Essays by Jason Zhan
In Velazquez's campaign statement, he is advocating jailing people for petty crimes in Barchester on the basis that the city of Spartanburg implemented this policy and saw a 20% drop in violent crimes in the following years. This argument may look reasonable at first glance, but upon further examination, the argument contains severe logical flaws that casts severe doubt on the validity of its conclusion. First of all, Velazquez readily assumes that the implementation of the new policy in Spartanburg is the only factor that directly contributed to the decrease of violent crime rates. But the statement provides no substantial evidence that establishes an one on one relationship between the new law and violent crime rates. In reality, there could be a myriad of factors that impact the violent crime rates such as harsher prison sentences or a larger police force to patrol the city. If Spartanburg implemented new laws that increased the number of years for violent crimes and, the potential criminals would have more incentive to comply with the law in order to avoid longer sentences. If Spartanburg increases the number in its police force, there would be more law enforcement agents that can patrol the streets and stop potential fights from escalating into violent crimes. The campaign statement completely overlooks the possibility of these other factors. Secondly, the argument makes a common logical fallacy error by comparing apples to oranges. Even if we take the argument at face value and assume that the new law in Spartanburg led to the decrease in violent crime rates; it doesn't necessarily mean this law will have the same effect in Barchester because Buchester and Spartanburg could have very different demographics. For example, if Barchester is a inner city area with a more socioeconomically disadvantaged population while Buchester is a wealthy suburban area with a smaller population where the average violent crime rate is already below average, enacting the new law in Buchester may have zero impact. In fact, if Buchester doesn't have enough jailing facilities to hold the inmates, this new law can actually have an adverse effect for the city. Ultimately, the argument fails to provide to establish a direct linkage between the new law and the decrease in violent crime rates, and also makes the mistake of comparing apples to oranges. In order to make this argument stronger, there needs to be more statistics and analysis that shows why the new law is single largest contributor to the decrease in violent crime rates. In addition, the demographcis of both cities should be listed to show that they are very similar. Without these additonal analysis and support, the concluison is weak and should not be relied upon to make policy changes.
The financial planning office recommends that the Fern Valley University administration to combat declining enrollments and admission applications by holding a fund raising camping in order to secure funds to expand the range of subjects taught at the school and also increase the size of the library facilities. This recommendation is made based on the fact that students often cite poor teaching and inadequate library resources as their number one source of dissatisfaction with the university. At first glance, this recommendation seems to make sense, but upon further examination, it contains severe logical flaws that casts severe doubt on the validity of its conclusion. First of all, the financial office readily assumes that the problem of poor teaching can be resolved by simply expanding the range of subjects taught. But the number of courses being taught may not be at the core of the problem. In most cases, poor teaching is a result of low caliber teachers and inefficient teaching methods. If the school administration does not tackle these issues, then no matter how many subjects are being taught, students will still be dissatisfied. For example, if the school raises money and starts a couple of new courses that students are very interested in taking, but the professors teaching the class are highly unqualified and leads terrible lecturers, then students will still be dissatisfied. In addition, if many professors are still using very outdated teaching methodologies, students will not be able to get a lot out of these courses and will find the teaching insufferable. In order to rectify this problem, the school administration needs to take a deeper look at the student feedback surveys of the different professors in the school. If some professors are constantly receiving low remarks, then perhaps the school should consider making some personnel changes and bring in new talent. Secondly, the finance office’s recommendation is based on the wrong assumption that increasing the size of library facilities will solve the problem of students’ dissatisfaction with library resources. Again, this is not a logical solution as the central problem is not the size of the facilities themselves but rather the quality of the resources the library offers. For example, if students go to a library and is not able to find the academic material he/she needs for a project or paper, then of course they will be very dissatisfied. Simply increasing the size of the library, however, does not fix the problem. The school needs to invest more funds into expanding its book collection and purchase subscriptions to academic databases so students can have access to different research papers and scholarly articles. While increasing the size of the facilities may allow the libraries to accommodate more students, it is not the heart of the issue at hand. Ultimately, the financial office’s recommendations are made on wrong assumptions that do not tackle the heart of the problems. In order to strengthen the argument, the school needs to conduct an in-depth survey to show that student dissatisfaction stems from the array of courses offered and the size of the libraries. Without any empirical evidence to support the argument, the financial office’s recommendation has no legs to stand on and their recommendation should be not relied upon by the school administration.
