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07 Sep 2013, 21:47
Q1) The following memorandum is from the business manager of Happy Pancake House restaurants.
"Recently, butter has been replaced by margarine in Happy Pancake House restaurants throughout the southwestern United States. This change, however, has had little impact on our customers. In fact, only about 2 percent of customers have complained, indicating that an average of 98 people out of 100 are happy with the change. Furthermore, many servers have reported that a number of customers who ask for butter do not complain when they are given margarine instead. Clearly, either these customers do not distinguish butter from margarine or they use the term 'butter' to refer to either butter or margarine."
Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.

A: The Happy Pancake House, after replacing the usage of butter by margarine in its dishes, finds that there is no impact on its customers. The customers have not complained about the change, according to the restaurant. But, this statement does not directly indicate the customers’ opinions about the change. The statement can be argued by considering a number of factors which rely not just on the taste or choices, but also on the monetary and nutritional data.
The argument is flawed as the percentage or the average shown does not indicate on the exact number of people who complains or dislikes margarine. Following the replacement of butter, the overall number of people visiting the Happy Pancake House restaurants might have decreased. This argument can be strengthened by providing insight into the number of customers before and after the change.
In addition, the argument does not consider the cost of the dishes involving butter. Butter’s cost might have risen, leaving margarine as the only alternate option in preparing the dishes. And there is also a possibility that the demand for butter in South Western United States has grown due to a decrease in output of the dairy industry. The argument fails to provide details regarding the price of the dishes. If the prices are high, then the customers would certainly agree with the usage of margarine. This flaw can be repaired by divulging details about the cost of both butter and margarine.
Moreover, the average age of the customers of the restaurant is not specified. If the customers belong to the middle age or the old age group, they are more likely to avoid butter. The argument is again flawed, as it does not specify the calorific or the nutritional value of the dishes involving butter. The visitors do not complain about the mentioned change, as they might feel that margarine may be a healthier choice when compared to the usage of butter. This flaw can be eliminated, provided the health effects pertaining to the consumption of butter and margarine are distinguished.
Clearly, the argument fails in explaining the reason behind the customers’ agreement to the dish as a result of replacement of butter by margarine. It does not consider various angles which may have led to the customers’ agreement and hence remain flawed.

Q2) The following appeared in a letter to the school board in the town of Centerville.
"All students should be required to take the driver's education course at Centerville High School. In the past two years, several accidents in and around Centerville have involved teenage drivers. Since a number of parents in Centerville have complained that they are too busy to teach their teenagers to drive, some other instruction is necessary to ensure that these teenagers are safe drivers. Although there are two driving schools in Centerville, parents on a tight budget cannot afford to pay for driving instruction. Therefore an effective and mandatory program sponsored by the high school is the only solution to this serious problem."
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.

A: All students from Centerville High School are required to take a drivers’ education course. The number of accidents involving teenagers is the reason behind the School’s decision. Also, the School argues that this is the only solution to the serious problem. This argument fails to explain various dimensions or the reasons behind the accidents, which is explained below.
The argument is flawed as the students are required to take a driver’s education course in Centerville High School, as a solution to the accidents involving teenage drivers. The course offered in the High School might not be of good quality, when compared to the two driving schools in Centerville. The instructors may not be experienced, and the way in which the course is offered may not hone the driving skills of the High School’s students. This argument can be strengthened by saying that the High School uses the services of the other two driving schools, and offer the course at a lesser or no cost to the students.
In addition, the argument states that in the past two years, accidents in and around Centerville have involved teenage drivers. Maybe, some teenage drivers lack the driving skill, but not all. There might be other reasons behind the accidents involving teenagers. Alcohol or other narcotic substances have an effect on the human brain. And we always hear about teenagers who are prone to drinks and drugs, owing to peer pressure or other reasons. And, the best of teenage drivers who has consumed alcohol, might be prone to accidents. The argument can be repaired, provided more details regarding the cause of accidents are given.
Moreover, the argument assumes that the mandatory driving program or course is the only solution to this serious problem. This might not hold true, as accidents involve randomness ie. the probability of an accident occurring cannot be determined. Also, the teenage drivers may not have attained proper control over vehicle, which happens to be the desired outcome. Driving skills of a person depends on experience and maturity. The age factor of the teenagers might prevent them from gaining driving knowledge and skills from the course. And, the adrenaline rush among teenagers cannot be controlled just by offering a driving course. Youngsters normally crave for speed and thrill, and this may lead to a number of accidents. The argument can provide more details on legal issues involving speed limit breaches by teenage drivers, if the driving course is expected to have a successful outcome.
It is possible to conclude that the driving program might not have predicted results. The various flaws in the argument can affect the School’s intention to curb accidents involving teenagers. However, strengthening the argument by adding to details involving every aspect involving the accident can have a positive result.
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