Unit 3: “The Case for Leaving City Rats Alone” Reading Response

Get the discussion on this article started by posting your reading response here. Please remember that you will need to post your response and then read other students' responses and post  a reply.

The academic world can often seem quite convoluted.  Anti-intellectual groups take issue with the specificity of some scientific research as a waste of money and resources.  And yet Becca Cudmore reveals in this essay  brings light to a topic that many find unimportant, and not worth the time.

Using the Classical Rhetoric Resource  identify the Ethos, Pathos and Logos for this article and write it into your response.   Then, answer the question: are there any stupid scientific questions?  Is there an aspect of scientific research that goes beyond the scope of useful information and discovery?

Write your response in a comment to this page.

38 thoughts on “Unit 3: “The Case for Leaving City Rats Alone” Reading Response

  1. Olive Hager

    The author very quickly tells us that “Byers is a PHD student under veterinary pathologist Chelsea Himsworth, a University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health assistant professor…”(Cudmore, 2017) building credibility and appealing to ethos.

    Cudmore appeals to pathos by referring to groups of rats as “families,” and referring to invader rats as “immigrants.” This personifies them and helps the author convince you rats shouldn’t be exterminated.

    The whole essay gave explanations of how they conducted their research and the results of their findings, I would say the summation of the essay appealed to logos.

    Questions that come from an educated background with a basis in logic and reason are always worth asking. They aren’t always worth the cost of finding the answers, though. Humans are naturally so curious, so we explore all kinds of possibilities and ask abstract questions, but it doesn’t always help the general public. Like last week’s reading about LIGO, though the information presented was interesting, I just don’t see how that can benefit our lives. It can help shape our understanding of the universe, but a lot of it is just theories that cost a lot of money. Imagine if we had invested in slowing climate change or finding cures to deadly diseases!

    1. Jessica Hernandez

      Hello Olive,
      I definitely agree with the idea on how if we didn’t waste so much money on studies that don’t benefit us, where would be now? Also, I like how you threw in the idea of finding cures for deadly diseases. It is so true that we could be spending all that money on something that could help cure cancer.
      I love your post, keep up the great work.

    2. Christina Beaver

      I agree if we spent our time researching on things that really matter to the society we could see some real change. I think that almost starts a whole another argument on what to research.

      1. Briana Shaffer

        I mean all research, no matter how stupid it may seem to just some people can pioneer new ideas and discoveries for a whole different set of people. Look at how crazy geniuses of the past seemed to people of their time. Now, They are regarded as geniuses.

    3. Conall Birkholz

      I like how you bring up the point of how some scientific research while interesting can be considered “not beneficial” for the amount of money put into it. You used the example of LIGO, and stated that while it is beneficial it doesn’t directly help us currently. I would like to point out though that while the LIGO research may not be pertinent now, like a lot of research, if could one day be used for miraculous things that we can’t even understand at this point in our history. Significant discoveries in physics and human curiosity is what progressed our civilizations from the dark ages to where we are now. While direct research towards reducing global warming may be more pertinent to our current time in our history, say if the LIGO research somehow ended up directly helping us learn how to create controlled fusion energy, then global warming would indirectly be solved by the progression of research in an unrelated field.

  2. Jessica Hernandez

    Right at the beginning the author announces how she uses ethos to prove how the research is legit the author says “Byers is a PhD student under veterinary pathologist Chelsea Himsworth..”

    Also, it was expressed throughout the reading of logos and how it goes throughout the reading. For example, “… live-trapped more than 700 of V6A’s rats to sample their DNA and learn about the bacteria they carried.”

    Throughout this whole reading they keep referring to the rats as “families”, as well as calling the other rats that weren’t from the area “immigrants”. This goes along the lines of pathos. This is pathos because it can deal with out emotions and how we see the world as people and then look at rats the same way.

    Through out school I was always told that there are “no stupid questions”. When reading through research there are questions that make no sense to anyone but the person that is thinking about the research. I personally look through the hypothesis question and try to see where the questions come from and some of the questions seem stupid but they totally make since to the researchers. I feel like some of the questions and research can go way past the purpose of useful. The research could have no purpose but the idea of understand how the world spends. Some of the information couldn’t even pertain to the world we live in now.
    Also, some of the research could expand such simple questions and explain how certain things go together.

