Examination and evaluation of a counterargument to continental drift:

3. The Charles William Johnson Paper. (1 to 2 days.)

Objective: Students will examine arguments and assertions presented in one online paper. They will use a matrix to contrast the author’s claims with the evidence they have already gathered. They will also attempt to verify the author’s professional credentials from context pages, internet searches, and logical content of his arguments.

Procedure: Have students get into small groups (3-5). Give each group a copy of the essay Was Wegener Wrong? — Tectonic Plates, Continental Drift and The Symmetry of the Continents, by Charles William Johnson. (CLICK HERE for article.) Instruct them to skim through the introduction, and look for key words that might indicate the author’s views on the topic. Using their notes from the previous class sessions, have them construct a matrix showing specific statements from the article which directly support or attempt to refute basic tenets or conclusions of the plate tectonic theory, or any part thereof.

Extension: Encourage students to examine the next two pages in Johnson’s paper. (Page ONE) (Page TWO) Also, ask them to check into Johnson’s background and credentials, as well as other essays from his Earth/matriX website. Ask them to form an opinion, citing specific examples they will find, as to the reliability of the information he presents.

Evaluation: Groups will address the class briefly with their findings, as well as offer their own opinions on the arguments raised by Johnson.

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The random musings of a 30-something, West Texas high-school science teacher. Hoo-RAY.
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