QUESTION TEXT: A recent study of 6,403 people showed…
QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: Lowering cholesterol levels reduces the risk of heart disease
REASONING: People with heart disease often have high cholesterol. Pravastatin lowered heart disease risk and also lowered cholesterol.
ANALYSIS: This is a bad argument. It could be that Pravastatin lowers heart disease risk for some other reason, and that it is only a coincidence that it lowers cholesterol as well.
Similarly, the mere fact that heart disease patients have high cholesterol does not mean that cholesterol causes heart disease. It could be that some third factor causes both heart disease and also often causes high cholesterol.
- The argument didn’t say whether it was a good idea to take Pravastatin. It just claimed that the Pravastatin study helped show that cholesterol caused heart disease. Pravastatin could have horrible side effects.
- CORRECT. We have no evidence that Pravastatin reduced heart disease because it lowered cholesterol. Lowered cholesterol could have just been a side effect.
- The argument relied on past findings and the study. There’s nothing wrong with that.
- The conclusion is about heart disease. There’s
no reason the conclusion has to focus
on Pravastatin. That was just evidence.
- That’s irrelevant. The study was big enough that it can be used for results. It doesn’t matter who else is using Pravastatin.
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