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First stab at AWA, feedback appreciated

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First stab at AWA, feedback appreciated [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2010, 09:24
Would appreciate if someone could read my argument and issue essays and provide any feedback.

The following appeared in a print advertisement for a dietary supplement:

“According to a recent study, professional bodybuilders who used Train & Gain, a new protein supplement, over the course of three months experienced an increase in measured strength of up to 20%. Since Train & Gain is now available without prescription at all major pharmacies, superior results are no longer limited to professional athletes. Try Train & Gain today and you too can boost your strength and achieve professional-level performance in just a few months.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument's logic and analyze the argument's underlying assumptions. In addition, evaluate how supporting evidence is used and what evidence might counter the argument's conclusion. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.


The argument above is logically flawed because it relies on several questionable assumptions and does not provide enough evidence to prove the conclusion. The assumptions relate to the wide availability of the product as well as the effectiveness of the product on the general public.

For one, it assumes that because Train & Gain is available without prescription at major pharmacies, it means it is readily available to everyone. This is may not necessarily be the case as its availability depends on pricing and production volume among other factors. If the product has been priced so high such that it is not affordable for the vast majority of the public, it reduces the 'availability'. On the flip side, if production volume of the product is not high enough to meet the demand for it, it will necessarily reduce the number of people who have access to it. One such example in recent times has often been the launch of products from Apple, whether it is the iPhone or the iPad. We have often seen these products get sold out on the first selling day and be on reduced availability the rest of the time.

The second assumption the argument makes is that taking the protein supplement alone was enough to increase the professional bodybuilders' measured strength and thus the general public will be able to boost their strength by taking Train & Gain. This grossly overlooks the fact that the bodybuilders probably had a regimented bodybuilding schedule and the supplement merely helped to increase the effectiveness of the training. Hence, once cannot assume that the general public will be able to boost their strength in just a few months, let alone achieve 'professional level performance' in just a few months particularly if they are starting from a low base. It could take years for someone who has never worked out to achieve the level of performance of these professional body-builders.

The author could improve his argument by providing more detail as to the regiment that the body builders were on over the course of those three months. Even then, the argument could probably only prove that due to the products wide availability, the general public can now boost their strength by taking the supplement and following a similar work out schedule. It could still not go so far as to claim the general public can achieve professional-level performance in just a few months.

In conclusion, the argument above is flawed because it assumes that a product being available without prescription necessarily means that the product is within reach of the general public. It also assumes that the supplement would be able to help boost the strength of the general public and allow them to achieve professional level performance without any qualifications as to the body building regimen that they have to follow. The author needs to improve his argument by providing evidence to show his underlying assumptions are correct in order to make the argument more effective.



"Nuclear weapons are potentially more devastating than any other weapon in human history. We must stop pointing the nuclear gun at our own heads. The best way to lower the threat of nuclear war is for the nuclear capable nations, including the U.S., to lead by example and dismantle their own nuclear arsenals."

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the position stated above. Support your viewpoint using reasons and examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.


Nuclear technology has long been the subject of debate. Some believe that development of the nuclear weapon was a bane due to the extent of damage it can cause. On the other hand, proponents of nuclear weapons believe it to be a new dimension in international warfare that provides yet another way for countries to defend themselves and attack other countries where necessary. I am of the opinion that nuclear weapons cause far too much death and destruction and we should indeed aim to eradicate the use of nuclear weapons worldwide, though perhaps the way in which this should be done is not as simple as mentioned in the statement.

Nuclear weapons are clearly very destructive. Examples of this can be seen in the early use of nuclear weapons in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The devastation of those Japanese cities did not only kill people and destroy property at that time, but its effects can be seen till this day in the deformities of children born to those who had been affected by the bombings. In fact, some of the effects carry through for generations!

The wide presence of nuclear arsenal highly increases the risks that any first use of nuclear weapons will quickly escalate into a world wide nuclear battle. It can only be imagined what devastation such a war could cause. If no country had nuclear weapons, they would have to depend on old fashions weapons and methods to fight their wars and while less effective, it definitely has a lower possibility to cause wide scale destruction. As an extreme example, in the scene of old fashioned wars fought using swords and shields and armies of soldier riding on horses, the number of people that were hurt or killed was drastically lower than the impact of a nuclear bomb. Furthermore, a nuclear weapon is more likely to hurt civilians - women and children included - rather than only soldiers.

The mechanism by which this should be done is not as simple as the one mentioned in the issue statement however, because it is difficult to convince any country to take the lead in dismantling their nuclear arsenals, lest other countries not follow suit. Even requiring everyone to dismantle their nuclear weapons as the same time because it is a question of trust - it is not possible to trust that no country is going to defect from the deal and hide some of its nuclear weapon either because they want to cheat and have the stronger weapons or because of they are worried of other countries doing the same. This leads to a vicious cycle whereby such a deal would not be feasible.

In conclusion, I agree that nuclear technology is a big threat due to the extent of destruction it can cause and we need to reduce that threat. However, it is not an easy task to eradicate all nuclear technology and a sophisticated method has to be thought of in order for the plan to work.
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Re: First stab at AWA, feedback appreciated [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2010, 11:22
The first essay was spot on. Nothing much i can think off to add but for sequencing of the reasoning. I feel contradicting the assumption of the pills being the primary reason for the positive results of body builders must come first. The examples of Apple and Ipod were spot on though were a bit out of box. My rating would be 5.

The second essay falls short. Few more angles and information could be given. At the heights of cold war time, nuclear deterrant was the main reason there was no third world war. In a way nuclear weapons were the stabilizing force. Even today India and Pakistan dont dare for an all out conventional war due to the nuclear equation and all the world powers are playing a huge part due to the nuclear capabilities of both nations to continue peace in Asia.

Another case of the dangers involved in Pakistans nuclear weapons falling in the hands of rogue terrorists can also be explored.

Examples of nuclear disarmament between Russia and US comprising the STARK1 STARK 2 can also be quoted as developments in the right direction.

Second essay rating 4
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Re: First stab at AWA, feedback appreciated [#permalink] New post 26 Jun 2010, 16:01
Thanks very much! The angles you mentioned are helpful.
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Re: First stab at AWA, feedback appreciated   [#permalink] 26 Jun 2010, 16:01
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