This model essay aims to provide some useful guidance for writing an insightful and impactful argumentative essay on an A-Level essay question. The essay is periodically interjected with Teacher’s Comments (TC) to allow a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the content.

Question Analysis

  • ‘will always’: From the past to the future
  • ‘always’: Absolute word
  • Noble: having or showing or indicative of high or elevated character
    • Synonyms: dignifying, ennobling, exalted, elevated, sublime, grand, high-flown, high-minded, lofty, rarefied, rarified, idealistic, noble-minded, greathearted, magnanimous
  • Intention: an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions (contrast intention with actions)
  • Benefits of Science:
    • Develop technology
    • Address societal issues
    • Build knowledge
    • Inform policy
    • Satisfy curiosity
    • Solve everyday problems

Fully-Guided Model Essay

In today’s fast-paced world where knowledge and speed have become increasingly crucial, the various branches of science have made notable advancements to deepening our understanding of the natural order*, as well as benefitting mankind in multiple ways. From tightening security measures to preventing terrorism to creating new medicines to cure diseases, scientific advancements seemingly have noble intentions to benefit people in several ways. However, the rapid advancement of science has also led to its misuse. With the rise of profit-driven companies and terrorist groups, many become ambivalent* about the “noble” intentions of science. . Hence, while it is compelling to concede that the various branches of science have noble intentions to benefit mankind, science can nonetheless inflict harm and unleash massive destruction on the human race if it falls into the wrong hands*.

First, people have enjoyed the scientific advancements that encompass high moral principles. [TC: Wrong topic sentence. Should answer straight to the question. Consider this: Science is intended to raise the life expectancy of people and enhance their quality of life*.  Alternatively, you can talk about the fundamental intention of science: a way of building knowledge about the universe and constructing new ideas that illuminate the world around us.] Extensive medical research has vastly strengthened the understanding of the human biology* and expanded the range of cures for previously untreatable maladies*. For example, the discovery of the structure of DNA was a fundamental breakthrough in biology. It formed the underpinnings of research that would ultimately lead to a wide variety of practical applications, including DNA fingerprinting, genetically engineered crops, and tests for genetic diseases. Vaccination is also one of the greatest breakthroughs in modern medicine. No other medical intervention has done more to save lives and improve quality of life. Smallpox ravaged and killed thousands of people in Europe in the 18th century. Once a person had caught it, the disease would kill around a third of victims and leave survivors scarred or blinded. Thankfully, smallpox was officially wiped out in 1980. If it were still common, it would cause an estimated 2 million deaths every year around the world. Science’s noble intention has been vividly manifested in the many lives it has saved and the prolonging of man’s life expectancy. According to the 2014 CIA World Factbook, the average global mortality rate between 1950 and 1955 was about 19.5%. However, between 2010 and 2015, the average mortality rate halved to below 8.3%while the life expectancy of the people around the world increased by 25 years over the same period. Hence in the aspect of medical science, it is reasonable to claim that science has lofty* intentions. [TC: Too much emphasis on one branch of science. Talk about energy research or food research.]

Furthermore, the twin weapons of science and technology possess the noble intention of boosting efficiency and convenience in people’s everyday lives as well as preventing potential crimes beforehand. [TC: Too specific for a topic sentence. Since it is related to safety/security, you should mention “bolstering security”] Modern science has dramatically reduced the time taken to accomplish a host of pursuits through technological breakthroughs and increasing mechanisation, and has led to a more interconnected world economy, which is a powerful driver of growth, productivity, job creation and poverty reduction. On top of the rapid development of information and communications technology*, the evolution of modern transportation* has also contributed to a “shrinking” world. Indeed, the present day aircraft has allowed people to travel around the world, cutting significant amount of time if people were to travel by traditional methods. [TC: Like what? Be explicit!Compare the differences between present and the past! Add: Just as ships & trains could cover long distances in days instead of the months it took by camel, by the mid 1900s, planes could cover the same distances in only hours. In just a few decades, by the 1960s, aviation was the preferred way of getting across the country and to Europe. Faster planes carrying more people for reasonable airfares helped people see, explore and invest around the globe.] And China is one giant beneficiary of such forces of globalisation, evident in its high GDP growth. Since its market reforms began, the economy enjoyed a historically unprecedented growth rate – an average annual growth rate of about 9 per cent for 25 years. In the last 3 decades, China alone has lifted more people out of extreme poverty than the rest of the world combined. Indeed, China’s ($1/day) poverty reduction of 627 million from 1981 to 2005 exceeds the total global economy’s decline in its extremely poor from 1.9 billion to 1.4 billion over the same period. The proven applications of science have thus underscored* its noble intention of creating a more efficient and accessible global village for all of us to live in. [TC: note that the point on safety is covered in the following paragraph]

