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PrepTest 73, Logical Reasoning 1, Question 9


Question 9. When they ask you to undermine an argument that means a weakened question, which means attacking the arguments assumptions. The things the argument doesn't say directly, but that need to be true for the evidence to be able to prove the conclusion. But to find the arguments assumptions, you have to understand the arguments conclusion and evidence.

The conclusion here is at the end. This, that is the stuff that they give us as evidence provides substantial grounds for disputing tobacco companies claims that advertising has no significant causal impact on the tendency to smoke. So it's a double negative. The tobacco companies say that advertising has no impact, and they say they're wrong.

So advertising does have an impact. And why does advertising have an impact? Well, research. Research shows that in countries that have imposed stringent restrictions on tobacco advertising or countries that have gotten rid of tobacco ads. The number of people who start smoking, the number of first time smokers in those countries is way down.

There are significant reductions in that number. So advertisement can increase the likelihood that you will smoke because if we look at areas where the ad ends we find a lower tendency to smoke. This is a causal argument, something is causing something else, ads are causing people to pick up smoking. And getting rid of the ads is causing them not to.

And as such, it has the same assumptions that every causal argument has. The first being that the connection between the two things isn't purely coincidental. So there actually is some way that the ads can affect people's preferences, it's not just a coincidence. There's no third factor, meaning there's not some alternate cause that's responsible for the reduction in smoking in those country.

It's not the lack of ads. It's something else about those countries. And the other assumption that the relationship isn't reversed, reverse causality. In other words, for this argument to work, we need to believe that the reason that people didn't pick up smoking was because they got rid of the ads.

Not the other way around, that is the reason they got rid of the ads was because people weren't tending to start smoking. Attacking anyone those assumptions would weaken the argument, so let's see which answer choice does. Answer choice A, people who smoke are unlikely to quit merely because they are no longer exposed to tobacco advertising.

This would be relevant, if the arguments evidence weren't about first time smokers. Answer choice A is about people who will quit or not. But the evidence was about who starts smoking. So answer choice A is not the answer. Answer choice B, broadcast media tend to have stricter restrictions on tobacco advertising than do print media.

This is an irrelevant comparison. We don't know what kind of ads they have in those countries. So finding out that one type of ad works better than some other type of ad or worse than some other type of ad wouldn't affect the argument at all, we don't know the kinds of ads we're dealing with. Answer choice C, restrictions on tobacco advertising are imposed only in countries where a negative attitude toward tobacco use is already widespread and increasing.

Hey, that's attacking the third assumption. It's showing the relationship might be reversed. It's not that restricting tobacco advertisements causes people to stop picking up smoking. It says once smoking is already on the decline, that's when you get those advertising restrictions.

So it's not x causing y, it's y causing x. Answer choice C weakens the argument by hurting the arguments assumptions. So it's our answer. What's wrong with the other two, answer choice D, like A is about people who continue to smoke. That is people who don't quit.

Not about first time smokers, so not relevant to our argument. And answer choice E, people who are largely unaffected by tobacco ads tend to be unaffected by other kinds of ads, okay. So there are some people who are really resistant to ads. Does that change whether these ads getting rid of them helped people or not, people in general, I mean?

The argument never claimed that everybody who hears an ad will avoid smoking or who doesn't hear an ad will avoid smoking. Just that when you get rid of the ads, you tend to get rid of the smoking. If there's one or two really resistant people, people who are not just resistant to smoking ads but resistant to all ads, okay, doesn't change anything. So answer choice E is not our answer, the answer was answer choice C.

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