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Name that fallacy, and in a paragraph, explain why the argument is irrelevant to the point at issue.

1. (TCOs 3, 6, 7, 9) Here is a passage that contains a rhetorical fallacy.

Name that fallacy, and in a paragraph, explain why the argument is irrelevant to the point at issue. Here is your example for this question:

An editorial says, “Taxes have jumped by more than 30% in just two years! The governor is working for a balanced state budget, but it’ll be on the backs of us taxpayers, the people who have the very least to spend! It seems pretty clear that these increased taxes are undermining the social structure in this state. Anybody who isn’t angry about this just doesn’t understand the situation and hasn’t figured out just how miserable they are.” (Points : 15)

Question 2.2. (TCOs 5, 8) In the example below, identify the presumed cause and the presumed effect. Does the example contain or imply a causal claim, a hypothesis, or an explanation that cannot be tested?

If it does fall into one of those categories, tell whether the problem is due to vagueness, circularity, or some other problem of language.

Also tell whether there might be some way to test the situation if it is possible at all.

Here is your example:

The movie No Country for Old Men was a big hit because reviewers gave it a good write-up. (Points : 15)

Question 3.3. (TCOs 2, 4) Explain in what way the thinking of the following statement is wrong or defective. Give reasons for your judgment.

Joining the military, like voting, is a major responsibility. Since 17-year-olds can serve in the military, it only makes sense that they be allowed to vote. (Points : 10)

Question 4.4. (TCOs 3, 9) Suppose that a group of immigrants to the U.S. believes in child sacrifice as an essential part of their religious rituals. If one day the immigrant group becomes so integrated into U.S. society that most of its members no longer believe in child sacrifice, can this be thought of as moral progress from the standpoint of moral relativism? (Points : 10)

Question 5.5. (TCOs 6, 7, 9) Here is a short essay about an investigation.

There are also four questions/tasks; write a paragraph to answer each one of them.

1. Identify the causal hypothesis at issue.

2. Identify what kind of investigation it is.

3. There are control and experimental groups. State the difference in effect (or cause) between the control and experimental groups.

4. State the conclusion that you think is warranted by the report.

Scientists have learned that people who drink wine weekly or monthly are less likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. (Daily wine drinking, however, seems to produce no protective effect.) The lead researcher was Dr. Thomas Truelsen of the Institute of Preventive Medicine at Kommunehospitalet in Copenhagen. The researchers identified the drinking patters of 1,709 people in Copenhagen in the 1970s and then assessed them for dementia in the 1990s, when they were aged 65 or older. When they were assessed two decades later, 83 of the participants had developed dementia. People who drank beer regularly were an increased risk of developing dementia.

-adapted from BBC News Online (Points : 30)

Question 6.6. (TCOs 3, 4, 6) Read this passage below. When you have done so, answer these three questions, writing a paragraph for each question.

Your three questions are:

1. What issue is the author addressing?

2. If the author is supporting a position with an argument, restate the argument in your own words.

3. What rhetorical devices does the author employ in this text?

The Passage:

“Another quality that makes [Texas Republican and former Congressman] Tom DeLay an un-Texas politician is that he’s mean. By and large, Texas pols are an agreeable set of less-than-perfect humans and quite often well-intentioned. As Carl Parker of Port Arthur used to observe, if you took all the fools out of the [legislature], it would not be a representative body any longer. The old sense of collegiality was strong, and vindictive behavior punishing pols for partisan reasons was simply not done. But those are Tom DeLay’s specialties, his trademarks. The Hammer is not only genuinely feared in Washington, he is, I’m sorry to say, hated.”

-excerpt from a column by Molly Ivins, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (Points : 30)

Question 7.7. TCOs 7, 8) Read this passage below. When you have done so, answer the question in at least one full paragraph, giving specific reasons.

The Passage:

Ed likes to argue with just about anybody on just about anything. One of his favorite arguments is against speeding laws. “Why can’t I go as fast as I like?” he asks. “It’s a free country, isn’t it? I have the right, don’t I?” Does Ed have a valid point? (Points : 20)

Question 8.8. (TCOs 6, 7, 9) Read this passage below. When you have done so, answer these three questions, writing a paragraph for each question.

Your three questions are:

1. What premises is the author using?

2. What conclusions does the author come to?

3. Does the passage contain any errors in reasoning?

Either one thinks that there is no reason for believing any political doctrine or one sees some reason, however shaky, for the commitment of politics. If a person believes that political doctrines are void of content, that person will be quite content to see political debates go on, but won’t expect anything useful to come from them. If we consider the other case, that there is a patriotic justification for a political belief, then what? If the belief is that a specific political position is true, then one ought to be intolerant of all other political beliefs, since each political “position” must be held to be false relative to the belief one has. And since each political position holds out the promise of reward for any probability of its fixing social problems, however small, that makes it seem rational to choose it over its alternatives. The trouble, of course, is that the people who have other political doctrines may hold theirs just as strongly, making strength of belief itself invalid as a way to determine the rightness of a political position. (Points : 20)

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