Writing and Rhetoric Devices Used by 18th and 19th Scientists – Page 3

Another writing and rhetoric strategy that the scientists used was carefully chosen words to appeal to the readers’ emotions. When the readers’ emotional part of the brain is active, the part of the brain that reasons is less active, which prevents the readers from raising any concerns about the results . Priestly carefully chose words to degrade the theories that were accepted before introducing his theory. Priestly contrasted the existing theories to his results by labelling the current ones as “synthetic” and expressed his as “celebrated”. He used very grandiose adjectives to describe his theories , which creates an atmosphere of grandiloquence. This makes the readers want to participate and to participate thy must accept Priestly’s claims. Moreover, he stated that his conclusions from previous experiments and his conclusions from the current experiment were “natural” and “trivial” implications of one from the other. He blamed his lack of observation of those implications to the “prejudices and bias attitude that all human beings share” (Priestly, 158) . When he attributed his lack of observation to prejudices and bias attitudes, he stated that it is a flaw that all human beings share, which made his readers feel as if they are a part of the process because they shared something with Priestly. Moreover he seemed shocked and surprised at some of the results and by doing so he appealed to the emotions of his readers because they too may have been surprised by his results.

Likewise, Cuvier and Newton used words like “we” and “ours” to make their readers feel as if they are contributing to the experiment . These appeal to emotion tactics make the readers more likely to accept the theories because they feel that they have something in common with the scientists or their experiments. Furthermore, Cuvier discredited and devalued the current beliefs of his time and promoted his results by using words such as “ignorance” to describe the current beliefs . Cuvier and Newton appealed to emotion very often when they used words that shocked their readers such as “calamities” and “vulgar” . These words startle the readers and impair their ability to critically analyse the results, which strengthens the authors’ ability to persuade their readers. Likewise, Darwin used words that made him seem sincere and apologetic to appeal to his readers’ emotions which indirectly forced the readers to sympathize with him by believing him .

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