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AWA – Arguments: 1/27/4/11

Requesting all GRE students to send in their analyses of the following arguments. Please adhere to the stipulated time of 30 mins when writing each.

Discuss how well reasoned you find the arguments given below. In your discussion be sure to analyse the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.


The following is a letter to the editor of a local newspaper.

“As a local merchant, I wish to support the development of a ski resort in the state park north of our township. Along with many other merchants who favor the proposal by Ski the Slopes, Incorporated, I would, of course, experience a growth in my business. But I also know how much more prosperous, not to mention lively and interesting, our community would be if tourism increased. Since the main opposition comes from a few environmentalists* who do not even live in this community, I see no reason to give in to their views. The First National Bank has finally researched the project and agreed to fund it. As a result, I see no reason to delay development of the resort.”

Environmentalists are people who advocate the preservation of the natural environment.


The Trash-Site Safety Council has recently conducted a statewide study of possible harmful effects of garbage sites on the health of people living near the sites. A total of five sites and 300 people were examined. The study revealed, on average, only a small statistical correlation between the proximity of homes to garbage sites and the incidence of unexplained rashes among people living in these homes. Furthermore, although it is true that people living near the largest trash sites had a slightly higher incidence of the rashes, there was otherwise no correlation between the size of the garbage sites and people’s health. Therefore, the council is pleased to announce that the current system of garbage sites does not pose a significant health hazard. We see no need to restrict the size of such sites in our state or to place any restrictions on the number of homes built near the sites.


The nation of Claria covers a vast physical area. But despite wide geographic differences, many citizens are experiencing rising costs of electricity. A recent study of household electric costs in Claria found that families who cooled their houses with fans alone spent more on electricity than did families using air conditioners alone for cooling. However, those households that reported using both fans and air conditioners spent less on electricity than those households that used either fans or air conditioners alone. Thus, the citizens of Claria should follow the study’s recommendation and use both air conditioners and fans in order to save money on electricity.


As people grow older, an enzyme known as PEP increasingly breaks down the neuropeptide chemicals involved in learning and memory. But now, researchers have found compounds that prevent PEP from breaking neuropeptides apart. In tests, these compounds almost completely restored lost memory in rats. The use of these compounds should be extended to students who have poor memory and difficulty in concentrating — and therefore serious problems in school performance. Science finally has a solution for problems neither parents nor teachers could solve.


In a study of reading habits of Leeville citizens conducted by the University of Leeville, most respondents said they preferred literary classics as reading material. However, a follow-up study conducted by the same researchers found that the type of book most frequently checked out of each of the public libraries in Leeville was the mystery novel. Therefore, it can be concluded that the respondents in the first study had misrepresented their reading habits.



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