    1. Victoria Murdock

      Your response was straight to the point and you addressed everything that needed to be. I think you did a good job.
      I total agree without about the “no stupid questions”. I do believe that some scientist tend to over propose on their ideas, and its all over the place and hard to understand.
      Looking forward to reading more of your posts

    2. Lindsey Paulsen

      My reading response was very similar to yours. I love how you incorporated the term “no stupid questions”. Questions are the foundation of research and if you know a question without an answer, finding it is exactly what scientists take pride in. Good post.

  3. Christina Beaver

    The Author, Becca Cudmore, uses ethos right at the start. Cudmore quickly presents the scientist and her credentials as; “Byers is a PhD student under veterinary pathologist Chelsea Himsworth, a University of Britsh Columbia…” effectively using ethos in her paper. Cudmore then uses pathos when discussing how rats have their own “communities” or “families”. Last, Cudmore uses logos throughout her paper by explaining Byers experiment and what affects human can have on the rats.

    I don’t think there are stupid questions in science. There may seem to be weird questions at times, but that question could spark new ideas and finding that we never thought of before. For instance, with the reading from last week, we learned that LIGO ultimately came from a crazy idea. Although most of that content may not relate to us, it still sparked new inventions and more opportunities to explore.

    1. Miranda Jackovich

      I thought your example of how rats have their own communities was great. It gives a new perspective of how they work together, thrive, and adapt. Most people would probably view them as just bottom feeders. Also your thoughts on last weeks reading was a good example of a theory proving to be a fruitful investment.

  4. Miranda Jackovich

    Becca Cudmore used a blend of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos to share her thoughts about the Vancouver Rat Project. Throughout the paper she was building credibility by giving us information of Kaylee Byers credentials as a PhD student; supporting Ethos. An example of Pathos used in the story was when Cudmore was referring to the rats as family members, giving a positive shift from disgusting rodents. Logos was used the most to show support of Cudmore’s thoughts of the project. Practices such as tagging and testing over 700 rats were conducted for the project. Coming to a conclusion if there are any stupid scientific questions, I would say there’s not. Knowledge is meant to be gained from a question, so calling a question stupid contradicts the meaning. As for the information and discovery being useful, prioritising resources to solve bigger issues are more important.

    1. Jerry Carroll

      I like how you explained why there is no stupid question and kind of gave the meaning of a question. It was a great idea to add that.

    2. Logan Borger

      Hello. You had good examples to show the ethos, pathos, and logos portrayed in the article. However, I must disagree with you in regards to the nonexistence of stupid scientific questions.

      I have been called stupid a great many times, not to brag or anything, so I’m practically an expert.

      I propose the question: Is mayonnaise an instrument?
      Although, perhaps, some might begin to think I am joking. But perhaps this is a real question I have and many are unaware of my actual interest in mayonnaise. Additionally, I am afraid to tell anyone about my real passion in life because I believe that some might think that it is stupid. And perhaps I would be so willing as to go and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a facility and hire the best of the best scientists and musicians. Additionally, I have a theory to mix the mayonnaise with gold particles as this would definitely produce better reverberations and overall mayonnaise resonance. Of course I would need pretty precise instrumentation to exact as many tests on the mayonnaise as possible.

      I propose that the context in which the question is being asked is important to its relevance. And if a question seemingly doesn’t contribute to or show any signs of contributing to our progression as a species, does our search for irrelevant knowledge make our question stupid? Just a thought.

      PS
      If anyone is interested in funding my mayonnaise project. Check me out at gofundme.com.

