Unit 12 The Never-ending Fight Part I Listening & Speaking Activities Part II Reading & Language Activities Part III Extended Activities
Part I Listening & Speaking Activities • Warming-up discussion • Brainstorming • Listening • Speaking
Warming-up discussion • What is a superstition? -a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge; surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings, particularly the irrational belief that future events can be influenced or foretold by specific, unrelated behaviours or occurrences. • Have you heard of any superstitions both in China and in western countries? • Are you or anyone you know superstitious? In what ways are you or they superstitious? • What are the consequences of superstition?
Brainstorming (1) • Expressions of Chinese superstitions lucky number: 6,8; unlucky number: 4, 7 fortune-telling, ancestor worship, god worship, astrology, Fengshui, the burning of joss money /stick, casting fortune sticks, palm reading, belief in one’s previous incarnation and one’s reincarnation (last life and after life)… • Expressions of English superstitions unlucky number: 13; lucky number: 7,9 To bring bad lucky: meeting with a black cat on one’s way , walking under a ladder, or breaking a mirror. To bring a good luck: knocking on wood (touch wood), hanging a horse shoe over the door, discover a four-leaf clover, or keeping one’s fingers crossed. astrology, horoscope
Brainstorming (2) • Expressions of believing believe in, have faith in, have credence in, give credence to, have no doubt (that), there is no doubt that, be convinced, be sure / certain / assured (that), bet on (e.g. I’ll bet on it that he will win the game), be unquestionable, Take my word for it! You can count/bank on it! • Expressions of disbelieving disbelieve, be skeptical / doubtful / dubious, take ... with a grain of salt, unconvincing, implausible, untenable, filled with doubt, incredulity, says who?, unbelievable, misgiving, questionable, you’re joking / kidding, pigs might fly, don’t be ridiculous, can’t swallow that… (e.g. I can’t swallow the fact that he won the game.),
Listening – The death of an infant • Listen to the recording and answer the following questions: 1. Why was Mr. Albert Smith found guilty of manslaughter? - He was found guilty of manslaughter because he refused to allow doctors to give a blood transfusion to his two-day-old baby, which resulted in the death of the infant. 2. Why does Mr. Smith believe a blood transfusion can harm a person? - He believes the blood of a person is part of his soul-life, of what a person is, and, as most people are wicked and sinful, a person’s blood is polluted and can contaminate others.
3. Does the interviewer agree or disagree with Mr. Smith’s view? -The interviewer disagrees with Mr. Smith's view. She believes it is wrong for children to suffer from the beliefs of their parents. She believes a child is not the property of his parents. His parents are caretakers until the child comes of age. A child is a free spirit, an individual, a separate being who may someday have different beliefs from those of his father's. 4. Why does Mr. Smith believe his decision was the correct one? -Because he thinks that his beliefs are part of God's Eternal Truth, and his decision was the correct one.
Group Oral Tasks • Task 1: News conference The court found Albert Smith guilty of manslaughter. Suppose you were at a press conference as the judge. Your partners were journalists. Explain to them what factors were considered in making the verdict. • Task 2: Talk show Read the following news report and prepare a talk show about it. 中国科协经过一年多时间的论证、问卷修改及调查实施后，完成二00三年中国公众科学素养调查，并于十九日在北京举行新闻发布会向社会公布了该项调查结果。 结果显示：高达百分之二十点四的公众相信(很相信和有些相信)“求签”；百分之二十六点六的公众相信“相面”；百分之十四点七的公众相信“星座预测”；百分之四点八的公众相信“碟仙或笔仙”；百分之二十二点三的公众相信“周公解梦”。根据追问分析，其中真正相信迷信者占百分之十三点三。
Task 3 Give a brief lecture about at least five superstitious beliefs in English-speaking countries. You are supposed to include their meanings and origins if there are any.
Task 4: Cartoon-based Role-play (2) Choose one of the following cartoons and prepare a role-play based on it.
Part II Reading & Language Activities • Pre-reading tasks • Read the text • Words & Expressions • Language Work (C)
Pre-reading Tasks • Why do people hold superstitious beliefs? • Is it possible that the advances in science and technology could eventually eliminate superstitions in people’s mind, and why?
Read the text – The Never-ending Fight • What was the interviewer’s argument for superstitious beliefs? - The interviewer argued that as most people held superstitious beliefs and found solace and comfort in it, they should not be deprived of them. • What is Asimov’s first reason for expressing his view on superstitious beliefs? - The first reason he gives is that he has the right to point out the uselessness of superstition. He feels that he should be given the same chance to express his views on superstition as theists who claim that they have the right to preach it.
