QUESTION TEXT: One year ago, a municipality banned dishwasher…
QUESTION TYPE: Argument Evaluation
CONCLUSION: Some residents switched to detergents without phosphates.
REASONING: There’s less phosphate pollution from the municipal wastewater treatment plant.
ANALYSIS: There could be many causes of phosphate pollution. The argument is trying to get you to overfocus on dishwater phosphates. But just because an argument mentions a cause, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only cause.
The author also ignores the wastewater treatment plant. There could be changes at the plant which affect how much pollution it releases.
To evaluate the argument, we should know if there are other sources of phosphates that changed. We should also know whether the municipal plant changed how it treats phosphates.
- The reason for sticking with phosphates has no impact on how many residents used phosphates. The reason could have been because they thought phosphates worked better, or because aliens made them do it. Who cares?
- The question is about how many phosphates are released. The type of phosphate doesn’t matter.
- CORRECT. Even if residents used the same amount of phosphates, the plant could have made changes that reduced phosphate pollution.
- This is a trap answer. You might have thought: what if there are other sources of phosphates? That’s a good thought. But you need to finish the sentence: “What if there are other sources of phosphates in the water that enters the waste treatment plant.”
This answer isn’t referring to water that enters the plant for treatment. Water that isn’t treated at the plant is irrelevant, because the evidence was only about a change in phosphate pollution from the plant.
- Whether municipal officials tried to stop smuggling doesn’t necessarily have any impact on the amount of phosphates used. The officials might have utterly failed.
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