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Can someone rate my essay?

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Manager
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Joined: 17 Feb 2011
Posts: 201
Concentration: Real Estate, Finance
Schools: MIT (Sloan) - Class of 2014
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V44
Followers: 33

Kudos [?]: 490 [0], given: 70

Can someone rate my essay? [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2011, 10:17
Here it goes:

“Pregnant women are advised to limit their caffeine intake on the grounds that caffeine causes birth defects in rats. This warning followed a study conducted at a major university in which pregnant rats were force-fed massive amounts of caffeine – the human equivalent of up to 24 cups a day of strong coffee. Some of the offspring of these rats were born with missing toes”


The aforementioned argument, in asserting that pregnant women are advised to limit their caffeine intake on the grounds that caffeine causes birth defects in rats, appears at first glance to be a legitimate and fairly convincing argument. However, upon further examination of the argument and its underlying structure, a number of flaws become so evident to such an extent that one can take neither the argument nor its conclusion seriously. Among the most pivotal shortcomings of the argument are its ability to address its assumptions and lack of information to substantiate its claims.

First of all, the argument is based upon the questionable assumption that, if caffeine causes birth defects in rats, it may also cause the same damage to humans. By not giving any further evidence that would make this assumption more plausible, the argument becomes not persuasive. To solve this flaw, the author could for instance describe previews studies where certain substances had caused damages to rats, and later were also proven responsible for damages in humans in similar conditions.

Secondly, the argument is utterly based on a study that may be put into question, as in the experiment, pregnant rats were force-fed high amounts of caffeine. So, this experiment cannot be used alone in an argument that advises pregnant women to limit their caffeine intake. If the author were able to cite what would happen when lower doses of caffeine were ingested, he could have strengthened his argument.

Finally, the author mentions that the damages were only seen in some of the offspring. Here, the argument fails to provide more exact information. By reading the argument, one cannot even have an idea of the probability that these birth defects will happen. This flaw makes the argument imprecise. The easiest way to solve this problem would be to provide the ratio of damaged offspring to the total observed in the study.

The argument, in its current state, contains a considerable number of defects, the most blatant of which have been discussed above. Had the argument managed to address the aforementioned concerns, both its persuasive ability and its apparent legitimacy would have been greatly reinforced, perhaps to such an extent that it would be difficult to refute. However, as it stands, one must necessarily conclude that the argument is simply a hasty generalization, filled with overreaching assumptions and deficiencies in information.
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Re: Can someone rate my essay? [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2011, 22:22
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This is 5/6.

First of all, the argument is based upon the questionable assumption that, if caffeine causes birth defects in rats, it may also cause the same damage to human -----> "weak" analogy. Probably you can spell it aloud.

If the author were able to cite what would happen when lower doses of caffeine were ingested, he could have strengthened his argument. ----> good point. Missing scenario - no data

Finally, the author mentions that the damages were only seen in some of the offspring. ----> good point. Attacking the style of the author.

The final step is missing. In order to fix the argument the author should do x.......


Some additions -

While suggesting the "missing toes", the argument seems to assume that human babies are subject to same genetic disposition as the child rats. This assumption is preposterous.

No data is mentioned about the study - lacking the information how the study was conducted, the sample size, or the comparative study of the defects in rats Vs humans, the conclusion is left unsupported.

The conclusion is based on prediction and no proof has been cited to confirm the claim. Assuming the claim is true there will be atleast one pregnant women who had suffered from the effects of caffeine as stated. However there is no way to confirm this from the premise.

In order to fix the argument, the warning issuing authority should support the claim with further scientific facts or studies.
Manager
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Joined: 17 Feb 2011
Posts: 201
Concentration: Real Estate, Finance
Schools: MIT (Sloan) - Class of 2014
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V44
Followers: 33

Kudos [?]: 490 [0], given: 70

Re: Can someone rate my essay? [#permalink] New post 19 Feb 2011, 05:08
Thanks a lot for your additions!

gmat1220 wrote:
This is 5/6.

First of all, the argument is based upon the questionable assumption that, if caffeine causes birth defects in rats, it may also cause the same damage to human -----> "weak" analogy. Probably you can spell it aloud.

If the author were able to cite what would happen when lower doses of caffeine were ingested, he could have strengthened his argument. ----> good point. Missing scenario - no data

Finally, the author mentions that the damages were only seen in some of the offspring. ----> good point. Attacking the style of the author.

The final step is missing. In order to fix the argument the author should do x.......


Some additions -

While suggesting the "missing toes", the argument seems to assume that human babies are subject to same genetic disposition as the child rats. This assumption is preposterous.

No data is mentioned about the study - lacking the information how the study was conducted, the sample size, or the comparative study of the defects in rats Vs humans, the conclusion is left unsupported.

The conclusion is based on prediction and no proof has been cited to confirm the claim. Assuming the claim is true there will be atleast one pregnant women who had suffered from the effects of caffeine as stated. However there is no way to confirm this from the premise.

In order to fix the argument, the warning issuing authority should support the claim with further scientific facts or studies.
Re: Can someone rate my essay?   [#permalink] 19 Feb 2011, 05:08
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