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Write a manifesto (opinion piece paper) about a topic of interest concerning the relationship between science and religion. The manifesto may deal with questions, such as (but by no means limited to): What expressions of God are compatible with modern science? Is science or religion fulfilling enough by themselves? Is Darwinian evolution compatible with traditional concepts of God? Are there other ways of conceiving God or evolution that are more compatible? The manifesto must demonstrate creative and thoughtful application of the knowledge and perspectives from both scientific and theological disciplines to synthesize a new understanding of whether and under what conditions science and religion are compatible, including an assessment of how scientific thinking and religious thinking can each benefit from the other. The manifesto should also explore how scientific progress has been motivated or constrained by religion and how religion has been motivated or constrained by scientific progress, as well as assess which thinkers and arguments from this class were the most and least compelling.

This opinion piece should be deeply thoughtful. The paper is limited to 3000 words, not including the title or references.

The following is a suggested format to write your papers. You may wish to use headings and subheadings to organize and define sections of your paper.

I.            Title (no more than 20 words; not included in 3000-word limit)

    1- Your title should be concise, memorable, and informative, capturing your chosen
topic and the essence of your thesis (see below). For example, the title Science and Religion Manifesto may be concise, but is hardly memorable or informative.

    2- Your title should read something like the title of a newspaper article.
II.          Introduction (1-3 paragraphs)
    1- Introduce and contextualize (put into perspective) the topic

    2- Provide relevant, cited background on the topic and explain why it is important and/or interesting

    3- Assert your thesis (your take on the issue).
A thesis is a thoughtful and focused one-sentence statement about your position on the issue. A thesis statement should not be a mere statement of fact. It should be a central assertion or claim that demands proof. Your job is to persuade the reader that your thesis is true. You should genuinely believe your thesis and not simply craft a statement that is easy to argue. Your thesis does not have to be totally one-sided (all-or-nothing); it can be nuanced, as long as it accurately reflects your beliefs. For this reason, you cannot simply pluck a thesis out of thin air. Before crafting your thesis, you should collect and organize evidence and think about the implications of the evidence. After this initial exploration, you can formulate a working thesis that you think will make sense of the evidence but that may need adjustment along the way. You should be able to logically and persuasively support your thesis in the body of your essay. Your thesis statement should reference your main arguments that will follow.
III.        Arguments in Defense of Thesis (3-6 paragraphs)

    1- Each argument made in defense of your thesis should be supported by specific, cited pieces of evidence.
    2- Arguments and/or supporting evidence should go beyond (or build on) the material covered by assigned readings and in-class discussions.
IV.        Counter-Arguments (1-3 paragraphs)

      1- Summarize counterclaims

      2- Provide supporting information for the counterclaims

      3- Refute the counterclaims with supporting evidence
      You can generate counter-arguments by considering what someone who disagrees with you might say about claims you have made or about your position (thesis) as a whole. Once you have thought of some counter-arguments, consider how you will respond to them. Will you concede that your opponent has a point but explain why your readers should nonetheless accept your argument? Will you reject the counter-argument and explain why it is mistaken? Either way, you will want to leave your reader with a sense that your arguments are stronger than opposing arguments.
      Present the counter-arguments fairly and objectively, rather than trying to make your opponents look foolish. You want to show that you have seriously considered all sides of the issue and that you are not simply attacking or mocking your opponents. It is usually better to consider a few serious counter-arguments in some depth, rather than to give a long but superficial list of many different counter-arguments and replies. Be sure that your replies are consistent with your original argument. If considering counter-arguments changes your position, you may need to revise your original arguments accordingly.
V.          Conclusions (1-3 paragraphs)

      1- Summarize (more importantly, synthesize!) your central thesis and main supporting arguments. Do not simply repeat these, but rather show how they all fit together. Avoid introducing new topics in the conclusion.

      2- Finish strong! This will be your readers last impression of your writing. Remind the reader why this topic is important or interesting (i.e., the so what?) and the broader implications.
VI.        References (not included in 3000-word limit)

    1- Any works cited above must be listed here in MLA or APA format. Similarly, all references listed here must be cited parenthetically in the text by authors last name and publication year, for example (Nosal et al. 2013). Alternatively, you may cite works in text using a numbered system, for example footnotes. 

    2- You should cite 10 – 15 references in your paper, carefully considering the reputation and biases of your sources.

Any topic (writer’s choice)
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