QUESTION TYPE: Weaken
CONCLUSION: Sunscreen isn’t likely to reduce skin cancer.
REASONING: Skin cancer has grown even though more people are using sunscreen.
ANALYSIS: This is a bad argument. People might be using sunscreen because they’re out in the sun. Sunscreen could reduce their risk of skin cancer, even if it can’t totally offset the increased exposure.
I checked the answers, and noticed that my prephrase wasn’t there. Who cares? It could have been the answer, but I didn’t get attached to it. Prephrasing is extremely valuable, but don’t get stuck on a single explanation.
The correct answer weakens the argument by pointing out that cancer takes decades to develop. So the current cancers developed before sunscreen use was common, and sunscreen might still be effective.
Small public service announcement: sunscreens focus on SPF, which is UVB. But UVA is the main cause of melanoma. Check whether your sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB.
- It’s not clear why the most expensive brand matters.
- CORRECT. This shows that current skin cancer had its origins a long time ago, before the recent increase in sunscreen use.
- It’s good that sunscreens are based on research. But this can’t weaken the fact that cancer rates are increasing.
- This doesn’t tell us anything about sunscreen.
- I can see how this is tempting. This would be the right answer, if the argument had said:
“Sunscreen doesn’t help. Those who use sunscreen are just as likely to get cancer.”
Then this answer would show that the cancer group had a higher risk, and sunscreen may have lowered their risk.
But the argument was different! It said we have more cancer even though we use more sunscreen.
So the question is: why hasn’t increased sunscreen use reduced cancer on average? If sunscreen was protective we would expect rates to go down if more people use it.
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Graeme teaches how to break down arguments, quickly