QUESTION TEXT: Studies have shown that pedestrians are struck…
QUESTION TYPE: Weaken
CONCLUSION: More pedestrians are struck in crosswalks than outside crosswalks, because crosswalks give pedestrians a strong sense of security, and pedestrians fail to look both ways.
REASONING: No evidence is given for the explanation.
ANALYSIS: It might seem odd that I wrote “no evidence is given”. That’s because the conclusion is an explanation for the fact that pedestrians are hit in crosswalks. So the explanation is the conclusion and not evidence. Actual evidence would have been something like “We verified this explanation by observation. We watched crosswalks, and noticed that pedestrians were less likely to look both ways, compared to crossing elsewhere.”
You can weaken the explanation simply by contradicting it or finding an alternate reason. The one that immediately popped to mind for me was that most pedestrians probably cross at crosswalks. If that’s the case, more accidents will happen at crosswalks even if pedestrians are cautious.
- CORRECT. If this is the case, we’d expect most accidents to happen at crosswalks even if pedestrians are careful.
- So? The question was about the proportion of pedestrians struck at crosswalks, not the number. Numbers and proportions are different things.
- This is irrelevant. The argument didn’t say that signal malfunction was a common cause of accidents. This answer could mean that signals have a 0.0001% chance of malfunction, and pedestrians mistakenly believe it’s 0.00001%. Either number is too low to affect things.
- This strengthens the argument because it eliminates an alternate explanation. This could have been the correct answer if it said “Drivers drive more recklessly than average near crosswalks”
- This strengthens the argument by suggesting that it’s normal for safety precautions such as crosswalks to make people less cautious.
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