Chapter 01 What is Critical Thinking, Anyway? Short Answer Questions



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Chapter 01 - What is Critical Thinking, Anyway?

Chapter 01

What is Critical Thinking, Anyway?

 

 




Short Answer Questions
 

1. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.

Will a beverage begin to cool more quickly in the freezer or in the regular part of the refrigerator? Well, of course it’ll cool faster in the freezer! There are lots of people who don’t understand anything at all about physics and who think things may begin to cool faster in the fridge. But they’re sadly mistaken. 

Argument: Clearly, our speaker has an opinion on the subject, but no argument is given.

 

2. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



It’s true that you can use your television set to tell when a tornado is approaching. The reason is that tornadoes make an electrical disturbance in the 55 megahertz range, which is close to the band assigned to channel 2. If you know how to do it, you can get your set to pick up the current given off by the twister. So your television set can be your warning device that tells you when to dive for the cellar.
—Adapted from Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope 

This passage might be taken as an explanation, but it is also an argument, since it is clearly designed to convince us that its main point is correct.

 

3. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



Some of these guys who do Elvis Presley imitations actually pay more for their outfits than Elvis paid for his! Anybody who would spend thousands just so he can spend a few minutes not fooling anybody into thinking he’s Elvis is nuts. 

No argument. No connection is made between the cost of the outfits and the psychological deficiencies of Elvis impersonators.

 

4. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



"The argument advanced at a recent government hearing—that because we will not be dependent on plutonium for more than a few hundred years it ‘will not be an important problem indefinitely’—entirely misses the point. Though we may rely on plutonium for only a relatively brief period, the plutonium produced during that period may be with us indefinitely, and it may jeopardize the lives of many times the number of generations that profit from its use."
—Ronald M. Green, "International Justice and Environmental Responsibility" 

Argument.

 

5. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



"Gene splicing is the most awesome and powerful skill acquired by man since the splitting of the atom. If pursued humanistically, its potential to serve humanity is enormous. We will use it to synthesize expensive natural products—interferon, substances such as insulin, and human endorphins that serve as natural painkillers. We will be able to create a second ‘green revolution’ in agriculture to produce new high-yield, disease-resistant, self-fertilizing crops. Gene splicing has the potential to synthesize new substances we can substitute for oil, coal, and other raw materials—keys to a self-sustaining society."
—John Naisbitt, Megatrends 

Argument.

 

6. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



Computers will never be able to converse intelligently through speech. A simple example proves that this is so. The sentences "How do you recognize speech?" and "How do you wreck a nice beach?" sound just the same when they are spoken, but they mean something different. A computer could not distinguish the two. 

Argument.

 

7. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



You’d better not pet that dog. She looks friendly, but she’s been known to bite. 

Argument.

 

8. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



It is obvious why some men have trouble understanding why women become upset over pornography. Pornography depicts women as servants or slaves, and men cannot conceive of themselves in this role. 

Argument.

 

9. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



I don’t care how well Thompson played last week. If he misses practice one more time, he’s not going to play in the tournament, and that’s that. 

No argument. The speaker is only making a firm claim, not supporting it with reasons.

 

10. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



Except maybe for finance and business law, schools of business really don’t have very much of their own subject matter to teach to students. All the rest is really mathematics, psychology, English, speech, and other standard subjects that business schools call by other names. 

Argument.

 

11. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



Right now there are as many as half a million military-style assault guns in the hands of private citizens in the United States. These small, light, easy-to-handle weapons are exemplified by the Israeli UZI, the American MAC-10 and AR-15, and the KG-99. All of these are sophisticated weapons manufactured for the single purpose of killing human beings in large numbers very quickly. 

No argument.

 

12. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



"It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question."
—John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism 

No argument.

 

13. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



"The personal computer revolution is marked by accidental discoveries. The entire market for these things was a big surprise to all the pioneers who put simple ads in hobbyist magazines and were stunned by an onslaught of eager customers."
—John C. Dvorak 

No argument.

 

14. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



"The main danger of war, even of a war fought with conventional weapons, lies in its unpredictability."
—Anatoly Gromyko, "Security for All in the Nuclear Age," in Breakthrough 

No argument.

 

15. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



"The recent failure of a Drake University student to halt his former girlfriend’s plan for an abortion focuses light on a seldom considered situation: While a woman’s right to an abortion should not be weakened, the idea of ‘fathers’ rights’ raised in this case should be discussed."
—The Daily Iowan 

No argument.

 

16. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



"If American business is to regain an advantageous position in the international marketplace, it must recreate a climate of flexibility and entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, the trend is to seek personal success not through entrepreneurship but through professionalism, as a continued climb in the number of advanced degrees in business and law confirms. If this tendency to seek personal security and prestige by joining the ranks of the professionally comfortable continues, the real winners will be America’s overseas competitors."
—Irving Greenberg 

Argument.

 

17. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



Some would prefer to say that every human being is both a body and a mind. Bodies are in space and subject to the mechanical laws that govern all other bodies in space. But minds are not in space, nor are their operations subject to mechanical laws. Bodily processes and states can be inspected by external observers, but the workings of one mind are not witnessable by other observers. And so a person lives through two collateral histories; but the actual transactions between the episodes of the private history and those of the public history remain mysterious, since by definition they can belong to neither series.
—Adapted from Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind 

Argument.

