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Need some feedback - Argument

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badri077 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Joined
22 Jun 2007
Posted:
25 messages

Need some feedback - Argument

Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:27 am
Would appreciate some feedback on my initial attempts at essays.

thnks,
-B

Argument

ESSAY QUESTION:
The following appeared in a science magazine:

"The "Space Race" of the 1960's between the USA and Russia was very expensive but it yielded a tremendous number of technological advances. These advances have provided many economic and humanitarian benefits. The benefits have more than paid for the effort and money spent during the Space Race and therefore the government should make allowances within the budget to pay for a manned Mars landing by 2020."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument's logic and analyze the argument's underlying assumptions. In addition, evaluate how supporting evidence is used and what evidence might counter the argument's conclusion. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.

The author makes the case that the "space race" of the 1960s between the USA and Russia, though very expensive, was beneficial overall given that the resulting technological advances provided many economic and humanitarian benefits. Further more, the author draws parallels between this situation and that of the planned Mars landing in 2020 and concludes that the government should provide for allocations within the budget for this new endeavor. The author fails to make a convincing argument by leaving out crucial data and concrete examples which could have served to make his case stronger.

Firstly, one of the assumptions the author makes is that the technological advances from space race of the 1960s provided many economic and humanitarian benefits. This assumption is hard to digest, especially the scale of its impact, to which the author alludes to. One can imagine a few cases where technologies relevant to space travel can impact daily life scenarios. However to raise the level of impact that of a widespread one requires a leap of faith which needs convincing data and examples, which are missing. Moreover the scale of impact correlates directly with the return-of-investment calculations for the funding of the space race. Thus to establish that the money spent on the 1960s space race, the author would need to provide clear substantiations of the same.

Secondly, one needs to consider the fact that 1960s space race lead to the first manned lunar landing. This is needed to understand the analogy being made to the upcoming manned Mars landing in 2020. Subsequent to the space race of the 1960s, the great powers (especially the USA) abandoned further efforts to land on the moon. This raises questions about the basic motivation and utility of the original endeavor in the first place. One can only conclude that the true motivation for the original lunar landing was for national pride and international bragging rights. One would be justified in looking at the planned manned Mars landing with great skeptism. Funding for such an endeavor would involve a great deal of money. The author does the argument a great disservice by glossing over these important details to justify the need for such a mission and more importantly how the money to be spent on it would be preferable to spending the money on other conrete humanitarian efforts like poverty allieviation etc.

Therefore we can see that the argument is not entirely convincing in its layout. Providing concrete data substantiating the need for the manned Mars landing and it's consequent benefit to humanity would go a long way in making the argument more convincing.

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