Scholarly Arguments

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Scholarly Arguments

In the Week 1 Presenting Arguments assignment, you objectively and neutrally evaluated reasoning on each side of your question from non-scholarly sources. For this assignment, you will objectively and neutrally evaluate and present the reasoning from scholarly sources on the same question. For an example of how to complete this paper, take a look at the Week Three Example paper.

Conduct research from scholarly sources on each side of your issue and write a paper that includes the following:

  • Introduction (approximately 100 words)
    • Explain your topic and state the specific question that you are addressing (be sure to incorporate any relevant feedback you got from the instructor on your first paper).
  • Presentation of an Argument
    • Describe the scholarly source on one side of the issue and summarize the key points made. (approximately 100 words)
    • Present what you see as the main argument from that source in standard form, with the premises listed above the conclusion. (approximately 100 words)
    • Evaluate the quality of the reasoning in this source. You may address questions such as: How adequately the article supports the premises with research and how strongly the premises of the argument support the truth of the conclusion. (approximately 200 words)
  • Presentation of an Opposing Argument
    • Describe the scholarly source on the other side of the issue and summarize the key points made. (approximately 100 words)
    • Present what you see as the main argument from that source in standard form, with the premises listed above the conclusion. (approximately 100 words)
    • Evaluate the quality of the reasoning in this source. You may address questions such as: How adequately the article supports the premises with research and how strongly the premises of the argument support the truth of the conclusion. (approximately 200 words)
  • Evaluation of Arguments in Non-Scholarly and Scholarly Sources (approximately 200 words)
    • Discuss the differences in the quality of the reasoning or in the degree of support in the sources that you analyzed (Scholarly and Popular Resources (1) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.).
      • Some specific types of questions you might address here include: Who is the target audience? What types of motives may be influencing these authors? Discuss any logical fallacies in any of the sources.
    • Conclusion (approximately 50 words)
      • Reflect on how this activity might influence how you conduct research in the future.
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Running head: IS MARIJUANA USE SAFE? Is Marijuana Use Safe? Dr. Christopher Foster PHI103 Informal Logic Ashford University Modeled example for week 3 assignment 1 IS MARIJUANA USE SAFE? 2 With many states legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana, an important question for voters, legislators, and potential users is whether marijuana is safe. There have been many studies done on the topic, with findings on both sides. The focus of this paper will be to present scholarly research on both sides of the question and to evaluate the quality of each. To provide the most reliable information possible, I have chosen to present the findings of metastudies on each side of the question of the safety of marijuana use. I will present and evaluate the reasoning used by each and conclude with a discussion of the value of different types of sources in terms of the degree of support that they provide for their conclusions. Presentation of an Argument that Marijuana Use is Safe A large meta-study was performed by a group of researchers at UC San Diego focusing on the long-term neurocognitive effects of cannabis use (Grant, Gonzales, Carey, Natarajan, & Wolfson, 2003). The study analyzed other studies that had been done, comparing data for 623 cannabis users against 409 non- or minimal users. The researchers found that chronic users of marijuana showed minor decreases in performance in the categories of learning and remembering, but no other significant effects. The study concludes that cannabis is probably safe for use for medical purposes (Grant et al., 2003). The primary argument given may be represented in standard form as follows: Premise 1: Combining data from studies that have been done on the effects of marijuana use on cognitive function allows for a large data pool from which to draw strong conclusions. Premise 2: In six out of the eight cognitive areas studied, namely: reaction time, attention, language, abstraction/executive, perceptual, and motor skills, no significant cognitive impairment was found among marijuana users. IS MARIJUANA USE SAFE? 3 Premise 3: In the two areas in which cognitive impairment was found, learning and memory, the effect was small and could have been affected by sample bias. Premise 4: Medical use of marijuana tends not to involve long