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by ronnie1985 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:45 am
The following appeared in a newspaper editorial:
"The claims of some politicians that we are on the brink of an energy crisis are misguided. We have enough oil in reserve to see us through any production shortage and the supply of in-ground oil is in no danger of running out any time soon. There is thus no need to set aside the technology and infrastructure of a century of oil-based energy."
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 essay:-

The argument states that there is no need to set aside the technology and infrastructure of a century of oil-based energy because oil reserves are enough to plow the population through any oil shortage. The argument is based upon questionable assumptions. Moreover, the line of reasoning is very weak. Hence the argument is weak and cannot convince its readers. I will enumerate the flaws in the following paragraphs.

Firstly, the argument wrongly assumes that oil is in enough supply. Well, as we all know that oil is a fossil fuel - fuels that cannot be replenished by nature itself in small amount of time. Hence, fossil fuels, no matter how much reserves we have, will deplete in due course of time. Hence, no reader will agree with the author that we have enough supply of fossil fuels. The argument, thus, stands invalid.

Secondly, the author has overlooked that the energy demand of the country will be constant, if not decreasing. The author, thus wrongly assumes that human population will not increase and the energy demand will not increase. We all know that in the last century, the country has added another "AUSTRALIA" in its headcount. Hence, I cannot agree with the author that we do not need to set aside oil based energy and infrastructure.

Thirdly, the author has not only provided a single data to show that we have "ENOUGH" oil reservoirs but also has failed to define the term "ENOUGH" in the context of energy security. The data, if provided, would have added some strength to the argument in that it would have explained as to how mush time can be given to scientific community to develop new infrastructure and technology.

Finally, the author does not look into the other perspective of a hybrid infrastructure that can use both oil and RENEWABLE sources of energy to supply to the ever increasing energy demand. This option will provide time to develop infrastructure that will not be based on oil to fulfill the energy demand of future generations.

In sum, it can be said that the argument is weak and cannot convince its readers that the technology and infrastructure of a century of oil-based energy need not be set aside. The wrong assumptions taken by the author and the constrained view of the author make this argument weak and unconvincing.
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