  5. Jesse Coulman

    Throughout the essay the author appeals to ethos using a few different credible people. Byers herself is a Ph.D. student working under veterinary pathologist Chelsea Himsworth who is conducting the research with Byers. Later the author gives another example of a credible source Ken Aplin a biologist, who has been studying rodents and their diseases for decades.
    Near the middle of the essay the author dips into the emotional side of the argument bringing into question, “the constant human quest to disrupt rat’s habitats.” Bringing to light that it is humans who have been invading the habitat of rats and not the other way around. Byers goes on to say, “Rats live in tight-knit family groups that are confined to single city blocks and which rarely interact.” Rat Project Hypothesizes that ousting rats from their family can cause that family to retreat to another rat family territory which in turn could spread disease to other rat family’s creating mutant diseases, or at the very least spread the diseases already carried by the family to another location in the city.
    Examples of logos are present throughout the essay though the one that stands out most is when Himsworth points out examples of diseases strains being combined due to the fact of rat family’s being forced to move to a new territory. The disease was a cross between methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius.
    Due the fact that disturbing these rat families could potentially bring about the next bubonic plague it might be prudent to do as Alpin says, “maintain local rat populations that already have some sort of equilibrium with the people who live there”.
    I don’t think that there is such a thing as a stupid question, though it may seem like one at the time. Questions or thoughts that seem stupid like “why is the sky blue” bring study and experimentation which grow out understanding of the world around us. Studying rodents might seem stupid but its studies like this that will help prevent another outbreak of the bubonic plague.

  6. Jerry Carroll

    The author uses ethos in the third paragraph of the essay by saying, “Byers is a PhD student under veterinary pathologist Chelsea Himsworth, a University of British Columbia School of Population and Publis Health assistant professor…”
    The authoer uses pathos when describing how the rats live in “families”, “colonies”, or “comminities” which gives to the emotional side.
    The author uses logos when talking about the bacteria in different parts of the city and how the rats can carry new bacteria to different parts which creates new diseases.
    With science i would say that there are not any stupid questions. I would say that almost all things in science are useful, WIthout new ideas in science would it even be science?

    1. Lane Ito

      I agree. Science would not truly be science without new predictions and theories, and without these, the truth cannot change with every new discovery.

  7. Conall Birkholz

    In this article Becca Cudmore uses methods of ethos, pathos, and logos effectively. In the introductory part of the article, the Ph.D credentials of Kaylee Byers is stated, showing that she is someone of credibility and respected in her field. This is an example of Ethos as it appeals to the readers impression of the scientist being “worthy of respect”. Also, throughout the article Becca uses personification to make the rats more relatable. For example, “An established rat society in a neighborhood makes it a much less viable destination for other rats”. Personifying the rats by saying that they have “society’s”, appeals to the emotion of the reader and is a use of Pathos. The article also being scientific in nature, strongly uses logical reasoning to persuade the reader. Using historical facts, experimental statistics and data, along with supported hypothesis supply the reader with logical reasoning to believe that the experiments Kaylee Byers is doing is relevant. This is the use of Logos.
    When asking the question “are there any stupid scientific questions?” I would say it depends on the context of the question. In the case of the scientific questions being answered in the article, while some people thought such in depth studying on rat populations in cities were unreasonable, the aspect that the studies were aiming to identify and prevent diseases from infecting humans and spreading I would say makes the study a very valid reason to gather data on rats. So, while the initial task at hand may seem trivial and unimportant, (capturing rats and tagging them), the end goal of having tabulated data that can track new diseases and the flow of them through a city through rats is important data that is beneficial to everyone.
    I think all scientific research is relevant, because the more we learn about the world (all encompassing) the better we can adapt to it and live with it in harmony. The important thing to consider when focusing on and funding research is determining what research will end up being the most beneficial.

    1. Shurena K

      I feel that you did very well answering the question regarding stupid scientific questions. It is very true that to determine the merit of a question it’s context has to be evaluated. In science one stupid question can lead to a door opening on a discovery that would not have been thought of had the original question not been stated.

      The more we know about our world and it’s inhabitants the better prepared we are to live in harmony.

