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Several carefully conducted studies showed that 95 percent o

This topic has 1 expert reply and 1 member reply

Several carefully conducted studies showed that 95 percent o

Post Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:07 am
Several carefully conducted studies showed that 95 percent of strict vegetarians reached age 50 without developing serious heart disease. We can conclude from this that avoiding meat increases one’s chances of avoiding serious heart disease. Therefore, people who want to reduce the risk of serious heart disease should not eat meat.

The flawed pattern of reasoning exhibited by which one of the following is most similar to that exhibited by the argument above?

(A) The majority of people who regularly drive over the speed limit will become involved in traffic accidents. To avoid harm to people who do not drive over the speed limit, we should hire more police officers to enforce the speed laws.
(B) Studies have shown that cigarette smokers have a greater chance of incurring heart disease than people who do not smoke. Since cigarette smoking increases one’s chances of incurring heart disease, people who want to try to avoid heart disease should give up cigarette smoking.
(C) The majority of people who regularly drink coffee experience dental problems in the latter part of their lives. Since there is this correlation between drinking coffee and incurring dental problems, the government should make coffee less accessible to the general public.
(D) Studies show that people who do not exercise regularly have a shorter life expectancy than those who exercise regularly. To help increase their patients’ life expectancy, doctors should recommend regular exercise to their patients.
(E) Most people who exercise regularly are able to handle stress. This shows that exercising regularly decreases one’s chances of being overwhelmed by stress. So people who want to be able to handle stress should regularly engage in exercise.

What's the best approach to determine the answer?

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Post Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:58 am
Thanks for the above explanation Very Happy

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Post Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:43 pm
The best approach is to analyze the argument in the usual way, finding evidence and conclusion, and then find a choice that is structured in the same way. The road from evidence to conclusion takes the same path. In this question, it takes a path that doesn't really connect evidence and conclusion. It is flawed.

The conclusion is that people who want to reduce the risk of serious heart disease should not eat meat.

The evidence is 1) 95 percent of strict vegetarians reached age 50 without developing serious heart disease and 2) We can conclude from this that avoiding meat increases one’s chances of avoiding serious heart disease. (Note that the evidence contains a conclusion that is then used as evidence for the final conclusion.)

For this question, you need to find a choice that uses the same sort of reasoning. In a sense, this question is made easier by our being told that the reasoning is flawed. So what's wrong? 95% is certainly a large majority, but how does that compare with the percentage of non-strict vegetarians? Perhaps 99% of them reach 50 without developing heart disease. We need a comparison between these two populations -- people who are strict vegetarians and those who are not. Also, showing a correlation is not showing a causation. Perhaps, being a strict vegetarian and reaching 50 without developing serious heart disease are both outcomes of being a Buddhist or some other factor.

Choice A begins with a piece of evidence that sounds similar enough to the argument's evidence, but then brings in police officers, who were never mentioned in the evidence. The argument does not bring in a new element in the conclusion.

Choice B, like the argument, mentions heart disease, but that is similarity of content, not reasoning. That doesn't make the choice wrong or right. But the first sentence, unlike the argument, compares two populations, smokers and non-smokers. This makes the conclusion quite strong, not flawed.

Choice C starts out promising. It shows a correlation between coffee drinking and dental problems. The second sentence then describes this as a correlation, which is actually NOT what the argument does. The argument goes further and draws a conclusion. In addition, this choice, unlike the argument, brings in a new element in the conclusion: the government.

Choice D is similar to Choice B. The reasoning draws a strong conclusion from a comparison between two groups.

Choice E is correct. It describes a correlation between regular exercise and handling stress. There is no comparison between two populations. Maybe people who do NOT exercise regularly are even better at handling stress. And, like the argument, this choice conflates correlation with causation. Maybe being able to handle stress well and exercising regularly are both outcomes of living in a suburb or some other factor. There's not enough information to conclude that regular exercise causes an increased ability to handle stress. (It should also be noted that the second piece of evidence is, like the second piece of evidence in the argument, a conclusion.)

I'm available if you'd like any follow up.

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