So, we ended the class a bit unceremoniously.  I would have liked a nicer goodbye.  But that was my fault -- almost forgetting the evaluation.   I hope that you take a few good or funny or silly memories away with you.   Maybe even some straight thinking...


Mar 26 , 2006

Bertrand Russell has this to say on that:

Three passions have governed my life:
The longings for love, the search for knowledge,
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].

Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.
In the union of love I have seen
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge.
I have wished to understand the hearts of [people].
I have wished to know why the stars shine.

Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens,
But always pity brought me back to earth;
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart
Of children in famine, of victims tortured
And of old people left helpless.
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot,
And I too suffer.

This has been my life; I found it worth living.

Mar 12 , 2006

A pointer to a book on statistics, Joel Best's Damned Lies and Statistics.  If you click on the book cover you can read the first few pages.  I couldn't have told you where the word 'statistics' comes from before reading this.   The book is in our library. 

Mar 3 , 2006

A fellow student has sent this link and asked me to post it.


Feb. 13 , 2006

The correct answers (mine as done in class--not the textbook's) for exer 2-13.

Also the test 2 short form that we did in class.

Feb. 11 , 2006

Just an update...
Chapter 9 will not be on the test.  
I don't feel that I can go on to chapter 9 (even though it's only a few pages) when so many have indicated confusion about chapters 7 and 8.   But if you care about these things, take a look at it anyway. 

I will devote our Monday class to a review of syllogisms and distribution and rules and diagrams etc..  
If you're sure that you don't need this, you don't need to come.

Also, a reminder about the size of the cheat sheet.  One 3x5 index card (that's a small one) written on both sides or one sheet of paper measuring twice the size of a small index card (that is, 6 x 5 inches).   You may colour-code, and organize your information any way you want.   But be warned, if you're careless and your paper or card is larger than indicated, I will confiscate it. 

And remember the enthymeme exercise due on Monday.   (Enthymemes will be on the test.)

Feb. 6 , 2006

The exercise for Wednesday, the 8th ...exercise 2-8...Page 452...Section B   1 to 10.   The answers are in the book, but you do yourself out of a chance to practice if you take the easy way...

And a little housekeeping...

The six rules for finding invalidity in syllogisms...

The test 2 advice handed out in class on Monday...

Venn Diagrams Handout lec 17...

The link to the crunchy apple Venn Diagram site...


Feb. 1 , 2006

Exercise 2-6      Due Monday, February 6th

From the textbook…

Exercise 7-6  section B

Numbers 2, 3 and 8 only


Exercise 7-7 section B

Numbers 1 through 7 only

Note:     Neatly Typed and Formatted



Jan. 28, 2006

Below is the notice about exercise 1-25 as printed at the end of the overheads from last Monday.   I meant to address this on Monday and then on Wednesday, but both periods were so full that I overlooked it until a few people had already left.   I will make room for doing this exercise in class on Monday.   Looking it over ahead of time would be a benefit of course.  It concerns obversion, contraposition and conversion (pages 183 and 184 in the text). 

To do for Wednesday:       Exercise 1-25

Exercise 7-4   page 184

Neatly formatted and typed.


Jan. 26, 2006

I've put the second set of notes I mentioned in class on line on the readings page.  It is twenty nine pages long.   You can print it yourself, or you can wait until Monday when I will have copies for you..  (I will have copies printed on the weekend.)    But I put it up in case you wanted to review it.

And this on future American lawyers to be proud of...

But not everyone is impressed...


Jan. 20, 2006

One more handout of advice about research.  Read or print.


Jan. 19, 2006

Someone sent me this award-winning European commercial.    Do you think it could be shown in Canada?  Why or why not?

Here is a link to one of the exercises handed out in class on Wednesday.    I asked everyone to read and think and respond via the group email.   Write a sentence or two of general comment and then choose one or two particular responses to critique.   I will count all responses received until midnight Monday.  Easy marks....

Another exercise (1-23) is also due on Monday the 23rd.    Here is a link to it, but it requires reference to a diagram handed out in class.   Perhaps a fellow student will let you make a copy if you weren't in class on Wednesday. 


Jan. 16, 2006

Just an update on that email I was going to send with some questions about Inherit the Wind.   I enjoyed reading your 'first impressions' but didn't, in the end, formulate other questions.   Just didn't want you to think you were missing an email.  

A little more reading...

75 years after the Scopes Trial

The Scopes "Monkey" Trial


Jan. 14, 2006

An interesting interview with, and article on, Richard Dawkins

An excerpt...

"Religion offends every bone in Dawkins's rational, atheist body. "You can see why people may want to believe in something," he acknowledges. "The idea of an afterlife where you can be reunited with loved ones can be immensely consoling - though not to me. But to maintain such a belief in the face of all the evidence to the contrary is truly bewildering." If individual faith is, for Dawkins, an expression of an ignorance, collective faith and organised religion embody something much more pernicious. That is what drove him to make two films for Channel 4, the first of which was shown last night, and to write his new book, The God Delusion, to be published in September."


Jan. 12, 2006

Because of a recent experience in another class, I am reminding everyone of Nipissing's policy on academic dishonesty.


Jan. 12, 2006

A challenge...

Jan. 9, 2006

Well, so we began the 1999 version of Inherit the Wind.   I've put some links on the readings page that you might find of interest.  There's lots more available on google if you have the time and inclination.  In researching this trial, I found a page of famous trials which some of you will enjoy.  A labour of love on someone's part.  


Jan. 8, 2006

As per advertising, we're watching a movie this week.  Easy for me.  Easy for you.  But also relevant to things we've spoken of in class and things going on in the wider world.  No telling...you'll have to come and see.   It takes place in 1925 but was made in 1960. 