 

18. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



"[Lionel L.] Lewis discovered that, in recommendations of merit written by administrators and faculty themselves, although they put much emphasis (two-thirds) upon student related activities—teaching, advising, course planning, and popularity—no one argues from any supporting evidence other than, ‘Everyone knows.’"
—David A. Downes, "The Merit Muddle in the University" 

No argument.

 

19. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



The president has the morals of an alley cat, his critics say. Shows you what they know. He’ll still be reelected. 

No argument.

 

20. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



"Today, there is strong evidence—not only in theory but in practice—that families who try to protect dying children from knowing they’re dying rarely serve the child’s best interests. This conspiracy of silence, however well-meaning, often puts nurses, relatives, and others who spend the most time with the patient, especially in their lonely moments, on the spot."
—Thomas Scully and Celia Scully, Playing God: The New World of Medical Choices 

Argument.

 

21. Determine whether the following passage is (or contains) an argument.



"The Federal Reserve Board is normally the Stealth bomber of government agencies, zooming in without warning to raise or lower interest rates, and confirming weeks later what action was taken. But last Friday, in an extraordinary pre-emptive strike against a possible surge of inflation, the Federal Reserve Chairman declared that the central bank had raised short-term rates that very day." 

No argument.

 

22. Identify each speaker that gives an argument for his or her position in the following passage.



larry: Before we go to Hawaii, let’s go to a tanning salon and get a tan. Then we won’t look like we just got off the plane, plus we won’t get sunburned while we’re over there.
laurie: I don’t know . . . I read that those places can be dangerous. And did you ever check out how much they cost? Let’s let it go. 

Larry and Laurie are both giving arguments.

 

23. Identify each speaker that gives an argument for his or her position in the following passage.



student a: My family is very conservative. I don’t think they’d like it if they found out that I was sharing an apartment with two males.
student b: But sooner or later you have to start living your own life. 

Both A and B are giving arguments. B is arguing for an unstated claim: You should share the apartment with the two males despite what your family would like.

 

24. Identify each speaker that gives an argument for his or her position in the following passage.



insurance exec: Insurance costs so much because accident victims hire you lawyers to take us insurers to court and soak us for all we’re worth. There should be limits on the amounts insurance companies may be required to pay out on claims.
attorney: Limits? Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. What if someone’s medical expenses exceed those limits? Do we just say, "Sorry, Charlie"? 

Only Attorney is giving an argument.

 

25. Identify each speaker that gives an argument for his or her position in the following passage.



republican: If taxes absolutely must be raised, raise the sales tax. Raising taxes on corporations or income taxes just drives businesses out of state, and that’s bad for the economy. The net result is less tax revenue for government.
democrat: If you raise the sales tax, people buy less, and that’s even worse for the economy. Besides, the sales tax hits poor people the hardest, and they are the ones who least can afford a tax hike. 

Both parties are giving arguments.

 

26. Identify each speaker that gives an argument for his or her position in the following passage.



first citizen: There has been a lot of talk in favor of having civilian police-review boards monitor law enforcement activities. That’s better than letting internal-affairs units try to do that job.
second citizen: Right. The ethics of law enforcers is as important as the ethics of lawmakers. Letting the police themselves is like having the foxes guard the henhouse. 

Only Second Citizen is giving an argument.

 

27. Identify each speaker that gives an argument for his or her position in the following passage.



she: When you think about it, there’s every reason why women soldiers shouldn’t serve in combat.
he: Well, I don’t think anyone should have to serve in combat. I wouldn’t make anyone serve who doesn’t want to. 

Neither speaker is giving an argument.

 

28. Identify each speaker that gives an argument for her position in the following passage.



mother: If you are looking for a wise investment, try real estate. The price of housing has always risen faster than the rate of inflation.
daughter: Maybe, but I’m skeptical. What’s risen faster than the rate of inflation is the cost of land, not the cost of the structures put on it. Since the population isn’t growing and the demand for land is declining, real estate may not be such a great investment any more. 

Both parties are giving arguments.

 

29. Identify each speaker that gives an argument for his position in the following passage.



father: The governor should reduce government spending before he starts increasing taxes. Taxes just reduce our incomes, and there is plenty of waste in government. For example, a fire department doesn’t need a chief, an assistant chief, and a captain. All it needs is one administrator and however many firefighters.
son: Who takes charge if the administrator is sick or injured? 

Both parties are giving arguments. Son is arguing against the claim that a fire department needs only one administrator.

 

30. Identify each speaker that gives an argument for his or her position in the following passage.



terry: You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a home stereo system. Just buy a good car stereo. They’re just as good as home stereos, and they’re cheaper. All you need is an AC to DC power converter, and you’re in business.
larry: Fine, except who says a car stereo is cheaper? Car speakers cost more than home speakers. Also, it isn’t exactly cheap to replace your car system if it gets stolen, as often happens. 

Both parties are giving arguments.

 

31. Identify each speaker that gives an argument for his or her position in the following passage.



worried athletic supporter: I’m particularly concerned with the proposed cuts in the university athletic program. If something has to be cut, let’s start with something like dance or basket weaving.
unworried athletic supporter: Oh, don’t worry. The university isn’t going to kill its cash cow. A strong athletic program is good publicity and brings in lots of contributions. The trustees aren’t going to let anything happen to a first-rate program like ours. 

Only the second party is giving an argument.

