Week 5: Understanding Language and Numbers

Course Guide

The object of this week's reading review is to reflect on the role of rationalism and the scientific method in the formation of modern western thought.  Here we have the early idealists and rationalists (Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Euclid) and the later rationalists and scientists (Galileo, Copernicus, and Bacon) planting the thoughts and giving structure to the world view of the enlightenment. Today, although there are still many mathematical, linguistic, and scientific issues (puzzles, problems), the fields of creative thinking (imagination and theory construction) and critical thinking (empiricism, explanation, and probability theory) have, at least in the western world, been a forward looking effort to more consistently and completely develop a world view which includes good faith in the truth, justice, fairness, and good will.  Read the short description by Cal Clawson on "Rationalism and the Scientific Method" and then reflect on the reading as instructed at the end of the reading.

The object of this week's writing task is to bring you to an understanding of the attributes of scale and to get you to apply ratios and to develop a sense of proportion regarding population (fertility and mortality rates), world production, and consumption. 

As world population grows, unless there is a corresponding increase in production, each new human will have less to consume.  I imagine you either are or expect to produce and consume at an average rate for  the United States.  And I imagine you seek to maintain or improve your standard of living (more opportunity to learn and work, more leisure, more understanding, etc.). 

After you have completed the writing task, express your opinion regarding climate change.  Identify two specific effects of climate change in Washington State to date.

Don't forget to select and reflect on a relevant quote from resources.