In stating his first reason, how does Asimov make a distinction between his argument and the preaching of theists? - He implicitly indicates that his argument differs from the preaching of those theists both in method and in contents. (1) Theists threaten people with hellfire and bribe them with promises of eternal bliss, while he merely attempts to look at the universe in a rational way. (2) Unlike those theists who appear to have absolute truth and an eternal answer to every problem, Asimov only offers an ordinary person’s mind working at its very best to improve its view from generation to generation.
What is Asimov’s second reason? What examples were used to prove his point? - The second reason is that he must point out the fallacies of superstition. It is wrong to claim that we should not interfere with superstition just because it can bring solace and comfort to people. He used examples like smoking, drinking and driving, and drug addiction to prove the point that these things are not only harmful to the practitioners, but potentially harmful to the other people as well. Using the excuse of seeking solace and comfort for themselves, these people do great harm to others.
Where in his essay does Asimov really touch upon the uselessness or even pernicious effects of superstition? How does he prove his point? - In paragraph 13 and 14, Asimov argues that superstition is useless in the face of real problems, such as diseases, environment issues and world peace problems. The superstitious believers do not search for rational ways of preventing or solving these problems. Worse than this is that they even prevent others from searching for solutions to all these problems facing us. • What is the tone of last paragraph? Why does Asimov want to adopt this way of speaking? - The tone in the last paragraph is sarcastic. Asimov wonders whether those advocating superstition do not believe what they are preaching themselves.
About the Author • Issac Asimov(艾萨克.艾西莫夫)(1920 –1992) born in Russia to Jewish parents, was an American author and professor of biochemistry, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. • Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books. • Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered one of the "Big Three" science-fiction writers during his lifetime. • Isaac Asimov was a humanist and a rationalist. He did not oppose religious conviction in others, but he frequently railed against superstitious and pseudoscientific beliefs. • Notable work(s) the Foundation Series, the Robot Series, Nightfall
George Orwell • Eric Arthur Blair (1903 –1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author. • His work is marked by a profound consciousness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism (极权主义), a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism. • Considered "perhaps the 20th century's best chronicler of English culture,“he wrote works in many different genres including novels, essays, polemic journalism, literary reviews, and poetry. • His most famous works are the satirical novel Animal Farm (1945) (chosen by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005) and the dystopian (反乌托邦)novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).
Nineteen Eighty-Four • Published in 1949, it focuses on a repressive, totalitarian regime. • The story follows the life of one seemingly insignificant man, Winston Smith, a civil servant assigned the task of perpetuating the regime's propaganda by falsifying records and political literature. Smith grows disillusioned and so begins a rebellion against the system, which later leads to his arrest and torture. • The novel has become famous for its portrayal of pervasive government surveillance and control, and government‘s increasing encroachment on the rights of the individual. • Since its publication, many of its terms and concepts, such as “Big Brother,” “doublethink” and “Newspeak” (以规避,迂回,含混为特点的官方宣传语言) have entered the popular language use.
Words & expressions • plague [vt. cause worry, pain or difficulty, trouble to someone or something over a period of time] e.g. Financial problems have been plaguing their new business partners. The children plagued him with questions all through lunch. • solace [help and comfort] e.g. When his wife left him, he found solace in the bottle. • at one’s disposal [available to be used] e.g. Having sold the house she had a large sum of money at her disposal. • in essence [relating to the most important characteristics or ideas of something] e.g. In essence, both sides agree on the issue. • have the call to do … [a strong feeling that you want to do sth, especially a particular job] e.g. He felt the call of the priesthood early on in his life.
accord [vt. treat someone specially, usually by showing respect] e.g. The massed crowds of supporters accorded him a hero's welcome. His version of events does not accord with witnesses' statements. • bribe [vt. try to make someone do something for you by giving them money, presents or something else that they want] e.g. He bribed immigration officials and entered the country illegally. • strive to do [try very hard to do something ] e.g. In her writing she strove for a balance between innovation and familiar prose forms. • have a pipeline to … [have access to] e.g. The theatre company has several new productions in the pipeline for next season. • fallible [able or likely to make mistakes]
with let or hindrance [without being prevented from doing something] e.g. People will be able to travel from country to country without let or hindrance. • sociopath [a person with an antisocial personality disorder] • What of it? [vt. used to rudely say that you do not think something is important] e.g. "That's the third time you've done that!" "Yeah, what of it?" • lure sb. into … [persuade someone to do something or go somewhere by offering them something exciting] e.g. She was lured into the job by the offer of a high salary. • by and large [when everything about a situation is considered together] e.g. There are a few small things that I don't like about my job, but by and large it's very enjoyable. • insofar as [to the degree that] e.g. That’s the truth, insofar as I know it. .
pernicious [having a very harmful effect or influence] e.g. The cuts in government funding have had a pernicious effect on local health services. • inscrutable [(especially of a person or their expression) not showing emotions or thoughts and therefore very difficult to understand or get to know] • beneficent [adj. helping, generous] e.g. the beneficent powers of Nature • multiplying [increasing] e.g. There are a few small things that I don't like about my job, but by and large it's very enjoyable. • viable [able to work as intended or able to succeed; able to survive e or continue] e.g. In order to make the company viable, it will unfortunately be necessary to reduce staffing levels. Rising costs are threatening the viability of many businesses. .
