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Flaw in the Reasoning—CE. The correct answer choice is (E)
This stimulus seeks to explain why, after a brief stint in 1817, bicycles virtually disappeared until 1860. The premise offered is that the acceptance of a technology requires coherence with society’s values, and based on this the author concludes that a change in values must have been the cause of the 43 year disappearance.
When we recognize this to be a Cause/Effect question we should immediately consider the various ways to weaken such an argument (in this case we know the supposed effect, and we are asked to identify a flaw, so we might start by considering possible alternative causes).
Answer choice (A): The argument does not presume that fads are never indicative of genuine acceptance, but instead points out that this particular fad was not initially indicative of genuine acceptance.
Answer choice (B): The argument does not fail to recognize that the reappearance of bicycles indicated a genuine acceptance; in fact, the author implies in the conclusion that there has been general acceptance.
Answer choice (C): Failure to provide support for one of the premises is not a flaw.
Answer choice (D): The question posed has direct relevance to the conclusion. It is a request for an explanation, which is provided by the conclusion (even though the underlying reasoning is flawed).
Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice, as it articulates the flaw in many causal arguments: The failure to consider possible alternative causes.