  8. Shurena K

    The author of the is essay uses ethos by giving us a few credible people, one is right off the bat. Kaylee Byers, a PhD student whom studies under Chelsea Himsworth, a veterinary pathologist that is conducting research alongside Byers. And later she introduces Ken Aplin, a biologist who has studied rodents and their diseases for decades.
    Later on in the essay Cudmore states that some of the findings showed rats have their own semblance of families/ societies. This statement appeals to people’s emotional/ human side and shows that rats are relatable to humans. This is an example of pathos and is a way to personify the rats and their societies as proof they shouldn’t be exterminated.
    There were many examples of the use of logos throughout the essay, the most prominent were around the Byer’s experiment. Byer’s was using her data collected and other historical data to show the effects humans have on rats and their populations and vice versa. Explaining her reasoning logically and with data to back up the statements being made is a use of logos.

    As far as the question of stupid scientific questions, I feel that in the beginning the inquiry into something unknown starts as a stupid question. It’s curiosity of a subject that arose in someone’s mind with unknown possibilities. Although without those stupid questions being asked some of the biggest scientific discoveries wouldn’t not have been made. Take for an example the science behind medical discoveries such as the Xray.

    1. Ashley Bolyard

      Xray is another excellent example of researching outside of the scope of useful information. If Wilhelm Conrad Rintgen did not see an anomaly while researching cathode rays, X-rays might not have been discovered.

  9. Daniel Allred

    In The Case for Leaving City Rats Alone, Becca Cudmore’s attempt to establish ethos/credibility is when she says, “Byers is a PhD student under veterinary pathologist Chelsea Himsworth, a University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health assistant professor who has become a local science celebrity.” p 59.
    Cudmore’s personification of the rats makes them seem more human. People generally have a poor image of rats, but using words like “tight-knit family” p 61. creates a more relatable feeling.
    The presence of logos is found many times throughout the essay. Cudmore maintains a constant argument for leaving the rats alone vs killing them.
    I am a firm believer that there are no stupid questions. Questions are what drive scientific discovery. Plenty of scientific research goes beyond my scope of useful information and discovery, however that is not to say that it is not useful. I’m not an expert in the understanding of a rat’s behavior so the information gathered wouldn’t be very useful to me. Yet, the information gathered by Himsworth and her team is giving new insight on the behavior of rats.

  10. Lane Ito

    Does pest control manage or encourage the rat population in cities? I always knew rats were adaptable, but I did not know human disturbances were a major factor in their population explosions over the course of history. I also did not realize how city rats can bring new diseases through their garbage-related diets, and confrontations with other rats.

    “It’s not hard to understand why humans often think of the rat lifestyle as a parasitic response to our own. But that’s not entirely true. The reality is that rats were perfectly positioned to take advantage of the disruptions caused by human settlement long before we arrived. They have been on Earth for millions of years, arriving long before modern humans evolved, about 200,000 years ago. Before cities were even a glimmer in our eye, rats were learning to become the ultimate opportunists. It’s not that rats have become parasitic to human cities; it’s more correct to say they have become parasitic to the disturbance, waste, construction, and destruction that we humans have long produced” (pgs. 60-61).

    The passage above clearly describes how rats have adapted long before cities were constructed by humanity. Additionally, the title itself does provide emphasis on the contact provided in the article. Every city rat colony holds its own disease, and each disease is passed on to other rats through their food supply, and the disease can be passed onto people through a rat’s saliva and droppings. Whenever pest control personnel try to eliminate a colony of city rats, another colony of rats will take its place and bring a different disease into the area.

    How can the rat population be controlled without introducing new diseases? Everything in an ecosystem has a purpose, even for animal inhabitants from cities. If one part of an ecosystem is removed, then the ecosystem in its entirety will collapse, so eradication of city rats in a given alley or underground network is not an option. Scientists could analyze garbage samples, and dead rats in order to look for dietary factors, and the frequency of the disease germs in the given area in order to find a way to manage the rat colonies without killing them. However, the chance of developing an antidote spray instead of rat poison is a massive undertaking.

    Politically, rats often have a massive negative affect on poor areas, as stated on page 64. This is also worsened by the fact that poor areas like V6A in Vancouver have politicians who view rat population increases as a low priority. As stated in the documentary Pixar short film Your Friend the Rat, one pair of rats can have 15,000 offspring per year, which does not help in terms of managing diseases, especially with inadequate city ordinances.

