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by ronnie1985 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:50 am
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 essay:-

In this argument the author concluded without citing any specific example that the government should make allowances within the budget to pay for a manned Mars landing by 2020. In persuading the readers, the author just mentioned that the Space Race of 1960's between US and Russia yielded numerous technological advances that provided many economic and humanitarian benefits. The argument is vulnerable to many points of criticism. I will enumerate a few of them in the paragraphs below.

Firstly, the author fails to exemplify even a single economic and humanitarian benefit yielded by the technological advancement because of the space race between US and Russia. As we all know that the technological advancement that provides economic or humanitarian benefit is due to the "Natural Curious Nature" of humans and the natural tendency of humans to ease his/ her life. Moreover the technological breakthroughs required for "Space Race" have no impetus on human lives on earth. These technologies provide no benefit to average human population on Earth. Some specific examples cited by the author could have made the argument a little stronger.

Secondly, in today's "Global Economic Gloom", where the world is torned by WARS and POVERTY, spending on manned mission to Mars is both unethical and illogical. There are better ways to spend money that will warranty upliftment of human beings on earth. The author, thus fails to convince the readers that provisioning for Manned Mission to Mars will help benefit the Economy or Human Society.

Thirdly, we all know that NASA eats up 7% of total GDP of US and all the money poured into NASA is spent some kind of "SPACE RESEARCH". Hence, providing separate budgetary allowance for Manned Mission to Mars does not make sense. the author should have cited valid reasons for allocating separate budget for Manned Mission to mars. I believe that the spending on space research will yield similar technological breakthroughs as a manned mission to Mars will.

Finally, it can be well concluded that the argument is flawed as it does not provide valid reasons for its conclusion. If the author had mentioned the specific examples of technological advancements that benefited human society and also provided future technological advancements expected from the manned mission to Mars that can benefit human society, the argument would have been stronger. Since the author fails to justify separate budgetary allowance to Manned Mission to Mars, the argument is weak and the conclusion stands unwarranted.
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