Flaw in the Reasoning—CE. The correct answer choice is (C)
This author discusses a recent Department of Health effort to reduce underage drinking by encouraging young people to take a pledge not to drink before reaching the legal age. Based on the fact that a survey showed that “many” who do not drink have taken the pledge, while the vast majority of those who drink have never taken such a pledge, the author concludes that the effort has been successful:
- Premise: Many who do not drink have taken the non-drinking pledge.
Premise: Almost all drinkers surveyed have not taken the pledge.
Conclusion: Therefore the Department of Health has been successful in discouraging underage drinking.
The question is followed by a Flaw in the Reasoning question, so the correct answer choice will be the one that describes one of the issues mentioned above (note also that in the case of a causal flaw, the correct answer choice will often have the words “cause,” “effect,” or some synonym).
Answer choice (A): The author does not use a judgement about the morality of underage drinking as a basis for the effectiveness of the pledge, so this choice should be ruled out of contention.
Answer choice (B): Had the author argued that the pledge was the best method of reducing underage drinking, there would have been a need to consider the possibility of more effective methods. In this example, however, the author merely argues that the effort seems to have been successful, so this is not the flaw in the author’s argument.
Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. As discussed, the author takes an association between the pledge and non-drinking, and concludes the pledge must have been the cause.
Answer choice (D): This answer, which describes a Mistaken Reversal, does not describe the causal flaw reflected in the author’s argument.
Answer choice (E): The author does not confuse the claims discussed; rather, the author invalidly bases a causal conclusion on a mere correlation, so this choice does not accurately describe the flaw reflected in the stimulus.