 

32. Identify each speaker that gives an argument for his or her position in the following passage.



first manager: I think it is time to change our policy on return items. From now on, let’s just give customers their money back, no questions asked.
second manager: Frankly, I don’t think that will be such a good policy. Why, just last week you yourself said we should ask people why they want to return things. 

Neither party gives an argument.

 

33. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument and, if it does, identify that argument’s final conclusion.



"I seriously doubt many people want to connect up their TV to the Internet. For one thing, when people watch TV they don’t want more information. For another thing, even if they did, they wouldn’t be interested in having to do something to get it. They just want to sit back and let the TV tell them what’s happening." 

Argument. Conclusion: It is doubtful many people want to connect their TV to the Internet.

 

34. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument and, if it does, identify that argument’s final conclusion.



"Here’s how you make chocolate milk. Warm up a cup of milk in the microwave for two minutes, then add two tablespoons of the chocolate. Stir it up, then stick it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds. Then enjoy it." 

No argument.

 

35. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument and, if it does, identify that argument’s final conclusion.



"The P/E ratio is the number of dollars of stock you have to buy to get one dollar of profit. Any stock with a ratio greater than 15:1 is overpriced. That’s why it’s not a good idea to invest in stocks right now. P/E ratios are way too high." 

Argument. Conclusion: It’s not a good idea to invest in stocks right now.

 

36. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument and, if it does, identify that argument’s final conclusion.



"Your jacket looks a little tattered, there, Houston. Time to get a new one, I’d say." 

Argument. Conclusion: Time to get a new jacket.


 

37. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument and, if it does, identify that argument’s final conclusion.

"Should I go to class today? We’re probably just going over the test; I can afford to miss that. Besides, I haven’t cut a single class all semester. I guess it won’t hurt to stay home this once." 

Argument. Conclusion: It won’t hurt to stay home this once.

 

38. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument and, if it does, identify that argument’s final conclusion.



"You’ve got every reason to add another telephone line, despite the cost. The way it is now, you tie up your phone for hours while you’re on your computer. If people need to reach you in an emergency, they can’t do it." 

Argument. Conclusion: You’ve got every reason to add another telephone line.

 

39. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument and, if it does, identify that argument’s final conclusion.



"Pretzels are pretty good for a snack food. But it’s wise to keep in mind that they are high in sodium, at least if you eat the salted kind." 

No argument.

 

40. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument and, if it does, identify that argument’s final conclusion.



"Can you believe it? Tight-fitting polyester clothes are making a comeback. They’ve even brought back bell-bottoms. Next thing you know, the professors around here will be dragging out their leisure suits." 

No argument.


 

41. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument and, if it does, identify that argument’s final conclusion.

"You should stop doing that; it’s hurting him." 

Argument. Conclusion: You should stop doing that.

 

42. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument and, if it does, identify that argument’s final conclusion.



"The reason nobody buys sports cars anymore is because everyone wants a sports utility vehicle with four-wheel drive. But people will start buying sports cars again sooner or later; just watch and see." 

No argument.

 

43. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument and, if it does, identify that argument’s final conclusion.



"People who drive SUVs with American flags flying from them are just pretending to be patriots. The real patriots are people who drive cars that get decent mileage, since that actually accomplishes something—it lessons our dependence on foreign oil." 

Argument. Conclusion: People who drive cars that get good mileage are patriots.

 

44. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument; if it does, identify the main issue.



TV’s coverage of the Olympics was not very exciting. The anchorman was cool and detached, and, except for basketball, they never zeroed in on a single event long enough for anyone to care. Plus, there was just too much coverage. Anytime you turned on TV, there was the Olympics. It was like air—always there. And what’s so exciting about air? 

Argument. Issue: whether TV’s coverage of the Olympics was exciting.


 

45. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument; if it does, identify the main issue.

It’s wise to let states deny AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) benefits to unmarried kids under eighteen who live away from their parents. This would discourage thousands of these kids from having children of their own in order to get state-subsidized apartments. 

Argument. Issue: whether states should be allowed to deny AFDC benefits to youths under eighteen.

 

46. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument; if it does, identify the main issue.



"A witty experiment by Philip Goldberg proves what everyone knows, having internalized the disesteem in which they are held, women despise both themselves and each other. This simple test consisted of asking women undergraduates to respond to the scholarship in an essay signed alternately by one John McKay and one Joan McKay. In making their assessments, the students generally agreed that John was a remarkable thinker, Joan an unimpressive mind. Yet the articles were identical; the reaction was dependent on the sex of the supposed author."
—Kate Millett, Sexual Politics 

Argument. Issue: whether women "despise both themselves and each other."

 

47. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument; if it does, identify the main issue.



A judge’s finding that the FBI discriminated against its Hispanic agents is the second time in less than a year that the bureau has been embarrassed by its treatment of minority employees. Last November, black FBI agent Donald Rochon filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court accusing the bureau of racial harassment when he was an agent in Omaha. The suit is pending.
Increasing the hiring of minorities and treating them equally for promotions must become a matter of greater concern to the FBI. Currently, there are only 423 Hispanic agents and 412 black agents out of a total of about 9,400. The statistics speak for themselves. 

Argument. Issue: whether the FBI should be more concerned with hiring minorities and with treating minority agents fairly with respect to promotion.


 

48. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument; if it does, identify the main issue.

