. The following appeared in the editorial section of a West Cambria newspaper.
“A recent review of the West Cambria volunteer ambulance service revealed a longer average response time to accidents than was reported by a commercial ambulance squad located in East Cambria. In order to provide better patient care for accident victims and to raise revenue for our town by collecting service fees for ambulance use, we should disband our volunteer service and hire a commercial ambulance service.”
The conclusion of the argument is that the officials of Cambria should disband volunteer ambulance service and hire commercial ambulance service since it provides better patient care and raise more revenue for town. To support this claim the argument cites a review, which states that West Cambria volunteer ambulance service has a longer average response time to accidents than one reported by a commercial ambulance squad located in East Cambria. Stated in this way the argument manipulates the facts and conveys a distorted view of the situation. The conclusion of the argument relies on assumptions for which there is no clear evidence. Hence, the argument is weak and has several flaws.
First, the argument readily assumes that West Cambria volunteer ambulance service has a longer average time that that of East Cambria commercial ambulance service. This argument is a stretch since it fails to mention one key fact that can influence the average response time significantly and that is the distance of the ambulance base from the place of the accident. For example, West Cambria area could be much bigger than that of East Cambria, so the ambulance in West Cambria will need more time to get to the accident site if it is far away. Clearly, the argument is flawed. The argument could have been much more clearer if it explicitly stated that the areas which cover the West and the East Cambria ambulances are similar.
Second, the argument claims that in order to provide better patient care for accident victims and to raise revenues the town should hire a commercial ambulance service instead of the volunteer ambulance service. This is again very weak and unsupported claim since the argument does not demonstrate any correlation between good patient care or raised revenues and commercial ambulance service. The argument offers misleading correlation and thus is unconvincing. To illustrate, the costs of the volunteer ambulance service could be very low since they do not have to give pay-checks to their volunteers, thus creating increase in towns revenue. Also, the volunteer ambulance service could be founded from large donations, enabling it to buy the best equipment and provide superior service to the victims. If the argument had provided the evidence that the commercial ambulance service has superior service and raises more revenue than the volunteer ambulance service then the argument would have been a lot more convincing.
In order to assess the merits of a certain situation, it is essential to have full knowledge of all contributing factors. In this case whether the areas that cover the volunteer and the commercial ambulances are the same and whether the commercial ambulance could provide better patient care and raise more revenue than volunteer ambulance service. Without this information, the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.
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