Let the Facts Speak

Most of the time in science writing, the author is actively trying to prove and persuade their point, whatever that may be. When doing this, it is typical for a writer to use a multitude of facts and then state why these facts are important. This, however, may not always be the best way to write about science. Sometimes it is best to let the facts speak for themselves. For example, in “The Really Big One” by Kathryn Schulz, facts are presented, and it is up to the audience to determine how relevant or irrelevant that information is. This article pertains to an earthquake that will devastate a large portion of the northeastern United States. Simple facts and information about this earthquake are riddled throughout. For example, in “The Really Big One,” Schulz says, “FEMA calculates that, across the region, something on the order of a million buildings—more than three thousand of them schools—will collapse or be compromised in the earthquake.” Kathryn Schulz’s matter-of-fact way of presenting her information allows the facts in her piece to really be exemplified throughout the article. The audience has an opportunity to see all of the facts in an “unbiased” manner because Schulz does not waste time by trying to convince her readers that what is going to happen is bad; she just says it. The way that “The Really Big One” keeps the active persuasion element (mostly) out of its rhetoric makes this article even more persuasive than it would have been if Kathryn Schulz actually tried to “prove” her article. Though the facts stand alone, they make an impact larger than any explanation could have.

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