Critical Thinking

Posted: November 30th, 2013





Critical Thinking

1.  What is the thesis (or central claim) of this text?

The main idea provided in the article is that there is a need of a fuel source, which would provide efficient and reliable energy. Such energy provided according to the article would be easily available and in large quantities to the public. In addition, this new source of energy would be essential to the community as it is in cheap and clean in comparison to other sources of energy. This emanates from the belief that the science fiction could provide long-term solutions to the energy crises through discoveries in the production of new energy. Hence, he views that nuclear energy is an appropriate form of energy source, which is safe and reliable that could enable the public access reliable energy.

2.  What are the author’s motives for writing the text (authorial intent)?

The author provides the audience with the views of the presence of an energy form which is clean, cheap, reliable and readily available for public. He questions the opposition against the use of nuclear energy as the best alternative for supplying energy to the American population. The irrational standards as described by the author are the main hindrances to the establishment of additional nuclear power plants, which would unplug the current deficits in the energy needs of the country. The author aims at persuading the audience of the viability and advantages posed by the use of nuclear energy as the bets energy source in comparison to other fossil-based fuels. He provides the advantages posed from the use of nuclear power. He provides in the article that nuclear power could enable the authorities in charge of providing energy to the population to ensure cost reduction in terms of operating the energy generating plants.

3.  What arguments does the author use to support the thesis?

His main arguments are embedded in advocacy for nuclear power as the best alternative source of energy in the modern world. He argues that the record of safety of the nuclear plants in the United States could be simply termed as exemplary. He adds that the nuclear sector is one of the safest sectors to work in America. He compares the average numbers of accidents experienced by the nuclear industry, which are minute in comparison to other industries such as mining and other energy industries.

He provides an example of the exposure of radiation to the natural radiation to which the Americans are exposed to by their natural and modern surroundings by the cosmic radiation. From an example provided by the author, he claims that the standards used in the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal site positioned in the Nevada Desert uses irrational standards and regulations to ensure the safety of the community and environment.

4.  Identify and explain the methods of argumentation used by the author (such as appeals to the intellect or emotions).

The author uses ethos as the means of appeal to the audience of the necessity posed by the energy deficiency to use nuclear energy. He provides reason to the audience in terms of cots associated with the use and establishment of the nuclear power plants. The nuclear power plants would enable the public to have an adequate supply of energy that costs less in terms of access and generation. In addition, the author has a view that nuclear energy plants in the United States are among the safest in the world because of the records and standards used to ensure that the public is safe from the occurrence of accidents, which could be devastating to the country. He provides evidence that this sector is among the safest to work in comparison to other industries, which accrue many casualties annually.

5.  Identify and explain the assumptions (e.g., cultural, scientific, political, social) the author uses to support the thesis.

He assumes that the probability annually of the presence of radiation leakages associated with nuclear plants. He provides that the probability stand at one to a billion in occurrence of accidents in the American plants. This level of safety is the highest in comparison to other energy production sources. He also assumes that nuclear as a source of energy has radiation levels, which are natural and ubiquitous. He provides that the world and people have been exposed for a long time to radiation present in the atmosphere and emanating from the cosmic rays and other naturally occurring radioactive elements found in the earth. Hence, he seems to appeal to the audience that exposure to radiation inevitable. He assumes that the claims by people against the establishment of nuclear plants are ignorant by the establishment of unwarranted and absurd legislation to block establishment of additional nuclear plants.

Additionally he assumes that the opposition against the establishment of additional nuclear plants is irrational. He claims that the opposition is based on political views and not on scientific facts and issues. He claims that the opposition to the establishment of new nuclear plants is direct opposition to capitalism and progress. This is because the numerous advantages identified by the author could change to country and the economy at large.

6.  Identify and explain instances in which the author employs flawed logic or faulty reasoning. Use the “fallacies in reasoning” handout for explanations

His faulty reasoning is evidenced in his claim that there is a safe level of radiation. Radiation essentially results in unwarranted effects irrespective of the period of exposure. In addition, gradual exposure to small doses of radiation could result in unwarranted long-term health and physical effects on an individual. He also claims that anti-nuclear groups oppose the establishment and use of nuclear energy because they assume similar positions used by opposers of projects, such as construction of dams and legal logging of trees.

Such identified examples also pose threats to the environment of an area. Hence, his claims that nuclear power generation does not pose threats to the health and physical wellbeing of the population could be termed as unfounded. In addition, there is opposition because the threats are real and evident from initial studies on the viability and eventual use of nuclear power as an alternative source of energy. He also claims that the radiation from the nuclear plants is negligible. Hence, this statement is an express indication of the presence of acceptance of the presence of radiation from nuclear plants.

8.  Identify and explain any words or phrases used to support the thesis that are vague, unclear, or ambiguous.

•Radon- this is defined as a heavy and gaseous radioactive element.

•Ubiquitous- this is existence in everywhere. Present everywhere at the same time such as air which is present everywhere.

•Millirems- this is a unit of measurement used to quantify the estimates of the impacts of radiation on living tissues and organisms.

•Why then is opposition to nuclear power so strong? This question is ambiguous, in that the author assumes that the opposition on the establishment and use of nuclear power as the best energy source alternative is due to the need to oppose capitalism and exercise political strengths by the opposition. However, this is unfounded as exposure to radiation from nuclear plants living organisms is real and has detrimental effects on health as well as the physical aspects of organisms.









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