Sociologist: Research shows, contrary to popular opinion, that, all other things being equal, most people who have pets are less happy than most people who do not. Therefore, any person who wants to be as happy as possible would do well to consider not having a pet.
Which one of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the sociologist’s argument?
(A) Some people who have pets are happier than most people who do not.
(B) Most people who have no pets occasionally wish that they had pets.
(C) Most people who have pets are reasonably happy.
(D) Most people who have pets feel happier because they have pets.
(E) All people who have no pets admit to feeling unhappy sometimes.
Between A and D what is your take?
Most people who have pets are less happy than most people who do not.
Any person who wants to be as happy as possible would do well to consider not having a pet.
What the argument doesn't say is that pets are the reason why people who have them are not as happy. We do not know what is the causal agent here. Is that people were unhappy in the first place and hence got pets to be happier? or is it that they were happy and got pets and then got unhappy?
What would weaken my conclusion is: People were unhappy in the first place and hence got pets and got happier. In that case, getting a pet would make people relatively happier than before.
Option (D) says exactly this. Most people who have pets feel happier because they have pets. Lets say on a scale of 1 to 10 of happiness, people without pets are at 9 and those with pets are at 7. Those who have pets were actually at 5 without pets but came up to 7 because of their pets. So without the pets they would go down to 5 (may be even 3 because losing a pet is terrible but that's besides the point!) This seriously weakens my conclusion that if you want to be as happy as possible, don't get a pet.
Option (A) is incorrect because even if some people who have pets are happier than most people who do not, they could be few and exceptional cases. You cannot draw general statements based on the cases of few people. General statements can be drawn only from what most people experience.
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