"And he went from there, and entered their synagogue. And behold, there was a man with a withered hand. And they asked him, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath?’ so that they might accuse him. He said to them, ‘What man of you, if he has one sheep, and it falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.’"
—Matthew 12:9-12 

Argument. Issue: whether it is lawful (or right) to heal on the Sabbath.

 

49. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument; if it does, identify the main issue.



"Those who accept evolution contend that creation is not scientific; but can it be fairly said that the theory of evolution itself is truly scientific?"
—Life—How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation? 

No argument.

 

50. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument; if it does, identify the main issue.



"Because real estate is a local investment, I recommend investing within an hour’s drive from your home. Personally, I invest within a half-hour drive because then I can properly manage the property and watch it to be sure it is not declining in market value."
—Real estate columnist Bob Bruss 

Argument. Issue: whether you should invest in real estate located close to where you live.


 

51. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument; if it does, identify the main issue.

"It is indeed said that the Japanese work more than 2,000 hours a year, but this is not so. At Sony—and at Sanyo or Matsushita—the total is somewhere between 1,800 and 1,900 hours."
—Akio Morita, chairman of Sony 

Argument. Issue: whether the Japanese work more than 2,000 hours a year.

 

52. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument; if it does, identify the main issue.



Obviously the commission should prepare regulations that are consistent with the law. We admit that isn’t always easy. But there’s no reason for the commission to substitute its judgment for that of the people. 

No argument.

 

53. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument; if it does, identify the main issue.



That American schools have finally been integrated is a myth. The vast majority of African American students attend schools whose student bodies are almost entirely African American. And most whites attend schools where only a tiny minority are African American, Latino, or Asian. 

Argument. Issue: whether American schools have finally been integrated.

 

54. Determine whether the following passage contains an argument; if it does, identify the main issue.



Because men admire muscle and physical force, they assume that women do too. 

No argument.


 

55. The quality of a discussion often depends on how closely the parties attend to the same issue. For the passage below, determine whether the speakers are clearly disputing the same issue, or whether somebody is missing the point.

a: Harriman is a fraud. He didn’t even graduate from medical school.
b: Harriman is still the best surgeon at this clinic. 

Different issues—Harriman could be a good surgeon and not have proper medical credentials. There have been a few such famous cases. (We ourselves prefer a real diploma on the wall.)

 

56. The quality of a discussion often depends on how closely the parties attend to the same issue. For the passage below, determine whether the speakers are clearly disputing the same issue, or whether somebody is missing the point.



a: The legislature should pass a bill banning agricultural burning—when they burn those fields the whole area is covered with a layer of smoke.
b: Forget about agricultural burning—automobile emissions cause the greatest percentage of air pollution in this area. 

There is an obvious sense in which these two speakers are addressing the same issue: namely, whether there should be a ban on agricultural burning. But B is clearly dismissing that issue because of another one—whether autos pollute more than burning—which may not be relevant. B may be correct about auto pollution, but it doesn’t follow that agricultural burning shouldn’t be curtailed.

 

57. The quality of a discussion often depends on how closely the parties attend to the same issue. For the passage below, determine whether the speakers are clearly disputing the same issue, or whether somebody is missing the point.



a: Have you seen those advertisements for striptease dancers for private parties? That’s exploitative and insulting, if you ask me.
b: Oh, take it easy. They have male strippers for women’s parties as well as female strippers for men’s parties. So it’s not as bad as you thought. 

Different issues. Whether stripping is exploitative and insulting is different from whether men and women are equally exploited and insulted.


 

58. The quality of a discussion often depends on how closely the parties attend to the same issue. For the passage below, determine whether the speakers are clearly disputing the same issue, or whether somebody is missing the point.

a: I can’t believe the student government paid John Kerry over a thousand dollars to come here and give a speech. He’s been out of the news for ages, and he’s clearly biased. They should have saved our money.
b: Listen: George Bush, Sr. has been out of office for a while now too, and he’s clearly as biased as anybody. Nevertheless, people pay tons of money for him to come and speak. So lay off about Kerry. 

Different issues. Presumably the student government is not paying George Bush Sr. tons of money to come and speak.

 

59. The quality of a discussion often depends on how closely the parties attend to the same issue. For the passage below, determine whether the speakers are clearly disputing the same issue, or whether somebody is missing the point.



a: A woman in Tennessee was charged with a felony for not warning rescuers that her fiancé, who had suffered a heart attack, had tested positive for AIDS. That’s a good law, since people ought to know when they’re stepping into a dangerous situation to help somebody else.
b: Well, I don’t think it’s such a good law, because the likelihood of catching AIDS from somebody while trying to resuscitate them is very, very small. 

These speakers are disputing the same issue—whether the law requiring that one warn others ("reckless endangerment" is the usual charge for failure to do so) is a good law. B is saying, in effect, that it isn’t really that dangerous to help an AIDS-positive victim.

 

60. The quality of a discussion often depends on how closely the parties attend to the same issue. For the passage below, determine whether the speakers are clearly disputing the same issue, or whether somebody is missing the point.



a: I think the oversight laws for police have to be toughened. Right now, it’s difficult for society to protect itself against rogue cops.
b: Well, I know you can’t be convinced otherwise, but it just isn’t true that every officer who’s brought up on charges is guilty of those charges. 

Different issues. We’d say B is missing A’s point—even though what B says may be true.


