English Discussion Board

Introduction

Bergstrom and West remind us in their preface that they “want to help people of all political perspective resist bullshit, because we feel that a democracy is healthiest when voters can see through the bullshit coming from all sides” (xv). I’d like to build on this point by inviting you to consider two statements about voter fraud in US elections. You’ve reviewed these two positions already in the module. As you’ll recall, John Oliver espouses a largely liberal view about election fraud and Eric Eggers presents a generally conservative point of view. 

In this discussion board, I challenge you to test the point of view that you tend to agree with for bullshit. That is, see if you can call bullshit on the conclusion that you most want to agree with. This practice of doubting what we want to believe is a corner-stone of critical thinking and is crucial if we are going to be honest with ourselves and others. 

Assignment

Post (Your post has three parts. Develop each in at least one paragraph)

Begin by selecting the video that you most agree with. (I recommend that you watch once or twice with the questions below in mind.)

  1. Write a one-paragraph Toulmin summary of the video you’ve selected. (It might help to¬†review what a Toulmin summary is.)
  2. Use the methods suggested by Bergstrom and West to examine the video for bullshit and call out whatever you see. Phrases like “persuasive bullshit” and “evasive bullshit” may be useful. Also remember, that you’ll want to focus on patterns and major claims. Someone can be a little sloppy in their argument without bullshitting.
  3. Test two pieces of evidence the author introduces. Does the evidence say what the speaker claims? Is it presented in context or is the speaker twisting it?

Make sure each paragraph is clearly marked.

Development

Your post should represent 60- 90 minutes of work and be at least 600 words long.

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