However, with the rise of capitalism* and profit-maximising enterprises, the noble intentions of science may have become less apparent. Indeed, in a capitalist world where monetary gains are used as a yardstick of economic and social success, many individuals and companies exploit* science for greater profits but at a huge social cost. Few years ago, a multinational giant Monsanto introduced a genetically modified corn, which they claimed to be highly resistant to pests and could withstand extreme weather conditions. However, the genetically modified corn was found to have significantly disrupted liver and kidney functions according to a study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences. [TC: Good example but should include statistics to show the magnitude of the debacle. Remember Your MARKS = how convincing you are!] Despite the findings, Monsanto continues to disregard the product safety concerns that threaten public health in pursuit of profits. Such self-serving behaviour may be traced to the selfish intentions of science, that is to amass wealth for oneself at the expense of others. Hence, there may be less incentive for science to have honourable intentions at all times under the modern capitalist system where the primary goal is the accumulation of individual wealth without any regard to a moral compass.

Moreover, science will not have noble intentions when it is used to develop weapons. Nuclear science, the study of a nucleus of an atom and its reactions has provided mankind a completely new way to produce huge amounts of energy for people’s consumption. On the hand, nuclear science can be used to create a destructive weapon capable of wiping a whole city away from the surface of the Earth. This has caused many nations and terrorist groups to develop nuclear weapons in order to outrun the others in the arms race and protect its country. In World War Two, cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in japan faced the first destructive power of nuclear weapons, killing thousands of people in the city instantly. More recently, North Korea developed its nuclear weapon to threaten various countries, forcing the United Nations to accept certain demands made by the Prime Minister of North Korea, Kim Jung Il. Again, people created develop such weapons to gain power against other nations, and intentions to maintain high moral principles during its scientific developments can be said to be non-existent. Thus, science will not have noble intentions if science was used to develop for the gain of power. 

[TC: This entire paragraph is not answering to the question (NAQ). You need to ask what are the original intentions of nuclear science? Defence/national security? Power generation?These are noble causes.

However, some groups/countries abuse nuclear technology for their own benefits.

YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT THE ORIGINAL INTENTIONS OF THAT SCIENCE/TECHNOLOGY. IS IT CREATED FOR THE GREATER GOOD OR FOR INDIVIDUAL GAINS? 

NOTE: you only need 2 theses and 1 anti-thesis for absolute questions]

In conclusion, science often bears noble intentions to benefit humanity, in ways such as prolonging and saving lives,heightening productivity and paving the way for one world marked by unprecedented global economic and social development . However, as Albert Einstein had said, “Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character”, some capitalists may use science to fulfil their self-interests instead.

*Understanding the Concepts & Vocabulary 

  1. Natural order: the physical universe considered as an orderly system subject to natural (not human or supernatural) laws
  2. Ambivalent: having mixed feelings about someone or something
  3. Inflict: impose something unpleasant
  4. Falls into the wrong hands: Fig. to become associated with the wrong person; to become the possession of the wrong person,.
  5. Determinants of quality of life:
    1. Material wellbeing i.e. GDP per person
    2. Health i.e. life expectancy at birth
    3. Political stability and security i.e. political stability and security ratings
    4. Family life i.e. divorce rate
    5. Community life i.e. high rate of church attendance or trade-union membership
    6. Climate and geography i.e. latitude is used to distinguish between warmer and colder climes
    7. Job security i.e. unemployment rate
    8. Political freedom i.e. Average of indices of political and civil liberties
    9. Gender equality i.e. ratio of average male and female earnings
  6. Human biology: an interdisciplinary area of study that examines humans through the influences and interplay of many diverse fields such as genetics, evolution, physiology, epidemiology, ecology, nutrition, population genetics and sociocultural influences.
  7. Malady: impairment of normal physiological function affecting part or all of an organism; disease
  8. Lofty: of a noble or elevated nature
  9. Information and communications technology (ICT): often used as an extended synonym for information technology (IT), but is a more specific term that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.
  10. Evolution of modern transportation: Powered transportation was developed less than 250 years ago, but it is hard to imagine life before ships, trains, cars and planes.
    1. The first steamship was built in the 1770s
    2. The first steam powered train was in 1798
    3. The modern car was born in 1886
    4. The first powered flight was in 1903
  11. underscored: stressed, emphasised
  12. Capitalism: an economic system and a mode of production in which trade, industries, and the means of production are largely or entirely privately owned. Private firms and proprietorships usually operate in order to generate profit, but may operate as private nonprofit organisations.
  13. EXPLOITATION is not unique to capitalism. It has been a feature of all class societies, which are divided into two main classes, an exploited class that produces the wealth and an exploiter class that expropriates it.
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