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#16 - Research indicates that college professors generally

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Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (C)

The argument is that since college professors generally grew up in communities where the average income was higher than the national average, generally professors were raised in economically advantaged households.

The argument is unconvincing because a community average does not rule out a fairly wide distribution of incomes, but proceeds either as if that spread does not exist, or as if professor-households fall on the average when they could just as likely fall below it. Since you are asked to identify the flaw, you should focus on the erroneous use of averages.

Answer choice (A): This choice might have been attractive; however, it is probably not inappropriate to assume that household income correlates with economic advantage, because the nature of those are so similar as to create a commonsense expectation. This choice is wrong.

Answer choice (B): The argument depends, in part, on information about whether college professors generally are raised in high-income communities, not whether high-income communities all produce college professors. This choice is wrong because it criticizes the argument for not considering the Mistaken Reversal, and because it implicitly discusses the negation of an absolute ("some are not" is the negation of "all are") when the stimulus concerned only generalities.

Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. The argument is flawed in that it ignores the possibility that households that produce professors were below-average for their communities, and this choice states that by saying that the argument assumes that those households were at or above average for their communities.

Answer choice (D): Since the argument concerns in what conditions professors were raised, not the conditions in which they find themselves upon becoming professors, whether or not private-sector employees earn more than do professors is an irrelevant consideration. This choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (E): This choice is wrong for several reasons. First, it concerns where adult professors live rather than where children who become professors live. Second, the conclusion was general so even "many" (many does not require a majority) exceptions would not necessarily harm the conclusion. Third, even if you misread the choice and believed it considered a majority of young professors-to-be, the fact that rural communities generally have lower average incomes does not indicate that those rural communities in which young professors-to-be have lower average incomes.