QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: The new proposal for disposing dredge spoils will damage fishing.
REASONING: Some people think that the new proposal would be bad. (for unspecified reasons)
ANALYSIS: This argument makes two errors:
- We’re given no reason to assume the petitioners are correct. Beliefs aren’t facts.
- It assumes the petition signers are opposed to the proposal because they think it will damage fishing. But the petitioners didn’t say why the proposal is bad!
- This answer refers to a straw man argument, where you change the argument you’re replying to, to make it dumber. This didn’t happen here.
Example of flaw: My opponent is wrong to say that buying the factory caused all of our 1000 problems!
[The opponent had, in fact, said that the factory has caused two problems.]
- Irrelevant. We care about whether the proposal damages fishing. That is true or false on its own – it has nothing to do with other proposals.
(Maybe all proposals would damage fishing!)
- We have no idea what the letter writer’s self-interest is. We know nothing about them.
- CORRECT. We don’t know anything about the petitioners. As far as we know they’re just regular citizens. In which case, why should we accept their opposition as correct? They might be wrong!
If the petitioners had been subject matters experts, the petition might have been worth paying attention to.
- The argument isn’t about which proposal to use. It’s about whether the current proposal damages fishing. That’s all.
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