term use, resulting in even more minor if any, ill effects. Premise 5: Medical use of marijuana is likely to have benefits that outweigh minor amounts of harm. Conclusion: Medical use of marijuana has “an acceptable margin of safety under the more limited conditions of exposure that would likely obtain in a medical setting” (Grant et al., 2003). The reasoning presented appears to be strong since the premises appear adequately to support the idea that the potential harms are minor and either don’t apply to medical use or are outweighed by the benefits to be gained therefrom. The article also attempts to explain away the negative effects in learning and memory, suggesting that they could be due to selection bias in the articles reviewed or due to an insufficient time of non-use of the drug prior to the study (Grant et al., 2003). If the article is right about that, then perhaps there is no significant neurological harm even in those two areas. The article supplies substantial support for its premises, since there is a large data pool, all of it gathered from scientific studies. However, the article points out that there are limitations of the research, such as different lengths of time within the studies since the last use of the drug and the question of whether long term marijuana users may not have the same initial cognitive abilities as those that do not, making causal inferences more difficult (Grant et al., 2003). IS MARIJUANA USE SAFE? 4 Presentation of an Argument that Marijuana Use is Unsafe On the other side of the issue, a study from 2016 seems to demonstrate the exact opposite conclusion. The authors show that use of marijuana, especially by teens, has many long term negative effects and is associated with a multitude of including physical, psychiatric, neurological, and social impairments (Feeney & Kampman, 2016). The argument presented can be summarized as follows: Premise 1: Marijuana is addictive (Volkow, Baler, Compton, & Weiss, 2014). Premise 2: Marijuana causes breathing problems (Tashkin, Baldwin, Sarafian, Dubinett, & Roth, 2002). Premise 3: Marijuana may increase the likelihood of developing schizophrenia and other psychiatric symptoms (Arseneault, Cannon, Witton, & Murray, 2004). Premise 4: Marijuana causes long terms harms cognitive abilities, including attention, memory, processing speed, and executive functioning (Thames, Arbid, & Sayegh, 2014). Premise 5: Marijuana use by teens is correlated with lower academic achievement, job performance, and social functioning in relationships (Palamar et al., 2014). Premise 6: Marijuana use results in decreased psychomotor function, and reaction time, causing driving risks (Neavyn, Blohm, Babu, & Bird, 2014). Conclusion: Marijuana use can cause physical, psychological, neurological, and social harm, especially when used by adolescents. The reasoning in the article seems quite strong. The conclusion seems to follow from the premises since it mostly summarizes the research findings. Furthermore, the premises are well supported since they are all based in scientific research studies. IS MARIJUANA USE SAFE? 5 However, there are some limitations in the strength of the reasoning (as noted within the study). One of those limitations is that we are not sure in all cases if marijuana use is the cause of the impairment observed. For example, the article notes that the correlation with schizophrenia may or may not be causal (Feeney & Kampman, 2016). Furthermore, most of the studies focus on the use of marijuana by teens; therefore, these results may have limited application to discussions of marijuana use among adults, especially those using it for medical purposes. Evaluation of Arguments: Both of these scholarly sources supply quite a bit of evidence for their conclusions by analyzing the data from multiple scientific studies. Non-scholarly sources, by contrast, frequently make claims that are not supported at all, or are only supported by other partisan sources. One of my non-scholarly sources does not explicitly cite any research at all, but only implies that it exists (Foundation, n.d.). This allows non-scholarly sources, such as advocative web pages, to make it sound as though the case for their position is much stronger than it actually is. However, as we have seen, even scholarly sources are capable of contradicting each other. This would not be surprising in non-scholarly sources, especially between sources with advocative intent. It is more surprising to find contradictory results within scholarly sources. However, there are possible ways to resolve these contradictions. One possibility comes from noting that the first meta-study combined the data from its studies. Some of these specific studies showed greater and lesser scores for various neurocognitive skills among marijuana users, and the meta-study’s methodology allowed them to cancel each other out. The study on the contrary side, on the other hand, simply cited one source each for the various