Why a Refutation Argument?

The Turing Test

The test was introduced by Turing in his 1950 paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence“, while working at the University of Manchester (Turing, 1950; p. 460).[3] It opens with the words: “I propose to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?'” Because “thinking” is difficult to define, Turing chooses to “replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words.”[4] Turing’s new question is: “Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game?”[5] This question, Turing believed, is one that can actually be answered. In the remainder of the paper, he argued against all the major objections to the proposition that “machines can think”.[6]

This is a note to my future self.
Make a lecture about the need to address “all the major objections” to one’s premise when one’s premise sounds absurd, as all the best counterintuitive premises do.

Last Class WED APR 25

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Yep. Last Class. But not the last time you’ll see me.

  • We’ll hold the last formal meeting of our class on WED APR 25.
  • We’ll conduct the “Portfolio Double-check” one by one.
  • While not engaged, you will be given time to post to “Rate My Professor”
  • If your Portfolio is complete, you can confirm your Grade Conference for MON APR 30
  • If your Portfolio is incomplete, you’ll have to wait until WED MAY 02 (at least) for your Grade Conference
  • If you don’t attend class on WED APR 25, you waive your right to a Grade Conference
  • Students without a Grade Conference cannot dispute their final grades

OK, that all sounded pretty bleak. But, let’s remember. WED APR 25 is the last formal meeting for our class this semester:

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Causal Rewrite

Electrical distribution systems, including the power source cable into the home, the circuit breaker boxes, and the wires supplying current to all electrical fixtures, are the third leading cause of home structure fires. Therefore, it bears investigating how wired smoke detectors might contribute to a fire catastrophe. An article published by CRM Risk lists many ways wiring can start a fire. Physical damage to wires leading to smoke detectors can cause fire at the device; even correct installations can also become damaged or deteriorate with age; overloaded circuits, especially those mishandled amateur home installers, or that use with large fuses and circuit breakers can result in overheated wires, the breakdown of insulation and eventual short circuits. All are intensified by an overuse of electrical devices, leading to the sad but inevitable conclusion that “more smoke detectors makes a home fire more likely.”

Rebuttal Rewrite

The well-intentioned strategy of allowing students to choose their own reading material most often fails. To pad their grades, unambitious students choose easy-readers below their achieved comprehension level, while go-getters overreach, comprehend little, and quit reading out of frustration. As Mark Pennington puts the case in his article on the Pennington Publishing Blog, “Students often choose books with reading levels far below or far above own their reading levels and so do not experience optimal reading growth.” Teachers who want students to enjoy reading can let them select their own material from a list of grade-appropriate choices without jeopardizing learning. To encourage them to read what they enjoy, teachers can permit students to nominate new material for the list.


Course Evaluations, Please

Please help the Writing Arts Department determine my fitness for instruction by completing a brief evaluation of your experiences in this course.

Without identifying who, the administration has informed me that three students from this course so far have completed their evaluations. The rest have been emailed a reminder. You may take time in class today to complete the brief survey.

Go to Banner

Subject: Reminder for COMP 01.112.8 course evaluation

Dear Student,

This is an automated message sent by David Hodges, your
instructor for COMP 01.112.8, as a reminder to complete your course
evaluation using Self-Service Banner prior to MAY 05, 2018.  After
this date, the evaluation will no longer be available.

1.   Go to http://www.rowan.edu/selfservice.
2.   Click “Access Banner Services – Secure Area – login Required”
3.   Enter User ID and PIN.
4.   Click “Personal Information.”
5.   Click “Answer a Survey.”
6.   Click on the student evaluation for your class.
8.   Complete the student evaluation.
9.   Click “Survey Complete” to submit your completed student evaluation.

Your instructor has not been informed of the recipients of this message; only
that it has been sent to the students who have yet to complete the course

Thank you.