Flaw in the Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (B)
This medical reporter provides that aspirin can slightly thin the blood when taken once a day. This can help prevent heart disease, or reduce its severity. Based on the fact that heart disease is among the most common maladies in modern industrial nations, the medical reporter concludes that most people in those countries would be better off were they to begin taking an aspirin a day:
- Premise: Daily aspirin can thin the blood, which can prevent or reduce heart disease.
Premise: Heart disease is one of the most common ills in industrial nations.
Conclusion: Therefore most people in those nations would be better off if they took an aspirin a day.
Answer choice (A): The medical reporter states that an aspirin a day can help prevent heart disease or reduce its severity. The reasoning does not presume that any medication that can reduce the severity can also prevent some forms of the disease, so this choice does not describe the author’s flaw.
Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. As discussed, the author does not consider the possibility that, although heart disease is among the most common maladies in the nations discussed, it may only appear in a small portion of the population as a whole.
Answer choice (C): The medical reporter is focused on the ability of daily aspirin to reduce or prevent heart disease. This does not require considering that other diseases might not be impacted, so this is not a flaw of the author’s argument.
Answer choice (D): The doctor is focused on one type of medication and its effects on one type of malady. This argument need not consider the possibility that more effective measures exist, so this choice should be ruled out of contention in response to this Flaw question.
Answer choice (E): There is no need to address the possibility that studies of aspirin’s effects were only conducted in industrialized nations—that would not have any impact on the credibility of the studies, so this choice does not describe the flaw reflected in the stimulus.