Language Work (C) • 1. a. I can now go anywhere I want to with a car at my disposal. b. We can go on with our experiment now with a fully equipped laboratory at our disposal. c. Students can do research projects after class with a well-stocked library at their disposal. • 2. a. The gangsters threatened the shopkeeper with violence if he refused to open the door. b. The manager threatened the employees with dismissal if they disobeyed his orders. c. The President threatened the enemy country with military strike if they refused to be cooperative in the nuclear arms inspection.
3. a. To my surprise, he claimed to have talked with the President. b. That guy is not as good as he claims to be. c. Despite his strong Liverpool accent, he claimed to be a Scot. • 4. a. It is no defence of the author’s economic theory to say that this book is a serious study. b. It is no defence of her innocence to say that she is ignorant. c. It is no defence of your actions to say that you did it out of a sense of justice. • 5. a. The policeman demanded that the man in the car show his identity card. b. She has been demanding that he check his schoolwork before handing in. c. She demanded that he return the money which he borrowed from her immediately.
Part III Extended Activities • Dictation • Read More • Words & Expressions • Translation • Cultural Information
Dictation Superstition is a traditional belief that a certain action or event can cause or foretell an apparently unrelated event. /For example, some superstitious people believe that carrying a rabbit’s tail will bring them good luck. /Others believe that if a black cat crosses their path, they will have bad luck. /To yet other superstitious people, dropping a knife or fork on the floor means guests are coming. /Such beliefs are superstitions because in each case/ the action and the event it foretells are traditionally thought to be connected./ Many people consider superstitions unscientific. /However, some scholars believe that some superstitions have a scientific basis. /For example, people in England once used tea made from certain plants to treat some forms of heart disease. /Today, physicians often prescribe a drug made from dried leaves of these plants for patients with weak hearts./ (10’)
Read More – The Never-ending Fight (Continued) Questions for reading comprehension: • How do people usually react to the death of their friends and loved ones? How do people consider those victims and survivors in an earthquake? What point does Asimov try to make here? - He is mocking those who hold the superstitious belief that when people die they go to heaven. For, if really death means that, why don’t they show happiness or satisfaction? • What can be learned from the Americans’ insistence that they have strong defenses? - However they trust in their God, they are still doubtful whether God is capable of protecting them and still have choose to rely on armed forces to help them out.
What are the examples of superstition mentioned by Asimov? What kind of fortune tellers do people turn to instead of God? - rabbit’s feet, horseshoes, four-leaf clovers, Saint Christopher medals, lucky pieces of an infinite number of shapes and forms; black cats crossing their path, ladders being walked under, mirrors being broken, aces of spades being turned up tea-leaf readers, crystal-ball gazers, astrologers… • What do the “small example” and “large example” refer to? - August 8 1988 written “8/8/88” in brief form: uncounted people played the number 888 in lotteries on that day and lost In the summer of 1988 U.S. suffered the worst drought in over fifty years. Most people prayed to God for rain …
What superstitious beliefs are mentioned that do not arise from the dominant religion of the Western world? - Beliefs about Bermuda Triangle, pyramid powers, flying saucers, transmigration of souls. • How did most of the scientific authorities questioned respond to the Velikovskian theory of astronomical hopscotch? What did Asimov say about it? • - They gave reasoned refutations but Asimov simply criticized it as ridiculous.
What is Asimov’s expectation of the future? Is he optimistic about the possibility that a majority of the people will no longer adhere to superstition? - Despite all the developments and advances in science and technology, the vast majority of people will still take solace and comfort in superstitions. • What does “that one truly godlike gift” refer to? -rational thinking or the rational dimension of human knowledge • If it is a never-ending fight with no victory in sight, why continue? - We have the call. Whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual, who we may win for the cause.
