Semester Reflections

I do not think that my writing has improved much over the semester. This, however is probably just due to my perfectionist attitude which causes me to always see the flaws in my writing and not the improvements. Specifically, I believe I have improved in the area of commas and paragraphs. I have always had trouble determining when to use a comma. I now feel more confident on when I need to use commas and when I do not need to. Also when I first started this semester I rarely used paragraphs and did not clearly know how to use them properly. Now I use paragraphs more frequently and I have a stronger sense of when I need to use them. Semicolons, however, are still a challenge for me.

My favorite writing project was probably the argumentative essay. This is because I personally prefer argumentative writing over all other kinds of writing besides creative writing. The explanation essay, however, was one of my favorite writing projects.

The writing project that I struggled with the most was the research paper. I personally detest doing research unless I really enjoy the topic. While I did find a topic that interested me a little bit, I could not find any topic that interested me to the extent that the research would become enjoyable. I also had some trouble finding the correct way to cite some of my sources that I found. The meticulousness of finding just the right sources for the paper was rather dull as well.

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Writing in the Future.

There are many different reasons why I will keep writing in the future. Writing is a part of many people’s daily lives, myself included. While I probably will not have to write very much for my prospective career (unless you consider coding to be writing), I will have to write for many other reasons. For example, one reason for future writing will be communicating to others by writing letters. Whether it be on paper or electronically, to friends, employers, or family, I will have to write many letters in the future.

I will also be writing academically, at least while I am at George Fox University. Almost all of the classes that I am currently taking at George Fox University require writing in various forms. Yet another and probably the most extensive way that I will be writing the future is my hobby of creative writing. I have been writing creatively for a couple years now and I have enjoyed it greatly. I am even currently working on a full length novel which I intend to continue writing until its completion. I also have several ideas for additional novels to write after I have finished the one I am currently working on. I will also probably try my hand at different kinds of writing such as poetry or non-fiction. While I doubt that any of my writings will be published, I will probably attempt get them published nonetheless. And even if they don’t it will not bother me very much for I am not writing for other people’s enjoyment but rather my own.

Dear Mr. Fischer,

Dear Mr. Fischer,

In your article “Is Obama’s Goal to Degrade, Defeat and Destroy America?”, you did a good job of conveying that you are passionate on the topic, but as the article continued, you came across more angry than passionate to the point where it made me wonder if your judgment was blinded by this anger. You did bring up some interesting points in your article, however, such as president Obama being raised and being allied with people who are hostile to the United States. You also noted that he has decreased the United States military spending while all of the nations hostile to the United States have only increased their military spending. Some of your points, however, did not come across very well. For instance, you stated that President Obama has never done anything that has benefited the United States in any area. While I personally do not believe he has done much to benefit this country, there are, however, people who do. Stating that he has not done anything beneficial without giving evidence to support that claim makes you come across as a person blinded by his own opinions. While it is concerning that he was raised by and was allied with people who were hostile toward the United States, stating that he has malevolent intent seems like a little bit of a stretch backed by little to no evidence.

Ultimately, I believe most of your problems come from lack of evidence to support your claims and the overall tone of anger throughout the article.

Sincerely,

Joshua

Decoration Wars.

I agree with Melanie Mock when she states that we, as Christians, should not be so focused on having the United States government add symbols of the Christian faith or be outraged when they remove them. Many Christians seem to think that when the government tries to remove symbols of the Christian faith from governmental buildings, the government is making a subverted attack on Christianity. It is true that sometimes people in the government try to attack religion, and sometimes Christianity in particular. Removing Christian symbols at government buildings during Christmas, however, is probably not an example of this.

