Inoculum 2004
Minds, Technology, Humans, and God

Wayne Iba

updated 9/20/2004

Final Paper Assignment
Draft due Friday Sept 17
Final paper due Friday Oct 1

9/20/2004.  Come by my office to get your graded drafts.  Be sure to save these and attach them to your final papers on Oct 1.

9/16/2004.  Any actual references that you use will not count against your maximum of 4 pages.  Please start a new page for references and single-space them in 10pt font.  The citations that would appear in your text can be numerically bracketed.  For example, you might have something like: "... contrary to so and so's claims that such and such, ... [3]."
On the general question of quotations, I definitely do not want to see extensive quotations.  You should even be cautious about using short quotations.  They will tend to only fit in sentences that are summarizing rather than analyzing.  But these are general rules.

8/31/2004.  Casey raised an interesting question with the way that I framed your writing assignment.  The crux of the matter has to do with my  association of "malfunctioning" with the "machines" in question.  To elaborate on my intention, I am implying in my question that even if we were found to be machines, we would then be "broken machines".  That is, I am assuming (machine or not) that we are not experiencing our original God-intended state of being.  Therefore, if we assume that we are machines for some reasonable meaning of machine, then there could be a question concerning God's willingness to die for non-machine-humans vs. His willingness to die for machine-humans.

If you were not having any issues in the first place, nevermind and carry on.  If this doesn't help, you may ignore the word "malfunctioning" below.  However, a position such as "God wouldn't die to redeem something that doesn't need redemption" would be looked at skeptically and would have to be really convincing on why we (if machines) don't need to be redeemed.

We made it!  We're back from that reality of mountains, lakes, streams and stars to our reality of classes, papers, peers and teachers.  Each tends to make the other seem unreal or "artificial" in a sense.  Let us strive to maintain the perspective and balance afforded by our coorporate time in the wilderness.  I thank God for each one of you and the time we spent together.

For your final papers, I want you address one of the questions we skirted around during the trip -- "would God have allowed His Son to die for malfunctioning machines?"  To flesh this out, I want you to take a stand on what it means to be a machine and whether or not we are one.  (Support your stand.)  Then, regardless of your take on whether we are or are not machines, I want you to discuss whether God could or would send Jesus to die for us if we were in fact machines (according to your given definition).

Be careful on this second point.  Of course, I'm asking you to speculate, but I want to see evidence of careful thought in your paper.  That is, did you thoroughly consider the alternatives and did you have good reason to reject them?  You probably want to include the strongest alternatives you considered and careful explanations of their faults.

You are limited to four (4) pages of 12pt font double-spaced text.  Margins should be 1.25" left and right and 1" top and bottom.  You are not required to fill all four pages.  However, as I think about the paper I would write for this assignment, I see that a sizable fraction of my time would be spent figuring out what to leave out and how to say things more concisely.  I'm not sure you'll be able to adequately address the question in less.

You must have a draft by Friday Sept 17 (2pm in my office).  Here's the deal on the whole thing.  Your draft has to be mainly complete, but you don't get penalized for typos, sentence structure, transitions, organization, or even argument coherence.  The only things I'm grading the draft is (a) completeness -- i.e., no sections like "need to think about this and fill in here" -- and (b) reviewed by a Westmont Writers' Corner consultant.  The draft counts for half of your total paper score.  So if you take a complete draft to the Writers' Corner and have it reviewed, you would have to have a really weak argument and not correct any of your typos to get a really low final score.

Your final paper is due Friday Oct. 1 (2pm in my office).  Be sure to attach your draft that you submitted on Sept 17 and on which I wrote comments.  Your reasoning or thought-content will count for apx 30% of your final paper mark while typos, sentence structure, flow, etc will count for 20%.  Here is my abstract grading criteria:

An "A" paper has no typos and no textual problems (transitions, word usage, agreement, etc.).  It also reveals careful thought in reasoning/argumentation and creative thought in drawing upon the readings and discussions during the trip.

A "B" paper might have a couple typos and might reveal careful thought but lack creative insight to the readings or discussions.

A "C" paper would have significant textual problems or would lack evidence of careful thinking about the question, readings and discussions.

A "D" paper would have significant textual problems and would lack evidence of careful thought.

A "Failing" paper would, ....  I don't even want to think about it ... would lack evidence of any thinking or would be written in such a way that it does not resemble English.

Remember, the object is to have fun.  Writing might not be fun for all of you, but try to have fun with it anyway.  You might surprise yourself.  (Also, remember that the final paper only counts for 50% of your total grade -- the first half is already in the bag.  How bad can it possibly be?  You already wrote a good initial written response and contributed to discussions in the backcountry.  Right?)