harms, which may have enabled the authors to select studies to cite that showed results more favorable to their preferred conclusion. IS MARIJUANA USE SAFE? 6 Thus, while non-scholarly sources can be clearly partisan and non-objective, pulling from whichever sources, reliable or not, that support their point of view, even scholarly sources are able to analyze data in ways that are far from neutral. Conclusion: Studying the reasoning on each side of the issue has been enlightening. Though there is still debate, even among scholars, about the safety of marijuana use, studying the reasoning from high quality sources gives perspective about the type of evidence that is being used on each side, allowing one to assess which evidence is more reliable and provides more support for its conclusion. In the future, I am more likely to go to scholarly sources over popular ones and to analyze a multitude of scholarly results to understand the issue from a more well informed point of view. IS MARIJUANA USE SAFE? 7 References Arseneault, L., Cannon, M., Witton, J., & Murray, R. M. (2004). Causal association between cannabis and psychosis: Examination of the evidence. British Journal of Psychiatry, 184(2), 110-117. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.184.2.110 Feeney, K. E., & Kampman, K. M. (2016). Adverse effects of marijuana use. The Linacre Quarterly, 83(2), 174-178. https://doi.org/10.1080/00243639.2016.1175707 Foundation for a Drug Free World. (n.d.). The truth about marijuana: Behind the smoke screen. Retrieved from http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/marijuana/behind-the-smokescreen.html Grant, I., Gonzales, R., Carey, C., Natarajan, L., & Wolfson, T. (2003). Non-acute (residual) neurocognitive effects of cannabis use: A meta-analytic study. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 9(5), 679-689. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355617703950016 Neavyn, M. J., Blohm, E., Babu, K. M., & Bird, S. B. (2014). Medical marijuana and driving: A review. Journal of Medical Toxicology, 10(3), 269-279. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13181014-0393-4 Palamar, J. J., Fenstermaker, M., Kamboukos, D., Ompad, D. C., Cleland, C. M., & Weitzman, M. (2014). Adverse psychosocial outcomes associated with drug use among US high school seniors: A comparison of alcohol and marijuana. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 40(6), 438-446. https://doi.org/10.3109/00952990.2014.943371 Tashkin, D. P., Baldwin, G. C., Sarafian, T., Dubinett, S., & Roth, M. D. (2002). Respiratory and immunologic consequences of marijuana smoking. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 42(S1), 71S-81S. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1552-4604.2002.tb06006.x IS MARIJUANA USE SAFE? Thames, A. D., Arbid, N., & Sayegh, P. (2014). Cannabis use and neurocognitive functioning in a non-clinical sample of users. Addictive Behaviors, 39(5), 994-999. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.01.019 Volkow, N. D., Baler, R. D., Compton, W. M., & Weiss, S. R. B. (2014). Adverse health effects of marijuana use. New England Journal of Medicine, 370, 2219-2227. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMra1402309 8 ...
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Running head: IS SOCIAL MEDIA DANGEROUS?
1

Is Social Media Dangerous?
Name
Institution

IS SOCIAL MEDIA DANGEROUS?

2

Is Social Media Dangerous?
The use of social media has tremendously grown over the years with more and more
people joining the numerous platforms day in day out. The increased usage of social media
has in the recent past probed scholars to engage in research to identify the impact that it has
had on its users and whether it is dangerous or hazardous in a way. In answering the question
“Is social media dangerous?” this paper looks into some peer-reviewed articles presenting
different and contradicting feedback on the issue. Each of the research articles is thoroughly
scrutinized and evaluated to ensure provision if substantial information.
Presentation of An Argument
In a 2008 research carried out by Richard M. Guo, examines the dangers and risks of
using social media. He starts by providing the history of social media and then embarks on
discussing the negative side of its use by referring to a wide number of resources. One of the
significant arguments he presents is the presence of sexual predators. In his final remarks,
Guo (2008) states that whereas social media is a beneficial tool to many, it could result in the
developments of numerous legal issues. He, therefore, recommends the improvement of user
safety to ensure that minors are not exposed to threats and abuse.
The primary argument of Guo (2008) in standard form is as indicated below;
Premise 1: Despite its benefits, social media is dangerous, especially for minors, who
are majorly the target of online sexual predators with ma...

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