The research on stem cells and their use in treating different conditions as well as associated debates have become very popular during recent years. In “California Has Gone Crazy for Sketchy Stem Cell Treatments,” which was published in The Los Angeles Times in January 2019, McFarling discusses the problem of people’s belief in the power of stem cells. The article is oriented toward a wide audience, especially those people living in California, because more and more individuals begin to believe in the miracle of the treatment based on the use of stem cells.
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The author’s main claim provided in the article is that the effectiveness of using stem cells in treatment is not proved with research in the field. Thus, the audience needs to be educated on this aspect and not to be deceived because of the hype around the phenomenon of stem cells and their qualities (McFarling). In the article, McFarling effectively uses such a rhetorical strategy as logos to persuade the reader that there is no enough evidence regarding the use of stem cells, and it is successfully supported by pathos.
Before starting the rhetorical analysis of the text, it is necessary to summarize the key ideas presented by the author. In this work, McFarling concentrates on the issue of spreading stem cells clinics in California. These clinics have become popular among the public because they offer “magic” but usually unproven approaches to treating patients. Referring to regulations regarding stem cells research, the author develops the idea that this tendency in California can be addressed if scientists take responsibility for informing the public about the actual effects of stem cells.
Logos is the key rhetorical strategy that is used by McFarling to convince the reader to share her own ideas regarding the popularity of stem cells research and associated treatment in California. The author follows the strategy of mentioning studies, the authorities, and researchers’ ideas to support her statements and to appeal to the reasoning. Thus, McFarling accentuates that “there is no good scientific evidence the pricey treatments work, and there is growing evidence that some are dangerous.”
She makes this major claim of her article stronger while mentioning that this idea is introduced by the federal government, medical associations, and other authorities. McFarling chooses to refer to the authorities and researchers to support her opinion to provide argumentation without referring to ethos. Since this statement based on logos is presented in the introductory part of the article, it is effective to attract readers’ attention and make them accept the author’s idea because it is supported by researchers. From this perspective, this effective claim gives the whole article a certain direction and a tone.
One more example of logos in the article also depends on mentioning the federal government and scientists. McFarling claims that “today, there is only one federally approved stem cell product: the limited use of blood-forming stem cells … Scientists are just beginning to learn how to harness the power of stem cells.” However, it is possible to state that this claim should be supported by references to scientists’ actual words and study results to sound more credible and influential.
In addition to this instance, there is one more case of the inappropriate use of this rhetorical strategy in the text. The author applies an emotional and persuading tone while saying that stem cells are “not magic … and injected into a patient and out of biological context, they probably just die” (McFarling). Still, the focus on the word “probably” and the absence of referring to researchers’ findings do not add support to this claim that was intentionally designed according to the principles of logos.
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There are also statements in the article that are based on the application of pathos as a key rhetorical strategy. In order to catch the reader’s attention and provoke his or her interest in the topic discussed in the article, the author uses pathos in the first paragraph of the text. Thus, McFarling states “clinics peddle ‘vegan stem cell facials’ or ‘stem cell vaginal rejuvenations’ and claim the miracle cells can treat autism, baldness, dementia, diabetes, arthritis and paralysis all with a quick injection.” This vivid description of stem cell clinics can easily draw the reader’s attention and provoke a range of emotions, depending on this reader’s own position regarding the stem cells issue.
When the author needs to provide more support for her position, she also refers to opposing the use of stem cells in treating patients with the help of mentioning negative facts about stem cell products. In this case, the author utilizes pathos in order to cause the audience’s emotions of disappointment, surprise, and indignation. Firstly, the author accentuates that clinic operators can lie about the effectiveness of treatment that is conducted with the help of stem cells.
Thus, these specialists can state that “they believe in the treatments so strongly, they routinely inject themselves” (McFarling). However, in fact, these details cannot be checked, and there is no evidence that this approach can work and be easily applied in relation to diverse patients. In addition, McFarling notes stem cell products may “contain only dead stem cells, or things you wouldn’t want to be injected with, like the traces of fecal bacteria that recently left a dozen patients hospitalized.” These words can provoke the reader’s shock and disgust, and as a result, he or she becomes more interested in the author’s following argumentation regarding the inappropriateness of using stem cells in treatment.
Despite some weaknesses in presenting arguments in several parts of the text in the context of applying logos as the key rhetorical strategy in the article, in most paragraphs, McFarling effectively uses this approach. Furthermore, the application of logos is supported by the use of pathos to accentuate the absurdity of people’s high interest in stem cells with the help of focusing on negative outcomes of using this method.
Additionally, the appeal to the reasoning that is used by the author can be viewed as effective to demonstrate that her position is based on arguments and other people’s findings that add credibility to McFarling’s words. Thus, the author successfully utilizes the advantages of logos to persuade the reader and make him or her believe that her specific position regarding the problem is reliable. The appeal to emotions proposed by the author only in some parts of the article helps to provoke readers’ disregard for the achievements related to stem cells if they are not proved by researchers.
It is possible to state that this article is effective to change readers’ vision of stem cells research and the growing popularity of stem cells clinics in California and other regions of the United States. The reason is that many people do not have enough knowledge and information about stem cells, and they easily rely on advertisements and assertions without understanding the effect of these procedures and treatment on health.
From this perspective, the article is appropriate to propose an alternative view regarding stem cells that can appeal to readers’ reasoning and make them focus on facts, not on attractive claims. If the reader has not thought about the role of stem cells research in modern life, this article can provoke the discussion of this issue. In addition, it can also make the reader refer to the idea that the use of stem cells in treatment requires further investigation.
McFarling, Usha Lee. “California Has Gone Crazy for Sketchy Stem Cell Treatments.” The Los Angeles Times. 2019. Web.