QUESTION TEXT: Peter: Recent evidence suggests that moderate alcohol…
QUESTION TYPE: Flawed Reasoning
CONCLUSION: Alcohol consumption does more good than harm.
REASONING: Moderate alcohol consumption has a few good effects.
ANALYSIS: There are two flaws with this argument.
- The author uses evidence about “moderate” alcohol consumption, then makes a conclusion about all alcohol consumption. Watch for concept shifts.
- The author gives evidence of alcohol’s positive effects, and doesn’t mention negative effects. The author then makes a conclusion about the net effects of alcohol. You always have to consider both benefit and harm.
This question shows that you have to be careful when you pre-phrase answers. The right answer uses the first flaw. If you only spotted the second flaw and fixated on it, you could easily miss the right answer on this otherwise easy question.
Whenever I form a pre-phrase, I am ready to abandon it if I don’t see it in the answers.
- The argument doesn’t mention why people chose to drink alcohol. The argument is about alcohol’s effects, not how people use it.
- The argument doesn’t mention popular belief. This answer is completely unsupported.
- This isn’t a flaw. I can truthfully say that “pens can be used to write”. It doesn’t matter that pencils can also be used to write, my first statement is still true. So alcohol can be beneficial even if other things are also beneficial.
- CORRECT. The conclusion is about all alcohol consumption, including binge drinking. The evidence is only about moderate consumption.
- Alcohol doesn’t have to harm all bacteria. Alcohol would potentially be useful even if it killed only some types of harmful bacteria.
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