 

61. The quality of a discussion often depends on how closely the parties attend to the same issue. For the passage below, determine whether the speakers are clearly disputing the same issue, or whether somebody is missing the point.

a: Look, it’s just good business sense to foreclose on a piece of property when the mortgage defaults. We can’t sit around here and carry these loans month after month.
b: The people who owe on these properties are out of work because of the recession, not because of any fault of their own. If we foreclose on them, many will be financially ruined and may never be able to afford a home of their own again. 

A and B are disputing the issue of whether to foreclose on the properties, but they are not really addressing each other directly. Since they bring up independent issues in support of their sides and since it isn’t clear which argument should be given more weight, the result is a standoff. In cases like this, one party can benefit not just by supporting its side of the issue but also by attacking the other side’s argument.

 

62. The quality of a discussion often depends on how closely the parties attend to the same issue. For the passage below, determine whether the speakers are clearly disputing the same issue, or whether somebody is missing the point.



a: The banking industry is going the same direction as the savings and loan industry. If the government deregulates banks the way it did the S&Ls, taxpayers will have another financial disaster on their hands.
b: The whole regulatory system is archaic, and it oppresses innovation and initiative. If the banks aren’t deregulated, they’re going to be creating a financial disaster anyway. 

B is addressing an entirely separate issue.

 

63. The quality of a discussion often depends on how closely the parties attend to the same issue. For the passage below, determine whether the speakers are clearly disputing the same issue, or whether somebody is missing the point.



a: About 90 percent of all those colorful kids’ books abut dinosaurs contain misinformation and misleading interpretations.
b: But without those books, cartoons would be children’s only source of information about dinosaurs—and they’re even more inaccurate. 

Different issues.


 

64. The quality of a discussion often depends on how closely the parties attend to the same issue. For the passage below, determine whether the speakers are clearly disputing the same issue, or whether somebody is missing the point.

a: Most cases of date rape happen when the couple has been drinking. That’s another good reason for getting booze off the campus.
b: Yes, well, most of the cases of date rape happen because the girl is encouraging the guy and he just goes with it. 

B is addressing an entirely separate issue.

 

65. The quality of a discussion often depends on how closely the parties attend to the same issue. For the passage below, determine whether the speakers are clearly disputing the same issue, or whether somebody is missing the point.



a: Experimentation on animals? Horrid, awful, immoral! No argument would justify experimenting on animals that wouldn’t also justify experimenting on humans.
b: You’re overlooking all the medical advances that have resulted from experimenting on animals. 

B is giving an argument for medical experimentation, but is not responding to A’s request for a justification for experimenting on animals that wouldn’t automatically be a justification for experimenting on people.

 

66. Identify the main issue in the following passage. If two or more issues are present, indicate how they are related—that is, does the settlement of one depend upon the settlement of the other?



Research has shown that the females of mammal species are more resistant to environmental hazards than are their male counterparts. That makes sense, because young mammals take so long to develop, both physically and mentally, and the females have to be able to function continuously if the species is going to survive. 

Issue: whether females of mammal species are more resistant to environmental hazards than are their male counterparts.


 

67. Identify the main issue in the following passage. If two or more issues are present, indicate how they are related—that is, does the settlement of one depend upon the settlement of the other?

Three-strikes laws work. Once they take effect, prisoners begin asking for copies of the law, parolees from other states stay away, and first- and second-time offenders leave the state. 

Issue: whether three-strikes laws work.

 

68. Identify the main issue in the following passage. If two or more issues are present, indicate how they are related—that is, does the settlement of one depend upon the settlement of the other?



The burden of proof is on the critics of capital punishment. Capital punishment is accepted widely as an effective deterrent, and if you are against what is accepted widely, it is up to you to make a case. 

Issue: whether the burden of proof is on the critics of capital punishment.

 

69. Identify the main issue in the following passage. If two or more issues are present, indicate how they are related—that is, does the settlement of one depend upon the settlement of the other?



Dear Desperate: I urge you to get counseling at once. Unless you resolve the conflicts in your feelings and get rid of the hostility toward your husband’s first wife, your marriage is doomed.
—from a newspaper advice column 

Issue: whether Desperate should get counseling.


 

70. Identify the main issue in the following passage. If two or more issues are present, indicate how they are related—that is, does the settlement of one depend upon the settlement of the other?

It’s clear, given the recent increases in hate groups and racial violence, that we still need the laws originally crafted to combat the racism of the 1860s. A federal court jury recently ruled that two white-supremacist groups must pay nearly a million dollars in damages to racism protesters. This welcome message tells bigots of all types that if you violate others’ rights, you’ll be hit where it hurts—in the pocketbook. 

Issue: whether bigotry is sufficiently widespread to require repression by the law.

 

71. Identify the main issue in the following passage. If two or more issues are present, indicate how they are related—that is, does the settlement of one depend upon the settlement of the other?



Average is as close to the top as it is to the bottom. A glass that is half empty is also half full. You should think positively. If you do, life will be more fun. 

Issue: whether you should think positively.

 

72. Identify the main issue in the following passage. If two or more issues are present, indicate how they are related—that is, does the settlement of one depend upon the settlement of the other?



We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that whatever qualifies someone as an expert in one field automatically qualifies that person in other areas. . . . Even if the intelligence and skill required to become an expert in one field could enable someone to become an expert in any field—which is doubtful—having the ability to become an expert is entirely different from actually being an expert. Claims put forth by experts about subjects outside their fields are not automatically more acceptable than claims put forth by nonexperts.
—From Chapter 4 of the text 

Issue: whether informational claims from experts about subjects outside their fields of expertise are automatically more acceptable than claims from nonexperts.


