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Anyone available to review Analysis of an Argument essay [#permalink]
31 Aug 2010, 02:55
The following appeared as part of an article on government funding of environmental regulatory agencies.
“When scientists finally learn how to create large amounts of copper from other chemical elements, the regulation of copper mining will become unnecessary. For one thing, since the amount of potentially available copper will no longer be limited by the quantity of actual copper deposits, the problem of overmining will quickly be eliminated altogether. For another, manufacturers will not need to use synthetic copper substitutes, the production of which creates pollutants. Thus, since two problems will be settled—overmining and pollution—it makes good sense to reduce funding for mining regulation and either save the money or reallocate it where it is needed more.”
The argument suggests that funding for mining regulation should be reduced and that this will either save money or allow for its reallocation to where it is needed more. The reasoning is based on the claim that when scientists learn how to create large amounts of copper from other chemical elements, the regulation of copper mining will become unnecessary. This in turn is supposed to solve the two problems of overmining and pollution. Overmining will be solved as available copper will no longer be limited by the quantity of actual copper deposits and pollution, which is claimed to be caused by production of synthetic copper subistitutes, will be eliminated as manufacturers will not need to use synthetic copper substitutes. This argument is lacking in evidence and is weak for many reasons.
Firstly, the claim that copper created by scientists using other chemical elements will replace or reduce the mining of copper. There is no evidence to support this. Clearly, there could be many reasons why copper from mines is still in demand. For example, copper created from other chemical elements is far more expensive than the copper that is mined. Or, the copper from mines preferred by manufactures for various reasons such as purity, ease of use, etc. The argument can be strengthened if it is shown that the copper obtained from chemical elements can be a like for like replacement for the copper that is mined.
Secondly, the arugment assumes that the copper from chemical elements will replace synthetic copper substitues, the production of which creates pollutants. This assumption is weak as the one mentioned in the previous paragraph for similar reasons. Also, it can be weakened if it is shown that not all synthetic copper substitues create pollutants and/or the production of copper from other elements also creates pollutants.
Finally, even if both the above premises are strengthened, it is still a generalization that funding for all mining should be reduced. This assumption is dangerous as it assumens that what applies to an element of a group applies to the entire group. It is possible that other metals that are currentlt mined, can not be commercially produced from other elements.
In conclustion, for the reasons above, it is clearly shown that the given arugment is weak and unsubstantiated. To strenghten the argument, data must be provided to show that copper from other elements can replace the copper that is mined. Also, the scope of the arguement should be limited as what is true for copper mining may not true for all other minings.
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