wants to throw their money or efforts into a hopeless black hole where the people won’t help themselves. The progress made by these individuals assures the possible donator his money will be used effectively to help people who are trying to do it themselves but don’t have the means.

She uses another concrete example, this time about truck drivers who have been educated about condoms. This example does the same as its predecessor, allowing the reader to see that his money will be put to good use. This time however she focuses on the fact that these people knew nothing about AIDS before the people got there. Many of the readers instantly will feel sorry for the wives of these truck drivers and the sympathy grows even more after thinking that it if the husband wasn’t educated about AIDS he could contract it and then pass it on to the family. This creates the need for a foundation like hers. The reader sees that there is more work to do in order to reach all of India so his money is needed just as much as it will be effective in educating those men. These examples allow the people to feel good because they can see that progress is being made and a lot of times people want to feel good and shy away from bigger problems they may face.

The next endeavor at creating emotional appeal, “a woman whose husband dies of AIDS is often blamed for his death, and thrown out of the home with her children” illustrated again how dire the situation can be at times but after reading this the reader may question, “How can a woman be thrown out of her own home if her husband is dead?” because he probably doesn’t know that extended families live together in India. An explanation of the social background would have been helpful. Melinda continually uses sympathetic stories to create sympathy in the reader.

She closes her article with the donation and call to action pitch. In her pitch she says, “rich countries” in an off-handish way that reminds the reader that they may not have everything they want but they have a lot more than anybody else. The most effective portion of her pitch was that she provided other organizations that could be donated to, which shows that she’s more interested in helping the people rather than getting more money for donations. She doesn’t care if she is the one helping or if it is somebody else. She concludes by bringing back her concrete example of the sex worker “women like Gita really shall overcome” which is her last attempt to make the reader feel connected to these people and that they can help them. Her use of the phrase “shall overcome” is an allusion to the song “We Shall Overcome” which was a very popular song associated with the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights movement was very successful and now she is throwing her cause along with that one, something positive, something that will work. This was her last move to use emotion to sway her audience into action, all the while assuring that their efforts would be effective

Monday, October 5, 2009

Are You Healthy?

Glen Rudolphi did an analysis regarding Health care from an article by Jean S. Fraser. He emphasized the use of pathos in Fraser's article, "On Rethinking Health Care in California." Whether or not pathos is used is not the question. Glen uses Fraser's example of the employee who has a wife with "multiple sclerosis and may lose his health care coverage." He says that everyone feels sorry for someone who is sick. I agree that this example does bring out our emotions; however, this is one of the few emotional examples that Fraser uses in her article. She could have used aweful stories that develop much stronger sympathetic feelings. I heard someone say how Barrack Obama used a story of a girl who ate only mustard and bread to be able to pay for her childrens' needs. The immediate health repercussions aren't aweful, but the idea that she decided to do this makes Americans want to see changes.

Fraser's one solid example of pathos might not build enough sympathy towards those affected by health care problems to back her solutions or instigate reform. She uses some other ideas to bring out some emotion. For example, "At this rate, I might have to let go of one employee just to keep health insurance for the other two." She also states, "to pay for insurance inflation they should shift more of the cost to his employees, one of whom has a wife with multiple sclerosis."These types of problems bring Americans into attention of an author. Fraser tries to paint the scene of businesses as so pitiful because of health care problems. She makes the reader feel sorry for all health care workers and patients. This type of phrase helps paint the picture: "Insurance costs him $41,000 per year," and "Even at this rate, his employees still have co-pays for all doctor's services." Saying "even" paying this much we still have co-pays for "all" doctor's visits brings feelings into the readers head. Such feelings could be "unfair," "still?," or "that's outrageous." If these are the circumstances we are faced with then the reader feels an automatic conviction that something should change in health care. We feel this way because most Americans have been affected by the rapid incline in unemployment. If this can be fixed by reforming health care then the American people are behind it. While all these explanations are true we must recognize that there are much more deliberate ways to bring out pathos in this article. The description could be much more bleak than it is.

On the other hand she might have wanted to portray a more subtle scene. In some cases building up pathos too much can be to the authors detriment. In comparing Fraser's article with James Lovelock's article on Nuclear Energy, I feel distracted by Lovelock's use of extreme pathos. He says that "20,000 people died from overheating in Europe last summer," without citing his source. It seems slightly farfetched. Fraser seems more believable because of her soft use of pathos than Loveock does. I believe that she could provide two or three more examples throughout her article to remind the reader that the solutions presented are going to help people. In analiyzing the article we need to remember that there are different audiences that will read this. If she was targeting a realistic, but educated audience I believe her use of pathos could be perfect. If she is going for an audience that needs to feel the scene of health care problems to be convinced she should provide more emotionally provoking evidence.

It Seems to Be Heating Up

James Lovelock writes on Nuclear energy as the only potential energy source to save us from global warming. When you read the title you might automatically develop a skeptic attitude towards the article. Lovelock quickly turns the readers skepticism to intrigue by stating, "Sir David King, the Government's chief scientist." He builds enough ethos to keep you reading by connecting himself to the chief scientist. He puts himself in with climatologists as well by saying, "climatologists warn a four-degree rise in temperature is enough to eliminate the vast Amazon forests." This also accomplishes connecting his argument with the ethos of climatologists. This type of logos is all through the article.

The way he really brings logos into the picture is by shocking the reader with facts that make you look for solutions to convincing problems. by saying, "20,000 unfortunates from overheating in Europe last summer," he gets the readers attention by alluding to those 20,000 possibly being you or me if we don't find an answer to global warming. In the moment we look for a solution he offers an unlikely possibility:

"There is a chance we may be saved by an unexpected event such as a
series of volcanic eruptions severe enough to block out sunlight and so
cool the Earth. But only losers would bet their lives on such poor odds.
Whatever doubts there are about future climates, there are no doubts
that greenhouse gases and temperatures both are rising.

Words like "grim forecast," "the odds were 300,000 to one," and the analogy of the sea level rising, give a bleak look on life continuing as normal. Who wouldn't feel like it is bleak knowing that seven meters of rise in sea level would drown London, Venice, New York, and Tokyo? These words followed by his convincing solutions provide a very good connection between what the reader wants to happen and how it can be realized.

In a different light, I would say that he uses pathos a little too extremely. His statistics and large number ratios make me skeptical of his credibility. this damages his ethos and doesn't give the desired pathos effect on me. Then, he tries to connect them to get me motivated. It could work on some audiences and possible his specific audience. I do get his urgency; however, I feel less inclined to act on his connecting ideas than if I believed his argument fully.

A Slightly Heated Topic by Larz Watts analyzes Lovelocks article saying that he "continues to support the theory of Global Warming, until he feels he has proved it enough. Then he is able to take all of that proof and apply it to his principal argument: that we should switch to nuclear power." I must agree that Lovelock continues to support his theory again and again, but I don't think it was as effective as Larz does. In saying that because of the melting ice cap that Greenland will melt faster I don't feel the connectivity that Larz does because I'm skeptic of the whole idea that Lovelock presents. I'm skeptic because he presents it so abruptly and without citing his sources.

I see convincing connections between nuclear energy and global warming, but I also see some holes in Lovelocks argument.