    Overall, this article gave me a better understanding of city rat problems. I was surprised to find that human disturbances were one reason rats thrive in cities, but I never thought new diseases could appear through a rat’s diet and scuffles with other rats. Finally, what completely took me by surprise was the knowledge of 13 rat-driven bubonic plague outbreaks in seven countries between 2009 and 2013. Unfortunately, the article had almost no mentioning about fleas and their role in starting the bubonic plague outbreak in the 14th century. Hopefully, in the near future, pest control can manage the pathogens instead of the rat colonies.

  11. Victoria Murdock

    In the beginning I feel the author introduced the use of ethos the way she is describing the project that is being conducted around V6A and the qualifications of the person conducting the project. Later in the reading, the author expressed the use of logos by adding factual evidence of where some infected rats come from, and how the different bacterias are from block to block. Also, in the reading the author strongly expresses pathos when she refers to the rats as “family” and that “Rats live in tight-knit family . groups”.

    As far as the stupid scientific question. I don’t think there is a such thing as a stupid question. A stupid question, is a question that is not asked. In science I think all questions are meaningful and soon will be able to be answered with some research. Scientific research means nothing to the person who did not propose it. All we can do is try to dissect it and understand what the scientist is trying to prove or conduct. Some researches go above and beyond to propose a hypothesis and it just runs on without a purpose and it becomes meaningless.

    1. Briana Shaffer

      I literally think about food too much because when we had to answer the part about stupid questions and meaningless research, all I could think was ” Then how would we have discovered fried pickles without experimenting with weird stuff!” I also dont think there is a such thing as a stupid question because the day we stop asking ourselves WHY is the day we stop discovering new things.

  12. Rebekah Hamilton

    Becca Cudmore in the very beginning of her essay “The Case of Leaving City Rats Alone” tells us that “Bryers is a PH.D student under veterinary pathologist Chelsea Himsworth, a University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health assistant professor who has become a local science celebrity thanks to her “Vancouver Rat Project.”” Cudmore right from the beginning builds credibility and it plays right along into ethos. Cudmore states, “[R]ats are irrepressible–“a force of nature, a fact of our live.” Rather than focusing on killing them, we need to try and keep their populations stable and in place.” She refers to the rats more than just a parasitic disturbance, that they are just adapting to the rural harshness that humans have created. Cudmore also goes on to refer to the rat populations as “families”, tapping in directly to the pathos. The whole essay represents logos, Cudmore writes about Bryers and Himsworth and the “Vancouver Rat Project.” It gives prime examples and facts supporting each other back to back.

    When growing up, adults always said “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” Everybody thinks on a different intellectual level, making every scientific question vary on uniqueness of the person directing the question. Some grasps concepts and understand things right off the bat while others can tend to take a little more time, which I where the variety of questions come to play. There is a great aspect of scientific research that goes beyond the scope of useful information and discovery, it even can go way beyond the educated levels of some of the greatest researchers.

  13. Logan Borger

    In the article, Byers includes her credentials as “a PhD student under veterinary pathologist Chelsea Himsworth, a University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health” in order to establish establish credibility. In addition, she also cites biologist Ken Aplin and doctorate student Matthew Combs, and Robbin Lindsay, who was involved in the Vancouver Rat Project.

    Byers uses pathos when describing the filthy, garbage-munchers as families, as this should spark some sort of ‘rats are people too’ response.

    Byers comes to a conclusion based on her data and observation which appeals heavily to logos.

    I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Just kidding. The fall section of this class was assigned to read an article over a study done comparing monkey and human sperm. And despite the lasting, meaningful impact of a study such as this, I believe, that these resources could have been used in an area more pertinent to our survival and progression as a species. And for all the monkey sperm advocates out there, I lend my apologies, to each their own. I suppose the subjectivity of stupidity is the real question. Can one objectively declare another’s study stupid? Yes. In a global context, there are issues that are relevant, upon which lives depend on, in addition to our survival as a species. I propose that we focus our resources on these issues. Then, perhaps, we can set our children, and our children’s children, to seek out all the meaningful discoveries that lie within a monkey’s penis.