 

73. Identify the main issue in the following passage. If two or more issues are present, indicate how they are related—that is, does the settlement of one depend upon the settlement of the other?

The results of a survey conducted by the Public Opinion Laboratory at Northern Illinois University show that on very basic ideas, vast numbers of Americans are scientifically illiterate, laboratory director Jon Miller said. Only about 5 percent of American adults have a minimal knowledge of scientific vocabulary and methodology and an understanding of the impact of science on the world (55 percent did not know that the Earth goes around the Sun once a year; 28 percent didn’t know that the Earth goes around the Sun at all). In an election year when candidates are talking about the Strategic Defense Initiative, acid rain, and the greenhouse effect, this survey shows that many Americans have little idea of what the candidates are talking about. 

Issue: whether American adults know enough about basic science to understand discussion of current scientific issues.

 

74. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.



"For about $200 a ticket you can take a breathtaking flight through the Grand Canyon by helicopter. Fine, unless you are one of the two million people who visit the canyon each year on the ground. For these millions, the pleasures of the canyon’s solitude are destroyed by the almost uninterrupted noise from the air. That fact in itself demonstrates that air traffic in the canyon must now be banned—or at least heavily regulated. If the enjoyment of those on the canyon’s floor is not enough reason for banning air traffic, then this is: the vibrations may destroy Indian ruins and the noise may drive the peregrine falcon and bighorn sheep out of their normal habitat in the canyon." 

Air traffic in the canyon should be banned or regulated. Its noise is a continuous disturbance and may harm ruins and native animals.


 

75. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.

"The arrogance of some State Department and U.S. Information Agency employees who took luxury cruises at government expense is shameful."
"Instead of flying by economy class to and from their overseas assignments, some traveled on the Queen Elizabeth or other cruise ships." Costs of the ocean voyages averaged $6,084, nearly four times the average airline cost of $1,665.
"One family of four billed the government $21,956 for a 26-day voyage along the eastern coast of South America. A couple were paid $13,761 for a 24-day trip from Bangkok to Honolulu." One official sent in a bill for $12,270 for a Mississippi River cruise on the Delta Queen.
"That’s not all. The time spent on the cruises was considered by the department to be duty—not vacation."
"General Accounting Office" investigators said they were told by foreign service officers that ocean travel was considered ‘a fringe benefit.’
"If that is the case, the fringes are due for a good trimming."
—Omaha World-Herald 

Some State Dept. and USIA employees are abusing government payment for travel expenses as shown by the big bills mentioned above.

 

76. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.



Trout do feed on mosquito larvae, but they seldom feed on adult mosquitoes. So it is not likely that fish take an imitation mosquito because they are fooled into thinking it is a real one. Most likely they take the mosquito fly for a midge or a gray caddis.
—Adapted from Jack Dennis, Western Trout Fly Tying Manual 

Trout won’t take an imitation as being a mosquito since they don’t eat them.


 

77. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.

"The California State University trustees showed considerable foresight in their recent unanimous decision to strengthen the system’s admission standards. . . ."
"Public high school curricula deteriorated to such a degree throughout the state during the last two decades that English literature included courses in science-fiction and detective stories."
"That’s not all. Social studies courses often were reduced to consciousness-raising sessions complete with rock music and feature films." Foreign-language requirements were abandoned, along with several advanced courses in science and math.
"And students could generally earn credits for working after school. . . ."
"[The new standards are] certain to raise the level of education among would-be college students. And that has to be a good thing."
—Chico (Calif.) Enterprise-Record 

CSU trustees were right to strengthen admission standards. The letter writer’s negative description of what’s required in English and Social Studies classes and the abandonment of some traditional requirements is offered in support.

 

78. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.



"The evening’s ‘official’ party, thrown by the Samuel Goldwyn Co. to celebrate the premiere of its film Golden Gate, was noisy and crowded and located in one of the area’s poshest ski lodges. But as usual, the serious action didn’t begin until later, at the unofficial afterparties. The hot ticket that night at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah (pop. 4,468), was a bash thrown in a rented condo by the William Morris talent agency and 20th Century Fox. Actually, invitations were hardly needed; anybody who could find a parking spot on the clogged, snow-packed streets and squeeze through the crowd spilling out of the jammed condo could venture into the belly of the Hollywood beast."
—Richard Zoglin 

The most popular movie-related event at Sundance was not the official party, but one given by a talent agency, since it was more packed than any other event.


 

79. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.

"I don’t know whether to be amused or annoyed. The U.S. government spends millions of dollars rounding up herb farmers. Ridiculous! Deaths from alcohol abuse are overwhelming. Surely this is a bigger problem. I doubt even a single death from smoking pot and driving has been reported. And the idea that smoking pot leads to heroin is nonsense. Anyone who is going to become an addict will do so regardless of what they have around."
—Letter to the editor, Glenn County Today 

Spending vast sums to arrest marijuana growers is a waste, since dope is less dangerous than alcohol and will not lead to stronger drugs.

 

80. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.