Words & Expressions • at a blow [at once] • rejoice [vi. feel or show great happiness about something] • unaided [without any help from anyone else; independently] e.g. Since his accident, he hasn't been able to walk unaided. • be second to none [be the first or best] • be in the grip of … [be experiencing something unpleasant that you have no control over] e.g. The country is currently in the grip of the worst recession for twenty years. • withhold [refuse to give something or to keep back something] e.g. During the trial, the prosecution was accused of withholding crucial evidence from the defence.
concatenation [connection, series of something linking with each other] • whatsoever [(=whatever) used after a negative phrase to add emphasis to the idea that is being expressed] e.g. I can honestly say that I have no interest whatsoever in the royal family. • uncounted [adj. countless] • hail … as … [praise a person or an achievement by saying that they are similar to someone or something very good] e.g. The film was hailed as a masterpiece in its day. • every once in a while [occasionally] • presumably [used to say what you think is the likely situation] e.g. They can presumably afford to buy a bigger apartment.
for sb’s long-term good [为了……长期的福祉] • be in the minority [占少数] • efficacy [effectiveness (esp. of a medicine or a method)] • irresolution [indecisiveness] • might/may (just) as well do … [do sth because it seems best in the situation that you are in, although you may not really want to do it] e.g. Since it is raining hard, you may as well stay here. • defy [refuse to obey, or to act or be against, a person, decision, law, situation] e.g. A few workers have defied the majority decision and gone into work despite the strike. The chaos at the airport defies description.
refutation [defence; disproof; refutal] • every last … [adj. (used as an intensive) every ] • hug (ideas, beliefs) to one’s breast [embrace; accept an idea, a proposal, a set of beliefs, etc., especially when it is done with enthusiasm] • strike/hit/touch a (raw) nerve [upset someone] e.g. The newspaper article touched a raw nerve - people still resent the closure of the local school. • dogged adherence to … [stubborn following …] • rationality [reason] • with … in sight [with … to be seen in the near future]
Translation • They weredeprivedof normal childhood happiness by the war. • Blossoming valleys and the beautiful colors of autumn lure numerous visitors into the mountains. • What he said meant in essence that he didn’t support our plan. • Having sold the house, she had a considerable amount of money at her disposal. • There are some things that I don’t like about this job. But by and large it’s quite enjoyable. • They bribed the congressman with a large sum of money to get his support for their proposal at the meeting. • The policy has not only produced obvious short-term effects but will also exert a long-term influence on the future development of society. • Influenced by the international economic crisis, many of the local companies are in the grip of a recession.
关于什么是理性，该怎样清楚地看世界，我有自己的看法。与有神论者不同，我不会用地狱之火威胁任何人，即使他们拒绝接受我所说的每个字；我也不会企图用永久的幸福之类的鬼话来贿赂他们，只要他们认同我的每一句话。相反地，我布道的世界里没有威逼，没有贿赂，只是纯粹为了认识而需努力去了解的东西。关于什么是理性，该怎样清楚地看世界，我有自己的看法。与有神论者不同，我不会用地狱之火威胁任何人，即使他们拒绝接受我所说的每个字；我也不会企图用永久的幸福之类的鬼话来贿赂他们，只要他们认同我的每一句话。相反地，我布道的世界里没有威逼，没有贿赂，只是纯粹为了认识而需努力去了解的东西。 • 诚然，所有这些都很容易给染上恶习的人们带来伤害。但是有人会质疑：人们从造成自身伤害的行为中得到快乐，这只不过是他们自己的选择，仅是根据自己的意愿来对待他们的身体健康与生命安全，我们算什么人？竟能充当“老大”， 把我们所谓的更好的生活方式的观念专横地强加给他们？
我们生活在这样一个时代，人口过剩，空气污染，温室效应，臭氧层空洞，环境破坏，森林和野生动植物遭到毁坏，核军备有剧增的危险，所有这些都以破坏文明、极度缩短地球生命的方式构成对人类的威胁，如果我们解决这一切的唯一方法是依赖外在迷信的东西，那么我们正在把毁灭变成事实。我们生活在这样一个时代，人口过剩，空气污染，温室效应，臭氧层空洞，环境破坏，森林和野生动植物遭到毁坏，核军备有剧增的危险，所有这些都以破坏文明、极度缩短地球生命的方式构成对人类的威胁，如果我们解决这一切的唯一方法是依赖外在迷信的东西，那么我们正在把毁灭变成事实。 • 即使将来科技非常发达，即使我们已经用电脑控制了整个世界，即使机器人替代人类做奴隶式的工作，人类被解放出来去富有创造性地完成人类任务，即使我们的空间已经扩展到月球，甚至比月球更远的地方，而且正在迅速地渗透到太阳系的每一个地方，即使我们比上个世纪更了解我们的地球，大多数人依然从各种各样的迷信中寻求慰藉，依然会听信那些以此将钱塞满腰包的人的鼓惑和胡言乱语。
Cultural Information - Darcula the Vampire • What is a vampire? • What beliefs are commonly held about vampires? • Why is there a continual popularity of vampires? • Who is Dracula? From whom did Bram Stoker get the name? • How does Dracula look?