Write an account of Science Shows No Link Between Games and Violence by Karen Sternheimer and Michael D. Gallagher, focusing on the rhetorical situation — context, purpose, primary claim, evidence, audience, and authors, as well as on the appeals used.

Write an approximately 3-page long paper, double-spaced, typed, and edited in normal font (12). Use M.L.A. formatting style.Papers with too many elementary spelling and grammar mistakes will be returned as incomplete. Late papers will be penalized. Papers are considered late if they are not in my possession or my mailbox – in the department office, Storm Hall West (SHW) 141 by the end of the due date.

Steps to follow:

  1. Start with setting the stage for the discussion and reveal the context of this argument.
  1. Provide a short summary of the reading. Identify the claims of the article and present them in the order of their importance. You can explain some of these and provide quotations to illustrate them. However, avoid irrelevant details.
  1. Introduce the authors as they appear from the text and context.
  1. Identify the targeted audience.
  1. Identify the purpose of the article.
  1. Conclude with a short evaluation of the effectiveness of the argument. Is the argument effective or ineffective? How entertaining, convincing, or informative is the whole piece? (Do not answer these questions directly; integrate them into your brief evaluation.)

Key outcomes met with this assignment:

  • Recognize that writing is a process of inquiry used both to discover and communicate ideas;
  • Understand the rhetorical situation of a text – author, audience, purpose, context, evidence;
  • Extract main ideas from texts and reorganize them;
  • Analyze an author’s specific rhetorical moves in a given text;
  • Summarize and paraphrase texts, and incorporate them into own writing to support and extend own ideas;
  • Evaluate the arguments/claims and supporting material in written texts;
  • Use collaborative and social aspects of the writing process by critiquing peer’s texts and discussing own writing;
  • Format simple manuscripts, and cite sources accurately;
  • Understand the consequences of plagiarism;
  • Edit own writing for grammar, mechanics, and usage.


Science shows no link between games and violence



The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments on a 2005 California law that bans the sale of allegedly violent video games to minors based on the premise that violence in video games causes children to become violent. In fact, despite claims to the contrary, there is no valid or reliable scientific evidence that virtual violence causes real-world violence. In order to uphold the law, the court must accept this premise. But the premise is false.

In rejecting the California law, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared that California “has not produced substantial evidence … that violent video games cause psychological or neurological harm to minors.” The court said the research presented by the state’s lead expert witness, Dr. Craig Anderson, “has readily admitted flaws that undermine” California’s case for regulating video games sales to minors.

In fact, there is a mass of compelling scholarship that challenges the linkage. One recent example is a 2009 study by professors at Texas A&M University that found no support “for either a causal or correlational link between violent media and subsequent aggression in viewers.”

Similarly, in their 2008 book, “Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth about Video Games and What Parents Can Do,” Harvard Medical School professors Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl K. Olson wrote: “The strong link between video game violence and real world violence, and the conclusion that video games lead to social isolation and poor interpersonal skills, are drawn from bad or irrelevant research, muddle-headed thinking and unfounded, simplistic news reports.”

Eighty-two social scientists filed a legal brief with the Supreme Court asking that the California law be rejected. They wrote, “California’s ban on the sale and rental of violent video games to minors is based on profoundly flawed research and disregards recent empirical evidence contradicting the harm to minors that California asserts arises from the playing of violent video games (or any other harm).”

That is the science; now consider the logic. According to federal crime statistics compiled during the last 15 years, as video game popularity soared in this country, the rate of violent youth crime decreased dramatically – exactly the opposite of what would occur if a meaningful causal link existed.

This is not the first time lawmakers have tried to pin our societal problems on new forms of entertainment media. Movies, comic books and rock-and-roll all served as past scapegoats for complex social issues. It is tempting to do so, but allowing false assumptions to serve as the basis for public policy or constitutional law is not healthy for a democratic society.

In this case, the state is using these flawed assumptions that would potentially burden law enforcement with “culture police” responsibilities. If upheld, this law would ultimately do nothing to reduce actual rates of violence in the United States. Victims of violence deserve laws and policies that address the real causes, like substance abuse, family violence and neighborhood instability. Focusing on video games is a political red herring.

We hope the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the logical flaws within this law in its deliberations and do what other federal courts did: declare California’s video game law unconstitutional.

Sternheimer, a sociologist at the University of Southern California, is the author of “Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture: Why Media is not the Answer.” Gallagher is president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, and is a named respondent in the case before the U.S. Supreme

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