Playing the Believing & Doubting Game

Part 1-The Game

Play the believing and doubting game with one of the assertions listed below by freewriting your believing and doubting responses. Spend ten minutes believing and then ten minutes doubting the assertion for a total of twenty minutes. When you believe an assertion, you agree, support, illustrate, extend, and apply the idea. When you doubt an assertion, you question, challenge, rebut, and offer counterreasons and counterexamples to the assertion.

Note that when students first learn to do exploratory writing, they often run out of ideas quickly and want to stop. But the best ideas often happen when you push through that wall. If you run out of ideas, let your mind follow a tangent. Particularly explore your personal experiences with the subject. Eventually you will get back on track with new ideas.

  1. Grades are an effective means of motivating students to do their best work.
  2. Facebook is a good way to make new friends.
  3. In recent years, advertising has made enormous gains in portraying women as strong, independent, and intelligent.
  4. If there is only one kidney available for transplant and two sick persons need it, one in her thirties and one in her sixties, the kidney should go to the younger person.
  5. The United States should reinstate the draft.
  6. Humans have free will.
  7. Fencing the U.S.-Mexico border is not an effective immigration policy.
  8. If students in a large lecture course can listen to a lecture and surf the Web or check e-mail at the same time, then they should be allowed to do so.

Part 2-Reflection

Write a reflective paragraph in which you assess the extent to which the believing and doubting game extended or stretched your thinking. Particularly, answer these questions:

  • What was difficult about this writing activity?
  • To what extent did it make you take an unfamiliar or uncomfortable stance?
  • How can believing and doubting help you wallow in complexity?

This Writing Exercise appears on pages 49–50 of The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing.

Page Last Updated: 24 August 2014