  14. Travis Winterton

    In the article, Becca Cudmore combines the different rhetoric methods to help support her article. Withen the first few opening paragraph, Cudmore uses Ethos when referring to the credentials of Kaylee Byers “Byers is a Ph.D student under veterinary pathologist Chealse Hismwroth, A University of British Columbia School of population and public health assistant professor who as become a local celebrity thanks to her “Vancouver Rat Project.”. Knowing this helps give the article as a whole more credibility knowing that 2 people that are being interviewed in it have knowledge about the topic being dissucsed at hand. Cudmore uses pathos in what I beleive is a very clever way. Through out the article, Cudmore often refers to the fact on how rats live together in close-knit families and colonies, “rats live in tight-knit colonies confined to a single city block.” Cudmore continues to referring pack of rats as families throughout the article that allows us to more easily sympathize with the rats. Given the content that is being discussed within the article itself, it could be argued that the entire article is built on logos in describing and brining in light on the effects city rats have on major urban areas and in preventing diseases. “Their garbage-based diets allow them to absorb a diverse collection of bacteria that live throughout their city, in human wastes and in our homes… They get that bacteria from their environment, and when they move, they take these placed-specific pathogens with them.” Explanations like these that are presented throughout the article help appeal to logos.

    As for the proposed question for this response, I think that it is a very subjective question, as people have different ideas and standards for what can be considered as a “stupid scientific question”. Personally I think its less of what is a “stupid scientific question” but rather its more of a “which one is the less valuable scientific question”. I often think that It’s common for scientist to ask and come up with many different questions about our universe in order to better understand it but I also wouldn’t be surprised if there are often debates on what resources should be spent into researching what. Back during the last dissection I and as well as many others brought up the fact that while the discovery of gravitational waves and proving what was once a scientific theory groundbreaking, many will probably not see any value within the discovery itself. In fact, in the article when discussing the history about of LIGO, When the project was first proposed,many scientists were very uncertain about it both due to some astronomers seeing it as a huge waste of money. Compare to the current article on the effects that city rats have on controlling bacteria and it would be easy to understand why some may find this question and its continued research to have more of an inherent value and worth rather than the discovery of gravitational waves. In short I personally don’t believe there is inherent “stupid scientific question” but I think its more of how people prioritize for value certain questions over others, mainly on how much of a benefit that it could have on society, which I don’t think is an entirely bad thing.

  15. Ashley Bolyard

    Throughout “A Vancouver rat study is showing us how pest control can backfire, Cudmore uses all three main rhetoric proofs. Right off the bat, Cudmore uses ethos by stating, “Byers is a Ph.D. student under veterinary pathologist Chelsea Himsworth, a University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health assistant professor…” By using ethos by using a credible source, Cudmore is making the audience more confident in the information there are receiving. Cudmore predominantly uses logos throughout her essay to persuade the audience through logic support her point. One of the many examples of Cudmore using logos is when she states, “exotic rats can be more of a threat than those adapted to the region because each rat community evolves with its suite of unique pathogens, which it shares with the other vertebrates in its ecosystem. New rats mean new diseases.” Cudmore then combes logos with pathos by finishing the essay with, “To Himsworth, this is shortsighted. “They’re not taking the rat disease risk seriously because they haven’t seen it in humans yet — but that’s not where diseases start.” In my eyes, Cudmore quoted Himsworth because that statement evoked fear of potential diseases in humans that may have started in rats. The main three rhetoric proofs were used to help persuade Cudmore’s audience.

    I do not believe there are stupid questions, even in the field of science. Yes, sometimes information gained can go beyond the scope of what is considered useful information. Though, information once thought of as useless has the potential to apply to another discovery that might be considered useful. One of my favorite examples is the discovery of penicillin. Dr. Alexander Fleming’s initially observed the interaction between his tear and bacteria on a sample. Later in his career, Fleming observed mold that had similar characteristics from his initial observation. Fleming’s progression of interest leads him to his discovery of Penicillium. It all started at an observation outside of his scope of useful information that leads him to a very life-saving discovery.

