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.

Fully-Guided Model Essay

The dawn of the twenty-first century has seen mankind’s understanding of the world grow exponentially. This has led to a large number of creature comforts in our everyday lives that range from LED televisions to high speed internet connection.[TC: Good link]. However, like all great advancements, science is also marred by its potential dangers. [TC: Good transition] For instance, nuclear research has led to the harnessing of nuclear power as one of the most viable environmentally friendly methods of power generation. At the same time, it is also extremely risky to pursue, as exemplified by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster which made Chernobyl inhabitable till date. A graver concern would be the prospects of genetically modified food becoming a staple in our diets and embryonic stem cell research becoming commonplace. As a result, such developments have led to more people expressing great discomfort with the direction and pace at which science is currently heading to, given our lack of understanding in the possible repercussions presented by science. Nonetheless, staunch science activists in the pharmaceutical industry remain convinced that only by delving into the unknown through scientific sophistication could we further our understanding of our body and unlock the limitless future value of medicine. Additionally, agricultural scientists are also convicted that more research is the solution to feeding the burgeoning world population that is expected to hit 9 billion by 2050. [TC: Abrupt shift to a stand! You need to talk about mitigating the risks posed by science before embracing science.] Thus, despite the potential hazards elucidated, I am inclined to disagree that science poses a threat to society and instead, I believe that science should be further developed to address the menaces.

It is evident that science has its potential risks, given our scant knowledge about new areas of science such as genetic modification and embryonic stem cell research. which has led to the critiques by numerous theists and conspiracy theorists. [TC:Good topic sentence.] The furore over genetic modification can be best understood from the possible severity of harm that could be inflicted on our body, whereas for embryonic stem cell research, it would be the violation of the sanctity of life. Indeed, many criticise genetic modification as meddling with nature by “playing God”. They believe that transplanting a gene from one species to another may cause detrimental effects on our health and wellbeing. For example, it was found by a research paper that rats that were fed genetically modified corn grew malignant stomach tumours. Thus, it can be seen that if genetically modified food is introduced as a staple, modern societies could be stricken with such harmful diseases. [TC: Good inference.] Alas, on the issue of embryonic stem cell research, the state-of-the-art method to extract embryonic stem cell inevitably kills the embryo in the process. As an embryo is viewed as a precious human life, it should thus be accorded the same respect and right to life as a fully developed human being. Science has to be rigorously tested and challenged in the ethical and moral landscapes. Consequently, given the fact that science does present real threats to our society either socially or physiologically, it is always in our best interest to direct our concerted effort to mitigating such risks.

Given the conceivable dangers that science poses, many might overlook the vast potential science has for solving many of our current problems. [TC: Good topic sentence.] Science has repeatedly paved the way for life-saving inventions such as vaccination, X-ray machine and the MRI scanner that have helped to further develop the field of medicine. It is incontrovertible that vaccination has eradicated many deadly and contagious diseases like smallpox, that had resulted in the drastic increase in the average life expectancy from 31 in the early twentieth century to over 65 in 2010. Furthermore, with growing medical advancements, it is expected to exceed 75 by 2050. Despite the proven and potential health benefits science can bring, it is regrettable that embryonic stem cell has been consistently promulgated as murder when it may hold the key to future treatments for chronic and degenerative diseases such as heart diseases. Additionally, the embryos currently used for research are in reality leftovers from in vitro fertilisation that would otherwise be destroyed. [TC: Good evidence] Thus, embryonic stem cell research should not be viewed as synonymous with murder but contribution to invaluable scientific research that would push the boundaries of our stock of knowledge in alleviating human suffering from illnesses. With such clear benefits that science can provide to our society, it is hence myopic and improvident to denounce it as a threat and hamper its progress.

Moreover, a viable solution to the issue of food scarcity among the rapidly expanding world population might lie in genetic modification. Genetic scientists have developed crops that are hardier and more resistant to pestilence. These advantageous traits are especially beneficial at a time when the world is experiencing harsher and more extreme climates precipitated by destructive human activities that have resulted in food shortage in many regions. Scorching temperatures and scarce rainfall have left large swathes of the United States in drought, with the ‘breadbasket states’, such as Iowa and Indiana, among the worst affected. The extreme weather conditions have wreaked havoc with the nation’s crop production, particularly maize (corn) and soya beans. Given that the country is the world’s top exporter of maize and one of the largest growers of soya beans,  the drought has huge ramifications for global food supplies, but science is providing the much-needed help. Many scientists are trying to unravel the complex crop genetics that allows these crops to tolerate environmental extremes, and they hope to use conventional breeding methods to create varieties that perform even better. There has already been some success with sorghum, which has shown improved productivity in drought conditions that occur late in the growing season in temperate and tropical environments. Moreover, by splicing different genes together, researchers are able to produce organisms with higher nutritional value than their counterparts, for example the Golden Rice with a higher vitamin A content that its counterparts. This could be a crucial development to solving vitamin A deficiency in third world countries that experience limited food variety in their societies. Indeed, this can help to prevent growth retardation, strengthen the immune system and decrease the threat of infections. Furthermore, despite our little understanding of their long term effects, countless studies have been conducted to dispel the public misconceptions of genetically modified food. [TC: Good rebuttal] Studies that seem to demonstrate the dangers of genetically modified food have also been proven to be nothing more than fear mongering on numerous accounts.[TC: Strong inference] But in reality, it is upsetting to see many naysayers readily clinging on to such flawed theories that impede the scientific progress that could save a legion of lives. To turn the tide, more education should be made a requisite to upend the prevailing mindset that science is a threat to humanity.

In light of such arguments, it would thus be rational to stop stretching the truth that science is a threat but to view it in a balanced light. [TC: Good conclusion] Many of those denouncing science as a threat are ignorant of the fact that our current living standards are made possible and sustainable through the liberation of the sciences. Granted, science could pose an inconspicuous threat to humanity, thus we should tread carefully and counter its concomitant dangers. Regulatory international bodies like the World Health Organisation and the United Nations can oversee worldwide scientific progress and be prompt in imposing sanctions and galvanising actions against errant groups that abuse science for their selfish interests. [TC: Good recommendation] Nevertheless, science remains an essential part of our everyday life. Indeed, by learning more about the universe and the phenomena around us, science can be exploited to overcome most of our 21st century challenges. Therefore, it is unwise to stigmatise science as a threat to society and we should instead espouse further scientific endeavours. [TC: Good closing statement.]

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