Week 3 Discussion: Evaluating Sources

Week 3 Discussion: Evaluating Sources

Week 3 Discussion: Evaluating Sources

Required Resources Read/review the following resources for this activity:

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Introduction “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions – but not their own facts.” (Daniel Patrick Moynihan, cited in Vanity Fair, 2010, para. 2)

We form opinions – and make our judgments – based on facts we observe and values we hold. Our judgments are also influenced by the opinions of others. In the section “An Expert on Hate in America” in Chapter 6, one of the authors, Dr. Peter Facione, renders an opinion on a non-profit civil rights organization: Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Dr. Facione is a leading advocate and one of the most influential voices in the field of critical thinking.

His endorsement of the civil rights organization is unqualified. It is also transparent: Dr. Facione reveals that he is a financial supporter of the organization and has arranged speaking engagements for its founder. This is Dr. Facione’s invitation to you, the reader:

Knowing where you can learn more about the SPLC for yourself, and knowing about Dr. Facione’s endorsement and support of the Center’s work, evaluate this claim made by Dr. Facione: “The SPLC is an expert on hate in America” (p. 124).

The endorsement of the SPLC is contained in the most current edition of the text, whose copyright date is 2016. Since that time Morris Dees, co-founder and former chief trial counsel, has been fired (Hassan, Zraick & Blinder, 2019). Previously, there has been controversy about groups and individuals that are listed by the SPLC as “hate groups” (Graham, 2016; Price, 2018). The organization, which has nearly a half-billion dollars in assets, has also been criticized for how it spends these funds (Robinson, 2019).

Self-Assessment Question

Textbook: Chapter 6, 7 Lesson Minimum of 1 scholarly source (in addition to the textbook)

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Before you submit your initial post, make sure to read the assigned chapter. Then, ask yourself the following: Did the article in Chapter 6 of the text seem credible and reliable? Why? Be very specific:

Initial Post Instructions For the initial post, address the following:

Only after you have done some responsible research should you begin to respond to the discussion prompt. The discussion is not about the SPLC; it is not about Dr. Facione. It is about what you have learned about forming opinions.

Your post must answer this question:

Your post must also discuss at least two (2) of the following questions:

Follow-Up Post Instructions Respond to at least two peers or one peer and the instructor. Further the dialogue by providing more information and clarification.

Writing Requirements

Was it because it is in a textbook? Because it was written by a learned and respected person? Because of content in the article? Because of your previous knowledge of the SPLC?

Conduct additional research on the SPLC. Did your opinion alter in any way? Why? Week 3 Discussion: Evaluating Sources

How do you define the term “expert”?

How important are facts in the process of forming an opinion? Explain what you believe to be the purpose or function of facts in making a judgment. How did you respond to the self-assessment question? Since doing further research, have you re-thought the way in which you assess credibility and reliability? What is the importance of factoring the recency of a reference or opinion (i.e., how old is it?) into an assessment of credibility and reliability? How would you evaluate Dr. Facione’s claim “The SPLC is an expert on hate in America” (p. 124). Does the SPLC fit your definition of “expert”? Be specific in your answer.

Minimum of 3 posts (1 initial & 2 follow-up) Minimum of 2 sources cited (assigned readings/online lessons and an outside source)



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Search entries or author

Grading This activity will be graded using the Discussion Grading Rubric. Please review the following link:

Course Outcomes (CO): 4, 5, 6

Due Date for Initial Post: By 11:59 p.m. MT on Wednesday Due Date for Follow-Up Posts: By 11:59 p.m. MT on Sunday


Facione, P. A., & Gittens, C. A. (2016). Think critically (3rd ed.). Pearson.

Graham, D.A., (2016, October) How did Maajid Nawaz end up on a list of ‘anti- Muslim extremists’? https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/10/maajid-nawaz- splc-anti-muslim-extremist/505685/

Hassan, A., Zraick, K., & Blinder, A (2019, March 24) Morris Dees, a co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is ousted. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/14/us/morris-dees-southern-poverty- law-center-fired.html

Price, G. (2018, June 18) Southern Poverty Law Center settles lawsuit after falsely labeling ‘extremist’ organization. Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/splc-nawaz-million-apologizes-981879

Robinson, N. J. (2019, March) The Southern Poverty Law Center is everything that’s wrong with liberalism. Current Affairs. https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/03/the-southern-poverty-law-center-is- everything-thats-wrong-with-liberalism

Vanity Fair. (2010, October 10). An American original. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2010/11/moynihan-letters-201011

APA format for in-text citations and list of references

Link (webpage): Discussion Guidelines

Unread ” # $ Subscribe

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(https://chamberlain.instructure.com/courses/65138/users/97891)Sonja Sheffield (Instructor) Jun 22, 2020


Greetings Students,

You are only required to post an initial answer post and ONE follow-up post in each required discussion, each week.

Please make your TWO posts each week between Monday and Sunday. Your posts must occur on different days with the first post occurring by Wednesday. If there are extenuating circumstances, please communicate with your professor.

Since so many of our beliefs are based on what other people tell us, in writing, or TV or by word-of-mouth, the critical thinker needs to know how to decide who to believe and in what circumstances. The criteria which apply will depend on the case, but relevant considerations will often include:

The sources reputation for reliability (contrast the BBC and the Sun newspaper).

Whether the source has a vested interest (e.g., someone accused of war crimes who denies any responsibility)

Whether there is corroboration of the claim from independent sources (as when it was claimed that cold fusion has been produced)

Whether the source has the relevant expertise/training (as when a police officer gives evidence in court)

The nature of the claim itself (as when someone claims to have witnessed a miracle)

Whether the source can provide credible reasons for the claim they make (as when someone claims to have encountered ‘aliens’ from another planet).

Check this out.

A group of scientists has looked at a number of studies of the link between passive smoking and lung cancer. The scientists have said that these studies do not demonstrate that there is a significant risk of lung cancer for non-smokers who are exposed to environmental

7/22/20, 4:26 PM Page 4 of 16

Edited by Sonja Sheffield (https://chamberlain.instructure.com/courses/65138/users/97891) on Jun 22 at 12:38pm

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tobacco smoke at work or in the home, either form a smoking parent or spouse. But this analysis was commissioned by the tobacco industry. So findings of the analysis are likely to be incorrect.

Reference Week 3 Discussion: Evaluating Sources

Fisher, A. (2001). Critical thinking: An introduction. Cambridge University Press: UK. 11


Caitlyn Pienkowski (https://chamberlain.instructure.com/courses/65138/users/102153) Monday



According to the SPCL website, the SPCL is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seek justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. My opinion did not alter in anyway. I think the website is a source for people to educate themselves on what is going on the America and is a way to stop the hate.

I would define the term “expert” as someone having authoritative knowledge in a particular skill.

– I think in order to even form an opinion you have to know your facts. You should not voice an opinion if you cannot back yourself up without support. That is what I believe to be the purpose of facts in making a judgement.

“We solve problems by following the reasons and the evidence with courage wherever they lead, by asking the tough questions, by being inquisitive, by being open- minded and tolerant about a wide range of ideas and possible explanations, by being persistent and systematic in our inquiry, and by not fearing what this process will turn up as possible answers” (Wittens,

How important are facts in the process of forming an opinion? Explain what you believe to be the purpose or function of facts in making a judgment.


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