I hope everyone made lots of good memories over the holidays.   Both my children were home, my son from Vilnius and my daughter from Tibet.  Relatives came and went.  The tree was beautiful.  The food was great.  The friends were plentiful.   Now, welcome back to the real world....


Nov. 28, 2005

The next exercise is due on Monday, Dec. 5th.   See you in class then.

There is no midterm exam in this class.  There are only the 2 term tests.  The next is in February. 

We meet for the last time a week from Wednesday -- Dec. 7th -- the date of the last exercise.

Nov. 26 , 2005

The last three exercises for this term were handed out in class last Wednesday.  

Nov. 14 , 2005

Just a reminder to check the Purdue OWL site above for help in writing an argument.

Here is some general advice about writing argumentative papers for any discipline...

And another reminder:   on the 16th of November, we're being moved (just for the day -- someone needs the room) to A228 -- a similar room, on the second floor (near the coffeeshop).


Nov. 2 , 2005

About those advertising images in the exercise for today...just a few samples...more in class.

1960 Frigidaire dishwasher ad

1950 Westinghouse washing machine ad

I haven't read your exercises yet, but hope to  have time for a bit of discussion today...

Wikipedia on Ebonics

An editorial from the Chicago Tribune

And another editorial


Oct 29, 2005

Our first test is on Wednesday, November 9th.   The Monday of that week is labelled 'catch up.'    I'm willing to review what you'd like to review.  In particular, I'd be happy to go over any exercises that you are unsure of.  As you know, all the exercises with asterisks are answered in the back of the book.  I hope that you've taken advantage of the opportunity to test yourself. (It's even possible that some of my test questions will be based on these exercises.)    So...here;s the deal.   If you have exercises that have confused or befuddled you, send them to me, complete with details about what page and which number, by November 2nd and, time willing, I will take them up in class on the Monday before the Wednesday test.   I will take the exercises up in the order in which I receive them, so.... 


Oct. 28, 2005

Just a reminder to look here for other discussion topics...or to propose other discussion topics...what has you incensed today?

On ebonics....

This article dates from around the same time (1996) as the news story I handed out in class.  It provides a bit of background (even if you don't read every word...)

a sample paragraph...

Many linguists trace the development of Black English back to the time of slavery and the slave trade. Thus, the history of Black English must date back to about 1619 when a Dutch vessel landed in Jamestown with a cargo of twenty Africans.(Smitherman, 5) During the slave trade, ships collected slaves from several different nations rather than just trading with one nation. The rationale that justified this action was simple. Africans from different nations spoke different languages and could not communicate with each other, and thus were incapable of uniting to overthrow the ships crew. In 1744 slave ship Captain William Smith wrote: "...the safest way to trade is to trade with the different Nations, on either Side the River, and having some of every sort on board, there will be no more Likelihood of their succeding in a Plot, than of finishing the Tower of Babel," (Stoller, 19). Upon arriving in America, all the slaves had to be able to communicate with their masters in some way. Thus, all the slaves had to learn at least some degree of English vocabulary. This established English as a common language among slaves. The one language that all the slaves had in common was English. Linguists propose that Africans developed a pidgin language with the English language providing the vocabulary.


Oct. 6, 2005

Just clarifying (and changing) some due dates.   The exercise I handed out in class yesterday (about finding an argument out in the real world and identifying the fallacies (as outlined in chapter 3 in Soccio) is due on the Monday we return from break week (October 17th).  

The exercise on the Intelligent Design article was originally due on October 17th, but I have changed the due date to October 19th.   Sorry for the confusion.   (Both the exercises are available on this page under lecture 5)

Finally, the Intelligent Design debate snippets I handed out in class yesterday are on the readings page as well (under lecture 4).  These are to be read and annotated for discussion in class in a future week.  You should make notes about which are arguments, what the conclusions are, and whether the support is reasonable, relevant and sufficient.   This is for discussion -- there is nothing to hand in.


Sept. 29, 2005

Take a look at this scandalous bit of 'weasel wording.'

Probe of New Orleans Police Conduct Begins
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The police department said Thursday it is investigating about a dozen officers suspected of looting during the lawlessness that engulfed the city after Hurricane Katrina.

News reports in the aftermath of the storm put officers at the scene of some of the heaviest looting, at the Wal-Mart in the Lower Garden District. Some witnesses, including a Times-Picayune reporter, said police were taking items from shelves.

``Out of 1,750 officers, we're looking into the possibility that maybe 12 officers were involved in misconduct,'' police spokesman Marlon Defillo said.

He rejected the use of the term ``looting,'' and said authorities were investigating ``the possibility of appropriation of nonessential items during the height of Katrina, from businesses.''

The rest of the story....


Sept. 26, 2005

I have begun updating the assigned readings and overheads page (in the box above...)   I've been trying to make things easier for myself and more convenient for you.  

The ...after school discussion... forum is offline for a day or two.  It will be back soon.   Just some server mayhem...


Sept. 23, 2005

Woohoo.....We're in room A144 as of Monday.  I wrote to admin about the conditions in F308 and was granted a reprieve.  We're going to be in room A144.  (This will be re-evaluated in January, but we can be there at least until Christmas.)  See you there...

Sept. 22, 2005

Here is the address  where you can sign yourself up for the email group. 

25052k5 email group signup

You must be a member to participate fully.   Please fill out your profile with your real name as I must approve your membership and don't want to have to guess who you might be.


Sept. 15, 2005

I've been experimenting also with a different type of student forum -- a more general one open to all students in my classes.   You can find it here.  You can look around without signing in.


The God Question...(from a previous class -- just parked here temporarily...)



Last Updated: September 2, 2007