James Madison University Anticipating Counterarguments Essay


Lesson OverviewLesson OverviewThis week you will start to craft the argument for your Advocacy Letter. You will continue to shape your complex thesis statement into a proposal claim with three reasons. Those three reasons will be supported by evidence, anticipation of counterarguments, and rebuttals. You will also consider what values or beliefs your audience must share to be persuaded by the specific reasons you’ve chosen to support your proposal claim. At the end of the week you will have an outline of your Advocacy Letter that we can discuss in our second Individual Conference next week. Learning GoalsBy the end of this week, students will be able to:Synthesize research to support an argumentIdentify and address counterarguments with rebuttalsIdentify and support implied assumptionsOutline an advocacy letterReading 12Reading 12“Supporting Reasons with Evidence,” “Understanding Assumptions,” and “Anticipating Counterarguments,” Insider’s Guide, pp. 65-69 (2nd ed.), or pp.43-48 (1st ed.). Implied Assumptions Implied Assumptions – Alternative Formats Strategies for Rebutting Evidence Strategies for Rebutting Evidence – Alternative FormatsDiscussion 12To make sure you’re building a strong, thorough argument to support your proposal, consider your complex thesis statement. It should include a proposal and three reasons to support that proposal. (See Lecture 12 for more details). Using the following template, write down your claim: (My audience) should/should not ________ because (reason #1), (reason #2), and (reason #3).For example:The U.S. Senate should reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because it protects women from further harm, it is needed now more than ever, it takes guns away from convicted domestic violence perpetrators. Based on Reading 12 and Lecture 12, consider what values or premises your audience needs to share to be persuaded by your three reasons. Write down the three implied assumptions (unstated reasons) upon which each of your three reasons is based. For example:Senators want to protect women from further harm (assumption behind reason #1)it’s good to do things when they’re needed (assumption behind reason #2)taking away guns from convicted DV perpetrators is a good thing (assumption behind reason #3)Assignment 12: Outlining the Advocacy LetterAttached Files: Outline Template and Sample_Advocacy Letter_S2021.docx Outline Template and Sample_Advocacy Letter_S2021.docx – Alternative Formats (24.151 KB)OverviewThis week, you will start outlining your advocacy letter. Next week, we will meet in our second individual conference to discuss your thesis statement, your research, and the strength of your argument. Make sure you sign up early for a meeting! InstructionsDownload the attached Outline Template and Sample. Use the template in the first half of the document to create your own outline for your Advocacy Letter. The second half of the attached document shows you how you might fill out this template. Note that this sample outline is only filled out for one reason–you’ll need to fill in your outline for three reasons. Please delete the sample outline before you turn in your assignment. The red text in the attached document highlights any implied assumptions hidden in your reasons. If one or more of your implied assumptions are easily agreed upon by your audience, you will not have to fill out the corresponding red sections. The “Implied Assumptions” handout in Reading 12, Lecture 12, and Discussion 12 will help you think through which sections with red text you may or may not need to fill out for your own outline.All support or evidence for your reasons and implied assumptions must include research. Cite your sources in your chosen documentation style and include them in a Reference/Works Cited page. Write down any questions you have that you would like to discuss in our conference next week.ENGH 302 Audience Analysis Worksheet
Enter your responses to the following questions directly in this Word document. Save the document using the
following file name: LastName_AudienceAnalysis
Some questions will require more content to answer than others, but you should aim for two substantive
paragraphs for each question. Review Lecture 11 for step-by-step instructions, if needed. Make sure you
provide in-text citations for your sources, and cite only sources your audience would respect. INCLUDE A
What is your discipline/major?
CRISPR-Cas9 technology is a revolutionary tool that enables scientists to edit DNA sequences with precision
and accuracy. The technology works by using an enzyme called Cas9, which acts like a pair of molecular
scissors, to cut DNA at specific locations. Scientists can then add, remove, or replace specific genetic
information, which has the potential to revolutionize fields like medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology.
CRISPR-Cas9 has already been used to develop new treatments for genetic diseases and to create genetically
modified crops that are more resistant to pests and disease. However, the technology also raises ethical and
societal questions, including concerns about the unintended consequences of manipulating the genetic code
of living organisms.
What is your complex thesis? (Claim + Reasons)
Claim: Despite the potential benefits of CRISPR-Cas9 technology in fields like medicine and agriculture, its use
raises ethical and societal concerns that must be carefully considered and addressed.
1. The technology could lead to unintended consequences, such as off-target effects or the creation of
new diseases or pests, which could have negative impacts on ecosystems and human health.
2. The use of CRISPR-Cas9 raises important ethical questions about the moral implications of editing the
genetic code of living organisms, including concerns about eugenics, discrimination, and unintended
consequences for future generations.
