Complete Question Explanation
Flaw in the Reasoning—#%. The correct answer choice is (D)
The politician’s argument is that the claims that price increases have averaged less than 3 percent are wrong, and in support of that position the politician cites several examples of price increases, each of which is greater than 3 percent. As mentioned in one of the chapter sidebars, “an average is a composite number, and within the average there can be a significant degree of variation and no single entity need embody the exact characteristic of the average (for example, the average weight of a 1 pound rock and a 99 pound rock is 50 pounds).” In making the argument, the politician has focused on several individual examples while ignoring the fact that an average is a compilation of many different numbers. Answer choice (D) perfectly captures the essence of this sampling error.
Answer choice (A): The argument does not contain a source or ad hominem attack. Simply stating that a position is wrong is different from criticizing the character of that person.
Answer choice (B): To properly claim that the economists are wrong does not require showing that they are not pricing experts, and hence this answer is incorrect.
Answer choice (C): The politician attempts to refute the position by providing evidence about large price increases for certain products. This process, which involves facts, is different from inferring that a claim is false because it has not been shown to be true.
Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. Citing several examples to refute an average is a doomed strategy.
Answer choice (E): There is no appeal to emotion present; percentages are used to make the argument.