    Work cited:
    “The Case For Leaving City Rats Alone – Nautilus.” Nautilus. N.p., n.d. Sun. 03 Feb. 2019 .
    “Accidental Discoveries.” PBS. N.P.,n.d. Sun. 03 Feb 2019 .

    1. Seth Packer

      It’s so interesting that Fleming’s discoveries has been cited two weeks in a row, unless I’m mis-remembering another of our classmates cited his discovery of penicillin in their response last week. But I digress, I like your example for her logos argument, I wish I had used the threat of exotic “invading” rats in my response, but alas I did not. To be frank, I disagree with your argument that there are no stupid questions in the field of science on the grounds that I have taken science classes and asked stupid questions. However, I will concede that even if a discovery appears useless and “stupid” it’s use may just not be appearant yet.

  16. Makayla Duhon

    Becca right away gives us an example of ethos by showing credibility to Kaylee Beyers who has a PH.D. Also, by comparing the rats’ lives to that of a humans, she is able to have an emotional pull on the reader, being a use of pathos. Furthermore, with Becca using facts, data, and her own logic, she shows us examples of logos.
    I personally believe that the question “Are there any stupid scientific questions?” is a stupid question all together. Everyone starts off with an idea although, it might not be a useful one, it might turn into something brilliant. I also believe that scientific research is always useful. Most people might not understand what is being said and will think that it’s irrelevant to them and give up, but in the long run all information can be useful.

  17. Lindsey Paulsen

    While reading this essay, I noticed the Ethos in Cudmore’s statement, “Byers is a PhD student under veterinary pathologist Chelsea Himsworth, a University of British Columbia school of Population and Public Health assistant professor who has become a local science celebrity thanks to her Vancouver Rat Project”. She defines their credentials very well and intrigues the reader to pay attention closely to their studies, which she depicts. Because of the fine line I was crossing, I had a difficult time differentiating between the Ethos and Logos, because their credentials she explained come off as very “logical”.
    Her Pathos is easily identified when she humanizes rats as “tight knit families” and talks about how their diseases are sometimes contracted from their garbage-based diets. This makes the rats relatable and helps the reader sympathize with the city rats’ existence because the diseases we blame on them are actually beginning with us (humans). I also sensed a “Pathos vibe” when she quoted Himsworth’s opinion on how Vancouver’s existing rat policy is “essentially non existent” and her hopes that new science will “sway” Vancouver’s policy on rats.
    Cudmore uses Logos when explaining how the bacteria in parts of the city can be carried to other areas by the rats, and she says that when this happens, new diseases can occur. She uses logical reasoning to convince readers that what she has to say is important and undoubtedly true. She finalizes this opinion when bluntly stating, “new rats mean new diseases”; a statement that I find memorable (on the top of page 63).
    After defining the Ethos, Pathos, and Logos, I found it somewhat hard to find interest and form opinions on other parts of the essay, but her ending statement was one I thought left an impact on my mind. She concludes the essay stating “But there were 13 rat-driven bubonic plague outbreaks in seven countries between 2009 and 2013. And there are plenty of new diseases cooking”. I found it a very eerie way to end the essay, and effective in the fact that it really leaves an impression. Impending, disease-ridden doom can sure be exciting!

  18. Briana Shaffer

    I really enjoy reading essays that apply common sense and logical thought. I knew rats played an important role in a heavily populated city, but I didn’t know they had little territorial spots. Makes me wonder if the New York City subway rat dragging pizza down the subway stairs had been stealing pizza from the same spot for a while. While reading a dry report straight from Kaylee Bryers research would have filled my desire to know more about the rat findings, Becca Cudmore’s use of Ethos Pathos and Logos did keep me from falling asleep. Cudmore uses Pathos by pulling an emotional response to the reader when she describes the poor area infested with rats, I think she also gets some pity when she describes how the rats get frightened when fighting for territory. To establish credibility Cudmore names off a few credible people like a biologist and Veterinary Pathologist, compared to naming off a high school student doing a science fair project. Finally an example of logos in the writing is when the fleeing rats, piss, mixed germs, and rats running into new territories to spread disease all comes together and creates the way the next super bug or plague 4.0 is going to come to life.

