LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION: CLAIMS AND WARRANTS
WHO WARRANTS SURVIVAL?
Adapted from K. Sherlock’s work at Grossmont College in El Cajon, CA. Available in its original form at this website.
A sudden, unpredicted asteroid impact has wiped out virtually all life on Earth. The eleven survivors on the North American continent grieve the loss of billions of human beings and billions of species of flora and fauna. Among the remaining is a NASA scientist, who reveals the U.S. Government’s secret plan to send its country’s eight most powerful and richest people to a newly discovered Earth-like planet in a nearby solar system in the event of a predictable Extinction Level Event. The plan remains, but the intended passengers perished in the asteroid strike. In their place, the eleven survivors will leave the Earth to start over.
The immediate concern, however, is the journey, itself: Only eight stasis tubes are available to keep alive their eight occupants for the predicted 227-year journey. Two of three members who will not being going to the new planet must be left behind to live out their remaining days on a dying Earth. One of the remaining three may choose to board the outbound ship as a caretaker, but only with the undertanding that he or she will not live to see the end of the journey.
One day before take-off, the group has its final meeting about who will go, who will stay, and who may come along as caretaker for the journey.
Choose three people who, by your own standards, should not be permitted to go to the new planet. Rank them in the order in which you would choose them and indicate the reasons for your selection (i.e., why you chose these particular persons and why you placed them in this particular order). Select the one person from the three that you would permit the option of boarding the ship in the capacity of a caretaker, and, again, be ready to explain why.
Curtis Dane, M.D.—
47; African American; no religious affiliation; Ph.D. in history; college professor; in good health (jogs daily); hobby is botany; enjoys politics; married with one child (Bobby)
Mrs. Sandra Dane—
43; white; Jewish; rather obese; diabetic; M.A. in clincal psychology; counselor in a mental health clinic; married to Dr. Dane; has one child
17; bi-racial; Jewish; mentally retarded with IQ of 70; healthy and strong for his age; a sweet disposition; has a beautiful singing voice
23; immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq at the age of 17; devout Muslim; did not advance beyond the 9th grade but intended to return to school to continue her education
Farhia Abdin’s 1-year-old baby girl, born three weeks prematurely
18; female; Asian–American; Buddhist; trade school education; wears contact lenses; very artistic but wants to be a physician of gynecology and obstetric medicine; has 2nd degree black belt in taekwondo
Lamar Newton, M.D.—
35; African American; atheist; gay; music as a hobby; physical fitness nut; was completing the human genome project before the catastrophe; considered at one time one of the top ten medical researchers in the U.S.; author of a pioneering human anatomy text
Mrs. Anita Clark—
28; African–American; Protestant; daughter of a minister; college graduate; electronics engineer; single now after brief marriage; Civil Rights advocate; member of Zero Population Growth (an organization committed to reducing overpopulation)
Mr. Cletus Blake—
51; white; Protestant; N.A.S.A; professor of aeronautics and space engineering; married and had four children (five grandkids); enjoys outdoors; much experience in construction, quite handy; rumored to be a White Supremacist
Father Edward Zelly—
67; white; Catholic priest; has liberal views but was criticized in the 1960’s for not taking a more pronounced stance against segregation; former college athlete; farming background; loves Napoleon brandy, sometimes to excess
Dr. Ricardo Gonzales—
46; Spanish–American; Catholic; doctor in general practice; two heart attacks in the past five years; loves to read literature and quote playwright and poet, Fredrico Garcia Lorca