In the music department chair’s memo to the president of Omega University, he is recommending the university to expand the music-therapy degree program by increasing its enrollment targets. The basis for his argument is that mental health experts have observed less severe symptoms in patients after group music therapy sessions and that job openings in the music therapy field have increased in the past year. While these two factors look appealing at first glance, upon further examination, the argument contains severe logical flaws and casts severe doubt on the validity of his conclusion. First of all, the memo readily assumes that group music therapy is a viable long term treatment to mental healthiness. While mental health experts have observed less pronounced symptoms in patients after group music sessions, there is no mentioning of how long these effects last. It’s plausible that patients may feel calmer and relaxed for a couple of hours immediately following a music group session, but they may return to their erratic and unpredictable behaviors soon afterwards. In addition, there may be many factors that affect how a mentally ill patient acts such as time of the day, mood, environment, so there is no guarantee that music therapy will have a positive effect on the whole patient population. At best, group music therapy can be viewed as a short term solution that helps to ease some symptoms but there is no evidence in the memo that supports group music therapy as a legitimate treatment for mentally ill patients. Secondly, the music department’s chair mistakenly assumes that just because there are more openings in the music therapy industry, then graduates from the university’s program will all succeed in finding jobs. This line of logic is deeply flawed because it overlooks the economic fundamentals of supply and demand in the job market. For example, since the industry has many more open positions, it’s highly likely that there will be a corresponding increase in the number of applicants. Graduates from Omega University will face tough competition and must prove that they are the most qualified candidates in order to obtain employment. As such, it is a big stretch to claim that graduates from the program will not have trouble finding good positions. Ultimately, the music department chair’s assessment is oversimplified and overly optimistic. He only provides a weak example on the benefits of music therapy and completely ignores the possibility of increased competition in the music therapy field. In order to make this argument stronger, the chair should provide more examples on the positive impacts music therapy has and also collect data to show the job placement rate of the graduates from Omega’s music program. Without a detailed analysis and additional support, the conclusion is highly dubious and should not be relied upon.
The HR Director’s memo to the executive officers of the company states that communication between employees and management, one of the important issues that has consistently ranked on top of a list of possible improvements based on employee surveys, has been resolved. The memo claims that after the survey was conducted, the company has since then established regular communication sessions led by high-level management in which employees can freely attend and therefore the most important issue that needs to be addressed has been resolved. At first glance, this argument may seem reasonable. However, upon further examination, it contains severe logic flaws that casts major doubt on the validity of the conclusion.
In Olympic Food’s annual report that was sent to the stockholders, management asserts that the company can expect to minimize its costs and maximize profits as its twenty-fifth anniversary approaches on the basis that with time, the costs of processing decreases because an organization will become more efficient. The report cites the cost of color film processing that dropped from 50 cents in 1970 to 20 cents in 1984 as an example to support its argument. At first glance, this argument may seem reasonable. But upon further examination, the argument contains severe logical flaws that casts severe doubt on the validity of its conclusion.
In the business section of the local newspaper, the author attempts to analyze why a foreign version of a popular product Motorcycle X is not selling well in the US market. Some have suggested that it is due to the fact that the foreign copycat version lacks the exceptionally loud noise made by motorcycle X. However, the author argues that there must be another explanation based on the fact that foreign cars tend to be quieter but sell just as well and that motorcycle X advertisements does not specifically promote the loud noise it makes but rather focuses on durability and sleek lines. At first glance, the author's argument seems sound but upon further examination, it contains severe logical flaws and the conclusion can't be relied upon.
In the Saluda newspaper editorial, the writer proposes to reduce the number of courses offered at Saluda Consolidated High School on the basis that a smaller private school in town offers a basic curriculum with significantly less courses yet consistently sends a higher proportion of graduating seniors to college than Saluda Consolidated High School does. At first glance, this argument seems sound, but upon further examination, the argument contains severe logical flaws that casts major doubt on the validity of the conclusion.