    To answer the questions, “are there any stupid scientific questions?” ” Is there an aspect of scientific research that goes beyond the scope of useful information and discovery?” , no. I don’t think there is a such thing as a stupid scientific question, I think the only stupid thing is holding onto and not sharing information to whatever ” stupid” research you have going on. There isn’t an aspect of scientific research that goes beyond the scope of useful information and discovery because who knows what you will discover during your adventure!

  19. Seth Packer

    The Logos
    The Logos of Becca Cudmore’s essay “The Case of Leaving Rats Alone” is fairly black and white. If we take that society’s overall goal is to reduce disease and to treat our fellow inhabitants of this planet as ethically as reasonably possible then her argument is quite simple. If this study finds that leaving rats alone directly causes a reduction in the spread of rat-caused diseases then disturbing the rats would be counterproductive to our established goals, additionally is it not more ethical to leave these animals to do their business rather killing them?

    The Pathos
    The Pathos of Cudmore’s argument is a bit more tricky to nail down. The writing was not particularly sad or angering, and yet it’s calm demeanor brought about an atmosphere where leaving rats to run around as they pleased seemed like the right thing to do. The writing was clearly on the side of the rats, and yet it did a good job of not going over the top, which likely would’ve turned a lot of the audience off to the idea.

    The Ethos
    The Pathos of Cudmore’s argument was hard to nail down, but the Ethos is a whole nother monster. First of all, as your average animal loving college student, I honestly couldn’t tell you a thing for certain about Cudmore. Except of course that she was open-minded about leaving rat populations alone and was interested in the science behind it more than anything. The real beauty in her Ethos is she shows just enough about herself that we understand she has good-sense and likely good morals, but not so much that it detracts from her narrative or her logos.

    Now, are there any stupid scientific questions? Seems like a pretty cut and dry question, but before I answer it i would like to establish a couple things. The goal of scientific questions is to further our understanding of the universe and how it works, no matter the scale, and we’ll define a stupid question to be one in which the answer is obvious or one in which the answer is useless. With these definitions I would have to say that yes there would have to exist such a question that the answer is useless and thus does not further our understanding of the universe. However I would like to add this one caveat; just because an answer is useless right now, that does not mean it will always be useless.

    1. Amber Wofford

      I like your opinion about how questions will not always be useful! That’s a very great way to think about it!

  20. Amber Wofford

    I found this essay to be very interesting because it involves something I am passionate about, animals. Also how it describes the makings and spreading of infectious diseases. Throughout most of the essay she uses the names of established scientists or doctors. I did not think there was much pathos involved while reading this unless my mind wandered and started to think about the rats and their “families” and “communities” being disturbed and broken apart. I guess you could say that makes me empathetic for the animal because they are just adapting to the environment they have to be in. The author spoke about the researched of hundreds of rats and how they were studied and if written in more detail then it could be portrayed as logical how the information is laid out. I thought it wasn’t anything glamorous to research but could be very useful one day when there may or may not be a disease that is caused by rats and how it spreads.
    I do not necessarily think there are any stupid questions but there are questions that are asked because of someones negligence to read or listen to what they are questioning. All questions have their place.

  21. Amber Wofford

    I found this essay to be very interesting because it involves something I am passionate about, animals. Also how it describes the makings and spreading of infectious diseases. Throughout most of the essay she uses the names of established scientists or doctors. To me pathos plays a part when speaking about the rats and their “families” and “communities” being disturbed and broken apart. I guess you could say that makes me empathetic for the animal because they are just adapting to the environment they have to be in. The author spoke about the researched of hundreds of rats and how they were studied and if written in more detail then it could be portrayed as logical how the information is laid out. I thought it wasn’t anything glamorous to research but could be very useful one day when there may or may not be a disease that is caused by rats and how it spreads.
    I do not necessarily think there are any stupid questions but there are questions that are asked because of someones negligence to read or listen to what they are questioning.

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