QUESTION TEXT: Although wood-burning stoves are more efficient than…
QUESTION TYPE: Weaken
CONCLUSION: Wood-burning stoves are more dangerous that open fireplaces.
REASONING: Their smoke travels more slowly and therefore leaves behind more creosote. Creosote can clog up a chimney or burn inside of it.
ANALYSIS: This argument makes a common error: it lists one relevant difference and then makes a final judgment. We know one disadvantage of stoves. But it could be that fireplaces have other disadvantages that make them even more dangerous.
The correct answer lists one such disadvantage.
- This sounds tempting but it doesn’t do much. The stimulus is talking about how dangerous the stoves are on average. It could be that the most efficient stove costs $1,000,000 and nobody owns one. That won’t affect the average stove.
- This makes sense – if you don’t use your stove, how can it produce creosote. But this affects both fireplaces and stoves.
- CORRECT. This shows a reason that fireplaces are dangerous. It might outweigh the creosote danger and it weakens the argument.
- That doesn’t matter since we know that stoves produce more creosote.
- But if they used them, which type would be more dangerous? This doesn’t let us conclude that fireplaces are as dangerous as stoves.
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