3. The societal implications of CRISPR-Cas9 are also significant, as the technology could exacerbate
existing inequalities and create new divides between those who have access to genetic engineering
and those who do not. Overall, while CRISPR-Cas9 holds great promise, its use must be approached
with caution and a strong ethical framework to ensure that its benefits are realized while its risks are
ENGH 302 Audience Analysis Worksheet
1. THE AUDIENCE: Identify and describe a specific audience who has direct influence over the issue you are
researching. (They must have a physical mailing address). Explain the audience’s decision-making authority in
the issue and describe any current events or trends that may be currently affecting your audience’s interests.
Use credible evidence to indicate the source of your information, integrate it effectively and ethically, and cite
it accurately.
The specific audience I have identified for my advocacy letter about CRISPR-Cas9 technology is Bruce Michael
Alberts, a Chancellor’s Leadership Chair in Biochemistry and Biophysics for Science and Education at the
University of California, San Francisco. As a prominent biochemist and former president of the National
Academy of Sciences, Alberts has significant influence over the issue of CRISPR-Cas9 technology and its
applications in genetics and molecular biology (Dr. Bruce Alberts Bibliography, 2022). Alberts is highly
respected in the scientific community and has published numerous papers on topics related to DNA
replication, cell biology, and molecular biology. As a renowned educator, he has also authored several
textbooks that are widely used in undergraduate and graduate biology courses. Given his expertise in the field
of genetics and molecular biology, Alberts is well-positioned to influence the direction of research and policy
related to CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
In terms of decision-making authority, Alberts does not have direct policymaking authority, but as a respected
leader in the scientific community, he can influence the opinions of policymakers and other stakeholders who
are involved in the regulation of genetic engineering and biotechnology. He can also use his platform to raise
awareness about the ethical and societal implications of CRISPR-Cas9 technology and to advocate for
responsible research and development (Dr. Bruce Alberts Bibliography, 2022). Currently, there are several
trends and events that may be affecting Alberts’ interests in CRISPR-Cas9 technology. For example, recent
advances in CRISPR-Cas9 have led to the development of new treatments for genetic diseases, including sickle
cell anemia and beta-thalassemia. However, these advances have also raised concerns about the ethics of
gene editing and the potential risks associated with unintended consequences, such as off-target effects or
the creation of new diseases. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of scientific
research and the need for responsible and evidence-based decision-making, which may be of particular
relevance to Alberts’ interests in CRISPR-Cas9 technology (Brenner 21).
2. AUDIENCE BIAS: What values and beliefs does your audience have that could create biases against your
position? Think about the factors that might influence their beliefs, such as religion, political affiliation, age,
educational background, socioeconomic status, job, etc. Remember that everyone involved in a controversy
will have biases, so having them is not a sign of weakness. It just means you would need to consider those
biases when writing to the audience. Use credible evidence to indicate the source of your information,
integrate it effectively and ethically, and cite it accurately.
Bruce Michael Alberts’ values and beliefs may create biases against my position in advocating for CRISPR-Cas9
technology. As a prominent biochemist and former president of the National Academy of Sciences, Alberts may have a
cautious or conservative approach when it comes to new scientific technologies and their potential risks (Tilghman,
ENGH 302 Audience Analysis Worksheet
Additionally, Alberts’ educational background and expertise in molecular biology may also shape his
perspectives on the use of gene editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9. While he may recognize the potential
benefits of this technology, he may also be concerned about the ethical implications of manipulating the
human genome and the potential for unintended consequences, such as the creation of new diseases or the
exacerbation of existing health disparities (Tilghman, 2020). Another potential bias that may influence Alberts’
perspective on CRISPR-Cas9 technology is his age. As an 85-year-old scientist, Alberts may have a generational
bias that favors traditional scientific methods and a more cautious approach to technological innovation.
It is important to acknowledge these potential biases when crafting my advocacy letter to Alberts. I will need
to present a clear and compelling argument that addresses these concerns and highlights the potential
benefits of CRISPR-Cas9 technology in a responsible and ethical manner. It may also be helpful to provide
examples of successful applications of CRISPR-Cas9 technology and to address any potential ethical concerns
in a transparent and proactive manner. By doing so, I can engage with Alberts in a constructive and productive
dialogue that advances the responsible use of this promising technology.
3. AUDIENCE POSITION: What position does the audience have on the issue you chose? Note that audiences
do not always spell out their positions. You will need to conduct research in newspapers, trade publications,
and journals to collect the necessary information about whether your audience agrees, disagrees, or has other
concerns with your issue. Use credible evidence to indicate the source of your information, integrate it
effectively and ethically, and cite it accurately.
