QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: Most people in industrialized countries would be healthier if they took an aspirin a day.
REASONING: Aspirin prevents heart disease. Heart disease is the most common disease in industrialized countries.
ANALYSIS: This sounds persuasive. But ‘most common’ is a relative term. It compares heart disease to other diseases. A disease can be the ‘most common’ without necessarily being ‘common’.
That could mean, for example, that heart disease affected 2% of people. Cancer could be the second most common, affecting 1% of people. Both diseases are far from affecting ‘most’ (51%) people.
In that case, it would be pointless for most people to take aspirin to prevent heart disease.
It’s important to note that the evidence was about heart attacks, and the conclusion was about health. The answer didn’t make note of this difference, but other questions do test your ability to realize that health is broader than heart attacks.
- Actually, the first sentence says aspirin can prevent heart disease, too.
- CORRECT. Heart disease might only affect 2% of people in industrialized countries. In that case, most people wouldn’t be at risk and they wouldn’t need aspirin.
- It doesn’t matter if aspirin helps with other diseases. It just has to not make them worse.
- Who cares if aspirin is not the best solution? It just has to be helpful.
- The conclusion is only about people in industrialized nations. So it’s fine that the studies only looked at people in those countries.
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