“Identifying Misleading Information in an Argument” Please respond to the following in one or two paragraphs:
- Consider the following argument: There are many arguments for the elimination or modification of current U. S. drug laws, but one of the most persuasive involves what negative effects drug laws are having on society in comparison with the effects of the drugs themselves. In the past ten years, most forms of drug use have dropped significantly, especially among teens. Despite this, non-violent drug offenders accounted for 21.1 percent of the federal prison population. First time drug offenders serve, on average, a sentence three months longer than kidnappers, nine months longer than burglars, and thirty-three months longer than sex abusers. In 1992, the average cost of keeping an inmate in either state or federal prison was about $20,000 per prisoner per year. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 455 prisoners per 100,000 population. It is maintaining these prisoners at great expense in an environment where they are unlikely to develop a socially constructive attitude. Perhaps it is time that we reconsider our attitudes toward those who choose to use drugs; failure to do so may cost society even more than it already has.
- Determine whether or not the argument uses any deceptive statistics. Give your opinion on whether or not the argument has persuaded you. Explain why or why not.
- Determine the primary ways in which statistics or authority are used in your current position in developing persuasive arguments, and provide examples of such use.
“Identifying Truth or Fiction” Please respond to the following:
- The video clip ‘The Baloney Detection Kit’ in the Webtext this week discusses the many ways in which an effective critical thinker assesses the claims made by others. Explain what you believe is the real difference between ‘science’ and ‘pseudoscience’.
- Examine the key reasons why so many people might seem to be attracted to more pseudoscience-type claims. Describe at least two (2) such claims that you have heard people make, and analyze the main reasons why such claims do or do not meet rigorous scientific methodology standards. Determine at least two (2) ways in which the material discussed this week has changed your own thinking.