Practice of Heuristics, Essay Example

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Essay

I went to a party at my friend’s house and my friend pointed at a guy and told me that he is from Pakistan who is in the U.S. for studies. When I looked at him, stereotypical ideas started flooding my mind that this Pakistani guy must hate the U.S. and the freedom we have here. He must also look at women as inferior to men and condones violence against women and non-Muslims. My stereotypes regarding Pakistanis had convinced me that they oppose everything Americans stand for and it will always be “Us vs. Them”. The Pakistani guy, whose name was Shoaib, noticed my glare and walked towards me.

After introducing himself, he asked if I have never met someone from Pakistan before and I responded in the affirmative. During our conversation, he said that the misunderstandings between Pakistanis and Americans are often the outcome of conflicting political interests and biased media coverage in both countries. He also mentioned the fact that broken American promises in the past have also negatively affected Pakistanis’ trust in Americans and if the public would be more assure of America as a true ally, they will stand with America on most issues. He also claimed that most people in Pakistan do not like Taliban principles, just like Americans but fundamentalist elements and terrorism get the most attention in the western media.

The conversation helped me realize that people in different countries often want the same things but they are exposed to different ideas and information which help create misunderstandings. I also learnt that one of the best ways to learn about other cultures is through personal interactions with individuals from those cultures (Axner) because you learn how they truly think and you also have the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarifications.

A video on President Obama’s official website criticizes Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s record as Massachusetts Governor (BarackObama.com). The video claims that Governor Romney has been repeating the same promises he made as a candidate for Massachusetts Governor. He promised more jobs, lower taxes, and lower debt but the results were the exact opposite. The video urges viewers to reject Governor Romney’s promises since he has already failed to deliver on them as Massachusetts Governor and vote for President Obama.

As far as the five tests of reasoning are concerned, the video does pass the familiarity test because Governor Romney’s and President Obama’s positions on certain issues such as taxes are already well-known. President Obama wants to raise taxes on higher income groups while Governor Romney opposes such a move. The video fails the test for simplicity because simply job creations data tells little about employment market. A state might not have created many jobs but at the same time, it might not have lost many jobs either which would make it better than many other states. In addition, equating fees with taxes makes the comparison complicated because fees in other states were not taken into account while making comparison. In addition, citizens can choose to skip the services and avoid fees while that is not the case for taxes.

The video does pass the test for testability because statistical facts were quoted in the video with sources so the viewers can consult the sources to verify statistical claims. The video also passes the test for productivity because it raises a good point that taxes could be replaced with voluntary fees. Fees generate revenues for the governments also but they only apply to those who benefit from the services.

I would avoid subjective arguments such as equating fees with taxes because there are certain structural differences between these two sources of revenue for the government. I will provide more statistical facts in place of individual testimonies because testable facts have more credibility than individuals in the video whose views might have been influenced by their political ideologies.

STEP 3: I believe that same-sex couples make excellent parents. But I also consider myself a flexible individual who is willing to change his opinion on the basis of data. In order to change my position in case of same-sex couples, I will need to see multiple statistics from all over the world, proving that children raised by same-sex couples are more likely to feel neglected or depressed. Similarly, statistics proving the fact that same-sex parents on the average have shorter unions than parents who are heterosexual may also convince me to change my opinion.

I also believe that democracy is the best form of government. But I will change my opinion if independent research confirms that more non-democratic countries rather than democratic countries enjoy higher per-capita income levels, higher quality-of-life standards, and better human rights record.

I think it is false that Geminis can’t make decisions. I will change my opinion if research indicates that more bad decisions are made by politicians and business leaders whose Zodiac sign is Gemini than those born under different signs and this holds true across different cultures and countries.

I also think it is false that Poker is not a sport unless one convinces me that the definition of sport is only extended to those forms of competition where physical strength and endurance is required

I am uncertain whether socialism is really bad in every case. In order to reach a conclusion, I will research more into countries that are usually called democracies such as the U.S. and U.K. and will investigate whether there are any socialist elements in these economies are not. If yes, would these countries have been better without those socialist elements in their economies.

I am also uncertain whether children should always honor and respect their parents. In order to reach a conclusion, I will look into the reasons provided by supporters of the argument as well as some traditions preach honoring and respecting parents. I will also try to think of possible reasons that may justify not honoring and respecting one’s parents and if I do find some, then it will be clear that one should not honor and respect parents without exceptions.

In the debate whether immigrants are a threat to American values and culture, Peter Brimelow believes that it is indeed the case because immigrants maintain their cultural ideals and do not assimilate into American culture. As a result, they fail to embrace American values that have made America great. Brimelow also argues that cultures are a good predictor of economic progress which is why Japanese, Jews, and Germans are successful wherever they are. Brimelow argues that Hispanics should be forced to assimilate into American culture otherwise they will threaten American values (Cooper).

Francis Fukuyama on the other hand argues that immigrants are not a threat to American values and culture because many social issues such as breakdown of family values are the price of progress and not the influence of immigrants on American culture. Fukuyama claims that the cultural changes are being forced by liberal elements including Hollywood Elite (Cooper).

