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RCL #4: Persuasive Essay Outline

Intro: Since our first time saying the pledge of allegiance, we’ve become familiar with the United States’ cornerstones: liberty, freedom, and justice. At one point, most of us probably had the amendments to the U.S. Constitution memorized, honing in especially on the first one, which grants us our many beloved freedoms. Perhaps the most valuable of these freedoms is the freedom to speak freely. After all, why should one be unable to make himself heard?

However, the constant reinforcement of this privilege has created a society in which all opinions are given equal weight. This should not be the case. If an argument, a decision, or an opinion has no basis in reason or logic, why should it be regarded the same way as one that does?

Thesis: Giving equal weight to every opinion is all too common in today’s political climate, diminishing the credibility of scientific research and providing a foothold for cognitive biases and complacency.

  1. Diminishing credibility of scientific research
    1. Climate change
      1. 97% believe yes, 3% believe no
    2. Both given equal weight in the news
      1. Paid testimony to people to testify against climate change
    3. Paid money to hide truth
      1. Many years to come to surface against powerful industry
      2. Big money winning
    4. Tobacco
      1. Top corporate execs testified before Congress that nicotine wasn’t addictive
        1. Did so even in the face of science
      2. Everyone smoked and then no one smoked
        1. Why were people so receptive to science then?
          1. Less media
  2. Cognitive Bias
    1. Define cognitive bias
      1. Humans optimistic, a view that extends to perceptions about truth
        1. Doesn’t matter how many people agree with it as long as someone credible or various others do
    2. Gives way to complacency
      1. When we become entrenched in a single viewpoint, we lose a part of the truth
        1. The 97 v 3 debate is essentially useless because we’re only concerned with our own realities
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