According to Tilghman (2022), as of 2022, Alberts has a nuanced view on the topic. He does not fully agree on
the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology due to the ethical practices involved. However, given his expertise in the
field of molecular biology and his past leadership roles in the National Academy of Sciences, it is likely that he
has followed the development of this technology closely and has formed some opinions on its potential
benefits and risks.
In a 2015 interview with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Alberts expressed cautious optimism about the
potential of CRISPR-Cas9 technology, stating that “it’s a very exciting time to be in biology” and that gene
editing tools like CRISPR-Cas9 “are going to give us an entirely new way to approach things, but we need to be
careful about how we approach the topic to ensure that we stay in line of ethical practices” (Alberts, 2015,
07:42) However, he also noted the need for careful consideration of the ethical implications of gene editing
and the importance of responsible use of this technology.
It is important to note that Alberts’ position on CRISPR-Cas9 technology may have evolved or changed in the
years since this interview. Therefore, I will need to conduct further research to better understand his current
position on this issue and to tailor my advocacy letter accordingly. I may also need to consider the broader
positions of other influential voices in the scientific community and the general public to effectively advocate
for the responsible use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
4. CONCESSION and COUNTERARGUMENT: Describe elements of your audience’s position that you
sympathize with (concession) so that you can acknowledge their counterarguments to your stance. Next,
refute what you can about the audience’s position with evidence-based counterargument of your own. Use
ENGH 302 Audience Analysis Worksheet
credible evidence to indicate the source of your information, integrate it effectively and ethically, and cite it
One element of Bruce Michael Alberts’ potential position on CRISPR-Cas9 technology that I sympathize with is
his concern for the ethical implications of manipulating the human genome (Gitschier 05:29). As a responsible
scientist and leader in the field of molecular biology, Alberts may be hesitant to embrace the full potential of
CRISPR-Cas9 technology without considering its potential consequences. However, it is important to note that
the responsible use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology can be achieved through careful consideration of ethical
implications and proactive measures to address potential risks. For example, a recent study published in
Nature Biotechnology demonstrated the successful use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to correct a diseasecausing mutation in the human embryo while avoiding off-target effects (Zhang, 2021).
Additionally, the potential benefits of CRISPR-Cas9 technology, such as its ability to cure genetic diseases and
improve crop yields, cannot be ignored. According to a report by the National Academy of Sciences,
Engineering, and Medicine, “The potential for CRISPR-Cas9 to contribute to human well-being is tremendous,
and this technology has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people around the world” (Doudna &
Charpentier, 2022). Therefore, while acknowledging the importance of ethical considerations, it is crucial to
recognize the potential benefits of CRISPR-Cas9 technology and to work towards developing responsible
guidelines for its use. By doing so, we can ensure that this promising technology is used for the betterment of
society while minimizing potential risks.
5. EVIDENCE: What other types of evidence would your audience expect to see in order to be persuaded by
your argument? Most audiences who hold decision-making authority over an issue are sophisticated and
knowledgeable. Think carefully about what it would take to persuade your audience to change its stance or at
least agree to a compromise on the issue. Use credible evidence to indicate the source of your information,
integrate it effectively and ethically, and cite it accurately.
In order to persuade Bruce Michael Alberts to support the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology, it would be
important to provide him with a wide range of credible and compelling evidence. Some types of evidence that
he might expect to see include:
1. Scientific studies demonstrating the efficacy and safety of CRISPR-Cas9 technology: Alberts is a highly
respected scientist and former president of the National Academy of Sciences, so he is likely to be
swayed by rigorous scientific evidence. Providing him with studies that have been peer-reviewed and
published in reputable journals would be essential to building his support for the technology.
2. Examples of successful applications of CRISPR-Cas9 technology: Seeing tangible evidence of the
technology’s potential benefits could help to convince Alberts of its value. For example, showcasing
successful CRISPR-Cas9 treatments for genetic diseases or improved crop yields could be persuasive
(Cyranoski, 2016).
3. Recommendations from trusted scientific organizations: Alberts is likely to respect the opinions of
leading scientific organizations, such as the National Academy of Sciences or the American Association
for the Advancement of Science (Dr. Bruce Alberts Bibliography, 2022). Providing him with statements
ENGH 302 Audience Analysis Worksheet
from these organizations that support the responsible use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology could help to
sway his opinion.
4. Testimonials from respected experts in the field: Hearing from scientists and researchers who have
personal experience with CRISPR-Cas9 technology could also be persuasive for Alberts. This could
include experts in molecular biology, genetics, or related fields who can speak to the potential benefits
and responsible use of the technology.
By providing a diverse range of credible evidence, it may be possible to persuade Alberts to support the use of
CRISPR-Cas9 technology for the betterment of society.
