Present your perspective on the issue below, using relevant reasons and/or examples to support your views.
It is important for higher education to challenge established traditions and values.
We are all granted supreme talent and the ultimate goal of self-improvement is to reach our full potential and make best use of our talent. To achieve this, we have paid much attention to education, especially to higher education.
This a controversial issue. In our education experience we emphasize our intellectual achievements. That is, we spare no effort to absorb and digest as much concrete knowledge as possible. A pursuit in intellect is nothing wrong. But educators should not simply pour truths and untruths into the minds of students. Students should also be taught how to develop interpersonal skills, how to collaborate with others, how to build self-confidence, how to stand up and draw lessons from failures, and the most important, how to think critically and independently.
In modern times we find this world filled with conflicts almost in all aspects. A person who fails to think independently and critically can hardly get on well in the society. There are established traditions and values. Most people just accept and adhere to them passively. Few have courage and confidence to challenge them. Human beings have created unprecedented material civilization but fall ragged in spirit. If we just follow exactly the same traditions as our forefathers did, dare we say that we have made much progress? I am afraid not.
Admittedly, modern traditions and values are established through the long history of human beings. They have their merits since they have laid the moral and ethic foundations of the society. But a close and thorough examination reveals that in all times of human history, there were conflicts between established traditions and new ideas. Just think of abortion. One century ago it was generally considered as ignoble and immoral. But in modern society an increasing number of people do not think so, although it is still controversial. Actually conflicts between establish values and new ideas come into being as a result of the improvement in material civilization and the lagged intellectual civilization. To settle these conflicts, the best way is to resort to education.
The true value of higher education lies in that it equip people professional skills and indispensable courage and confidence to challege traditions and values. Thus people can make their own choice. Take my personal experience as an example. When I was a university student, I was specialized in biology. In the class of genetics my teacher always talked about genetic technology. The most impressive thing was that once he raised such a question : Do you think the development and application of genetic technology conflict with human morality? We had discussed about this for a whole class, and finally almost all of us agreed that although it was difficult to predict the consequences of genetic technology, it seemed that the benefits outweighed the costs. And so long as we could make rational use of this magic power, we could benefit much from it and avoid trouble. But restrictions on some areas, such as human cloning, should be established. Our idea conflicted with the established value that it is wrong to develop and make use of genetic technology, but we all believed that we were right.
This experience has convinced me that students as colleges or univesities should be encouraged to challenge established traditions and values. Although individual activities cannot lead to much change in the tradition, the joint efforts and combined result is conspicuous.
Topic:Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument.
Six months ago the region of Forestville increased the speed limit for vehicles traveling on the regions highways by ten miles per hour. Since that change took effect, the number of automobile accidents in that region has increased by 15 percent. But the speed limit in Elmsford, a region neighboring Forestville, remained unchanged, and automobile accidents declined slightly during the same six-month period. Therefore, if the citizens of Forestville want to reduce the number of automobile accidents on the regions highways, they should campaign to reduce Forestvilles speed limit to what it was before the increase.
I find this argument problematic. The author has committed several serious fallacies in reasoning and his/her recommendation is unwarranted.
To begin with, the author fails to make a distinction between accidents in the region and those on the highways. He/She just mentions that the number of automobile accidents in the region of Forestville has increased 15 percent but does not tell us whether the number of accidents on the highways increased. Thus it is entirely possible that there were the same number of accidents on the highways but accidents happened in other regions of Forestville rocketed dramatically. Consequently the author should not conclude that the increased number of accidents is a result of the change in speed limit.
Even if we accept that the number of accidents on the highways of Forestville did increase, the author still fails to convince us that the increase could be exclusively attributed to the change in speed limit. There are many other factors that can result in more accidents. For example, it is possible that after the change took effect, the highways in Forestville have been much more heavily used than ever before and it is therefore not strange that the number of accidents increased. It is also possible that the increase of accidents is due to some changes in climate. Without ruling out these possibilities the author could not draw a sound conclusion.
In addition, the analogy drawn between Forestville and Elmsford cannot give strong support to the authors conclusion that it is the different speed limits on highways that give birth to different accident numbers. There is no information concerning the similarities and differences between these two regions. It is not impossible that these two region vary dramatically in climate and terrain. It is common sense that climate and terrain are closely related with accidents. Thus the analogy drawn between Forestville and Elmsford is unconvincing.
Last but not least, six months may not be long enough to guarantee the reliability of the statistics cited by the author. Maybe drivers need a longer period of time to get accustomed to the change in speed limit on highways. Maybe most car accidents occurred in winter and the six months used for statistics happened to include winter. Thus the statistics cited by the author are not so cogent. Perhaps the author could find the accident number on the highways of Forestville remains steady or even falls throughout a longer period of time.
In conclusion, the authors viewpoint, though seemingly well-supported, is not persuasive as it stands. To strengthen the argument, the author should prove that it is the increased speed limit that caused the increased accident number with more concrete and specific evidences.
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