Explore the current discussions on the evidence for God’s existence and critically engage with one of these arguments or a critique of one of these arguments.

bjective: Explore the current discussions on the evidence for God’s existence and critically engage with one of these arguments or a critique of one of these arguments.

Part I Requirements: Go online (Youtube, Ted, etc.) and find a video that discusses an argument for the existence of God, summarize it, and respond to it critically, thoughtfully, and intelligently. 750-1000 words (soft limit). (40 points). Part I is due May 5th, 5:45pm, on Canvas.

As clearly as you can, state the argument. Use the format I’ve been using in class—with each separate piece of evidence as a numbered premise and the conclusion clearly identified.
Explain everything as plainly, coherently, and concretely as possible, basing your explanations on what the speaker provides for you.
Defend (by adding your own support to #2) or undermine the argument (by identifying demerit(s) and supporting your claims)
In your write-up, please include a link to the original video and a time range as applicable.
Part II Requirements: Peer review questionnaire. (10 points). Part II is due May 10th, 11:59pm, on Canvas. After May 5th 5:45pm, you will have a write-up to peer review in Canvas. The review is (like the first time around), focused on the strengths and weaknesses in the analysis. As a reviewer, you do not need to watch the video. However, you may find it helpful to watch the video. These reviews are part of your contribution to the intellectual environment of the class, but they also help you prepare for Part III:

Part III: Discussion and response (10 points total). Part III is due by Tuesday, May 17th, 5:45pm at the latest, on Canvas or hard copy. On May 12th, in class, we’ll take the second half of class (or less than) to watch a few of the more intriguing videos and discuss. The contributor of the video will be responsible for leading the discussion, the reviewer for leading the response, and ALL of the rest of us for actively participating. Each student is also responsible for developing a considered response to their review. Because discussion can help inform your responses, you may have until Tuesday, May 17th.

Please do:

One objective is to explore the current state of affairs. To this end, please do a little exploring. This is so that you get a bigger, fuller understanding of the state of the debate than we are able to do in class. As well, this is so that you can make a suitable choice in video: your choice needs to be something that you can intelligently, thoughtfully, and critically engage with.
Do feel free to branch out (in fact, you are required to branch out at least a little bit. See Don’t #4 below): You are not limited to ontological, cosmological, or teleological arguments, though at this point, those will be the easiest arguments to engage with. But, the target of your paper must be an argument for existence (or, a specific part of a more complex argument for existence).
The second objective is to engage critically with one of these arguments. Therefore, your analysis should be methodical, detailed, and supported as best as you can. Be sure to follow/create a logical flow to your argument and make this clear to your reader/reviewer. Be sure to clarify and explain important terms or concepts—especially where there might be ambiguity and the difference makes a difference in the strength of the argument. Be sure to provide specific examples, as relevant. Be sure to support key premises. You will also need to display some understanding of the intellectual landscape relevant to your argument in order to determine what is relevant and important to focus on and what can be given cursory treatment or even omitted entirely.
Please don’t:

Don’t use the Argument from Evil—the family of arguments that purports to show that God cannot or probably does not exist. It is an argument against the existence of God rather than a critique of an argument for!
Don’t choose the video equivalent of a paper tiger. There are a lot of good contributors out there in the world. There are also a lot of bad contributors out there. If there is nothing of substance that the video contributes and that you can therefore engage with, then you cannot accomplish the project objective of critically engaging with it!
Don’t simply review what we have covered in class and in the readings. In order for you to demonstrate your level of critical engagement, you will need to be able to extend the class’s state of knowledge. That said, small details can make very big differences and more details can make even a bigger difference. If you’ve got a simpler, more informative criticism of something, or a better, more compelling defense of something, or just something we haven’t heard/read before, then you have extended the class’s previous state of knowledge AND showed a high level of sophistication regarding critical engagement.
Grading: At a general level, the rubric Paper Rubric.docx) from project 1 still applies (organization, writing, and research and ideas). Additionally:

A superior project: A superior project starts with a choiceworthy video—one that says something interesting and that says it well. The project as a whole displays a high level of sophistication regarding critical engagement, a high level of understanding of the relevant issues and the surrounding intellectual terrain, and communicates this all clearly and effectively, in all stages of the project.

Satisfactory project: A satisfactory project displays critical engagement, understanding regarding the relevant issues and the surrounding intellectual terrain, and communicates this clearly. But, it does so at a basic level. It may miss a relevant distinction, overlook a relevant consideration that would loom large given the topic, or include considerations that are only tangentially related to the given topic. These, however, do not significantly undermine the student’s purpose.

Poor project: A poor project reports on rather than critically engages with the topic. It displays a lack of understanding of the relevant issues and the surrounding intellectual terrain. Claims are left unsupported or defended only cursorily. It may miss a relevant distinction, overlook a relevant consideration that would loom large given the topic, or include considerations that are only tangentially related to the given topic, and it does so in ways that significantly undermine the student’s purpose.

 

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