Sunday, November 7, 2010

Leaf Burning: Is It Bad News?

When an author is making a claim for whether something is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, evidence for the argument should be apparent. After reading a claim from a blog, post, journal, news article ect., the audience should feel enlightened and educated. One should also feel capable of making an informed opinion on the topic after reading the author’s claims.

In Larry West’s Environmental Issues Blog, “Burning Autumn Leaves May Be Hazardous to Your Health” he presents the idea that leaf burning pollutes the air and potentially causes serious health problems for many individuals. Although his claims may be accurate and true, there is no support or evidence provided for the readers. West’s argument is weak for these very reasons.

After reading this post, I did not feel as though I had a broad knowledge of the author’s argument and why such a statement was made. The fact that after reading, “Burning Autumn Leaves May Be Hazardous to Your Health” did not fully inform me on the issues and caused me to refrain from agreeing or disagreeing with the claim made. Not only was educating his audience not considered, but he also failed to address the objections of those who already disagree with the claim.

A reader that disagrees with this claim would find it easy to dispute West’s argument due to the fact that he has no support for a debate. The opposition is not acknowledged and there is no argument provided to prove those who object wrong. Evidence that provided a foundation for West’s declaration and informed the audience would make the case stronger.

Facts such as why and how leaf burning pollutes the air and causes health issues should be included so that readers can develop an understanding. Also, possible explanations and misconceptions for why people may disagree with the allegations should be evident. This would expose the readers to both sides of the argument. A stronger case would be accounted for because the author would be further defending his position by proving and stating why the opposition is wrong.

West’s argument is that leaf burning causes both pollution and health issues. Of course, through reading other sources of information about this topic, West’s argument is correct. However, just because his statement is right does not mean that his case and article is strong. The fact that, as a reader I had to look to other sources for information about his claim, supports my opinion that his post is weak. Without further evidence West’s argument is simply unconvincing.


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