Unit 2 Prompt 2 — due Sunday 9/23 5:00pm


Here is the prompt for your second post of this unit.

While the second week of this unit continues our readings about the Copernican Revolution, we will also use our time to look at the relation between science and religion. We will have a chance to examine this contentious issue from several perspectives, starting with Tuesday’s assignment.

In your post, address ONE of the following three topics:

1. Using Ptolemy as one of his examples, Neil deGrasse Tyson says that “God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance”. What exactly does this mean? What might Jonathan Sacks (from the Dawkins-Sacks debate) say in response? (Optional: What would Tyson then say in response to Sacks?)

2. Pretend that the organizers of the Dawkins-Sacks debate have asked you to be its judge. Who won, and why? Try to focus less on their personalities, more on their arguments. To support your judgment, pick out one or two representative arguments from the debate. Describe one particularly successful argument from your chosen winner, and an example of what you take to be a weak reply from the opposing side. (If you think the debate was a tie, you can say that, but even then you’ll need to justify your answer.)

3. Compare and contrast the Dawkins-Sacks debate and the Baldwin-Buckley debate from Unit 1. Focus on just one or two aspects—these include format, physical setting, historical context, personalities, audience members, and argumentative strategies. It will be useful to consider how your chosen aspects might affect your views of who won these debates, and why.

Aim for about 200 words total.

— Prof. Robb

Post before Sunday at 5:00.