"The breaking of secret codes (cryptoanalysis) provides an example of inductive reasoning closely resembling the inductive reasoning scientists carry out. However, cryptoanalysis can be carried out using pen and paper, needing no laboratories. In addition, even simple forms of cryptoanalysis can be quite intriguing. Simple forms of cryptoanalysis can therefore be very useful as classroom examples of inductive reasoning."
—CT News 

Simple cryptoanalysis can serve as useful classroom examples of inductive reasoning, since it can easily be done using pen and paper and can be interesting to do.


 

81. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.

"Flamenco and the Fiesta (spectacle of bullfighting) are deeply related. This connection is undeniable, and vital for an understanding of either. Both stem basically from the common people, and they stir the same basic emotions and passions. Both are given flashes of erratic genius by gypsies, and a sense of indomitable steadiness and responsibility by the Andalusians. And they have in common another important factor: they are the two most probable ways that the commoner can break out of his social and economic level."
—Donn Pohren, The Art of Flamenco 

Flamenco and the Fiesta are connected, since they share several traits in common, the most important of which is that they can allow one to rise above one’s economic and social level if done successfully.

 

82. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.



"What is the best move to begin a game [of chess]? At one time the masters began automatically with 1 P-K4; then they switched to 1 P-Q4. Paul Morphy, considered by many critics the greatest chess genius that ever lived, never played 1 P-Q4. In contrast, Ernest Gruenfeld, one of the greatest living authorities on opening play, ventured on 1 P-K4 only once in his entire tournament career (against Capablanca at Karlsbad 1929). When asked why he avoided 1 P-K4, he answered, ‘I never make a mistake in the opening.’"
—Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld, The Fireside Book of Chess 

Beginning a game of chess with 1 P-K4 is a bad idea, since several experts do not do so in tournament play.


 

83. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.

"A pine cut down, a dead pine, is no more a pine than a dead human carcass is a man. Can he who has discovered only some of the values of whalebone and whale oil be said to have discovered the true use of the whale? Can he who slays the elephant for his ivory be said to have ‘seen the elephant’? These are petty and accidental uses; just as if a stronger race were to kill us in order to make buttons and flageolets of our bones; for everything may serve a lower as well as a higher use. Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it."
—Henry David Thoreau, "Chesuncook" 

You cannot know a living thing by killing it since its utility to us when dead does not reveal its essential nature.

 

84. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.



"I am a Korean War veteran, and I just want to say that our commander-in-chief is a lying, cheating, draft-dodging, gay-loving hypocrite who thinks sucking up to the military can make us forget what he did during Vietnam. He can’t, as he’ll learn when we impeach him."
—Adapted from a newspaper call-in column 

The President can’t get support from the military by sucking up to them because veterans despise his avoidance of military service in Vietnam.

 

85. Identify for which claims, if any, support has been given in the following passage; and state in your own words the reasons that have been offered for these claims.



"I served in Vietnam, and that gives me the right to speak about people who did not do their duty during that time. And, among others, that includes our current president, who used family connections to avoid ever going on active duty."
—Adapted from remarks one hears from time to time 

Vietnam veterans’ service gives them the right to criticize those who used family connections to avoid serving there.


 

86. Identify the main point or issue in the following passage, and decide whether the rest of the passage offers reasons for the main point (such as, whether the passage contains an argument), whether it illustrates (provides examples for) the main point, whether it explains the point, is irrelevant to the point, and so on.

"With little experience in homicide cases, the Greenwich Police Department made a number of critical mistakes. One was not insisting on a speedy autopsy: because the forensic examination of Martha’s body was delayed for nearly a day, the time of death is unusually imprecise. Another was the failure to get a search warrant for the Skakel home."
—Newsweek 

First sentence states main point; the remainder provides examples of (and thus evidence for) the main point.

 

87. Identify the main point or issue in the following passage, and decide whether the rest of the passage offers reasons for the main point (such as, whether the passage contains an argument), whether it illustrates (provides examples for) the main point, whether it explains the point, is irrelevant to the point, and so on.



"Luckily, most decisions can be reassessed. Even decisions that seem monumental can often be altered. Suppose you decided to live off campus because it offered more privacy and independence as well as a change from campus residential living. However, you discovered that your expenses were greater, you didn’t like to cook for yourself, and you got lonely. Or suppose you chose to major in nursing because you thought you would always be able to find a job in that career. But halfway through your coursework, you found you didn’t like science, practicum labs interfered with your family time, and the sight of blood made you ill."
—D. G. Longman et al., Strategic Thinking and Reading 

First sentence states main point; the remainder provides examples of (and thus evidence for) the main point.


 

88. Identify the main point or issue in the following passage, and decide whether the rest of the passage offers reasons for the main point (such as, whether the passage contains an argument), whether it illustrates (provides examples for) the main point, whether it explains the point, is irrelevant to the point, and so on.

"No person can possess an employment either in England or Ireland unless he be ranked among the faithful, that is, professes himself a member of the Church of England. This reason, which carries mathematical evidence with it, has converted such numbers of Dissenters of all persuasions, that not a twentieth part of the nation is out of the pale of the Established Church. The English clergy have retained a great number of the Romish ceremonies, and especially that of receiving, with a most scrupulous attention, their tithes. They also have the pious ambition to aim at superiority."
—Voltaire, On the Church of England 

The main point here is to satirize the Church of England, carried off by the master. One can fill in the blanks and produce an argument of sorts, the unstated conclusion of which would be something like "The Church of England suffers from hypocrisy, and worse," but we think that’s not the best way to see the passage.

