TOPIC: ARGUMENT137 - The following appeared in an editorial in the Mason City newspaper.
"At present, Mason City residents seldom use the nearby Mason River for any kind of recreational activity, even though surveys of the region's residents consistently rank water sports (swimming, fishing, and boating) as a favorite form of recreation. Since there have been complaints about the quality of the water in the river, residents must be avoiding the river because they think that it is not clean enough. But that situation is about to change: the agency responsible for rivers in our region has announced plans to clean up Mason River. Therefore, recreational use of the river is likely to increase, so the Mason City council will need to increase its budget for improvements to the publicly owned lands along the Mason River."
WORDS: 612 TIME: 0:30:00 DATE: 2006-8-24
In this argument, the arguer recommends that the use of Mason River will rise in the future and the Mason City should raise its budget to improve the publicly owned lands along the river. To support the conclusion, the arguer cites a survey with a report that residents in Mason City favorite water sports and the complaints about the quantity of Mason River's water. Then an announcement to clean up this river be pointed out. Deep weighing on the mind, the argument suffers from several logical flaws.
To begin with, the survey cited to prove that the favorite sports of resident in Mason City are water sports is unrepresentative. What is the capacity of the sample? Is it large enough to reflect the mind of all the residents? How about the quantity of sample? Is the sample random or selective? What questions was asked in the survey? Is it a loaded question with a tempting answer as water sports? All in all, without any answer to these questions, the arguer hardly assures us that the survey is reliable. In addition, it is the key, as we know, to assure us the respondents are representative that all respondents are being forthright and anonymous. Unfortunately, the arguer fails to prove it. If it is not the case, it is likely that most respondents have provided responses that they believe the asker would approve of, regardless of whether the responses were truthful, which also cause the respondents unrepresentative.
Similarly, the objective ness of complaints about the quantity of water opens to doubt. Perhaps, these complaints' makers are the owners of some public natatoriums in Mason City, which want stop swimmers playing in the Mason River. Without ruling out this, the complaints cannot be cited as evidence that the quantity of water in Mason River is real bad.
Furthermore, even assuming these complaints are objective and the favorite of residents is water sport, the arguer confuses concurrence with causal relationship between the quantity problem and the little use of river. Every causal relationship implies, admittedly, a concurrence, but the concurrence does not necessarily imply a causal relationship, at least in this argument. To establish this causal relationship, the arguer should provide complete evidence.
Finally, the announcement of clean up Mason River is insufficient to draw a conclusion that the use of this river will increase. On one hand, there is no detail that no such plans be made ago in Mason City. Maybe many plans to clean up the water was failed in the end. Thus the new plans will not be trusted in. On the other hand, again no evidence is provided to persuade us to believe in the new plains will succeed in cleaning program.
In addition, the arguer's additional suggestion that the Mason City need to increase its budget to improve the publicly owned lands is groundless in two respects. First, lacking details that the publicly owned lands need be improved we cannot assure the necessary of the budget increasing. It is entirely possible that these lands are developing enough. Second, without considering the economical condition in Mason City, the suggestion cannot be regard as doable.
To sum up, we can safely conclude that this argument is unwarranted for so many gaps in it. To make us evaluate it better, the arguer should provide more evidence and detail to support the following assumptions: (1) all, at least most, Mason City residents prefer water sport to other indeed; (2) the complaints about the water quantity is objective; (3) the real reason of few use of Mason River is the bad water quantity; (4) the new plans to clean up water will be effective; (5) the suggestion to increase such budget is feasible.
A za a za fighting ....