Tuesday, June 9, 2009

AWA - Argument 4

Date - 9 June 09
Sample essay taken from 800 score dot com test

Group #1: Analysis of Argument
A recent study with a researcher pretending to have a broken down car on the side of the road showed that when the researcher was a man, 60% of the time, a man pulled over to help them, and 0% of the time a woman stopped to help. When the researcher was a woman, 70% of the time a man stopped to help, and 20% of the time a woman stopped to help. This study shows how all men are more naturally altruistic than women. It also shows that women care more about helping women than men.

Describe how well reasoned you find this argument. In the discussion be sure to analyze 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 argument's conclusion. You may also address possible changes in the argument that would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
The argument under consideration is marred by a weak line of reasoning, the assumptions invloved with the evidence presented and the absence of experiment details. Also there are loop hools in the argument which might lead to counter arguments that could weaken the conclusion.

The line of reasoning takes only one example and it results. With this example alone it hastily arrives at a very generic conclusion. A single experiment regarding the behaviour of men and women on the road cannot be used to conclude that in general men are more helpful than women and that women help women more than they help men.

The experimental circumstances are hardly mentioned. For ex, which time of was the day was the experiment conducted, whether both the male and female researcher used the same stretch of road etc. Also the reasoning presented with the use of the evidence encompasses some assumptions like men stop for women only for helping and women don't stop because they don't want to help. In reality men might stop for socialising and the women might not stop because they were in a rush or they were scared of the strange man standing on the roadside.

Also the figures presented in the exapmle are misleading, for instance 60% of men in the experiment of the male researcher might number to 60 people in 100 subjects whereas the 70% in latter case might lead to 7 people out of 10 subjects which is in fact less than the the former. Also if there were no women subjects in the first experiment then obviosly the percentage of women stopping would be 0 and this doesnot prove any facts about women's lesser altruistic nature.If these facts actually come into light then they will weaken the argument as a whole.

As for any evidence that might strengthen the argument, inlcusion of any details proving that the experimental conditions were unifrom for both the experiements and that the same people were the subjects of the two experiments and that any theory that behaviour on road is representative of the human nature in general might add some value to the argument.

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