 

89. Identify the main point or issue in the following passage, and decide whether the rest of the passage offers reasons for the main point (such as, whether the passage contains an argument), whether it illustrates (provides examples for) the main point, whether it explains the point, is irrelevant to the point, and so on.



"[F]ast food and national restaurant chains that serve it have long been the object of criticism by nutritionists and dietitians. Despite the attention, however, fast-food companies, most of them publicly owned and sprinkled into the stock portfolios of many striving Americans, have grown more aggressive in their targeting of poor inner-city communities. One of every four hamburgers sold by the good folks at McDonald’s, for example, is now purchased by inner-city consumers who, disproportionately, are young black men."
—Greg Critser, "Let Them Eat Fat," in Harper’s Magazine 

The main point is the targeting of inner-city communities by fast-food chains; the last sentence is offered in support of that claim. The mention of criticism by nutritionists and of the publicly-held nature of the companies is not directly relevant to the main point.

 

90. Identify the main point or issue in the following passage, and decide whether the rest of the passage offers reasons for the main point (such as, whether the passage contains an argument), whether it illustrates (provides examples for) the main point, whether it explains the point, is irrelevant to the point, and so on.



"Gun control laws don’t work. What is worse, they act perversely. While legitimate users of firearms encounter intense regulation, scrutiny, and bureaucratic control, illicit markets easily adapt to whatever difficulties a free society throws in their way. Also, efforts to curtail the supply of firearms inflict collateral damage on freedom and privacy interests that have long been considered central to American public life."
—Daniel Polsby, "The False Promise of Gun Control," in The Atlantic Monthly 

The passage produces two arguments for the point in the first sentence.

 

91. Identify the main point or issue in the following passage, and decide whether the rest of the passage offers reasons for the main point (such as, whether the passage contains an argument), whether it illustrates (provides examples for) the main point, whether it explains the point, is irrelevant to the point, and so on.



"Ruben Salazar couldn’t possibly have been the victim of a conscious, high-level cop conspiracy to get rid of him by staging an ‘accidental death.’ The incredible tale of half-mad stupidity and dangerous incompetence on every level of the law enforcement establishment was perhaps the most valuable thing to come out of the inquest. Nobody who heard that testimony could believe that the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department is capable of pulling off a delicate job like killing a newsman on purpose."
—Hunter S. Thompson, The Great Shark Hunt 

The first sentence states the main point; the rest of the passage argues for that point.


 

92. Identify the main point or issue in the following passage, and decide whether the rest of the passage offers reasons for the main point (such as, whether the passage contains an argument), whether it illustrates (provides examples for) the main point, whether it explains the point, is irrelevant to the point, and so on.

"Here’s why big animals stay warm easier: An elephant is ten thousand times heavier than a rabbit and produces body heat one-tenth as rapidly. But still the elephant keeps warmer because it has much less skin area per pound and much more body heat per square inch of skin."
—Adapted from Robert Bakker, The Dinosaur Heresies 

That main point is stated in the first few words; the entire passage is an explanation of why large animals stay warmer than smaller ones. The explanation is actually used in an argument in its original context. You can probably figure out what the argument is about.

 

93. Identify the main point or issue in the following passage, and decide whether the rest of the passage offers reasons for the main point (such as, whether the passage contains an argument), whether it illustrates (provides examples for) the main point, whether it explains the point, is irrelevant to the point, and so on.



"Like me [Alexander Hamilton] usually read history or philosophy. In private, however (if I may be allowed to traduce his memory and expose him to all the world), Hamilton was a devoted reader of women’s novels, as I discovered one day at the New York Society Library when I came upon a note in his hand asking the librarian to reserve for him Edward Mortimer (by a Lady) and The Amours of Count Palviano and Eleanora. I was shocked."
—Gore Vidal, Burr 

The main point is that Hamilton read "women’s novels," and the rest of the passage, aside from the first sentence, provides an argument for it.


 

94. Identify the main point or issue in the following passage, and decide whether the rest of the passage offers reasons for the main point (such as, whether the passage contains an argument), whether it illustrates (provides examples for) the main point, whether it explains the point, is irrelevant to the point, and so on.

"It is usual for the law to prescribe a lesser penalty for the attempt than for the completed crime. The reason is plain enough. Doing harm is a more serious matter than simply doing what might have ended up as that but didn’t. It seems, therefore, that one who does harm does something that is more wrong than one who does something harmful but with no one harmed."
—H. Gross, A Theory of Justice 

The main point is stated in the first sentence; the remainder is an explanation of the main point. Notice that this one is very easy to mistake for an argument, but the account does not argue that the law prescribes such-and-such; it explains why it prescribes such-and-such.

 

95. Identify the main point or issue in the following passage, and decide whether the rest of the passage offers reasons for the main point (such as, whether the passage contains an argument), whether it illustrates (provides examples for) the main point, whether it explains the point, is irrelevant to the point, and so on.



"In the last two hundred years, the theoretical landscape of biology has changed drastically, however. Species and other taxa are not the result of divine creation, but the products of evolution. Taxa are not static, timeless classes of organisms, but evolving and temporary entities. The theoretical assumptions of Linnaean system have been replaced by those of Darwinism and the Modern Synthesis."
—Mark Ereshefsky, "Species and the Linnaean Hierarchy," in Species, ed. by R. A. Wilson 

First sentence states main point; the remainder provides examples of (and thus evidence for) the main point.


 

 

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