Both authors are focusing on completely different aspects of the American culture. Brimelow is more concerned with economic values while Fukuyama focuses on family values. This is why this debate is not as productive as it could have been because both individuals used different cultural aspects to make their argument.

As far as Brimelow’s reasons are concerned, Brimelow’s argument does pass the test of truthfulness because Germans, Japanese and Jews do have a history of being successful anywhere they go. Brimelow’s arguments also pass the test of relevance because immigration does have economic consequences whether positive or negative which is why immigration policies are often weighed by national governments on the basis of potential economic benefits. Fukuyama’s arguments do fail the test of logical strength at times because economic status or education does not seem to have any relation to moral inhibitions and he doesn’t cite any study that proves so.

Experimental Teacher Training Program: Our hypothesis is that the college students in our experimental program will perform better as compared to the students in our regular program.

The first clue was that it is a training program and training programs are meant to improve skills and performance. In addition, the story mentions that what separates the experimental teacher training program from regular teacher training program is work experience as a science and math tutor for a semester. It’s as if the author was arguing that regular training program lacked something important. When I read “Our regular teacher program doesn’t include the semester tutoring”, it gave me hints that the new training program has been designed because it expects to yield better results by including semester tutoring.

The story also made one wonder why a new training program would be designed unless the original training program would be falling below expectations. Thus, I knew that the hypothesis must be that the participants in the experimental training program will perform better than those in the regular training program.

The goal of the first experiment was to observe how different kinds of meat such as hot dogs, steak, and ground beef decompose over time. The experimenter hypothesized that meat with high amount of preservatives such as hot dog will take a lot longer to decompose as opposed to those with low amount of preservatives such as ground beef. The solution was to put all kinds of meat together in a single plate outside in neighbor’s yard and observe their decomposition over the following days (StinkyMeat.Net).

Even though the hot dog, ground beef, and steak were exposed to the same environmental conditions outside, it might have been better to put all three meats in three separate plates. Doing so would have ensured that the chemical processes in the meats didn’t interact with each other. In addition, it might have been better to remove the plastic coating from the hot dog. The slowed decomposition might also have been due to the protective coating rather than the high amount of preservatives in the hot dog meat.

It is also important to note that hot dog comes cooked and ready-to-eat while ground beef and steak don’t. There might have been other ingredients in the hot dog that would have slowed down decomposition rather than the meat only. A better experiment could have replaced hot dogs with a fish meat or some other uncooked meat.

As IDEO’s video (IDEO) shows, digital books will allow far greater interactivity options as compared to paper books. First of all, it will be easier to incorporate tools such as videos and graphs that are not possible in paper versions. This would make learning more fun and will also be more suitable to those who learn better through interactive media rather than through reading. Another benefit would be more objective learning due to the ease with which one could verify facts or the credibility of the sources.

Digital books will also encourage sharing of information and ideas. It would make learning more productive through easier exchange of opinions. It will also make the book purchase process quite convenient and one will always have wide choices due to a portable library.

But there is also a danger that it may reduce readers’ attention span since they can always access other books instantly. The digital versions may also be more distracting due to numerous features and social media tools may frequently interrupt readers’ focus on the reading material. Moreover, interactive media such as videos and flash animations may encourage some readers to take shortcuts towards learning by skipping reading material.

IDEO’s video does pass the test of relevance because eBooks have exploded in popularity due to tablet devices and the technologies demonstrated in the video such as social media, videos, and interactive material already exist. Almost every product that used to be paper-based such as college textbooks, fictions, and magazines now have digital versions and digital versions often include videos and interactive materials.

I have chosen to explore the future of internet. I have chosen this technology because internet has been arguably the most influential technology in human history and has impacted almost all aspects of our life whether commerce, entertainment, shopping, or education. Internet has also been the reason behind the growth of globalization and have finally helped us understand what pundits meant by a global village in the past. But I believe that we still have not seen the real potential of internet. I often myself amazed at the progress that has been enabled by internet.

I will be using different sources to research for my topic including internet itself and scholarly periodicals. I will also use my own imagination to hypothesize different scenarios in which the internet may shape our future. I hope to finish the project in about three to four days of which the first day will be dedicated to brainstorming and research.

References

Axner, Marya. Building Relationships with People from Different Cultures. 12 September 2012 <http://ctb.ku.edu/en/tablecontents/sub_section_main_1170.aspx>.

BarackObama.com. Romney Economics. 12 September 2012 <http://www.barackobama.com/romney/economics/ma-record/ma-record-slide-01>.

Cooper, Mary H. Immigration Reform. 24 September 1993. 13 September 2012 <http://library.cqpress.com.ezp1r.riosalado.edu/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre1993092406&type=hitlist>.

IDEO. The Future of the Book. 12 September 2012 <http://vimeo.com/15142335>.

StinkyMeat.Net. Day 1. 12 September 2012 <http://www.stinkymeat.net/stinkymeat/day1/>.

 

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