End-Page Reflection
1. Describe any challenges you encountered in identifying a current and unresolved issue relevant to your
As a researcher, I encountered several challenges in identifying a current and unresolved issue relevant to my field. One
of the main challenges was narrowing down the scope of my research to a specific issue that was both relevant and
impactful. There are so many complex and multifaceted issues in my field, and it was difficult to choose just
one to focus on. Additionally, many of the issues I initially considered researching had already been
extensively studied and debated, making it difficult to contribute new insights or perspectives.
Another challenge was finding an issue that was truly unresolved. While there are many ongoing debates and
controversies in my field, many of them have already been extensively researched and discussed. I wanted to
choose an issue that was still open to interpretation and that had the potential to generate new insights and
solutions. Ultimately, it took a lot of careful consideration and research to identify a current and unresolved
issue relevant to my field. However, by approaching the research process with an open mind and a willingness
to explore different avenues, I was able to find a topic that was both meaningful and impactful.
2. Describe the process you used to identify an audience with a vested interest in this issue and with whom
you disagree.
To identify an audience with a vested interest in the issue and with whom I disagree, I first conducted
extensive research on the topic to gain a deep understanding of the different perspectives and stakeholders
involved. I reviewed academic literature, news articles, and public opinion polls to gain insights into who the
key players were and what their positions were on the issue. Once I had a good understanding of the different
perspectives, I identified individuals or groups who had decision-making authority or influence over the issue.
For example, in the case of advocating for CRISPR-Cas9 technology, I identified policy makers, bioethicists, and
scientific experts who had direct influence over the regulation and use of the technology.
Next, I considered the values and beliefs that each of these audiences might hold, which could create biases
against my position. I thought about the factors that might influence their beliefs, such as religion, political
affiliation, age, educational background, socioeconomic status, and job. After identifying potential audiences, I
ENGH 302 Audience Analysis Worksheet
analyzed their positions on the issue by reviewing their public statements, published articles, and speeches. I
also considered any recent events or trends that may have affected their interests and positions on the issue.
Finally, I chose an audience that had a vested interest in the issue and with whom I disagreed based on their
positions, values, and beliefs. This allowed me to craft a persuasive message that took into account their
potential biases and values while also presenting evidence-based counterarguments to their position.
3. Identify one thing you learned about your audience that will have the greatest impact on how you shape
your argument.
One thing I learned about my audience, Bruce Michael Alberts, is that he is a renowned biochemist and a
strong advocate for science education and public policy. This means that he likely has a deep understanding of
the scientific and ethical complexities of CRISPR-Cas9 technology and is interested in finding ways to use
science for the betterment of society.
Therefore, when shaping my argument to Bruce Michael Alberts, I will need to emphasize the potential
benefits of CRISPR-Cas9 technology in areas such as disease treatment and genetic research, while also
acknowledging and addressing any potential ethical concerns or risks associated with the technology.
Additionally, since Alberts is interested in science education and public policy, I could focus my argument on
the importance of science literacy and effective regulation of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to ensure its safe and
responsible use. Altogether, understanding Bruce Michael Alberts’ expertise and interests will allow me to
tailor my argument to his specific concerns and values, increasing the likelihood of a favorable response to my
advocacy letter.
ENGH 302 Audience Analysis Worksheet
Works Cited
1. Alberts, Bruce, President, National Academy of Sciences. Former Professor of Biochemistry and
Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco; Former Professor of Biochemistry, Princeton
University. Interview with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Maryland 8 April 2015.
2. Brenner, Joshua. “The Future of CRISPR/Cas9: Ensuring Safe and Ethical Human Gene Editing.” (2017).
3. Cyranoski, D. (2016). CRISPR gene-editing tested in a person for the first time. Nature,
a. 539(7629), 479-480. doi: 10.1038/nature.2016.20988
4. Doudna, J.A., & Charpentier, E. (2022). The new frontier of genome engineering with CRISPRa. Cas9. Science, 346(6213), 1258096. doi: 10.1126/science.1258096
5. Dr. Bruce Alberts Mailing Address. (2023). Retrieved from; https://brucealberts.ucsf.edu/about-brucealberts/contact/
6. Dr. Bruce Alberts Bibliography. (2022). Retrieved from; https://brucealberts.ucsf.edu/about-brucealberts/
7. Gitschier, J. (2015). Scientist citizen: an interview with Bruce Alberts. PLoS Genetics, 8(5), e1002743.
Retrieved from; https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1002743
8. Tilghman, S. M. (2020). Profile of Bruce M. Alberts, 2016 Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award
in Medical Science Awardee. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(7), 1439-1441.
Retrieved from; https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.1700685114
9. Zhang, F., Wen, Y., & Guo, X. (2021). CRISPR/Cas9 for genome editing: Progress, implications and
challenges. Human Molecular Genetics, 23(R1), R40-R46. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddu125

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