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The following appeared in a letter to the editor of the Clearview newspaper.
“In the next mayoral election, residents of Clearview should vote for Ann Green, who is a member of the Good Earth Coalition, rather than for Frank Braun, a member of the Clearview town council, because the current members are not protecting our environment. For example, during the past year the number of factories in Clearview has doubled, air pollution levels have increased, and the local hospital has treated 25 percent more patients with respiratory illnesses. If we elect Ann Green, the environmental problems in Clearview will certainly be solved.”
The author concludes that residents of Clearview should vote for Ann Green rather than for Frank Braun in the next year mayoral election on a purpose of solving existing environmental problems. To support the conclusion, the arguer cites that the factories in Clearview had doubled during last year. The author also point out that the increased air pollution led the local hospital treated more 25 percent patients with respiratory illnesses. Although the author’s viewpoints seem to appealing at first glance, we still find out that this argument rests on a series of unsubstantiated assumptions, and is therefore unpersuasive as it stands.
In the first place, the argument unfairly assumes that it is the increasing number of factories, which were the decisions of the city’s council, results to the worsening air pollution. The causal relationship is convincing only if the author could demonstrate that all other factors that might affect air pollution remained unchanged during the same period. The author overlooks other factors that might have contributed to air pollution. Perhaps, the development of the city may worsen the environment. Perhaps, the increasing population would contribute to the air pollution. Since the author has failed to consider and rule out these possibilities, the assertion that the increasing number of factories destructing the environment cannot be taken seriously.
Moreover, a threshold problem with this argument involves a data itself. The statistical reliability of the survey is really questionable. Namely, the speaker provide no evidence which that the number of the patients with respiratory illnesses is statistically significant or that the respondents were representative of all the patients in general. That is to say, lacking the information about the randomness and the size of the survey sample, the speaker cannot draw a broader recommendation based on the result.
Finally, the author hastily implies that Ann Green as a member of Green Earth is superior to Frank Braun who is a member of Clearview city council in the issue of environmental improvement. However, being a member of Green cannot sufficiently represent Ann Green’s willingness and abilities to solve the existing problems. There may be other factors which would bring about totally different result for the situation.
In sum, as it stands the argument is wholly unpersuasive. To bolster this conclusion the author must point out that the factors which influencing and destroying the environment needed to be solved more comprehensively. Also, the author must show more information about the data analysis of patients with respiratory illnesses. To better assess the conclusion, we would need more detail about not only the ambition but the abilities of Ann Green is preferable than Frank Braun in improving environment.