I personally do not believe that governmental displays of religious symbols violate the separation of church and state. I do believe that sometimes people use the law of separation of church and state to encompass things that it was never intended to, so that they can further their own agendas, but I do not believe that this is one of those instances. I also sympathize with Melanie Mock when she asks why governmental displays of Christianity are even considered necessary to some Christians. As Melanie Mock stated, if people want to have the government put up these decorations so that they can be reminded of what they believe, it only shows how shallow their faith is. Also, if they want the government to put up decorations to evangelize, it is clearly not considerate to all the people of other faiths throughout the United States—the government evangelizing is clearly in violation of the separation of church and state.

Maureen Dowd

Maureen Dowd is a distinguished New York Times columnist. She has written two books, and she won the publisher prize 1999. She was the editor that discovered that Joe Biden, when he was running for president in 1987, was plagiarizing a British politician’s speech in his own speeches. This forced him to drop out of the presidential elections. Ironically, however, she was caught plagiarizing in 2009. She was discovered to have copied a paragraph in her article from a blog by Josh Marshal. The paragraph was exactly the same as the one in the blog except for one minor alteration. When she was confronted with this plagiarism she denied plagiarizing the blog. She stated that the paragraph had been given to her by a friend while they were talking and that her friend must have just failed to mention were she had gotten the comment. There are, however, some inconstancies with this defense. If her friend had merely mentioned this comment to her while they were talking, why was the wording exactly the same except for a minor alteration? Also, if she had gotten the paragraph from a friend of hers, why exactly she did not cite her friend as one of her sources? This was a blatant case of plagiarism, and instead of admitting it, Maureen Dowd claimed that it was a mistake on part of her friend. While there was no immediate punishment for this horrendous act of plagiarism. It is unlikely that people will completely trust her ever again.

Works Cited:

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/may/18/new-york-times-us-press-publishing

http://content.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1899530,00.html

Statistics: Not What They Appear To Be

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/sep/17/gun-crime-statistics-by-us-state

The article above uses statistics throughout its entirety. The majority of the statistics used in the article are actually quite good. They are reasonably up-to-date at the time they were written and are not just taken from one isolated region of the country. However, in the midst of all these good statistics is one misleading one that could be easily overlooked. The article states that for every one hundred Americans there are eighty-eight guns. This can be misleading because from this statistic people might think that eighty-eight percent of Americans own a firearm. This is not true because some Americans own a very large amount of firearms while others own none at all. The extreme ends of any spectrum distort statistical averages.

While so many people are enchanted by statistics, when in reality, statistics are actually not that reliable. Statistics can easily be distorted, manipulated, or misunderstood. Statistics are frequently used to mislead people.  Even though this happens frequently, people are still persuaded by statistics. I believe this is due to the belief that statistics are infallible.

While under perfect conditions in which one could isolate every factor that can affect the correlating data and receive data from all possible sources, statistical data would be reliable. However, since there is no way to have perfect conditions, statistical data must be interpreted to find correlations between different data and also satiations must determine how much data they need to collect. The person who interprets the data to find correlations can very easily, intentionally or unintentionally, interpret the data collected to fit his or her personal agenda or collect too little data which will produce a false result. Because of this statistics, while still useful, are ultimately flawed.

Jacob

A person in my life who fascinates me is my friend Jacob.  We have been friends for as long as I can remember. His family and mine have lived in the same region for several years. The attribute that fascinates me the most about Jacob is his ability to fix practically anything. His room is littered with parts of various broken game consoles which he uses to repair other game consoles when they break. One time when I came to visit him there was a massive television that took up a third of his room. When I asked him about it, he said that he bought it at Goodwill for a dollar because it was broken and he intended to repair it. Another time, we were visiting a mutual friend when our friend mentioned that he had recently broken his airsoft gun. Jacob asked if he could have a look at the airsoft gun. After he had dismantled it and located the problem, he quickly fixed it and put the gun back together. Jacob fascinates me because he does all of this instinctively, having never taken classes in electronics or machinery.

I would probably try to find out more about this talent of his and how long he has been using it by first asking his parents about it. Then I would probably ask his sister and his friends. If I wanted to go further still I would probably ask his grandparents what they thought about his talent as well.